I wrote the last blog titled “Being Eric” where I lamented the portrayal of men in the modern media. The title was inspired by the show “Being Erica.”
In light of that blog and new developments, I must comment on Superman. First, if you’re a Superman connoisseur, for any of this (what I’m about to purpose) to be acceptable, you really have to get past the quasi-infidelity to the authentic flow of the actual Superman world… Sorry, I know that’s asking a lot. (In other words, try not to be too critical that the story line deviates somewhat from what you may be use to.)
In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m not Superman fan, nor did I get around to consuming Smallville, and the writers of Man of Steel did not employ the brilliance of the Star Trek prequel re-boots… If they did both old fans and new fans would be happy. (That’s a conversation for another time- feel free to email me…)
But, I really liked the movie because it painted a really positive and deeply moving picture of the father and son relationship, and exploration of authentic manhood. (I’ll try not include any spoilers for those who still have not see the movie.)
Superman’s father was played by Russell Crowe, and his step father by Kevin Costner. These were both strong, positive characters, radiating a deep sense of purpose and morality. Superman’s father had an incredible commitment to family responsibility. Positive words of declaration were spoken over the young child’s life.
Clarke’s step-dad highlighted the need to make good choices and stated to the teenaged Man of Steel, “You can be a great man, you just have to decide if you want to be good or bad.” He made the ultimate sacrifice to help Clarke solidify his purpose.
I also liked the villain – I think his name was Zod. I loved the line where he gloated, “Evolution always win!” (He was referring to himself as being more evolved than Superman, however, he lost in the end.) Seriously, there was an idea of developing a sense of morality, and Superman’s step father poured this into his son and helped him to develop a moral center -he encouraged moral responsibility as a man.
The villain, however, lacked a moral center, but he possessed a deep sense of purpose which left him passionate…and uncompassionate. He made a very telling statement which amounted to the fact that on Krypton (their home planet) every person was genetically manufactured to fulfill a purpose within that society; each possessed a single-minded function… When Zod’s purpose was no longer viable, his depravity was let loose. Previously, he was willing to kill for his purpose, which was a greater good (the preservation of their society), after he was willing to kill for revenge and hurt.
Man of Steel weaves in an admirable sense of masculinity and manhood -try to ignore the fact that the fight scenes lasted a little too long. There were some themes that seem to resonate on a biblical level.
“The Genesis Man” (our Men’s Group) finds its vision in Genesis chapter 2 and identifies authentic manhood and masculinity through the pillars of Purpose/Work, Moral Responsibility, Family Responsibility, Wisdom, and Declaration. (See the first archived blog for a clear explanation of these.) I think I could find examples from the movie that seemed to highlight these truths.
It was nice to see these things being explored in Superman. Now on the possibility of being Eric, I’d rather be Superman!