This scene may be much better understood as an example of Jung’s concept of the shadow self, rather than by classical interpretation of The Hero’s Journey. Superman III was a clunker of a movie. But the late Christopher Reeves is said to have been very proud of this junkyard scene. Maybe he understood its psychological implications, especially as such cerebral, intellectual messages tend to be rarer- even in today’s era of the superhero genre in movies and television. A special thank you to Kristal Garcia for highlighting this concept in her blog, and how it relates to recovery work, and loving men.
I will admit this selection is probably not an obvious one. This scene from Superman III is near the middle of the movie, and is not especially set up well for a Monomyth interpretation by other story elements. I think it is easier to understand, however, from the ideas explored in the previous movies.
The original challenge and temptation was the love of Lois Lane. In both her discovery of his identity and his decision to become mortal as she, it was a Refusal of the Call of sorts. Although his return to the Fortress of Solitude (see Superman & the At-One-Ment With the Father) led to atonement with Jor-El, Kal-El was not fully reconciled with his dual roles as Superman and Clark Kent. Having failed the original challenge, another Ordeal…
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