Much has been written about the Christological themes that can be seen in Man of Steel; and indeed there are many themes that one could pick up on, particularly the role of both the earthly and the Krypton fathers of Superman, and how they form his thinking. Much could also be said about the issue of how Superman struggles to save all and lose none; as opposed to the relics of Krypton killing indiscriminately.
What has largely been lost in the mix in the reviews of Man of Steel is the significant number of political statements made in the movie; ironically which strike the sacred cows of both the left and the right.
To begin with, there is the destruction of Krypton. The reasons presented are twofold: first is the obvious reason: the overharvesting of natural resources. From the movie, I suppose the people of Krypton have taken everything out of the earth, so there is no longer a core to hold the planet together. While no one is pushing the idea that the earth is going to implode, there is the notion presented that our continuous drilling of coal and oil will lead to the end of the world. I am sure people on the left want to stand up and applaud when Jar-El stands before the out of touch council and begs them to take action.
The other reason is a little different from the traditional reasoning. There has not been a live-natural birth on Krypton for centuries; the reason stated is population control. Every child is born and reared in a laboratory with their entire lives predetermined. Superman is conceived in secret and is the first live birth in centuries on Krypton.
Who does this political statement offend? Hard to say; today there is no such technology available so it is hard to determine who would be offended.
But perhaps no one would actually be offended. Those on the left are in favor of easy access abortion and free birth control and thereby tend to have smaller families; while the right may be more likely to have families, they are not exactly doing so in great numbers.
So this second issue is the more intriguing as it is possible in the future.
Jar-El opposes this program on Krypton, or at least goes against the grain and he and his wife conceive and give birth. One can imagine that without the destruction of Krypton, the news of Superman’s birth would have been somewhere between scandalous and a freak of nature.
With the recent Supreme Court decision regarding homosexual couples, and the declining birthrate of heterosexual couples, could such a situation be seen one day in the future?
The question then is what destroys Krypton? The overharvesting of natural resources or the absence of any live births?
Perhaps that is the ultimate question. I would argue it is the absence of live births; Jar-El seems to agree with me.
Which brings us back to the Christ themes of the movie. Whatever destroys Krypton, earth is likewise in danger; so Jar-El sends his son, Superman, to save it.
Sound familiar? Natural resources and live births did not trigger God the Father sending His Son Jesus, but the destructive nature of sin did. Superman may save the world from the forces of evil, but he only does so with the idea that it will need to be saved again; Jesus saves the world from the forces of sin, death and the devil so that they might never again rule.