Bryan Singer on Superman Returns and Man Of Steel

News Simon Brew 3 Feb 2014 - 06:40

Bryan Singer reveals who his Superman Returns 2 villain would have been, and talks about Zack Snyder's Man Of Steel...

It's little secret that Bryan Singer was primed to make more than the one Superman film that he did. But when Superman Returns failed to have quite the level of impact that Warner Bros was hoping it would, the studio pondered for a while, before opting to go with a full reboot, rather than Superman Returns 2 off Singer. Hence, last summer's Man Of Steel.

Chatting to Empire, Singer said of the reaction to Superman Returns that "half of that I understand and half of it I never will", adding that "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".

Singer revealed that his planned Superman Returns sequel would have been called Man Of Steel, and that the villain was likely to be Darkseid.

So what did Singer - who has X-Men: Days Of Future Past coming up - make of Zack Snyder's Man Of Steel? "I am in awe of the world building and the scope of that picture", he told the magazine"

"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 full interview is in the new issue of Empire, which is on sale now.


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There's a great Superman movie out there if they could just find the middle ground between Superman Returns and Man of Steel

It's funny how people complained that in Superman didn't punch anyone in Superman Returns then in Man of Steel, he did numerous of those things including that ending. And still people are complaining about that too. Hmm strange world.

Amen. I personally think that the problem with Returns was in the script, it was a bit slow. But MoS was far too long, cut half an hour and it would have been a lot better.

Y'know I rewatched Superman Returns recently and it's a lot better than I remembered. Routh is fabulous as both Clark and Superman, the jumbo jet sequence would easily stand up in a 2014 film, Spacey plays a great Lex and the story does go somewhere interesting, even if it's a bit slow getting there.

That said, yes, it's got issues. The decision to follow the Donner films was a brave one but it did come with some baggage (not least the need to have Spacey follow Hackman's Lex rather than find a unique take on the character) and the kid subplot could have been removed without any repercussions. Kate Bosworth is horribly miscast as Louis too and doesn't have any chemistry with either love interest.

Frankly I'd much rather have had a sequel to this than what we eventually got in Man of Steel. With a chance to see what worked and what didn't I'd have loved to see what Singer would have cooked up next. More to the point... Darkseid! Preferably voiced by Michael Ironside of course.

Man of Steel has a lot of problems, but the action scenes aren't one of them. The fight scenes are jaw dropping.

Man of Steel just didn't do it for me, similarly, neither did Amazing Spiderman. I'm not excited at all about BM vs SM or ASM 2. Bring on Captain America though - that looks awesome. And I'm looking forward to see what they do with GOTG as well.

Loved Superman Returns from start to finish. Really captured the character of Clark/Superman - a person who can do almost anything, but chooses to help people. I think MoS really missed that once Clark became Supes. The thing that always strikes me when Superman is well-presented is that Superman's most powerful ability is his love for humanity.

The fight scenes are jaw dropping for about 10 minutes... after that it becomes a bit repetitive and due to the scale of the damage done it loses its impact. Shame as I was enjoying it

Exactly. They get so boring. They don't build, it's just MORE MORE MORE. The scene where he first flies in the suit was pretty cool though.

I don't understand why ppl are always banging on about the destruction done in MOS? Look if another country (lets say North Korea for now as they seem to be the biggest threat at the moment to global safety) decided to attack thd world and our Country/Countries had to fight back, dont you think the collateral damage would be the same if not worse, it would be for the good of mankind right? Well that's the same thing with the characters in the movie why can't people get that? Infact I seen more destruction in Power Rangers on a weekly basis that parents allow there kids to watch and no one says jack about that... Stop baggin on MOS ppl it weren't perfect but it were a good Superhero flick man.

When this is reported elsewhere on the internet the headline will be "Bryan Singer TRASHES Man of Steel!!!!".

Superman Returns is one of the few films that I find to have little or no real value. While I initially liked the idea of tying it into the Donner film(s), I fail to understand why the film makers decided that they had to do so in a manner which was effectively a remake of Superman The Movie for large parts of the film. Paker Posey's character was a second rate Miss Tessmacher, any humour was inevitably riffing off old jokes (the "get out" gag was done better in 1978) and even the big spectacle scene (jumbo rescue) seemed to be a retread of the Air Force One and helicopter rescues from the original. The only genuinely new elements (super kid and the stalker-type behaviour) didn't really work and, as others have noted, although Brandon Routh was well cast as a Christopher Reeve Mark II, Kate Bosworth was appalling.
My dislike for the film at the time of its release was further increased by Bryan Singer's somewhat arrogant statement that this should be seen as the true sequel to Superman II. Firstly, this doesn't really work unless you think of the Donner Cut of Superman II as the real Superman II (which has its own problems, not least that it's an incomplete film and at times is little more than a fan curio) and would at least require the film to have a scene as iconic as the Superman/Clark Kent fight in Superman III, which it doesn't (if you're going to try and write a film out of history, you'd better make one that is at least as memorable). Secondly, and perhaps more frustratingly, to go about boldly stating that you're trying to make a true trilogy when the final act of the trilogy you were originally responsible for is busy being Ratnered shows not just arrogance but contempt for the fans of your own earlier work. Sadly, no matter how great X Men: Days of Future Past is, the fact remains that in the Summer of 2006 Bryan Singer delivered a mediocre "homage" to Richard Donner's vision of Superman and, simultaneously, allowed all the promise of the X Men 2 to be transformed into the equally mediocre X Men: Last Stand.

The problem isn't really with the destruction. Considering what was happening it made sense. The real problem is that the action was too samey. Nothing but punching. The confrontation in Superman 2 is more interesting because it's all about Zod testing Kal-El and pushing him to find out his enemy's limits.
All in all MoS failed on more than just it's ott cgi action sequences.

I won't speak for anyone else but my problem with it is simple - in at least two out of three instances Superman is responsible for bringing huge destructive fights *into* civilian areas. The last battle with Zod could easily have been moved out of Metropolis if he'd just... well, flown away. Zod was utterly focused on him and would likely have followed. And if he hadn't then it wouldn't have been any worse.

Far worse though is the Smallville fight. That *starts* in the middle of empty farmland and because Clark's pissed that Zod touched his mother he takes the whole blasted battle into, and then through, the town. And therein lies the problem. I get that this is meant to be Clark learning the job, Superman Begins if you will, but at no point does he go out of his way to stop civilian casualties until he kills Zod at the end. He's more focused on winning the fight than saving lives. To bring it back to Superman Returns for a moment we don't get the equivalent of Supes fixing the disasters in Metropolis. Which is a shame as it would likely give some nice showcase moments like using heat vision to destroy falling debris.

I agreed with everything you said here apart from the X3 thing. He had no control over that film that was all brett ratner, at least he's promised to fix those mistakes in D.O.F.P so we'll just have to wait and see I guess.

It's not that funny. It's just the whole punching argument is overly simplistic. Both these films were disappointing; both films have quite a few issues. Unfortunately making a great Superman film is more complicated than just getting the number of punches right. If only it were that simple.

I don't like either film really. But out of the two, Superman Returns is the better one. The characters are more rounded than in MoS, where they are all one note. SR's real problem was that it had too many mirroring elements of Superman: The movie (Lois fainting after being saved by Superman; both times after an accident in an the air, lines repeated from the first movie "I hope this hasn't put any of you off flying. Statistically, it's still the safest way to travel."). However, nothing in MoS worked at all. The writing was terrible, unimaginative, derivative and generic; as was the directing. There were major lapses in logic. Like the Kryptonians having powers when they shouldn't have. Their ship, Black Zero, was configured to Kryptonian atmospherics. So that when Kal was brought on board it made him human-like, and was told that the atmospherics of the ship counteract the effects of Earth's sun. Therefore even with the sun shining through the window of the ship, none of the other Kryptonians would have been exposed to the sun in the way that Kal had, for decades. Both are bad films. But MoS is infinitely worse.

Bad guys causing a lot of destruction is not the problem (although it was too over the top and a bit tasteless). The problem is Superman; the icon and gold standard for superheroes;the man other heroes look up to didn't give a damn about the destruction HE was causing. He blows up half of Smallville with Zod's face when he goes near his mum. The Superman I know would protect innocents at the cost of his own safety. He would give his all to move the fight away. Also the writers decided Superman snapping the neck of the last member of his species was a good ending. It wasn't.

I respect you're views and all tho I can see where ur coming from I can't fully agree? He'd already pissed Zod off by banishing his people so even if Supes had flown away Zod would of punished everyone on earth to draw him back in so he haf no choice but to fight him where he were. Also even if he had fought with Zod where martha was the eventual carnage would have eventually spread into SV town anyway as it weren't that far from where he lifted him, doesn't fully excuse Supes from having an angry moment but the characters heart is human even tho he's an alien, and like you said were his first day on the job and mistakes were made which I hope they rectify in this scary casted sequel they're putying together now.

Is anyone else worried about Days of Future Past? I watched Jack the Giant Slayer the other night. And it is not good. It is not good at all! I mean don't get me wrong, the biggest problem was a turd of a script. But I find it difficult to look at Singer's last few films and think "this guy's next film will be great". Especially since this one has so many characters to juggle. Fingers crossed and I really hope he nails it. Maybe a return to the X-men franchise is what he needs.

Look at what I writ for the Zod grabbing at the guy aboves post I explained there. And yes I do agree with you about the neck snapping, I must admit I'm still pissed at that, a trens which looks set to continue with DC judging by the last two Justice League cartoon films. Not happy in the slightest.

You make good points. But if they'd just made a few tiny tweaks to scenes to show Superman's concern, it would have done his character a world of good. And I get the point about Zod. But the writers could have just as easily had him get sucked into the Phantom Zone with the rest of the Kryptonians. Or something else. But they wrote a script which ends with Superman snapping his neck.
You don't need to justify Superman's actions as it's a movie. Smallville gets destroyed because Snyder and the rest decided Smallville should get destroyed. Superman snaps Zod's neck because Snyder decided the film should end with Superman snapping his neck.
Right or wrong the level of destruction and tone of the film is all Snyder's choice.

The main problem I had with MOS was that once it hit the big action it 'shot it's load' (so to speak) too quick. Once one or two buildings come down where do you go from there? Oh more buildings falling down....and more....and...more. It was going pretty well before that and then it just became boring really quick for me. Oh and they shouldn't have bothered with the Louis/Superman romance, not for this one anyway. It felt shoe-horned in.

Is that not the point that he's making. That Bryan Singer abandoned Xmen to make Superman Returns and let it fall into Ratners hands.

"It was a movie made for a certain kind of audience. Perhaps more of a female audience...".

This is where it went wrong.

I don't mean to sound sexist, but surely statistics would prove that the core Superman audience would have been the young men (geeks like us) who buy the comics?

That would be like me directing a Bridget Jones Diary sequel and aiming it at a male audience.

Im not having ok, this is just my opinion.

But do you not think the reason the characters were more rounded in Superman Returns was because it was a direct sequel to the original Superman films. So we already knew these characters?

Rightly or wrongly, Superman Returns got criticised by the press and public for being all story and lacking in action. Man of Steel was simply the Hollywood response of going down a testscreen audience checklist to rectify this in order to appease the criticisms of the 2006 audience. Lacking in action? 'We'll destroy Metropolis' Not enough super power demonstration? 'We'll show punching, eye lasers and PUNCHING...Will this make you happy?'

I misread the last part, thank's for pointing it out dude.

I actually liked nearly everything in Superman Returns,except they brought a kid onto the scene and that killed any sequel plans IMO,I don't want to see some corny crap with a Superkid

I enjoyed Superman Returns a lot more than Man of Steel, I managed to sit through it all without thinking "this is crap" for one thing.

I was really excited about it until I saw some of the character designs (Quicksilver, Toad and Bishop especially), now I'm a bit wary of it.

Or a return to Superman, to make a sequel - thats where hes heart is.

Way waaay too harsh. Returns came out 1 year after the death of Christopher Reeve. No one would have allowed a Superman on the silverscreen if it didn't re-ignite out collective memories of the earlier films. It's heartfelt and a sequel to a film made 25 years prior. What an achievement! And it set the stage for a follow-up film to be even better. Imagine Batman Begins without The Dark Knight. Can you?

Some good points, but think it's also a bit harsh on Bosworth. I think she played the role very well and her portrayel has grown on me personally. Were people overly critical on her, simply because she was in real life quite young at the time? What if she were 35 when it was made? Most importantly, Routh is out there and is the Perfect Superman still. Chanelling our supermemory of Reeve, and now with the abilty to take his Clark and Supes even further!

Do you mean bird droppings?

Not really. We live in a world now where a tent pole blockbuster is expected to make close to a billion worldwide. You ain't going to do that with just young men. For example Thor 2 aggressively targeted the female audience before it's release. A massive blockbuster these days usually needs to try and cross the gender divide (to some extent at least). If you look at the stats the really, really high grossing films from the last few years do.
Back to Singer though. He's just making excuses. Is Superman getting Lois pregnant and then pissing off for years supposed to appeal to a female audience? Lois leading on her partner because she's still not over Supes? The film wasn't well received because the emotional beats were all wrong and people are tired of seeing Supes face a bald man waving a green rock.

You could certainly build from Returns and make a more action driven (and still with heart) sequel. Less easy though to undo/scale back on what MOS managed to er, achieve..

True. Althought Singer was prepared to still make X3 afterwards. It's just that Fox was impatient and didn't want to wait for him; hence Ratner.

Valkyrie was pretty good, at least...

Won't speak for others but personally I had no problem with her age at all. Let's face it when it comes to Hollywood it can be difficult to peg anyone's age correctly if they're between 18 and about 45! She just didn't bring enough of a spark to the role and - again just IMO - didn't click with Routh at all.

That said the script did her no favours. Louis always rushes headlong into trouble but charging onto Lex's ship when she's got her young child with her sets a new bar for stupid. Always quite liked the way the 90's animated serious handled that contradiction, that she knows Superman will save her so gets really blasé about things. There's a great scene in the 3 part World's Finest that sees a gang of terrorists take over a plane. Louis tries to raise the alarm and they throw her into a seat, strap her in place and decide to kill her pausing only to ask her name. The following ensues:

"Lane? LOUIS Lane? The one Superman always saves?"
" 'Fraid So"
Plane flips over as Superman grabs the wing. Terrorists go flying, passengers are held by their seat bealts, Louis casually remarks to the head bad guy as he goes tumbling past:
"Thanks for strapping me in"

Hehe, sounds fun ;-)

Personally I never watched the Superman cartoons, neither did i read the comics. Such was the impact of the movie(s) and their apparent verisimilitude - that it held me captive, loyal and hopeful through the decades after their release. Hence my high expectations/reservations when SR arrived, the joy of hearing the music of Superman by John Williams, and Ottmans respectful and knowing adaptions of the main themes - and my (like others) cold but "warming to" reception upon it’s arrival - and for many ultimately being able to finally embrace and accept it in as a new chapter in the Superman Movie saga. The internet fan that got all hissy due to Supes "not throwing a punch" simply gave a flame for others to build upon - and thus it became a "thing".

SR was definately good enough to a´warrant a sequel, much like batman Begins.. And Louis was an easy target the way I see it, as she was in a film where Routh carried the torch of Reeve, and so did Spacey to a degree with the Hackmans portrayel. She did not resemble Kidder in any way visually/personality-wise, and that was tough, as her and Reeve really worked on screen. Whilst I can see your point (when comparing with the Reeve/Kidder) - and i think their Lois/Clark moments faired a little better than the Lois/Superman, I still think familiarity would have warmed the chemistry between the two in a sequel - as well as our chemistry with them..

Who says the director would make it "corny crap"?

I'm afraid I can. Batman Begins works well as a self-contained film. True, it ends with the promise of further adventures and even teases that they will involve the Joker, but it was enjoyable on release and continues to be so on its own merits. Personally, unless a film is designed as a part of an ongoing story that won't be told in one film (say, because it is an adaptation of a longer story or the middle part of a clear trilogy), I don't think it's an excuse for any film to say it would have been great if viewed in hindsight after we'd had sequels to build upon its groundwork. Take Dredd for example. Do I wish we had a Dredd 2 to enjoy and build upon that world? Definitely. But that doesn't mean that I can't enjoy Dredd by itself as a self-conatined standalone story.

who is this guy to critic man of steel,it was awesome and the best superman movie ever made,it really captured the essence of the comic books unlike your crappy superman returns singer!!! ps. zack snyder is and always will be a much better director than you .pps. zack snyder never would have maid wolverine a wimp,its your fauly wolverine had to be fixed by james mangold

Ok you can enjoy Batman Begins as a standalone film, fair enough. It was not my intention to insinuate that SR (or BB) doesn't work as a standalone film - rather that it would have been great (and perhaps the natural thing..) to have a sequel to that - rather than rebooting with Goyers/Snyders take. Maybe if BB had not recieved a sequel in TDK, then people would have reacted negatively the way they are now with regard to SR not getting it's own sequel. But it's just my opinion..

Mate you're an idiot, I've been defending MOS u ignorant b@s£ard!!! Never mind reading comic books read the post's before slating others. Moron!!!

Don't talk nonsense dude. The studio doesn't have faith in MOS 2 so they've added Batman and Wonder Woman. Returns had problems but it was nowhere near as bad as people thought it was. It's still an entertaining Superman film. MOS is a good action film but it fails as a Superman movie. The characters are underwritten (especially Lois), the action is overkill (twelve-year-olds will love it) and Supes is far too moody. Superman isn't Batman Synder! Enough of the overly serious, dark comic book films. Go to Youtube and look up - everything wrong with MOS.

Does no one else agree that they rushed him getting to grips with his powers too much in MoS? Especially the flying, he jumped a couple of times then could fly, that was it.

every sequel with the heroes suddenly having kids in it turns out to be corny crap..I think The Mummy Returns is the best example,first one was great

One reason why i don't want to see a Hellboy 3,with what we were shown at the end of Hellboy 2,film makers think they are trying to be cute,and its just awful to watch

Well referancing the Mummy and Hellboy was not what i had in mind when comparing. I thought superman was of a higher valid than those characters/franchises, but unfortunately not any more. Still a good story and director helps determine if any material is crap or great. In the instance of SR, perhaps a director who is a parent who mean the subject matter is treated with the right care in any case.

There's a lot that's wrong with Superman Returns but they feel like individual flaws in what might have otherwise been a really good movie. Diametrically, Man of Steel seems to achieve everything it sets out to do, but it's the entire concept of the movie that's flawed.

"and people are tired of seeing Supes face a bald man waving a green rock"

Awesome zinger!

Yep, I'd have taken away half an hour of mass destruction ;)

Yeah SR pretty much retold the older movies, and so was essentially pointless. The casting was good though - Routh was a GREAT Clark and Superman, much better than Cavil. And why oh why did they cast Amy Adams as Louis Lane? Bosworth wasn't perfect either, but still much better!

(This is blatantly stolen from the Nostalgia Critic)

See for me Amy Adams was a great Louis... when she was allowed to be Louis. The scenes at the beginning before she meets Superman gave her stuff to do, a really nice take-no-crap attitude and the traditional Louis getting in over her head decisions. Sadly shortly afterwards she then gets hit by The Nolan Ray. Any semblance of character is purged to be replaced by dialogue explaining how important the movie, events portrayed therein and the characters involved are.

I'm really hoping that the new wave of DC movies can benefit from not having Nolan around. I know that's almost heresy in the geek community but - IMO of course - both The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel suffered from being too, uh, Nolan-y.

I hear ya. I loved Batman begins but the very dark, dry style did become a bit much after movie no. 2. Amy Adams might be a good actress, but Lois Lane she is not. Way too mousy, and frankly not that attractive. Louise is supposed to have presence, and be quite hot too. AA is neither.
PS i'm not sure she was ever allowed to be Louis - unless she was paying a transgender version of herself in some alternate DC universe ;)

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