The Thematic Continuity of the Church of the Christ-Superman
What I am going to do is discuss an old idea of the story of Superman as a Christ allegory. Ultimately, I am going to show how the creation of the Justice League, in this current cinematic tradition, is the foundation of the Church of the Christ-Superman --- in the same way that the Twelve Apostles, as an institution, are said to be the foundation of the Church of the Jesus Christ.
Along the way, I am going to justify the existence of a couple of generally disliked films: Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. Mind you, I mean justify not defend or excuse them. What I mean to say is that I will show they function within the thematic continuity of the Church of the Christ-Superman.
I will also show why this dynamic virtually required what many people see as the emasculation and character assassination of the Batman, in the Justice League film.
Spoiler alert: The Batman is forced to play the role of a repentant Judas Iscariot.
I believe that an unconscious reason that many people dislike the films, Man of Steel and Suicide Squad, is that they represent a jarring break from the thematic continuity of the Church of the Christ-Superman. For me, they represent a very welcome break from that continuity, which is a big reason why I, personally, like these films very much.
I, personally, never liked the character of Superman. I always found his godlike invulnerability and godlike powers to be a major turn-off. He had too much power, therefore the situation never seemed fair to me.
Let me cap off this short introduction by saying that: What we are looking at in this cinematic tradition is the intertwining of two thematic treatments of Superman. One of them is long established; and the other one is emerging.
One is the old treatment concerning the Church of the Christ-Superman. The other is the emerging theme of Superman, or Kal'el of the revolutionary House of El.
The Body of the Paper
The story of "Superman" is, when you think about it, an astonishing, virtually scene-for-scene replay of the story of Jesus Christ.
First of all, the Kryptonian literally falls from the sky in his one-baby capacity space ship; and he becomes the only child of the Kents of Kansas. You can't come any closer to the Virgin Birth than that.
Second, we know, from the tradition, that Jesus was an intellectually precocious youth, as one would expect, given his origins. You know, the boy Jesus was basically able to out-philosophize gray-bearded old men theologians and thinkers... blah, blah, blah...
Similarly, it has been indicated in the cartoon tradition, that "Clark" basically daydreamed his way through his school years, earning straight As without breaking a sweat, possibly without even bothering nuisance of studying, or anything like that.
Third, I know that we don't even have to bother mentioning the "miracle-working" powers of both Clark/Superman and Jesus.
Fourth, in the Christian tradition, Jesus is said to have spent forty days and forty nights in the desert, for some reason. The important thing here, is that Lucifer/Satan/the Devil came around to "tempt" Jesus to throw in his lot with him and become ruler of the Earth and all that... yada, yada, yada...
Remember: Jesus and the former Lucifer, the former archangel of God, come from, let's say, the same realm.
Similarly, in the role of Lucifer/Satan/the Devil, we have Brainiac. Remember the Kryptonian world-computer brain, Brainiac?
Brainiac seeks to tempt Superman into joining with him, and thereby, potentially achieving and enjoying unlimited galactic dominion. In both cases, as you know, Jesus and Clark/Superman successfully resists their tempters in the name of... in the name of... doing the right thing or something.
Anyway, fifth, I dimly recall that there is a scene in the New Testament in which Jesus casts out some demons from a herd of pigs, and so on.
Remember that demons are fallen angels, and therefore, like Lucifer/Satan/the Devil, they come from the same realm as Jesus.
Now, everybody knows how the heroic Kryptonian turned aside the threat from those escapees from the Phantom Zone, those rogue Kryptonians, General Zod and his crew.
The Amazing Parallels Continue
We have the death and resurrection of both The Christ and The Superman.
We are, of course, taught in the tradition that Jesus "died for our sins"; therefore his death is the fault of a sinful and indifferent world in general. It is also the fault of the treachery of Judas Iscariot very specifically.
In fairness here, I should say that I have only seen snippets of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice (I found it largely unwatchable when it came on cable television). Also, I have not seen Justice League at all.
I am relying on online reviews of the films by prominent YouTube critics. Here, I am specifically thinking of "ThatMovieChic," who speaks of an irrational guilt suffered by Batman about the death of Superman, in her Justice League review.
Anyway, through the eyes of the Dark Knight, we are given to understand that Superman's death at the hands of a creature known as Doom, was, somehow, the fault of an indifferent world in general, as well as Batman's fault or failure specifically.
Again, let me say here that Batman is forced into the role of a repentant Judas Iscariot.
If the death of the Christ-Superman, at the hands of Doom, is the fault of the world in general, in keeping with the Christ parallel, there has to also be a specific fall guy.
In the case of Superman, the only one the fall guy could be is Batman!
This conclusion is not logical. I do not claim it to be logical. Logic will not help you get your head around this.
But if you are willing to set aside logic, you might see how this dynamic brought about or emanated the film, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. If Batman is to be forced into the role of a repentant Judas Iscariot, there must be a way in which Batman "betrays" the Christ-Superman initially; and one way the Dark Knight could do that would be to "fight" Superman.
The Death and Resurrection of the Christ-Superman
There seems to be general agreement that the Flash seemed to serve no other purpose, in the Justice League movie, than comedic relief.
However, I have heard, from a discussion by the Midnight's Edge crew online, that the Flash supercharged some apparatus known as a "Mother Box," which is used to "revive" Superman.
For our purposes, that one act by the Flash is huge! I parallel this to the scene in the New Testament in which, after the crucifixion of Jesus and his burial, a couple of his followers go to his tomb, lift of the cover and find that his body is gone.
Question: Why exactly is it the case that Batman is the one who is forced into the role of a (repentant) Judas Iscariot?
Answer: It is because Batman is the only one in a position to "betray" the Christ-Superman. Batman is the superhero who knows Superman best.
The Secular Church of the Christ-Superman
The secular church of the Christ-Superman has been established in the live-action television tradition. I am thinking of the mid-1990s series: Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
I recall that there was an episode in which Clark goes into the future, somehow, and comes in contact with his old man future-self. This old man future-self explains to young Super-Clark that the values he promoted, fought for, and encouraged, and all that, had become universalized: across North America, if not the world.
With this understanding in mind, we can come back to the films, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, to see the Justice Leaguers as the equivalent of the Twelve Apostles.
As the Twelve Apostles, especially Peter, become the foundation of the church of Christ-ianity, so too does the Justice League become the foundation of the Church of the Christ-Superman... The Church of Superman!
By The Way
By the way, did you know that it has been established in the comic book tradition that Clark Superman does NOT need to eat and sleep? He only does so to fit in with us humans.
And did you know that this same tradition has established that, as Clark Superman passed the decades on Earth, absorbing the planet's yellow sunlight, that his vulnerability to Kryptonite (the one vulnerability that made him mortal) has continued to decrease?
Its things like this that has always irritated me about this character.
But to continue with the gross unfairness of it all: The last time I checked with the comic book tradition, I am vaguely familiar with, Superman was all set to marry yet another near-god, Wonder Woman.
Now, we are NOT talking about Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman of the 1970s live-action television series.
The Wonder Woman, of the comic book/cartoon tradition, that I am talking about is very nearly as powerful as Superman. She can even fly without the aid of an "invisible jet."
Wonderful! So they get to bring children into the world who are even more unfairly godlike, all-powerful, invulnerable, indestructible, and immortal!