The fight scenes in the new Superman movie could have used more creativity. There were basically only two fight moves: (a) ramming the other guy into a building, and (b) throwing the other guy into a building. Don’t get me wrong, the effects in Man of Steel were spectacular, but the older Superman movies had an epic quality that is hard to top. Remember in Superman 2 when Zod makes Superman kneel down to him and take his hand, then Superman crushes it? Brilliant.
Superman 3 was my favorite, but that was because I was 8. I thought the movie was hilarious, but again, that was because I was 8. Thirty years later… not so much. However, even today there is one part of that movie that remains truly epic. More than that, this scene moves me as a Christian. I am not kidding.
What happens is that Superman gets exposed to some synthetic kryptonite, but because the formula is wrong it doesn’t kill him. Instead, it makes Superman turn evil. He turns into a jerk who punches holes in oil tankers, messes up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, gets drunk and hits on sleazy women. Finally, evil Superman lands in a junkyard. He goes through an internal crisis and splits into two halves.
Now, there is Clark Kent, in a suit and tie, who represents his good side and there is five-o’clock-shadow Superman who embodies his evil side. The epic fight begins. Superman fights himself. At first, evil Superman pummels Clark Kent who barely puts up a fight. Finally, Clark Kent starts fighting back, but evil Superman fights dirty. The fight drags on and eventually evil Superman puts unconscious Clark Kent into a metal crusher. We hear him scream, but then he rips through the side of the machine in a rage, grabs evil Superman by the throat and chokes the living daylights out of him until he is dead.
This is what the Christian life is like. There is a battle inside every believer between good and evil. The Bible refers to these two sides as the Spirit and the flesh. For example, Galatians 5:17 states:
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
These two sides are sometimes spoken of as the “old man” and the “new man” (Eph. 4:22-24). In Romans 7:13-25 the Apostle Paul describes this battle in his own heart. You see, when a sinner trusts Christ as his Savior, he becomes something new. God’s Spirit comes inside him and starts to change him from the inside out. The new man is our new true identity, but there is always the old sinful part of us that remains and tries to stay in control. The old man fights dirty. This is a grueling fight that will rage on and on until our dying day.
The problem is that we often don’t put up the fight that we should. We play defense and let the old self take cheap shot after cheap shot. We don’t get aggressive in our fight against sin. We need to remember that the Bible actually calls us to murder the old man. For example, Romans 8:13 and Colossians 3:5 tell us to “put to death” or “mortify” (KJV) the old sinful self. These are violent images.
That’s why I like Superman 3. It is a picture of what I feel going on in my heart. It is a fight. This movie reminds us that there comes a time to stop being kicked around by the old man. There comes a time to get angry, and with God’s help and power, to use all our strength to strangle the daylights out of the old man.