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Is Superman the Antichrist?

Illustration for article titled Is Superman the Antichrist?

It's hard not to feel a bit of schadenfreude here. Warner Bros. hired a Christian marketing company to pitch The Man of Steel to churches, on the grounds that this was really a movie about Jesus. And apparently, this strategy has backfired, somewhat. As in, people are calling Superman "the Antichrist."

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Sometimes pandering to religious groups — or trying to manipulate them into promoting your movie for you, depending on how you look at it — can backfire. According to the Washington Post, a number of pastors who got roped into seeing Man of Steel weren't happy afterwards:

“[Superman] is the anti-Christ,” as the Rev. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest and commentator for National Catholic Reporter, tweeted after he saw the movie. In “Man of Steel,” Reese wrote, “Superpowers, not love, conquers (sic) evil. Bash the bad guy, don’t turn cheek.”

Or as Jackson Cuidon put it in his “Man of Steel” review in Christianity Today, a leading evangelical magazine: “Superman ... is there mostly to satiate that part of the American psyche that wants their messiahs to punch things, too.”

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In particular, there's the controversial ending of the movie. And all of the mass destruction and carnage that precede it. As the Washington Post explains, "this Superman is so unlike Jesus that Michael Parnell, pastor of Beth Car Baptist Church in Halifax, Va., found himself angry that the studio had the gall to pitch this movie as representing Christian values."

The one part of the film that these religious critics liked? The self-sacrificing Jonathan Kent, as portrayed movingly by Kevin Costner.

But otherwise, let's hail Super-Satan:

Illustration for article titled Is Superman the Antichrist?
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Illustration for article titled Is Superman the Antichrist?

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DISCUSSION

I much prefer my Jesus stand-ins to bite enemies instead of punch them.