Looking back at his time putting Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Lex Luthor through their paces, the director realizes that—in his effort to reach a female audience that traditionally ignored comic-book movies—he might've alienated the fans who were looking for a rollicking good time.
While fielding questions about the upcoming X-Men: First Class, which he produced, Singer answered some Superman Returns queries from a site called Voices From Krypton. In so doing, he revealed some of the missteps he took while trying to gives audiences a familiar Man of Steel:
"I think that Superman Returns was a bit nostalgic and romantic, and I don't think that was what people were expecting, especially in the summer. What I had noticed is that there weren't a lot of women lining up to see a comic book movie, but they were going to line up to see The Devil Wears Prada, which may have been something I wanted to address. But when you're making a movie, you're not thinking about that stuff, you're thinking, 'Wow, I want to make a romantic movie that harkens back to the Richard Donner movie that I loved so much.' And that's what I did. ... It's hard, because I'm proud of it for what it is. I mean, there are a bunch of movies I've made where I'm, like, 'Yuck, that was weak' or 'That could've been better,' and I can see why. But with Superman Returns. ... If I could go back, I would have tightened the first act."
As for the problem with the third act, where Lex Luthor stabs Superman with a kryptonite shard and then you never see the two characters together again, that Superman never holds Luthor accountable, Singer turns to religion:
"I've always felt that the origin of Superman is the story of Moses—the child sent on a ship to fulfill a destiny. And this was a story about Christ—it's all about sacrifice: The world, I hear their cries. So what happens? He gets the knife in the side and later he falls to the earth in the shape of a crucifix. It was kind of nailing you on the head, but I enjoyed that, because I've always found the myth of Christ compelling and moving. So I hoped to do my own take, which is heavy s--- for a summer movie. But definitely the nostalgic, romantic aspects of it worked against people's expectations of it in the climate. And if I was going to do another one, it would be a reboot. I would go back and redo the original, but I only thought of that recently. It would be a much less romantic, more balls-to-the-wall action movie. It would be a very different pace than Superman Returns, which I can say at this point because I have distance from it now."