Produced and distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures
Directed by Bryan Singer
Screenplay by Michael Dougherty
and Dan Harris
The American Civil Liberties Union’s executive officers must be on vacation somewhere off the telecommunications grid. This supposition occurred to me as I watched Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. Although the film takes off the wraps and reveals the Man of Steel to be none other than Jesus Christ in tights, the ACLU has not filed a single lawsuit to protect the young from witnessing such a muscular portrayal of saviorhood. The usually vigilant atheists, I concluded, must be out of touch.
Return makes no bones about its Christ symbolism. It announces it loudly, repeatedly, and unapologetically throughout its entire two hours and thirty-four minutes. So much so, I began to wonder if it were a ploy to gain greater audience share. Could this be Hollywood’s cynical response to Mel Gibson’s passionate lesson? Even before the opening credits have run their swollen course, we hear Marlon Brando, playing Jor-El, Superman’s biological father, declaiming his son’s salvific mission on Earth in the plummy accent he used 44 years ago as Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty. (Brando appears courtesy of bits remastered from his performance...