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(2006), PG-13 ["Lite PG-13*] (2hr 25min)

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
June 28, 2006
64 out of 100

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2006), PG-13 ["LIte" PG-13*] -- ... our youth pick up on these sort of things far better than do we ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Red Sun Productions Pty. Ltd., Warner Bros. Pictures, Original Film, Bad Hat Harry Productions, DC Comics, Legendary Pictures, Peters Entertainment
Distribution (US): Warner Bros. Pictures
Director(s): Bryan Singer
Producer(s): Gilbert Adler, William Fay, Stephen Jones, Chris Lee, Scott Mednick, Jon Peters, Bryan Singer, Thomas Tull
Story by: Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris
Screenplay: Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris
Characters: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster
Cinematography/Camera: Newton Thomas Sigel
Music: John Ottman, John Williams
Film Editing: Elliot Graham, John Ottman
Casting: Roger Mussenden, Ann Robinson
Production Design: Guy Dyas
Art Direction: Hugh Bateup, Damien Drew, Lawrence A. Hubbs, Catherine Mansill, John Pryce-Jones, Charlie Revai
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

Astronomers discover where Superman's home planet Krypton used to be. After a five-year journey to the remains of his home to find out if he truly is alone, Kal-El, who is now Superman who, disguised as Clark Kent (Brandon Routh), mild mannered reported for a daily metropolitan newspaper, returns to Earth to resume his role as the man of steel in the name of truth, justice and the American way. In the time he was gone, something on Earth grew.

Question: If Superman's powers depend on our yellow sun, how could he survive in the cold vacuum environment of outer space under what once was the realm of a red sun? The crystalline father of Superman, Jor-El (archive footage of Marlon Brando) had nothing to say about that.

So this is not a "sequel" so to speak with another Superman film arriving on the big screen but is a tale really of his return to Earth after his five-year absence. It is a tale of how things moved on in his absence, including Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth).

In Superman's absence, Lois Lane won a Pulitzer Prize on an article she wrote "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman." Does that sound like a jilted lover's revenge to you? She has good cause to feel jilted. But since Superman is Lois' "kryptonite" she falls putty again.

Superman Returns  is also a tale of how Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey), who is now out of prison, again plots and plans to destroy Superman and billions of humans in the process of acquiring -- you guessed it -- land. That will make sense to those who saw Luthor in one of the other Superman films. Not known by Superman, the land Luthor "acquires" is mixed with Kryptonite. Luthor even fashions a knife out of Kryptonite and uses it against the Man of Steel. And it works.

I will risk of telling a spoiler because of the contribution of the subject matter to the level of morality in this film. A subplot portrays Lois as having a five-year old son, Jason (Tristan Lake Leabu). Jason is given the last name of her cohabitating partner, Richard White (James Marsden), nephew of the Chief Editor of the Daily Planet, Perry White (Frank Langella), who assumes the boy is his. In other elements of this subplot the script alludes to the boy being the son of Superman. In any case, not one of the characters is married. And that says without saying to anyone with any degree of experiential maturity that at least one woman and two men have had immoral sex out of wedlock. This stuff may be background noise to you, obscured by the intense action and state-of-the-art quality of the film, but our youth pick up on these sort of things far better than do we as adults/parents. And it gets our youth thinking about such matters, desensitizes them to natural inhibition in favor of pleasure and emboldens them to do as others do. [Rom. 1:32].

Isn't there an increasing trend in the prevailing centers of childhood development -- in public schools for example -- to teach that the only safe sex is no sex (not that the school has any business teaching kids about sex in the first place)? If true and if movies really do reflect real life instead of engineer it, shouldn't movies follow suit instead of conflict with it? But then, if movies did truly reflect real life and its apparent trend to teach abstinence, Superman Returns  would probably not contain the cohabitation and pregnancy out of wedlock. Now, wouldn't that  be a shame? In some or maybe even many cases, the big screen is a better teacher than the one in front of your child Monday through Friday. And, yes, mom/dad, by no fault of your own the big screen might sometimes be a better teacher than you. [1 Cor. 15:33]

With a final score of 64 out of 100, Superman Returns  is equivalent to the scores earned by PG-13 films in the CAP comparative baseline database. In fact, it earned a place in the high end of the scoring range (56 to 67 out of 100) earned by PG-13 films. But don't be fooled by the success this time of the MPAA to assess this film akin to earlier PG-13 films. Its Wanton Violence/Crime (W) investigation area score is zero out of 100.

Superman Returns  is a very  violent film. At least as violent as some of the "hard" R-rated films of violence, just without the gore. Indeed, in one sequence a super machine gun first kills a number of police officers then peppers the chest of Superman for several seconds, then the assailant fires a round of .45 ammo onto the eyeball of Superman. But no body parts are strewn, no pounds of flesh are blasted out and no blood is splattered in any of the killings or attempted killings. The no-gore is a nice-to-do move on the part of the filmmakers but little do they seem to know the mechanisms of violence influences less than the attitude. [Prov. 3:31]

The Impudence/Hate (I) investigation area found some profanity [2 Tim. 2:16], but more than that it found brutal disregard for life as Luthor plans to kill billions of people to achieve his goal and other intense brutality and hatred. Maybe that portrayal is in synch with real life? [2Tim. 3:1 - 5]

The contribution of sexually immoral matters found by the Sexual Immorality (S) investigation area is discussed above plus a couple innuendo and the use of a woman as a toy or an ornament. [Gal. 5:19]

The Drugs/Alcohol (D) investigation area found a bar, booze, drinking and smoking but no use of or reference to illegal drugs. [Eph. 5:18]

The Offense to God (O) investigation area found a number of uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive but none with it [Deut. 5:11] nor any presentation of witchcraft/sorcery/Satanism. Superman flying is unnatural and is thus incorporated in this investigation area along with miraculous healings and one resurrection. [Gal. 6:7] Though not incorporated into the scoring due to their ambiguity, there are a number of sly implications of mocking God such as several references to Superman being "the savior" and comments such as Jor-El saying "I have sent them you ... my only Son." and Luthor saying "The world doesn't need a savior, Neither do I."

The only matter covered by the Murder/Suicide (M) investigation area was the murder of a number of police officers by machine gun fire. The attempted murders of Superman and others are incorporated in the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area. [Prov. 28:17]


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Rom. 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things [among the "things" is sexually immoral deeds] are worthy of death [spiritual death as the price of sin, not mortal death], not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
  • Prov. 3:31 Envy thou not the oppressor [man of violence], and choose none of his ways.
  • 2 Tim. 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
  • 2Tim. 3:1 - 5 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
  • Gal. 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. ["Wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. This issue is do not get intoxicated and not abuse the body. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk or to drink in defiance such as underage drinking. A study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) has found an undeniable link between the presentation of alcoholic beverages and tobacco in and as entertainment and abuse of them and arrogance/defiance with them by adolescents. And teaching/causing youth to abuse alcohol/tobacco (or drugs) by emboldening youth with them in and as entertainment invokes Luke 17:2. If alcoholic beverages in entertainment were not a problem for our young, why is there and why has there been such a push to get and keep booze commercials off prime time broadcast TV? Even the University of Connecticut corroborates the ACP finding.]
  • Deut. 5:11 Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or thoughtful discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name.]
  • Gal. 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked [which includes His Word]: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
  • Prov. 28:17 A man tormented by the guilt of murder will be a fugitive till death; let no one support him.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Superman Returns (2006) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • action violence, some intense, some exceptionally brutal, some with deaths (no gore)
  • bank robbery with arms
  • attempted gunfire murder, repeatedly
  • trespassing
  • abduction and hostage situation with an adult and a child
  • assault, repeatedly, some rather brutal
  • defensive killing by a child
  • beating, severe
  • attempted drowning murder
  • double stabbing in the back, with nihilistic or lustful attitude
  • great fall, repeatedly
  • period of intense brutality and hatred
  • gambling

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • seven uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • invasion of privacy
  • planning murder of billions with no regret/remorse

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • cohabitation leading to pregnancy and birth, repeated reference of it
  • woman as toy/ornament
  • sexual innuendo, twice
  • brief excess cleavage

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • booze, twice
  • offer of booze
  • drinking, twice
  • bar
  • smoking, twice

    Offense to God (O)
  • four uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive
  • self levitation and unnatural powers throughout
  • miraculous healing
  • miraculous resurrection from the dead

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • many automatic gunfire murders of police

  • Christian Educators Association International



    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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