In the time leading up to Christ, there were 70 or so would be Messiahs. Of course, most all of them were brutally struck down by the Romans (with no resurrection), proving that they were not the Messiah. Still, it is striking how many people clearly were looking for a Messiah in that time (and 70 or so were delusional, thinking that they were he).
The idea that Superman was a Messianic figure is not novel. A man from the heavens who is raised in a humble place (Kansas) by humble parents, who grows in his realization of who he is as he grows older, discovers his super powers, and saves the world against other world evil forces who rebelled against the authorities (General Zod).
Originally, however, Superman--a GI generation hero and creation--was as much of a veneration of the power and might of the United States (Superman was an American, after all) and humanity during a time of "can do" optimism. The original Superman was as much Super-American as it was Messianic.
But in watching the trailers for the new Superman movie, Man of Steel, it is striking to me how incredibly overt the Messianic themes are for Christopher Nolan's Superman--and how utterly human he is as well (despite his powers). Note:
Obviously, the Messianic theme is in American culture due to the influence of Christianity, even if we are becoming post-Christian in this nation. And Israel in the first century and surrounding decades was looking for a Messiah due to the Scriptures. But she was also looking for a Messiah due to her oppression and hopeless situation.
This makes me wonder if we do not have within us some innate awareness of the need for a Messiah. And if perhaps this comes out during troubled times. If so, then the re-booting of the Superman series shows that this world is in trouble, and it needs a true Messiah/Savior, Jesus, more than ever.
What messianic themes do you see in Superman/"Man of Steel?" Do you think that the world today is worse off or better than when the first Superman debuted in the 1930s? The movies of the 1970s and 1980s?