While speaking with Collider about Kingsmen: The Golden Circle, Matthew Vaughn was asked about his possible involvement in Man of Steel 2, Vaughn stated:
Weirdly if I did do Superman—and I made the mistake of telling someone yesterday I have spoken about it and then wallop (laughs)—I think my main take would be, it’s really boring but make a Superman film. I just don’t feel a proper Superman—I think Donner did it to perfection for that time. Just doing the modern—I wanna do a modern version of the Donner [version]. Go back to the source material… For me Superman is color, feel-good, heroic. He’s a beacon of light in darkness. And that’s what I think Superman should be.
I really enjoyed the Donner film, and I’m prepared for the hate I’m about to receive but, his cut of Superman 2 was not great. Don’t get me wrong, there were some scenes that were good, but overall, the Richard Lester version was significantly better. Spoilers for those of you who haven’t seen the Donner Cut of Superman 2, but at the end of the film, he flies around the world backwards again to make Lois forget, not that the “Super-Kiss” was a better idea or Clark Kent going back to the diner to get revenge on the guy who beat him up after he had given up his powers, but in general, the way Lester’s version of the film ended was just better.
But then Lester went on to make Superman 3, the best part of that film was seeing Evil Superman and the fight between him and Clark in the Junkyard, and those weren’t enjoyable because they were good, just because of how ridiculous they were. I’m not even going to discuss Superman 4, so moving on to Superman Returns, which I feel was unnecessarily shoehorned into the Donner Universe, while it was better than Superman 3 and 4, as a homage to the Donner Universe, to me at least, while the film felt modern in its setting, the tone and plot of the film felt like it would have fared better in the late 80’s.
While that version of Superman worked well for the era the films came out in, we’re living in a different time now and we need a different Superman. I’m not saying Snyder’s Superman is the version we need, but I don’t think Richard Donner’s version is either. Superman gets a lot of flack for being severely overpowered. Let’s face it, if he wanted to, Superman could easily take out any villain he wanted to, from a distance, without them ever having the slightest idea that they were about to meet their doom. Everyone applauds Batman for his “no kill” policy, but does Bruce Wayne have to be extremely careful every time he wants to drink a cup of coffee or give someone a handshake? Clark Kent does.
That man won’t quit as long as he can still draw a breath. None of my teammates will. Me? I’ve got a different problem. I feel like I live in a world made of cardboard, always taking constant care not to break something, to break someone. Never allowing myself to lose control even for a moment, or someone could die. But you can take it, can’t you, big man? What we have here is a rare opportunity for me to cut loose and show you just how powerful I really am.
Superman absolutely needs to be a beacon of hope, but he needs to be a beacon of hope for today and the world today is much different than it was in the 1980’s. So, what does that mean? I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers, but what I do know is that trying to take a character out of 1980 and fit him into a modern setting isn’t going to work. Look at the Superman in the show above, Justice League Unlimited, he’s definitely a beacon of hope, fit well within the 90’s, and wasn’t a clone of Donner’s Superman.
Superman works best when he has to deal with an issue that forces him to question his values and ethics. Batman vs Superman attempted to do this, but in my opinion, failed, miserably. We were given a glimpse of who Superman was in Man of Steel but, it wasn’t until the end of the movie when he truly became “Superman”. This next film needs to dig into who he is as a person and how his values affect him and the choices he makes.
What do you guys think? Do you want to see another emulation of Christopher Reeve’s rendition of Superman or do you want to see something different, but better than what we saw in Batman vs Superman?