Last summer’s Man of Steel brought a new take on Superman to general audiences, and in the wake of the film’s massive level of destruction and violence at the hands of Superman, it’s hard not to think at least some of that was a reaction to 2006’s Superman Returns. Fresh off the immense success of X-Men and X2, filmmaker Bryan Singer was tasked with rebooting the Superman franchise and he chose to make a film that was directly tied to Richard Donner’s original Superman film and its sequel. The result was a surprisingly low-key superhero movie with a romantic bent, and many fans expecting the same level of excitement from Singer’s X-Men films were disappointed to see that Superman never even hit another person in Superman Returns.
Singer is returning to the superhero genre for the first time since Returns with this May’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, and in a recent interview the director talked about what he may have done to make Superman Returns more palatable in hindsight and discussed his plans for the sequel that never was. He also revealed his thoughts on Man of Steel. Read on after the jump.
“I am in awe of the world building and the scope of that picture. It’s tough for me. I’m not a critic and it starts to get into a weird thing where one director is talking about another director. I know how hard it is to make a movie, especially one of these movies and especially a Superman movie, and there was so much I was impressed with in that movie. There were things I might have done a little differently just because of the way I view the character. Don’t misinterpret that as me not liking something.”
The director also addressed the lukewarm fan reaction to Superman Returns and what he may have done differently:
“Half of that I understand and half of it I never will. It was a movie made for a certain kind of audience. Perhaps more of a female audience. It wasn’t what it needed to be, I guess. I think I could lop the first quarter off and start the movie a bit more aggressively and maybe find a way to start the movie with the jet disaster sequence or something. I could have grabbed the audience a little more quickly. I don’t know what would have helped. Probably nothing. If I could go again, I would do an origin. I would reboot it.”
The film’s so-so box office against a massive budget wasn’t enough to warrant a sequel, but Singer had sketched out a few ideas for a possible Superman Returns follow-up, including settling on the title of “Man of Steel”:
“That was the title. Actually, my buddy, one of my two best friends, came up with that…We did explore it a little. Just hammering out ideas. I think Darkseid was going to be the villain. It was pretty world-destroying, actually.”
Of course, Warner Bros. finally has a rebooted Superman franchise on their hands now after Man of Steel and is hard at work on the untitled follow-up (which will find Supes squaring off against a rebooted Batman), and Singer is back as the point man on the X-Men franchise. All’s well that ends well, I suppose.