The Messiah of Metropolis

The director of 'Superman Returns' confirms that the Christ story deeply influenced the film.

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And that was the terrible thing that Lex Luthor did, the robbing of the crystals, it was just such a violation.



But he was finally alone. Superman was alone when the crystal was taken.

Again, the allegories. I don't want be the guy who says, "Why have you forsaken me?" [chuckles] But here in the Fortress of Solitude--and it's gone.



And that's what makes Lex Luthor such a wonderful villain, in comparison. There is no divinity to him. He is completely of the Earth. Now I'm not getting into the stuff I'd rather people discover as they watch the movie.

About another indelible scene: The New York Times wrote, "Superman... fights his foes in a scene that visually echoes the garden betrayal in 'The Passion of the Christ.'" Actually, I would put the imagery closer to Christ's march to the crucifixion. What were your influences for that scene?

The scourging at the pillar. Clearly. It was what it was.



And the spear of destiny...

The blade in the back, the Kryptonite. And Lex--who was bald [like traditional depictions of the demonic Lucifer]. I wanted him [Superman] to be beaten and beaten and beaten and beaten and beaten and stabbed and still have some life in him. And then instead of ascend, he falls.



And he falls into the water. And when he falls into the water, we hear the voices. He's with his father, in the water. His father is explaining to him things that are much larger than this miniscule moment.

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That there are forces out there greater than even himself. And huge things about human beings, problems that human beings cannot solve for themselves. And then we cut to, what do we see--a seaplane. And this unusual, strange modern family flying around trying to find him.

I remember sitting with one of my writers and we were watching the visual effects of him [Superman] falling to Earth [after pushing the kryptonite-laced landmass into space]. And his hands are extended and he falls to Earth in that very...



It's the crucifixion pose.

Yes. And he [the writer] looked at me--and he went to Catholic school, it's very interesting--and he said, "Are we? Are we? Shouldn't he open his legs a little bit more? Are we? Is this too on the nose?" And I said, "If we're telling this story, we're going to tell this story. Some parts are going to be subtle. But this one is not."



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