Posted on Monday, April 18th, 2011 by Germain Lussier
Grossing almost $400 million at the worldwide box office is rarely considered a failure. Unless, of course, you’re talking about a Superman movie. Bryan Singer‘s 2006 Superman Returns was meant to reboot the Man of Steel much like Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins did for the Caped Crusader. However, with its lack of action and unusual tweaking of the Superman mythology, the film was largely dismissed by its core fan base and ended up struggling to make $200 million domestically. Warner Bros. is now rebooting the franchise again with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel and that’s as a good a reason as any for Singer to come out and finally admit his take on the material had some major issues. Read what he had to say after the jump.
On how Superman Returns wasn’t what people expected:
I think that Superman Returns was a bit nostalgic and romantic, and I don’t think that was what people were expecting, especially in the summer. What I had noticed is that there weren’t a lot of women lining up to see a comic book movie, but they were going to line up to see The Devil Wears Prada, which may have been something I wanted to address. But when you’re making a movie, you’re not thinking about that stuff, you’re thinking, “Wow, I want to make a romantic movie that harkens back to the Richard Donner movie that I loved so much.” And that’s what I did.
On how he feels about the film in retrospect:
You know, I haven’t really talked about this in depth, so I’m just thinking about this off the fly. It’s hard, because I’m proud of it for what it is. I mean, there are a bunch of movies I’ve made where I’m, like, “Yuck, that was weak” or “That could’ve been better,” and I can see why. But with Superman Returns…. If I could go back, I would have tightened the first act. Maybe open with the plane or something.
On the ending in which Lex Luthor stabs Superman with Kryptonite and how he’d change the movie this time:
I’ve always felt that the origin of Superman is the story of Moses – the child sent on a ship to fulfill a destiny. And this was a story about Christ – it’s all about sacrifice: “The world, I hear their cries.” So what happens? He gets the knife in the side and later he falls to the earth in the shape of a crucifix. It was kind of nailing you on the head, but I enjoyed that, because I’ve always found the myth of Christ compelling and moving. So I hoped to do my own take, which is heavy shit for a summer movie. But definitely the nostalgic, romantic aspects of it worked against people’s expectations of it in the climate. And if I was going to do another one, it would be a reboot. I would go back and redo the original, but I only thought of that recently. It would be a much less romantic, more balls-to-the-wall action movie. It would be a very different pace than Superman Returns, which I can say at this point because I have distance from it now.
If you head over to Voices from Krypton, you can read even more from Singer including if he thinks he was too nostalgic for the Richard Donner film and what audiences expected from him because of his X-Men movies.
What do you think of this trend of filmmakers admitting they made mistakes with huge tentpole movies? Do you agree with Singer’s assessments?