Thursday, December 06, 2012

Man Of Steel (of Nazareth?)

With six months until opening day, the studio released a new poster for the Man of Steel this week.  It's a very striking image, and not at all how we're accustomed to seeing Superman.  Ryan over at the Signal Watch, who has forgotten more about Superman than I'll ever know, made some interesting observations about the choice of this image.
If there's an image that maybe can turn the perception of Superman on its ear, its the image of Superman in shackles surrounded by the minions of authority figures.  It plays on a lot of ideas - not the least of which is that we automatically root for the misunderstood good guy (see Batman, Spider-Man, etc...), and we love to distrust and look down on the nitwits in positions of power - in the 80's it might have been corporate tycoons, but these days it seems "the guvernmint". 
If a rockstar, rapper or actor gets street cred from trouble with the law, why not a Man of Steel?  In a lot of ways, it makes far more sense, and it does go to Superman's roots.  He can't have started as a duly deputized agent of the cops and friend to law everywhere.  Is this the image that brings relevancy back to The Man of Steel for the pop culture pundits? Dark in tone as well as content, no smile, no circus-performer suit and the outsider status clearly front and center...  it's like pop culture pundit catnip. 
I think he's right, but for me the poster also evokes powerful Christian imagery.  The picture of Superman, who is essentially a God, humbled and led away in handcuffs, draws to mind the image of Jesus's arrest, trial, and ultimately his redemptive sacrifice. As a Christian, I confess I find this appealing, but Superman-Christian allegories, while not a huge stretch, tend to be way overstated.  I think Superman's story is probably more Jewish, anyway.  Did the producers have this in mind?  I doubt it, but who knows? Either way, it's a great marketing ploy that will create lots of buzz, while giving a new audience an insight into the character and perhaps an understanding of his lasting appeal.

1 comment:

The League said...

Very interesting, and I am in agreement. Well done.