Richard Donner Appreciates Brighter, More Joyful Superhero Movies

Sometimes, it’s still a little amazing how much of current-day Hollywood is dominated by the nerds. It started in the early 2000s and has not stopped since. There has never been a better time to be into this stuff than right now. While the modern-day superhero boom owes a lot to the 1-2-3 punch of Blade, X-Men, and Spider-Man, those movies wouldn’t have ever made it to the big screen if it wasn’t for 1978’s Superman. Richard Donner showed the world that a man could fly, and we’ve never looked back. For Donner, in a recent interview with The Telegraph, it’s a little surreal to see the genre he helped create dominate the landscape.

“It is,” he says. “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, Lauren Shuler Donner at the 2019 Producers Guild Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 19, 2019, in Beverly Hills, CA. Editorial credit: Kathy Hutchins /

When it comes to what kind of superhero movies Donner likes to see, he’s much keener on the lighter stuff. That isn’t that surprising considering the tone of his Superman movie, but he not into the dark stuff.

“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 [he’s not a Trump fan]. I think we crave the opposite.”

That being said, he does know about Zack Snyder and getting his cut of Justice League out there, and Donner said it’s “wonderful” that Snyder is getting the chance to do that. He doesn’t know the man personally, but if there was ever a director who would understand what it’s like to see your superhero movie get cut up and stitched back together until you hardly recognize it, it’s Donner. He was then asked about Martin Scorsese and his opinion that superhero movies are like theme park rides.

“Well, I’d like to be able to make one of those theme park rides!” he says before agreeing, to a point. “The problem is, a lot of times, we see in our industry that when the technical lens becomes readily available, it’s totally misused. But at the same time, every once in a while you really see quite a wonderful story with one of these films.”

So, for Donner, it’s a director and technology problem and not a genre problem. The issues that Scorsese has with the superhero genre could apply to many genres in Hollywood, but it’s still good to see Donner sticking up for the modern-day version of the genre he helped pioneer so many years ago.

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About Kaitlyn Booth

Kaitlyn is the Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. She loves movies, television, and comics. She’s a member of the UFCA and the GALECA. Feminist. Writer. Nerd. Follow her on twitter @katiesmovies and @safaiagem on instagram. She’s also a co-host at The Nerd Dome Podcast. Listen to it at

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