You can take a movie about a super-powered, flying hero in a lot of different directions, and the director of Superman Returns says he that he may have picked the wrong one.
Superman Returns, the 2006 sequel/reboot from X-Men director Bryan Singer, dazzled critics but fizzled at the box office. Nearly five years since its release, Singer has taken a retrospective look at the movie, and says that if he had the opportunity to go back and do it again, there are a few things he would change.
Singer said that with the benefit of hindsight, he felt that he was a little too enamored with the Richard Donner Superman movies of the late seventies and early eighties and had tried to ape them in Superman Returns a little too much. He said that where with the X-Men movies he had tried to shed some of the property’s comic book trappings and make it more realistic, with Superman Returns, he’d embraced them, and as a result, the movie wasn’t to everyone’s tastes. “What’s interesting,” he said. “Is that people know I’m a big Trekkie, and they’re always saying, ‘Why don’t you do a Star Trek?” and I say, “You know, I think I’m too big a fan of Star Trek. You’d feel like you were watching Wrath of Khan again.”
“Superman [was] not a high octane summer movie like Transformers or something like that. I think people would’ve wanted that from me, knowing what I did with the X-Men … But I am very much in love with the Donner picture, and for me the journey was exciting because I got the chance to reprise those images and explore it. When you’re fascinated by something and you love it, part of making the movie is trying to please everyone and make a successful movie, but part of it is an experimental kind of thing.”
He also felt that he might have overplayed the romance between Lois Lane and Superman, in an unconscious effort to get more women coming to see it. He said that he had noticed that on the whole, not a lot of women went to see superhero movies, but they would go and see films like The Devil Wears Prada. He wondered if that fact might have subconsciously influenced his decisions when he was making Superman Returns, which he said was “nostalgic and romantic.”
Although he was pleased with the way the movie turned out, Singer admitted that if he had the opportunity, he’d make some changes, and perhaps open with the scene where Superman saves a falling passenger plane. He also said that the movie’s third act, where Lex Luthor stabs Superman with a shard of kryptonite in a scene deliberately designed to resemble Christian religious imagery, was a little too heavy for a summer blockbuster movie. He added that if was given the chance to make a new Superman movie, he would like to remake the original Richard Donner film, but with more action and less romance.