Superman, the original superhero, is a culmination of the great mythic heroes of the past. The hero's journey, a recurring cycle of events in mythology, is described by Joseph Campbell. The three acts in Superman: The Movie portray a complex calling to the superhero's role, consisting of three distinct calls and journeys. Each of the three stages includes the death of someone close to him, different symbols of his own death and resurrection, and different experiences of atonement with a father figure. Analyzing these mythic cycles bestows the viewer with a heroic "elixir.”
Stucky, Mark D.
"The Superhero's Mythic Journey: Death and the Heroic Cycle in Superman,"
Journal of Religion & Film: Vol. 10
, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/jrf/vol10/iss2/6