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Bryan Singer Says 'Superman Returns' Was Made For "More Of A Female Audience," Sequel Would've Featured Darkseid

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by Ben Brock
February 4, 2014 9:42 AM
10 Comments
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Bryan Singer Superman Returns Kevin Spacey Brandon Routh

For a film that no-one really seems to much like and everyone thinks of as fairly unmemorable, the filmosphere sure does do a lot of talking about 2006's Bryan Singer-directed Superman reboot, “Superman Returns.” We right here have debated its merits as a Superman movie, trashed it, and speculated about the sequel to it that never was on account of its having underwhelmed more or less everybody. And, really, Singer's been doing the same thing for a few years now too: musing on the film's failings and throwing out ideas about a never-to-be sequel, something that's becoming more interesting since we saw Zack Snyder's much less retro take on Supes in “Man of Steel,” As it happens, that would apparently have been the title of Singer's sequel too. 


"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," he told Empire magazine. That being said, screenwriter Michael Dougherty reckons it would have been Brainiac. (And while we're here, let's just remind that you Darkseid is the rumored villain for "Justice League"). But more interesting are Singer's reflections on the film ("I am in awe of the world building and the scope of that picture") and where it went wrong.

"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," the director ruminated. "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." 

Singer's candidness is refreshing and given his success in the X-Men realm, one wonders what the results of his Superman would be if he'd more eagerly broken from tradition. Either way, we'll never know, and with Snyder continuing to put his, uh, distinctive stamp on cinematic Superman by doing things like casting Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and moving Superman far, far away from anything at all like subtlety, “Superman Returns” looks more and more like an interesting road not taken. 

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10 Comments

  • TheoC | February 5, 2014 4:09 AMReply

    While I never Superman returns, I felt it was aiming for the right place and maybe worthy of a sequel. I didn't think this with Man of Steel, also Singer's movie felt like a Superman story, not a transformers brain fart with a man in a suit.

  • Superman Returns Rules | February 4, 2014 6:20 PMReply

    I speak for the few, the proud, the Superman Returns lovers. It's a terrific, underrated film that got slammed because it wasn't what the nerds wanted. In comparison with Snyder's terrible Man of Steel, it looks even better. Matt Zoller-Seitz made a terrific video essay outlining why it's secretly a success (which is what prompted me to go back and revisit it). Routh was a better Superman than Cavill (who looked the part but had zero presence).

  • asdf | February 4, 2014 10:25 AMReply

    boring article yawn eat a cuntflap

  • Super Salami | February 4, 2014 10:07 AMReply

    "moving Superman far, far away from anything at all like subtlety"

    trashing Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. for taking a super-sonic (on land and FLYING through the air), super-strong, laser-shooting, ice-breathing, time-rewinding, spandex-suited, humanoid-alien Jesus allegory and complaining about it moving far and away from subtlety?

    complaining about crash-zooms is one thing, complaining about superhero fiction and its lack of 'subtlety' is just egregiously symptomatic of the problems with some audiences views on the genre - it's a Hollywood blockbuster, and it must be reiterated, none of them are particularly smart films. Did you really watch Dark Knight Rises for its SUBTLE PORTRAYAL of the haves versus the have-nots? That was surely some sublime subtlety... Subtly sublime! At least Man of Steel had the balls to give us a little bit of humanity in its lead character - the reason people are so upset about the destruction of Metropolis and the killing of Zod is because it has something genuine to it; death. Whereas Iron Man exists in a world where people are never really at peril (so what's even the point of watching?)

  • Glint | February 4, 2014 12:08 PM

    Well said, superhero fiction is not meant to be subtle, they are meant to display icons and archetypes in broad brush-strokes. They are the modern equivalent of the Greek and Roman myths and legends, would anyone complain that those lack subtlety?

  • genga | February 4, 2014 10:06 AMReply

    That there is the issue of Superman Returns. You should have just made a 'Superman' movie for the general audience. Male AND female. Instead you made a movie about a useless Superman who spends most of the movie stalking Lois Lane like a creep. Women already have a movie like that, and it's called Twilight. We have enough of those!

  • Marko | February 4, 2014 10:37 AM

    They didn't in 2006!

  • T | February 4, 2014 9:48 AMReply

    @Ben Brock.....please spell check "dark SIDE"

  • S | February 4, 2014 9:54 AM

    @T ... please understand what you're talking about before commenting. Darkseid is the name of the character, not Dark Side.

  • Dorkseid | February 4, 2014 9:50 AM

    Darkseid a.k.a this guy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darkseid (no the most subtle name for a villain, I'll admit that)

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