'Superman' director Richard Donner is not a fan of 'bleak and angry' superhero movies

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·2 min read
Richard Donner directed the original 'Superman' film in 1978. (Credit: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI/Warner Bros)
Richard Donner directed the original 'Superman' film in 1978. (Credit: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI/Warner Bros)

Richard Donner, who directed the 1978 Superman movie, says he is disappointed when people tell “cynical” stories through superhero films.

The 90-year-old filmmaker was asked by the Daily Telegraph about the recent onslaught of comic book movies on the big screen, which he effectively kick-started with his beloved blockbuster.

Read more: Christopher Reeve wasn’t happy with Marlon Brando on Superman set

Donner praised Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman for its optimism, but said he lacks the same fond feelings for darker takes on superhero material.

He said: “When you see it done right, by my standards, it’s so fulfilling. I’m very happy and proud when I see them.

“When it’s done wrong, it’s such a disappointment. There are so many people that make superheroes so cynical, it’s depressing.

Watch: Henry Cavill hopes to keep playing Superman

“When they’re dark and bleak and angry with themselves and the world, I don’t find it entertaining.

“I think there’s enough reality going on for that. We just got over four years of that. I think we crave the opposite.”

Read more: Directors who were fired on set

Directors including Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder have taken the comic book genre in grittier directions over the last decade or two, with films like The Dark Knight and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Donner said he wasn’t aware of Snyder, but was pleased to hear that the director will be able to finish his preferred cut of Justice League — just as he did with Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut in 2006.

Zack Snyder on the 'Justice League' set with Ben Affleck as Batman. (Credit: Warner Bros)
Zack Snyder on the 'Justice League' set with Ben Affleck as Batman. (Credit: Warner Bros)

Donner also weighed in on the now notorious comments made by Martin Scorsese last year, suggesting superhero movies were closer to theme park rides than cinema.

“The problem is, a lot of times, we see in our industry that when the technical lens becomes readily available, it’s totally misused,” said Donner.

He added: “But at the same time, every once in a while you really see quite a wonderful story with one of these films.”

Read more: Danny Glover says Lethal Weapon 5 has relevance to current events

Donner is set to return to one of his most memorable franchises soon, helming the fifth entry in the Lethal Weapon series.

Mel Gibson and Danny Glover are likely to return to their iconic roles in the movie, which Donner says will conclude the story.

Watch: Trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League