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Bryan Singer Critiques ‘Man of Steel,’ Reflects on ‘Superman Returns’


Although Bryan Singer has returned to Fox’s X-Men series with the upcoming Days of Future Past, few fans will forget his time with the Superman franchise. Indeed, in a recent interview with Empire magazine, the director looked back on 2006’s Superman Returns, and responded to some the criticisms.

“Half of that I understand and half of it I never will,” he told the magazine. “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.”

Interestingly enough, Man of Steel star Henry Cavill was actually up for the lead in Superman Returns, a role that ended up going to Brandon Routh. Singer said he cast the latter because he “was making a sequel to Christopher Reeve and I wanted somebody who embodied Reeve more.”

That said, Singer noted how impressed he was with Man of Steel, saying he was “in awe of the world building and the scope.” However, he noted there might have been aspects he approached differently.

“I’m not a critic and it starts to get into a weird thing where one director is talking about another director,” he said. “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. It’s not ‘Bryan Singer’s review of Man of Steel’!”

(via Movieweb)


  • BeastieRunner

    Misleading article title.

  • X-MAN

    Thats is the real problem these days. Misleading titles to atract hits, making us frustrated

  • Wrich

    We did not need YET another origin story, and we did not need YET ANOTHER story featuring Lex Luthor. Both Directors gave us things we did not need, and that is always a problem in a movie.

  • Alfred Day

    I recently rewatched Superman Returns and it verified something for me. I prefer it to Man of Steel. Each movie has it’s strengths and the weaknesses of each are very well documented, but I think Superman Returns is much more in line with my idea of who Superman is and what he represents.

  • Kryptaku

    Solid title there, gang! I mean, clearly, fuck what the man actually says in THE FINAL LINE OF THE INTERVIEW, to score on the ole click bait. Jesus, I honestly thought CBR was better than this. That’s disappointing.

  • papercut fun

    “It was a movie made for a certain kind of audience. Perhaps more of a female audience.” —- Aaaaaand I think we nailded the problem right there. By walking away from X-men 3 and taking on Superman, Singer managed to directly or indirectly hurt both those franchises – wish he would have stuck around X-Men and gave Supes a pass. Thankfully both have finally recovered and he’ll have a hand in keeping X-men going.

  • simon austin

    They could have gone with a less ambiguous word than critique, but it’s still a completely appropriate word to use. Critique means to evaluate or analyse, in it’s pure form it doesn’t mean the negative criticism we associate with it, and that’s exactly what Singer did, he evaluated and analysed Man of Steel… So yeah, it could be argued that they misled with the title, but it could also be argued that you misinterpreted it.

  • Mike McTighe

    Overall I actually think Superman Returns is a better film than Man of Steel, but at least on a superficial level Man of Steel had Superman punch something and fight like many suspected he was capable of fighting. The problem is neither movie did anything original with the character beyond this. I think Batman having that series in the sixties helped show audiences and producers/directors/writers that Batman has a wide array of villains not named Joker. With Superman ironically Hollywood only seems to know his arch-nemesis of Lex and some F-List comic villain named Zod who has barely appeared.
    It still surprises me with the comics and cartoons that they haven’t caught on to characters like Parasite, Bizarro, Mongul, Darkseid, Lobo, Toyman, Metallo and Brainiac.
    Only recently with Smallville has there been any true attempt at his rogue’s gallery.

  • alistaircrane

    Personally, I loved Superman Returns. I found it very touching. As a #Clois shipper, I was happy they had a child together. My only complaint is Kate Bosworth was miscast, but she did a decent-enough job. I have not seen Man of Steel and I never will. I did not like The Dark Knight trilogy, so anything by Nolan and Goyer immediately turns me off. Plus, Man of Steel’s murderous Superman doesn’t appeal to me in any way. That’s just not who he is. Superman is better than that!

  • alistaircrane

    There’s nothing wrong with appealing to a female audience. In fact, most superhero movies need to do a better job of embracing the female audience. We need less eye candy like Black Widow or superfluous sidekicks like Pepper Potts and more tough-as-nails women like Lois Lane and antiheroines like Catwoman.

  • simon austin

    As I said in a post below, it could easily be argued as you misinterpreting rather than them misleading. It’s an appropriate use of the word critique, it’s the exact meaning, the readers are the ones who associate it with negativity.

    I don’t wanna give the impression I’m up myself, I just wanted to point out that there actually isn’t any problem with the title.

  • alistaircrane

    Lex Luthor is Superman’s ultimate foe, like the Joker is to Batman. Quite frankly, Superman’s other villains don’t hold a candle to Lex.

  • Drithien

    Considering it is a movie we did not need anything.

    Considering the time between Man of Steel and the first Superman movie an origin was quite welcome, for, if nothing else, all the people that came to be in that period of time and have never seen the first one. Between them watching it, a product of its time, that in no way stands time’s passage that well, and disliking it, and young audiences getting a modern origin story, I think that the latter is the better choice. Unless you think that Superman should be reserved only for people over 40.

    And even for comic book fans, as the Ultimate line of titles from Marvel, back when it was actually new, can stand as testament to, a modern take of a character, with a story told from the beginning, without “hurrying to get to the good part” can work wonders. Additionally, sadly Superman doesn’t have much of an interesting pantheon of enemies other than Zod and Luthor to play off of. Bizarro? Doomsday, the super-powered wrestler? Brainiac the evil computer? Oh my..

    And even like this, because Zod is much more of a menace than Luthor, it will be quite interesting to see how they can make Luthor seem intimidating after Zod’s story. A bald, wannabe-Bond villain armed with an Iron Man-rip-off of a suit and a handful of Kryptonite doesn’t sound all that exciting compared to what happened in the first movie.

  • Hector Lugo

    Shamefully misleading headline, guys. Have a little integrity!

  • Hector Lugo

    I am still waiting for Darkseid or Brainiac. Those two, in my opinion, are more interesting than Luthor from a power and potential for kick ass action perspective. If, however, we are given a really well developed Luthor, say developed over a couple of movies rather than coming out as a villain from day one, I would totally love that.

  • Wrich

    Exploring the world is critical. If we only get to see the same villains over and over again, that special quality erodes, and ultimate becomes “Tired, same, old, the usual”.

    Further, Lex’s power is not in going toe to toe with Superman, or constantly inventing ways of “making Superman mortal”…but in fighting him in ways that Lex can win.

    After all, both worlds you are wondering “Why does he just not toss this asshat into the Sun” if Lex goes toe to toe with him, and there is not some form of conceit.

  • MegaGearX

    An extremely intelligent man with unlimited financial resources who studied Superman’s mental and physical weaknesses and has access to Kryptonite could be a bigger challenge than a brawl with a Kryptonian.

    Imagine this guy creating menaces like Metallo, Bizarro and Parasite and watching these battles, studying Superman’s weaknesses.

  • Wrich

    Agree. I think Superman Returns had some problems, but I far preferred it as a film.

  • AJ

    Critique is systematic analysis. This is just, “I liked it and I’d have done a few things differently because I’m me not him.”

  • alistaircrane

    Darkseid is a great villain….if all you want is a soulless, big-budget, CGI-ed disaster. Lex is interesting because of his jealousy and arrogance. Superman’s other villains, unlike Batman’s Rogues Gallery, just aren’t very good. BTW, Darkseid is really a villain of the New Gods, not Superman.

  • AJ

    The studios are being conservative, trotting out the same characters because they made a bunch last time and the time before. There’s a universe of antagonists to explore, but we won’t see them on the big screen because money.

  • AJ

    I enjoyed Man Of Steel more but I found a lot to enjoy and respect in Superman Returns: the design, the cast, the sense of vulnerability.

  • BeastieRunner

    I came in expecting Singer to talk about scenes and offer a detailed analysis and assessment of the film. He didn’t say anything substantial till the end of the article, ran off some general platitudes, and quote, “I’m not a critic.” My mental lexicon goes, “That’s misleading,” and I shake my head for wasting my time.

    I was trying to not be negative and say, “That’s link bait,” or, “They’re just trying to generate clicks for ads.”

    The article is not a critique and is at best, his thoughts on MOS.

    Hence, misleading article title. Copy editor must have fallen asleep on this one.

  • Hector Lugo

    I really disagree. Yes, Darkseid makes for a great set of battle sequences, and that would be great (as long as they aren’t drawn out like the ones in Man of Steel) but I think you misunderstand how intriguing a character like Darkseid can be if you think he would have to be two dimensional and soulless.

    And Brainiac is probably one of the greatest villains of all time, at least the creepy version of more recent times.

    I’ll give you that Batman’s villains are more interesting, they are all so insane, except maybe Catwoman who has become more of an anti-hero than a villain, but if you look around, not just the traditional Supes villains, but villains from the DC universe, like Darkseid and Mongol, you can find some interesting characters that could make for a great movie.

    Why does a Superman movie only have to contain Superman villains?

  • shawn3012

    You shouldn’t say you don’t like something before you have seen it. Don’t listen to the negative people about Man of Steel. I did. I skipped it at the movies and only watched it at home because the kids wanted to… I was BLOWN AWAY! That movie was FANTASTIC! He us in no way portrayed as murderous. He was shown to be a young hero that had to make tough decisions to save his planet..

  • Allan Arévalo

    Ill never forget this one thing Singer said in an interview about him directing the movie for a “Devil Wears Prada” audience— I mean for crying out loud, be gay on your own time, Singer, don’t make an entire mythos of the greatest super hero ever created a p*ssy film

  • Drithien

    Metallo, Bizarro, Parasite are lesser menaces than Zod. Why would I be interested in seeing them fight Superman when I have seen Zod?

    Not to mention how uninspiring all of them are, is essence futile attempts to create an interesting enemy for Superman. Immitations of Superman or enemies that get strong by absorbing Superman’s powers. Heck, Metallo is doubly bland as a rip-off of both Superman and Iron Man.

    While Kryptonite is a joke. A Deus Ex Machina to again try and create some semblance of threat towards Superman. Who comes up with Deus Ex Machinas? Uninspired and not-intelligent enough writers is who.

    If you want to have Luthor be an incredibly intelligent and powerful man you should write him as one. Superman knock-offs, magic rocks and stealing Iron Man’s suit are not very smart.

    I want Luthor to be an amazing presence in the upcoming movie. I hope it’s a character that stands up to the Dark Knight’s Joker, perhaps even surpass him. But this is not going to happen by using cheap writing tricks. If they manage to make him a genuine threat they will have to come up with something ingenious indeed. I hope they do. I loved the first movie and look forward to more of at least the same quality.

    Bringing the cheesiness and awful writing of the monthly series is not the way to go though. Nolan’s Batman worked because he was based on a select few stories that read like graphic novels. Unfortunately, other than Red Son and All-Star Superman doesn’t have such stories. And both of those existing are next to impossible to be included in the current movies, one due to its alternate universe characteristics, the other because it is an ode to the 60’s Superman,vastly different from the Superman in Man of Steel.

  • Drew Melbourne

    No. A critique involves actually saying what those things he’d do differently are, which he does not do it.

  • Dan Riedel

    I’m tired of the Darkseid bandwagoners. He’s not a Superman villain, he’s more of a general DC villain. Like how the Kingpin is a MARVEL villain.

    Brainiac, Parasite, Lex, Metallo, Cyborg, The Eradicator – Those are Superman villains.

    Save Darkseid for the JL films.

  • Perry Constantine

    As a lifelong Superman fan, let me tell you that you’re better off not seeing Man of Steel. Not unless you want to see your favorite superhero rendered as an indecisive wrecking ball.

  • Perry Constantine

    Superman Returns beats Man of Steel for one reason:

    In a scene when Metropolis is on the verge of destruction, Superman doesn’t ignore that destruction. He doesn’t ignore the people who are in danger. He works to contain the destruction as much as possible and saves as many people as he possibly can.

    In Man of Steel, Superman pulls Zod from a farm and tosses him into a gas station in a populated area, and even though he clearly sees innocents around, he still waits for a showdown right then and there. Later in Metropolis, he doesn’t give a crap about the people who are likely being crushed in the buildings he’s toppling.

    The Superman I grew up with saves people.

  • Perry Constantine

    There are a few problems with your post.

    First off, the origin. You don’t need a “modern” origin. The basics are all still the same—a brilliant scientist sends his infant son to Earth in order to spare him the destruction of that planet. Raised in the heartland of America by a kindly farmer and his wife, he discovers his alien physiology grants him powers far beyond those of mortal men. As Superman, he uses these powers to fight for truth and justice, while living a double-life in the guise of mild mannered reporter Clark Kent.

    And you know what else? It’s the origin story everybody knows! You don’t need to “modernize” anything, especially after we just got through a ten-year-long (waaaaay too long) “modernized” origin story in the form of Smallville.

    My grandmother knows Superman’s origin story and she’s never read a comic book in her life.

    It’s. Completely. Unnecessary. The most origin story you need is a five-minute flashback, like the way the origin was handled in The Incredible Hulk.

    Second, the villains. This goes back to an old axiom: there are no bad characters, only bad writers. I wonder how many stories with these villains you have actually read, or if you’re just going off a Wikipedia list of Superman villains.

    Only a lazy, uninspired writer would say that “this character isn’t interesting.” A talented, creative writer will find a way to make that character interesting.

  • b wofle

    Singer has no idea about superman

    i understand superman killing zod in MOS

    but why would Singer have a young child kill someone in Superman Returns

    man should never think about a superman movie again after the crap he deliveried

  • b wofle

    Zod is the ultimate superman bad guy
    as for Sueprman Returns,Singer had a child kill someone in it. In what comic world has a child kill ppl?

  • b wofle

    does a child killing ppl in the superman u grew up with

    Cause a child kills a guy in Superman Returns

  • b wofle

    a child kills a guy in Superman Returns

  • Drithien

    Your grandmother perhaps. I was talking about young people, people born in the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s.

    And no, the movie origin doesn’t work that well now, because of the style. It’s dated, a product of its time. There is nothing wrong with it, but it’s not that appealing to modern audiences for the very same reason why Ultimate Spider-Man reads far better than Amazing Fantasy when it comes to Spider-Man’s origin: it has modern, current sensibilities and aesthetics; it speaks far better to people that were not around more than 4 decades ago.

    And considering the work done on modern Krypton in Man of Steel, and the change in style from theatrical in the older movie, to the more grounded yet more detailed and visually impressive style of Man of Steel, it was a work done well. Whether older fans like it or not, almost nobody is going to get as impressed by the first movie’s cinematography compared to the recent one’s. It was nice seeing Krypton recreated using modern technology and not getting stuck with some movie sets made some decades ago forever.

    Additionally people love origins; they love beginnings. Some of the best moments in such movies are first times. The first time Peter stuck his palm on a wall, the first time Bruce came down on Gotham’s gangs, the first time Tony made his repulsor rays work, the first time Clark flew. It would be a missed opportunity to not include that in a movie.

    Doubly missed since with modern technology you can do so much more.

    They re-imagined and re-established Superman for a new generation. Not just for the old fans. Heck, considering the sales of current Superman titles a movie catering to them would be a financial disaster. Just how many tickets would 60k-something people buy you think? And this re-introduction was done properly: from the beginning, with a nice pace. This 5-minute flash-back may be the standard in comics, but those are a niche market targeted specifically at people that already know most things about the title. This is not the comics to do such things, and this is not the Incredible Hulk: a movie that tried to continue a previous not-so-succesful original that was released just a few years prior. We are talking about a decades-long gap here.

    What is more, why throw the origin away? To do what? Have Superman fight bank robbers? What would be so important so as not to do a proper re-introduction. We got an origin story and a major villain story just fine.

    As for the villains: there is almost nothing other than Luthor and Zod that can work in the style of Man of Steel. Even Darkseid seems too pulpy. Plus he is most probably saved for Justice League. Luthor is the pinnacle when it comes to human intelligence presented in a way that people can relate to partially, and Zod as the anti-Superman. Perhaps Brainiac can work, as long as he is not a laptop that gets a mechanical body with wires for limbs.

    And a note: good writers try to stay away from bad writing tropes and characters. Even better, they create their own. The only time Luthor was ever true to his “mastermind” title is All-Star, in all his pulpy greatness even, sadly something that will not work in the far more grounded Man of Steel world. Other than that what did he ever do that was genuinely brilliant? Ie: not involving Kryptonite or a mechanical suit? Just like Joker, in the comics he is supposed to be brilliant, but most of the writers handling him are not. Every once in a while a Moore, Millar, Ellis or Morrison will stop by and show people how it’s done and then move on; but for the most part if it wasn’t for the label created for them from the marketing department non of these characters would create any sense of awe by their actions. It’s revealing how so many people go crazy over Nolan’s Joker, compared to the comics’ one. How the Avengers where “Ultimated” for their screen debut to make them look credible. Or how the same stories and characters get recycled in the cinematic outings of comics’ characters. Is it perhaps because mainstream comics are mostly either outdated or just plain boring?

  • Kryptaku

    I don’t actually think it could be argued that I misinterpreted it. I never said anything about critique must mean something negative. I said that using the word “critique” literally went against Bryan Singer’s final line in the interview, that it was, in fact, NOT his review of the movie.

    I think suggesting that CBR’s use of “critique” doesn’t equate with “review” is being disingenuous.

    CBR obviously used the word critique the way they believed everyone would assume they were using it … despite Singer’s insistence that this wasn’t what it was.

  • Brian from Canada

    Enemies are made interesting by the script.
    Great enemies are made interesting by bringing out something in the hero.

    Lex Luthor challenges Superman’s humanity. That’s why he is such a good villain. And kryptonite is a weapon that equalizes the fight, forcing Superman to do more than just hit his way out like he does with Zod.

    Luthor in Superman: The Movie wanted to outsmart the newest great hero to maintain his reputation. Luthor in Superman Returns wanted to create a haven to escape Superman. Those are communicable goals.

    Zod is a HORRIBLE villain. In Superman II, Zod is the punishment for Superman reversing time, but he’s just a power — his motivation for destruction are just that he’s “evil.” In Man Of Steel, Zod wants to restore Krypton with a weapon that just happens to be available despite the destruction of nearly everything Kryptonian.

    Even on TV, Zod is horrid. Being weak isn’t good enough for him: he has to be a super powered ruler because…? It’s never made really clear.

  • Brian from Canada

    Singer recognized quickly after the film that he needed Superman to hit things more. It was actually Singer who suggested Zod as a villain so that it could become more action-oriented, and his comments here underline that same recognition: the film doesn’t have the speed to action like it should today. (The Lone Ranger from this summer falls into the same trap, so it’s not a problem that just vanishes.)

    The problem with Superman’s rogues gallery is that they are too easily defeated. Superman figures out a way to get past them and it’s done 1-2-3. The animated episode from the 90s with Myx proves that.

    To make those other villains stand out, you need to make the villain’s story compelling enough that his reason for opposition should stand out.

    For me, the best one of those characters is Toyman. Stop making Toyman a childish person: make him a boy that loves heroes who’s tribute to Superman is dismissed by the hero, turning Toyman into someone who wants to ruin the image of Superman for children — just as Superman is being praised through the press.

  • Brian from Canada

    The killing isn’t intentional: the child’s focus is on protecting the mother. He does so in a feat of strength that confirms immediately to Lois that her son is Superman’s. Lois is scared by what she sees too — so it’s clear her son is not normal and the powers will need to be dealt with.

    Had there been a sequel, it would no doubt have had moments in which Superman trained his son about the proper use of his powers.

    Man Of Steel was far worse in that Clark also uses his powers to protect the good — and gets told that maybe he shouldn’t have.

  • Hypestyles

    hopefully the next seven superman films will have nothing to do with an origin sequence. Also, hopefully the films will maintain the action/violence of the latest film.

  • Champ

    I actually really enjoyed Superman Returns. I can see why people disliked it but I felt it had a lot of merits. I really liked Brandon Routh and I did feel he embodied the Christopher Reeve Superman. I also really liked Kevin Spacey’s Lex Luthor. I actually felt Man of Steel.was very flawed. Even though I enjoyed the film, I found myself very critical of a lot of the events in the film. Especially with the ending. Henry Cavill was excellent though.

  • Drithien

    Enemies are indeed made interesting by the script. Characters in general. Which is what I said when I mentioned the writers that have managed to do something interesting with Superman and other characters.

    Kryptonite is a horrible concept because it is a tool coming out of nowhere without any intelligence in its appearance. “God from the machine” is the definition of this plot device, and it is infamous for being the lazy way out. I am not discussing the evening of the playing field; I am discussing the credibility of such a concept used in a story. There is none. Things are simple: Luthor is supposed to be an immensely intelligent person; his writers are not. If he existed he could perhaps come up with a plan to defeat Superman; his writers are lost on how he would do it; so they come up with something out of the blue that makes Superman weak. “Deus ex machina is a plot device
    whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly
    resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event,
    character, ability or object” The writers’ problem in this case. It does equalize things. It is a cheap trick by the writers still. Those two things are not related. I would be more than happy to be surprised by an ingenious scheme onhow to defeat Superman by Luthor, as I was in All-Star. Kryptonite is just bad writing.

    Luthor challenging Superman’s humanity is what the movie’s Luthor was about, not in the comics. The Luthor of the comics thinks of Superman as humanity’s enemy; holding them back from attaining their potential; also casting a shadow over Lex himself trying to save the world. He does not challenge Superman’s humanity; he wants to think he has none. He wants to make it so. What the Luthor of Snyder is going to be about nobody knows but him and his partners.

    One thing though: having a guy with a glowing rock weaken Superman to almost-death is nowhere near as spectacular as two super-powered beings fighting each other. Not even if said guy has a robotic suit for effect. Superman Returns proved that. I am all for Luthor to be the genious he is supposed to be. I hope he is, I am looking forward to be blown away by an intricate way of thinking the likes of which I never thought of from a person of such depth and charisma I am at a loss of what to think about him; that is what Luthor is supposed to be; this is what I hope he is in the upcoming movie.

    As for Zod, in the second movie he was a caricature obviously; hence the memes. In the latest movie he was quite well portayed, not as his comic character, but as a character based on the comic equivalent. He had a noble and a dark nature; he was ruthless, but he was designed and bred to be that way. He was a mixture of a person with critical thinking and actions bound by genetic engineering. And he had a noble goal; only he had to commit something awful to achieve it. It sounds like a good premise. The execution could be better; but then again what movie coudn’t use some correction; what movie, no matter the corrections, will satisfy everyone?

    But he, as well, as the tv series Zod, and every Zod, in any medium, are irrelevant to the point we are discussing. It’s not the incarnations we are talking about; it’s the potential of the core of the character inside the world of the Man of Steel movie. Which character would work as an enemy/antagonist satisfyingly. Zod worked quite well in his latest incarnation; he provided a somewhat multi-dimensional character, with a goal that is debatable as to its nobility, a tragic state of breeding versus free will, a genuinely dangerous enemy, and an equal opponent for one of the most impressive fights in cinematic history.

    Who can go beyond that is the question. Other than Luthor (if something amazing happens) and maybe Brainiac ( if something terrible doesn’t), is there anyone else?

  • Kyle4

    Us comic fans may be tired of Superman’s origin, but it hadn’t been redone on film for over 30 years.

  • bandoogiemanz

    Lex should acquire genetic material from Supes in the upcoming movie and clone him resulting in the Eradicator for the movie after that.

  • alistaircrane

    I am going to trust you on this one and other lifelong Superman fans like Mark Waid who didn’t like the film. (FWIW, Catwoman is my favourite “superhero” and I went through a similar experience with the Halle Berry movie).

  • alistaircrane

    But was the Eradicator truly villainous or just misunderstood?

  • alistaircrane

    Wow, the homophobia spewing from your fingertips is vitriolic and disgusting.

  • MrFreezeRhino

    Neither Superman Returns or Man of Steel were bad in my opinion. I think that if Man of Steel were released in 2006 rather than Returns it would have had better reception than what both Returns and MoS have received. At the time people were very big on what Nolan did with Batman Begins. Man of Steel has a similar atmosphere to Begins (albeit being less grounded in realism) while also having Superman actually engaged in combat which I at the time remember being a big criticism against Returns. The last time he had fought another superhuman in live-action film was the terrible Superman IV in 1987. A lot of time had passed from the Donner films which Singer was paying tribute to an during that interim audiences had been exposed to bigger and more violent superhero films and (especially coming off of Begins) Returns felt like a soft around the edges relic by comparison. I think the reason Man of Steel has received the criticism that it has is that it came at a time were audiences had gotten enough of the gritty realism of the Nolan films, and instead had warmed to less realistic and grim stylings of the MCU with the Avengers being the best example. Sure, they’re not high art, but they aren’t afraid of unrealistic concepts or the possibility of having fun and cracking a bit more jokes than other films in the genre.

  • MrFreezeRhino

    I think you should actually see Man of Steel for yourself before writing him off as murderous. The choice that Superman makes doesn’t come easily and it visibly affects him. The film takes place at the beginning of Clark Kent’s journey as Superman and it’s implied by the creative team that the events of Man of Steel have a large impact on his character causing him to enact his no-kill rule later on.

  • alistaircrane

    I have no interest in it for other reasons: “It’s not an ‘S'” being one of them, the dark, muted color palette of his costume, allowing innocent citizens to die, etc.
    I didn’t like Nolan and Goyer’s dark, depressing and nihilistic Batman movies, so I doubt I would like their Superman. Plus, Zack Snyder. Ewww…

  • MrFreezeRhino

    He’s Superman. Not God. Innocent people have died during big battles he’s been in before. Superman being a “Superman” but still unable to save every person every single time they’re in danger has been a point brought up in a lot of stories. I personally wouldn’t forgo seeing a movie about a character I’m a huge fan of due to one line of dialogue or a costume I didn’t like, but that’s just me. If you didn’t like Nolan’s films and themes then you might not like MoS. It’s definitely a more sci-fi version of the type of world he built in his Bat-films.

  • Matt Freeman

    Bryan Singer says “Don’t Call Your Article Exactly What You Called It!”


    Honesty with Superman I learned to take majority of his critics with a grain of salt. The reason why is most of them are probably not superman fan to begin with.

  • Kaine Morrison

    For me, there are only 4 Live-Action Superman movies.
    None of them are recent!

  • seksivitez

    Special place in Hades for misleadin’ article titles, Skippy.

    The milk man has come back.. but now while you’re out at the bar or playin’ Warcraft, the UPS man is Fing your wife.

    See. I did the same thing.

  • seksivitez

    Lex is only his only foe in your mind because that is all you ever see on TV and film!!!

    Brainiac is much more dangerous and interesting at this point. Luthor is an anti-hero now.

    My God- how many people have played that same role in the past 30 years? Hackman, Spacey, that dude in Smallville, and now Eisenberg…

    You sure can tell the intermediate comic fans from their comments.

  • Statham

    You say that like the examples are bang-on similar. The super-kid in SR saves his mother and doesn’t kill the guy on purpose – if indeed he does kill him and doesn’t just knock him out with the piano, whereas Superman kills Zod to stop him killing others needlessly. That’s not the same at all. Superman intended to kill Zod. The kid had no killing intent and wanted to save his mom.

  • Statham

    Yeah, because Black Widow wasn’t at all awesome once, you know, they actually used her correctly in the Avengers. And Pepper was pretty awesome in IM3, too – moreso than any version of Lois we’ve seen on screen.

  • Statham

    You keep trotting that out without analysing what’s going on in that scene at all. The kid’s SAVING HIS MOTHER – he’s not Superboy Prime, killing for the lulz.

  • Statham

    Lord, you’re a broken record, aren’t you? Is that really the only argument you can level against the film – an inaccurate, silly jab? Because I LIKE the film and I can construct better arguments.

  • phoenix_fire

    superman is hardly the greatest super hero ever created.

  • gkoultoura


    Bryan Singer says (verbatim): “It’s not ‘Bryan Singer’s review of Man of Steel’!”

    CBR article title, therefore: “Bryan Singer Critiques ‘Man of Steel,’”

  • Hector Lugo

    And that rigid mentality is why we keep getting the same story over and over again.

  • nestazhe265

    my Aunty Arianna got a nearly new silver
    Chevrolet Colorado Crew Cab by working part time off of a macbook air. try this

  • Dave

    All the jackoffs complaining about the misleading title – do you actually realize that Singer did give a critique even though he says he didn’t? lol.

  • Ian Cook

    I can’t agree with this comment enough! Everyone and their pet rat knows the origin of Superman, and if they don’t know it, they can turn to the person sitting next to them and ask. It’s been done time and time again. If there is another Superman origin story in my lifetime, I think I will kill myself.

  • Ian Cook

    Blah blah blah.

  • Ian Cook

    Yeah, that’s a lame argument. Get a new one.

  • Ian Cook

    Are you on crack?

  • Ian Cook

    I disliked that very much. They kind of crapped on Pa Kent in a way.

  • Ian Cook

    You mean like in “The Incredibles”?

  • Ian Cook

    Have you even seen the movie?

  • alistaircrane

    In your opinion.

  • alistaircrane

    I read the comics. And history has decreed Lex is Superman’s ultimate villain, just as the Joker is Batman’s ultimate villain. I don’t want to see second-stringers, I just want to see Lex.

  • alistaircrane

    The “one line of dialogue” and costume colors are symptoms of the film’s overall problems and indicative of the kind of Superman Nolan et al. are trying to make. Theirs is not a take on Superman I want to see. I am very happy with the Donner and Singer films.

  • alistaircrane

    Is anyone else now praying for another Superman origin story??

  • Nonbottledwater

    Hated Man of Steel. It had some nice special effects, but was too disjointed. characters acted strangely, Superman was stilted, but Clark Kent was a better developed character. All that destruction needs to be addressed or it’s going to be a problem as well.

  • b wofle

    i know he killed the guy to save his mother. thats not my issue. why even put that in the story. Chidren killing ppl in a superman story is not superman. thats my point. not why he killed someone, but that singer actually had that plot point of a kid killing somone to find out they had super powers

    i could think of a dozen different ways to showcase the kids powers without messing with the crazy plot points.
    shoot the piano could had tilted and amost hit lois with the kid saving her but no. The kid had to kill someone.

    Horrible writing and directing

  • Alex Hayden

    I personally had serious problems with both films. I enjoyed them both, but not to the degree that I should have. Singer’s turn was much better filmed. I’ve just always thought that, despite whatever other problems it has, it looks beautiful. But, it does lack action, while MoS has, IMO, too much action. Both failed in story and characterization, though. In Returns, the character that felt like it had the most depth and personality was not-Cyclops. It’s a bad move when the best character in your movie is someone who’s not all that important in the overall scheme of things. In MoS, motivations and relationships seemed purely contrived to follow the pre-destined plot. In both, the plot was all over the place, making critical errors and logic failures – something that is fairly common in movies and specifically this genre, but was more present and readily identifiable in these two entries than is usual or acceptable.

  • Dan Riedel

    So let me ask you this: If Superman faces off against Darkseid like RIGHT NOW, who does Superman fight in MoS 3? Darkseid is a malevolent GOD, anything lower than that would be anti-climatic and boring. Look at the blade trilogy as an example. None of the sequels were as good as the first.

  • Dan Riedel

    And who would the Justice League face in their THREE MOVIES?

    Darkseid should be saved for last or next to last…the latter in the instance they do a Anti-Monitor film.

  • Ian Cook

    I agree with most of your comments. Cavill was okay, but I don’t think he ever embodied Superman for me. It just never felt right..

  • The Griffinator

    Would’ve really liked a direct link to the EMPIRE interview this article took its content from. Is it only in the print edition? Because I looked all over the website for it and came up short.

  • Ian Cook

    Superman and the Mole Men?

  • The Griffinator

    I don’t even see where he “Critiques” Man Of Steel. If anything, he “Critiqued” Superman Returns. I often get discouraged at the cheap tactics some of my favorite websites use to draw eyeballs. Stay classy, CBR.

  • MaskedManAICN

    I think you need to read between the lines here- obviously Singer is not going to ‘bad mouth’ anyone’s movie, that’s something you just don’t do (as a director who wants to keep working). Taking what he said, he was impressed by the world building (as I assume we all are, Synder did an amazing job building the scope and world of Superman here- everything was big and grand and well thought out.

    Then he says, there are little things I would have done differently based on how he views the characters. He’s not talking about the cloths or the beard (that would be a pointless thing to say). He’s clearly talking about the massive destruction and killing of Zod- but he’s not going to come right out and say that. He even back petals to make sure this doesn’t start trouble with WB or Synder’s camp.

    Overall I feel Singer is saying Synder made an amazing movie (as Singer knows what it takes to pull one of these movies off) but he didn’t like tone and/or angle of the movie (because that’s not how he (or most of us) sees Superman). So yes Singer did critique the movie- he just doesn’t want to be called out on it.

  • b wofle

    i know he killed the guy to save his mother. thats not my issue. why
    even put that in the story. Chidren killing ppl in a superman story is
    not superman. thats my point. not why he killed someone, but that singer
    actually had that plot point of a kid killing somone to find out they
    had super powers

    i could think of a dozen different ways to showcase the kids powers without messing with the crazy plot points.
    shoot the piano could had tilted and amost hit lois with the kid saving her but no. The kid had to kill someone.

    Horrible writing and directing

  • Hector Lugo

    Well, it doesn’t have to be Darkseid, I am just thinking that Brainiac would be a good foe, and that there are others, outside of his normal group of villains, in the rest of the DC Universe who could be good villains for a movie, and limiting it to just “Superman Villains” would basically give us a movie with shit villains.

    I am sure Luthor will come in, but I think he should, at least in the second movie, be a potential threat, a force behind the threats that Superman is only beginning to understand is there. It is how I have always preferred Luthor. Not in some Iron Man type armor, but as a man so self assured of his own intellecual, financial, and political power that he is essentially untouchable. A man whose personal involvement in any threat is so nebulous, so ill defined to anyone but himself that he can manipulate the entire world into thinking he is the victim and Superman the threat.

    That silly charlatan with dreams of owning land by the sea we have gotten until now has always annoyed the hell out of me, and in Superman Returns, I actually thought, for a second, we were going to get Billionaire CEO Luthor instead of idiot Luthor, but oops, Singer decided to regurgitate the Reeves era stuff rather than tread new ground.

  • Statham

    Again, you don’t know that the kid killed the guy. He just hits him with the damn piano. Give it a rest and find something REAL to complain about.

  • Drithien

    “Blablabla.” Such insightful commentary. Please, enlighten me more with your eloquently-expressed wisdom. Or was this an attempt at being condescending while using the wit of a 5 year-old?…

    To your actual point: The success of Batman Begins, Man of Steel itself, and even of The
    Amazing Spider-Man prove you wrong. Not only doesn’t everyone know about
    characters’ origins, but a lot of the people that do, don’t mind seeing a re-imagining of them; even if the original was a few years ago.

    Don’t confuse your knowledge with that of the general public’s about comic-book characters. And do realise that cinematic movies are not made just for a bunch of comic-book fans. Also that this is not the comics were you can fit an origin in a page and be done with it to feed the appetites of fans for punches-and-shocking-reveals-per-page. Origins are valuable material for movies, and directors won’t just let such good stuff go to waste because some comic-book fan already knows about these things.

    Lastly, with the modern techniques available, in both technology and direction it was a great opportunity to re-imagine Superman’s origin. Just the sequences at Krypton alone made it worth it. And the current sensibility infused in the character helped make him far more relatable to younger audiences than the 1978 version. It rejuvenated him. Why would a director miss out on two such opportunities? Because some people are impatient?

  • Dan Riedel

    Totally with you on Luthor. Although, I would want him to be a cross between JP Morgan (the person who bailed out the US government and essentially owned the entire country, someone who is ABOVE Washington), and a young Steve Jobs. Outspoken, powerful, conceited.

    I definitely think Luthor is needed in this film because earth MUST respond to the chaos that ensued in MoS. I believe Metallo and a power suit Luthor/Batman could work if done right.

    Bryan Singer made the Kryptonite angle work FLAWLESSLY in Superman Returns – where Superman couldn’t detect he was depowered. It was the director’s only saving grace. I haven’t seen such a beat-down of a hero until Bane showed up, sounding like Marvin the Martian.

    For MoS 3, Doomsday can be the villain (unless he’s the sidekick of Brainiac in Justice League 1). In that case, they could then just do a Bizarro/Superboy/Eradicator hybrid. Maybe STAR Labs makes a direct physical clone of Kal using his codex and the decoder left in one of the crashed ships. He has tactile kinesis, is vulnerable to fire, and has to guard his eyes from the sun. But he can do everything else like big blue. All you would need then is a plausible angle to turn him evil… maybe he gets fed up with Earth people warring so he tries to go Draconian, ala, Injustice.

    Tons of stuff to work with besides using Darkseid I think.

    I really want Darkseid to be in 2 Justice League movies – the final one involving the Anti-Monitor.

  • Ian Cook

    Blah Blah Blah is because you are using a lot of words with such a small point. This is the internet, not a novel. First off, Superman is the most well known character in the history of mankind. Most people know he’s an alien from the planet Krypton. There have now been 2 1/2 origin stories for him. The Original Reeves movie, Man of Steel and to some extent, Superman Returns. Enough already. There have been two Batman origin movies. There have been two Spider-Man origin movies. There have been two Hulk origin movies. Soon, every one of those franchises will be re-booted again because of some flop. Essentially, we get the same story re-hashed over and over. If need be, get a brief re-telling of the origin and move on. No need to re-invent the wheel.

  • Ian Cook

    Watch Superman Returns again. It tells the basic origin without it taking over the whole plot. I think it’s a good model to go by.

  • bandoogiemanz

    nah, he wasnt a villain, but i though it would be a nice wrinkle, as opposed to a bizarro.

  • Drithien

    I am trying to explain my opinion with something more than a telegram; a piece of writing that takes about a minute to read at most. I don’t see the novel aspect.

    Superman’s origin has been told in movies, as you say.I don’t disagree with that. I disagree with its perceived knowledge by the general movie-going audience, especially the young part of it, and its timelessness. It doesn’t appear to have much of any of those.

    It has been more than 3 decades since Superman, and Returns is a movie forgotten. You can argue their sognificance. The point is, practically, they are not good origin stories because they are either old or not popular. Young people are not going to watch a 35 year-old movie with the same longing as a recent one. Neither are they going to easily bring themselves to watch a movie labelled as “boring,” and a “failure.” No matter what those movies are in reality.

    On the other hand audiences love origin stories. That’s a fact. So combining a re-telling of an iconic character’s origin with the spectacle that can be a modern more action-oriented movie, while infusing new life in the character, and swiping clean his recent sub-par cinematic outing, thus starting anew, seems like an incredible opportunity..

    And again, what’s the rush? There will be more movies. Man of Steel was both an impressive piece of filmmaking and financially successful. So whatever it is that you are hoping for to get to watch may as well be coming. The only difference is that it’s starting from the beginning. And that works for the character and the fans, if you haven’t realised it. By luring in new fans the franchise gets stronger, and thus has more chances to survive. I really can’t understand your argument. You have both versions of Superman’s origin, a choice on which to watch, and new material coming up. Why is wealth of content a bad thing?

  • Mike McTighe

    There’s a few ways around this. One is the Grant Morrison story where Superman gets stronger, and when he starts off he’s more or less like the 1940s strength level, leaping instead of flying, and they made godly strong when Luthor accidentally messes with him (and or from just being under the yellow sun longer). The movies always touch on this a bit, when he was young, but it’s an interesting loophole they could use to have him fight weaker villains initially. The other is to simply overpower many of his rogues, which they’ve also done to varying degrees. The third would be to simply confine it to rogues that are basically godlike: Darkseid, Doomsday, Brainiac, and maybe include another weaker one as a henchman or something.