The two films that spearheaded the superhero genre on the big screen has to be 1978’s Superman and 1989’s Batman. These two movies are way before their times, but pave the way for all of the superhero films we know and love to this day. Even with all of the advancements in technology, I find myself going back to these two originals. They are comforting. The two films are drastically different when it comes to tone, as are the characters. Legendary director, Richard Donner, recently shared his thoughts regarding current superhero films.
We can assume that Tim Burton is a fan of the dark and gritty superhero films. Donner however, is quite the opposite. The director feels there is already enough darkness and negativity in the present, socially and politically, and that movie-goers could benefit from positive films. When speaking to The Telegraph Donner expresses:
“There are so many people that make superheroes so cynical it’s depressing. 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 [under President Donald Trump]. I think we crave the opposite.”
He went on to discuss how impressive it is that there are so many superhero films today, but that many are not done correctly, to his standards:
“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.”
Richard Donner does say that amazing stories can come from superhero films (in direct contrast to Martin Scorsese’s comments on the genre). While I can understand that he is partial to his 1978, brighter style, I do not agree that all superhero films should fit this mold. Superman represents hope and justice. I can see him not liking Zack Snyder’s interpretation of the Man of Steel, but do not agree that all films should have that tone. Batman is The Dark Knight for a reason. I also don’t think there is anything wrong with some superhero films reflecting reality. It gives them some grounding.
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Who am I to challenge the great Richard Donner? Absolutely no one. However, I do see some validity in his comments, but still feel that different characters require different tones. What are your thoughts? Do you agree with Donner? Should the superhero film genre be more uplifting? Or do you enjoy the dark and gritty? Leave your thoughts in the usual spot, and thanks for reading!