Religious influences in DC’s top movies

Chase Oschner, Columnist

While in Philosophy of Religion, taught by Jason Beyer, I began to wonder where the line was drawn for religion within sacred films.

So I decided to do an independent study where I focused on Hollywood blockbuster hits like “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016),

“Wonder Woman” (2017) and “The Godfather Trilogy,” among other successful films and how they tied in with religion.

Within the DC Extended Universe, the running theme was that working together allows people who share the same beliefs to conquer a common goal more efficiently than working alone.

I learned that Superman represents a messianic figure similar to Jesus Christ within Christianity. Director Zack Synder related Superman to Jesus in a phenomenal way by having Superman’s birth in “Man of Steel” (2013), which he also directed, and Superman fighting with society about his actions and morals and his rebirth at the end of the film in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

Similarly, in Christianity, Jesus was condemned for his actions and committed the ultimate sacrifice—dying on the cross—in order to save the human race, but eventually rose again. Superman commits the ultimate sacrifice—by killing himself along with Doomsday—in order to save the human race. Both Superman and Jesus had help from others in order to spread goodness and help people when help was needed.

My finding blew my mind. I realized that these major Hollywood films allude to different religious references in order to relate to different audience members with familiar stories. “Wonder Woman” had Greek religion, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” was an unique take on the telling of Jesus Christ, “The Lord of The Rings” trilog was filled with hidden allegories related to Christianity.

I hypothesize that religion plays a huge role in these stories because audience members who are familiar with a religious story can better relate and understand the film he or she is watching.

I would like to thank Adam Oldaker and especially Beyer for allowing my curious mind to further my education.