Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Young Clark Kent in the heartland was the most visually sumptuous and eloquent sequence expressing an important characteristic of Superman through the ages: the original illegal alien, Superman is also the greatest American superhero.

When Kent comes to Metropolis, he embodies the earnest, innocent and optimistic Depression-era American values thrust into a cynical contemporary world. Superman introduced the emotional theme of hero as alien and outcast, and the mythic ironies of the secret identity which other superheroes elaborated but never surpassed. Here it is the essence of his struggle for identity. More clearly than ever, Superman is unavoidably an American riff on the savior who is both human and all but divine, with all the resulting problems for him and others.

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