The Son of God and The Man of Steel

Superman
It comes as no surprise that Superman greatly reflects pieces of Jesus Christ throughout comic book history. He is not of this world, he has miraculous powers and abilities, he cares about the world, he saves people, and he is a symbol of hope (heck, even the ‘S’ on his chest means hope in the Kryptonian language).
Superman was created in 1933 and sold to DC Comics in 1938 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster. The interesting fact about the creators is the fact that they were both Jewish. This fact is important because their Jewish background and history played a rather large role in various characters they created, particularly Superman. In the 2016 film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the parallels between Jesus and Superman are taken to a new level as they are highly significant throughout and overlap each other. With the Blue-Ray ultimate cut of the film being released this week, let us take a look at the parallels between the two symbols of hope.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

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In the DCEU’s 2013 film Man of Steel, we already see the parallels with Jesus and Superman to a significant extent. Jesus is sent to earth to save humanity and is raised by two parents who begin to discover their son’s significance and abilities at an early age. In his mid-30’s, Jesus begins his mission over the course of three years despite certain backlash from the people.
Superman is also sent to earth and is raised by two parents who discover his abilities at an early age. He was even sent by his father to watch over humanity as seen in the beginning of the film. Before sending him to earth, Superman’s mother Lara Lor-Van told her husband that “He will be an outcast. They will reject him.” Jor-El’s response was, “How? He will be a god to them.” As we all see in the Scriptures, Jesus himself was rejected on numerous occasions by humanity due to their fear, anger, and lack of understanding and faith getting the best of them.

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 In Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the fear that humanity develops continues to play out as Superman tries to become the symbol of hope for the world. Despite the previous damage that was caused when battling Zod, Superman still tries to do “good deeds” by saving various people throughout the world during moments of catastrophe. While a number of people see him as a hope let alone a god, others still see him as a threat, particularly Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor. The same can also be said for Jesus himself and the various miracles he performs throughout his ministry. Jesus raised the dead (Luke. 7:11-15), healed the sick (Matthew 8), made the blind see (John 9), made the lame walk (John 5:1-15), and so much more.
While Superman and Jesus’ powers differ, we also see how similar they are. As previously stated and seen in the film, humankind has various opinions on the Son of Krypton. One that particularly stood out to me was Neil deGrasse Tyson’s quote in the film:
We’re talking about a being whose very existence challenges our own sense of priority in the universe…And now we learn that we’re not even special in the entire universe because there is Superman. There he is, an alien among us. We’re not alone.
Going back to Christ, the Jewish population greatly questioned who Jesus was. A savior? A Devil in disguise? One can say that Lex Luthor’s quote on Superman to an extent represented part of the population’s response and thoughts on Christ:
“We know better, now don’t we? Devils don’t come from hell beneath us. No, they come from the sky.”

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Lastly, we see the death of Superman at the hands of Doomsday towards the end of the film. As also seen in the comics, Superman died protecting humanity as he defeated Doomsday. Despite humanity’s hatred towards him, despite their attempts to keep him under their control, he still put his life on the line for the sake of humanity’s survival. As he says to Lois Lane before he gives his life in taking Doomsday’s, “This is my world. You are my world.” There is a great amount of Christian symbolism in this action and these words.
Despite humanity’s hatred and rejection of Jesus, He still sacrificed himself for the world that he loved and cared for so much (John 3:16-17; 9:1-30). It was not until Jesus’ death that people began to realize just how important he was as a person let alone as the Son of God. Even the Roman Centurion saw this in Him.
Truly, this man was the Son of God.” (Matt. 15:39).
The same began to be realized for humanity when they saw the significance in Superman’s sacrificial death. At his funeral where he was buried in Metropolis, his grave says, “If you seek his moment, look around you.” This quote particularly comes from the moment of Sir Christopher Wen who was significantly known for rebuilding 52 churches after the great fire of London in 1666. This too can also greatly reflect Christ as people see Him through those that truly follow Him (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:21).
Going back to Superman, this also greatly represents him as well due to the fact that while he was significantly different from humanity, he still was part of it and was their savior while it lasted. Finally, we see at the end of the film on his coffin the small rising out of dirt, indicating that he is still alive and will return soon. Again, great symbolism in paralleling with Christ’s resurrection from the dead after a significant period of time.

The amount of symbolism between Christ and Superman is one that cannot go unrecognized, from teachings to actions. While not every scene of Superman thoroughly reflects Christ in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the parallels between the two iconic figures are still taken to new heights in how their stories nearly overlap in large parts of the film.

What Christian symbolism and did you notice in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice? Think the parallels between Christ and Superman are close? Be sure to leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

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Trey Soto

Trey Soto holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Biola University, emphasis in Interpersonal/Rhetorical Theory. He has been a Film Critic/Analysis for over a year at Geeks Under Grace and other websites such as Temple of Geek. In his spare time, he enjoys comic book literature, screenwriting, production assistant freelancing, photography, cosplay, and hosting his own film podcast T.V. Trey on Podbean and iTunes.

1 Comment

  1. Michael Encke on August 8, 2016 at 4:51 am

    There were tons of symbolism in BvS. I would like to go through it again and list them, but the one that I am thinking about is the Martha scene. Superman knows he is going to die and pleads for the life of someone else. It is not exactly the same but it reminds me of how Jesus spoke to the thief on the cross.

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