By Edward Davis | The Playlist March 25, 2011 at 8:15AM
Ahh, "Superman Returns," the prickly, uncomfortable thorn in the comic book movie geek's side. Far better than say, half of the 20th Century Fox films -- "Daredevil," "Elektra," "Fantastic Four," "Ghost Rider" and "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" -- or half the super hero movies ever made including "Punisher," "Catwoman," "Jonah Hex," "Swamp Thing," "Batman Forever," "Batman & Robin," etc., etc. The film is admittedly uneven and somewhat unsatisfying, but there's something about its DNA that really riles up some particular comic book movie fans.
Sure, the Bryan Singer-directed film is saturated in Richard Donner nostalgia which does give it a rose-tinted niceness to it. It may feel a little dated, but it's been hard for some to pinpoint exactly what's wrong with the picture other than the lack of hardcore action, explosions and traditional beefy supervillains. Maybe its tone was too romantic? And interestingly enough, it seems like that was by design.
"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," Singer recently said in an interview.
"When you're making a movie 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," Singer explained.
He's not kidding either. "I really do think I was making the film for that 'Devil Wears Prada' audience of women who wouldn’t normally come to a superhero film," he said. "That’s a tricky thing when you’ve built an audience...and you deliver a certain tone, and then you bring this completely different tone to them….[if i were to change anything] with 'Superman Returns'…. If I could go back, I would have tightened the first act. Maybe open with the plane or something."
"Superman Returns" has always been marred with the perception that it was a tentpole that wasn't very successful, but Singer doesn't think it did that poorly. My gut response is, 'It didn’t do THAT bad.' You know, summer’s a tricky time – I know it’s hard to blame the time, but there’s a bit of an expectation for a summer movie," he said. "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."
Well, it didn't beget a sequel which does mean something these days. Meanwhile, those who disliked 'Superman Returns" should not be too worried. What director Zack Snyder hopes to deliver, in "Superman: Man of Steel" (which only seems to be the working tittle at this point) promises to be something entirely different. "I've stretched this world of abstract reality so far that the awesome thing about Superman is that Superman lives in the real world," he told THR today. "And it probably will be the most 'real' movie I've made. It will more real than even 'Dawn of the Dead.' " But that's just one recent account. In recent weeks Snyder has been much more direct and promised an ass-kicking "Superman."
“In the movie we’re going to be making, Superman is a pretty physical cat and he does some serious physical shit,” Snyder said, pausing to almost dig on Singer's picture. “I don’t want to judge the last movie but I want to see Superman kicking some ass this time!” Comic book fans leaning towards the brawnier side of things should be happy. [Voices From Krypton via AOL Moviefone]