The election is finally over, but as this post was written before it ended, I still don’t know what happened. Depending on the results and our own personal stances, the ability to launch ourselves into an alternate reality might be really appealing right about now. Then there are movies like Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, which exist to remind all of us that the dystopias in other worlds are somehow even worse than the one we already live in.
I have talked before about how Superman is actually a Christ figure, but I have always described and explained it in a mainstream Christian sense. However, there was a form of Christianity that existed on the fringes during the end of the second century called Gnostic Christianity: an interesting form of Christianity that combines Christianity, various Pagan beliefs, and esoteric philosophy. Largely regarded by other Christians as heretical, this form of Christianity eventually died out, though it did have some modern resurgence after some Gnostic texts were discovered at Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1947.
When I was studying theology in school, I was talking to my professor about Superman as a Christ figure and he argued that Superman was more of a Gnostic Christ figure than a modern Christian one. And it is true that Superman does share some similarities with the Gnostic depiction of Christ. But after doing more research into Superman’s character, I realized that the creators of Superman were Jewish and that Superman actually has a lot more connections with Judaism than with Christianity. Despite this, in recent years writers have taken a more Christian approach to Superman. It’s interesting that Superman, despite being created by Jewish writers, later became more Christian, particularly in regards to the more Gnostic version of Christianity. Gnostic Christianity was more a rejection of Judaism, because it views the God of the Old Testament as an evil god. So is Superman more of a Gnostic Christ figure, or more like one of the Jewish prophets?
Oh my God! So guess what, guys? I’m not as nervous about the Batman vs Superman movie anymore! Though as always, I still have some concerns.
I often notice a disturbing trend among fans when it comes female characters and male characters. I mean when you think about it there are a lot of disturbing trends, really, but the thing that bothers me in particular is when fans hate on a female character for something they love about a male character. And sometimes fans seem to just ignore a flaw that a male character has, but then they crucify a female character for having that same flaw. It’s incredibly aggravating to me to watch this constantly play out again and again. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s take a look at some examples.
Not long ago, a teaser trailer came out for DC’s new Batman vs. Superman movie. Ever since the title was announced, I have been nervous about the upcoming movie. I have a lot of feelings about Superman and Batman (both together and separately) and I have been waiting a long time for a team up movie to hit the big screen. But when I heard the title of the movie, I was extremely sad. I’m not going to see a Batman and Superman movie based purely on them fighting each other (we all know Superman wins that fight anyway).
No, what I really want to see in this new movie is the complex, somewhat antagonistic relationship between Batman and Superman, which eventually morphs into an epic friendship. So today for our Throwback, I want to take a look at the Batman and Superman movie that greatly shaped my perception of the two characters. The World’s Finest originally aired as as a three part episode on the Superman Animated Series in 1997, and was later re-released as a movie. Until this point there had been little to no cross-over between the Superman Animated Series and the Batman Animated Series, other than a one off comment about Batman at the start of the Superman Animated Series. So this movie was the first meeting between Batman and Superman in the animated universe. And the movie just really hit it out of the park.
Well, it’s finally here, everyone: the first trailer for the Batman vs. Superman movie—and judging from the trailer, this movie will either be amazing or horrific and awful. Take a look:
While I enjoyed Nolan’s Dark Knight movies, with the exception of the last one, my enjoyment of Man of Steel was much more fleeting. There are parts of the movie I like, but on the whole, I found that the story suffered from a lot of problems. Most notably, I think its tone was too dark, the aesthetics too muted, the characters too unrelatable, and the last fight scene too long, overdone, and destructive. And judging from this new trailer, it doesn’t look like any of those issues are going to change.
So we all known Superman is Jesus, right? I talked about that before, and while it’s downplayed in the comics, it’s so obviously and almost painfully written into some of the movies that you have to wonder if there are any non-Christian fans of Superman at this point. Even when Superman isn’t being practically written as Christ, he is always displayed as having extremely Christian values. I don’t have a problem with it; I mean, it makes a lot of sense. Superman was found and raised by two midwestern farmers. So yeah, Superman more than likely follows some form of Protestant Christianity. A lot of people argue that he’s Methodist, which I can see, but it’s also never really specified; he just comes off as generic Christian.
Except when he’s proclaiming his faith to the god Rao, the lead god in a pantheon of others that Superman’s people, the Kryptonians, worshiped. So, what, is Superman a Christian? Did he convert to Raoism after learning it was the faith of his people? Did he combine the two? Well, let’s try to figure it out!
I do not play Dungeons & Dragons nearly as much as I would like to. Despite this, I often like to go through various game manuals as fodder for the imagination. Once I was skimming through an expansion manual and discovered an interesting character class: the wu jen. This name is a Wade-Giles rendering of 巫人, which translates most literally to “shaman person”, although other interpretations are certainly possible. Unfortunately I never got a chance to play this character, and even more unfortunately, the manual in question is entitled Oriental Adventures.
The wu jen is one of the magic-user type classes available in this setting, but what makes her unique? Her power is tied to taboos. The specific taboos the wu jen must follow are chosen by the player, starting with one at 1st level and then adding additional ones at various levels as the character advances. If a wu jen breaks any of these taboos, she forfeits her ability to cast spells for the rest of the day. I had never come across anything like this in gameplay before, and was extremely intrigued. Although this was years ago, I still think about it from time to time, and I have recently starting contemplating this more deeply. How do our backgrounds and worldviews influence whether we perceive taboos as restrictive or as empowering, and what does the use of taboo in speculative fiction mean for people who follow religious taboos in real life?
So I finally got around to watching Justice League: War, and I have to say that it’s not as good as I thought it would be. I don’t think it’s bad, either—it’s actually really good—but I had set my expectations for this film much higher than I realized. Of course, most of my complaints are things that I should have seen coming.
Oh, this makes me happy.
Justice League: War is scheduled for a direct-to-video release on February 4th, and I am eagerly counting down the days until I can own it for myself.