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.
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.
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“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.”
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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.
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.”
Donner is set to return to one of his most memorable franchises soon, helming the fifth entry in the Lethal Weapon series.
Watch: Trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League