So much has been made of Kal-El as a Christ figure that little attention is ever paid to the kind of Christ figure that he is. You often hear people argue that Superman raises Lois Lane from the dead in the first movie (though one could also argue that he merely goes back in time to a point before her death and does not actually raise her from the dead, per se).

But what people often don’t point out is that Superman brings Lois back to life as a very specific act of disobedience against his father. At several points in the story, Jor-El tells his son that it is forbidden to interfere with the past, and when Superman prepares to do just that, Jor-El’s face looms large in the clouds, sternly warning him not to disobey.

This theme — Superman’s almost adolescent rebellion against the demands of his father — was going to be developed a little further in Superman II, parts of which were shot at the same time as the first movie. But the director was fired and replaced, and the remaining Brando footage was shelved, and the sequel had to be partly rewritten as a result.

Even so, when you look at the first two films together, an interesting pattern emerges — one that does not necessarily lend itself to orthodox Christian interpretation.

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