Look, Up in the Sky...the Lamest Superhero Ever!!
I'm all for thought-provoking symbolism in movies, but Superman Returns was just too much. I just wanted to scream at the director for feeling the necessity of pounding the "Superman-as-Christ-Figure" idea into my head. Mr. Singer, I get what you're trying to say!!! How about next time we just let the people with the ears hear, and then let the others just enjoy a man in tights flying. Sorry, this post really isn't about why Superman is or is not a Christ-figure (nor the Nietzscean irony of the whole idea). What I really want to write about is why Superman is a LAME superhero.
1. Part of the joy of superheroes is that you imagine that, given the perfectly fortuitous mishap, you yourself may one day become like them. But this is not the case with Superman - he is unattainable, unreachable. On the other hand, I could easily imagine being bit by a radioactive spider (a la Spiderman) or accumulating a whole bunch of awesome gadgets and hitching them to my belt (a la Batman) or even being the reciepient of a slight genetic mutation (a la the X-people). But Superman is an alien. In fact, he's only Superman BECAUSE he is an alien. And I'll never be an alien.
2. Superman has everything. C'mon, does he really need eye lasers? The joy of most superpeople is that they find a way to adapt their particular power to the situation at hand, thus making them both super and clever. Superman has no need to adapt to anything (except the occasional kryptonite encounter, but even that's a little silly) because he possesses every supertool known to the universe. You just can't relate to the guy who has everything and whose only weakness is a glowy green rock. Rooting for Superman is like rooting for the Yankees which, in turn, is like rooting for OPEC. Thus, rooting for Superman is like rooting for OPEC. Seems logical, right?
3. Superman has every imaginable power and yet he goes around pulling cats from trees and stopping convenience store hold-ups. I implied before he has no need to be clever, but you'd have to quite a bit slower than a speeding bullet to recognize that this is not a good use of time. Leave that sort of thing to Spiderman, who can't go flitting about the world, and who is really only useful in a big city. (Can you imagine how useless Spiderman would be in, say, Omaha?) If you are Superman, you really should focus on the big picture. World peace!!! Where are you on North Korea, Superman? If you haven't noticed, there's a lot going on in the middle east that you could help out with....