Dorian Thompson wrote:
There's NOTHING wrong with the Donner films other than people and fanboys couldn't get it (a few critics did get it, and some moviegoers like myself did) and wanted action all of the time.
The critics were kind to the Donner films as I remember. I loved them myself, as did most of my friends. But then again we weren't a group of internet fanboys (internet? what's the internet?) but I remember my parents and older siblings' friends loving the Donner films as did most of their contemporaries. Of course I was a teenaged girl who didn't hang with "fanboys." Maybe the fanboys were there not appreciating Donner's more sentimental vision of Superman.
As an adult rewatching them, (and not a teenaged girl overwhelmed by Chris Reeve's obvious charms) I can appreciate in retrospect how good they were and how much more I appreciate heartfelt characters than overwhelming frenetic CGI battles.
I was referring to the fanboys and their hatred of Superman Returns
more than anything else, but yeah, I see what you're saying.
BTW, the idea that Superman Returns
was a box-office failure is bogus and has been disproved: You're Wrong: 20 Common Box Office Misconceptions
(scroll down to the section marked 'Famous Flops Which Did Not'.) If anything, the reason it didn't 'make money' was due to Hollywood accounting.
I don't see portraying Luthor as a land-obsessed con man accompanied by a smattering of dimwitted henchmen as a minor background thing. It's probably the least impressive version of Lex Luthor we've ever had. Both the brilliant criminal scientist and the ruthless corporate magnate (and the DC Animated Universe version, who was a mix of both) were more interesting than the Donner/Singer version of Luthor. Hackman made him funny to watch, but man, what a lame interpretation of the character.
If you ask me, the only real Lex Luthor we've ever gotten in a live-action Superman movie was Robert Vaughn in Superman III. Sure, his character was named Ross Webster, but he was a criminal who controlled a vast corporation and used its resources to support grandiose schemes that increased his wealth and/or combated Superman. He was a prototype for the businessman Luthor we got a few years later in the post-Crisis reboot. And he was a more credible villain than Hackman's Luthor ever managed to be.
I'll agree with you about Donner's Luthor, who could be brought down by Napoleon Solo & Illya Kuryakin, but Singer's Luthor was a combination of Donner's version and the version in the recent comic books/DCAU TV shows, and a much cunning man (swindling a rich old lady of her fortune and using it to accomplish what he did was a masterstroke, as well as keeping his head down and out of sight until she died and he was able to use her fortune to accomplish what happened in the rest of the film, as well as the feint staged to keep Superman from finding out about the robbery of the kryptonite by having Kitty almost crash her car.) That version's just as great as the ones you've mentioned and like.