Zack Snyder Calls Superman ‘Broken,’ Disses ‘Thor’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 15th, 2012 at 10:15 am,

superman by alex ross Zack Snyder Calls Superman Broken, Disses Thor

It seems Superman is a difficult character for creators to grasp, both in the world of comics and film. Hence the reason Bryan Singer made Superman Returns – it was so much easier to basically remake Richard Donner’s Superman (this time with Baby Superman!) than to branch out into uncharted cinematic territory.

Over the weekend, director Zack Snyder talked to our very own Roth Cornet about his approach to Superman: Man of Steel, a film he’s calling “the most realistic” he’s ever made – which isn’t saying much when you look at his filmography. Yesterday, Snyder talked to Hollywood Outbreak and referred to Superman as a broken concept, while managing to diss Marvel’s Thor in the process.

It should be noted that when Zack Snyder said, “Superman is broken and I think it needs to be fixed,” his wife and producing partner, Deborah Snyder, interjected with, “From a movie standpoint.” At which point Snyder repeated, “From a movie standpoint.” So Snyder isn’t calling the Superman of the comic books broken, even though many a comic book fan would have no problem saying just that.

Snyder continued to discuss Superman’s movie problem, going so far as to mock Thor by comparison:

“[Superman] is the freaking […] biggest superhero on the planet. He’s the father of every superhero. [Deborah and I] were just talking about this – I’m like, really? Thor? Thor has a movie? [Laughter.] Really? I mean, come on. And there’s no Superman movie? This is, like, the world’s out of balance. It’s like, we’ve lost our minds here, people, come on.”

Listen, there’s no doubt that, cinematically-speaking, Superman has a massive problem. The fact that there hasn’t been a truly successful Superman film since 1980 is both astounding and sad. That said, there’s no reason in the world to denigrate the Marvel version of Thor, who was created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and perhaps the greatest comics creator of all time, Jack Kirby. Hell, at least Superman has had quality representation in film – twice over. The last time Thor was seen in a movie theater was The Adventures of Babysitting.

superman versus thor Zack Snyder Calls Superman Broken, Disses Thor

Zack Snyder also discussed the meeting he had with producers Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas before he took the directing job:

“When [Christopher and Emma] asked Deborah and I out to lunch [to tell us] what they wanted to do with [Man of Steel] – I’ve got to say, [beforehand] I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can [do Superman]. [Afterward], I was like, ‘This is right.’ […] I didn’t need to hear that much before I went, ‘Okay, that’s right, that’s the right way to do it.’ […] I’m a fan of the character. I want him to be awesome.”

Check out the full audio recording at Hollywood Outbreak.

While I agree with Zack Snyder that every Superman film since 1980 has been insignificant or just plain bad, I’m not sure the way toward creating the best possible Superman film is realism. After all, the best iteration of Superman in the past twenty years was Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman, which was all kinds of strange, ridiculous, and about as far away from realism as a story can get. In the end, realistic or not, Man of Steel’s quality will be determined not by its style, but by – well, everything else.

Superman: Man of Steel hits theaters December 2012.

Source: Hollywood Outbreak

Superman art by Alex Ross and George Perez

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  1. Am I the only one that thinks Zack Snyder seems to be better with original material then he is with previously established brands. On the flip side, Sucker Punch looks like it will be amazing.

    • Hmmm how can you say that. What original work has he done?? Aside from the awful looking Sucker punch…

  2. enough with nolan,the 2nd bat movie was not as great as everyone hypes over…yes ledger carried the film,but other than that it had problems

    biggest was batman himself,since when does he care if it’s against fcc regulations or something to use equipment to track down criminals?…had some other but i don’t remember my observations enough.

    I’m worried what nolans let’s make real influence has had on the world of superman…by the way i did like batman begins

  3. I understand what DSB said, times have changed but the essence Superman of Superman needs to remain the same while still being able to work in this age and time. Superman is epic, majestic, and noble,humble but glorious. Finding that tone to work is sort of hard today without changing the tone to be edgier or liked by today’s generation of movie goers. The majestic and epic tone can be done without going uber-realistic or dark; it’s all depending on who the villain is. Superman needs a formidable villain/s that can challenge him physically and mentally. The Lex Luthor and Kryptonite thing is old. I wouldn’t even bring Zod in AGAIN unless he was a minor character. Brainiac, Doomsday,or Darkside, are the only characters that I can see bringing to bring this movie to another level while maintaining epicness.

    • I really need to proof read my posts. Sorry.

  4. When directors are this verbally incoherent, they should speak only through their final product. Sounding like a halfwit and being a halfwit are largely indistinguishable in such cases.

    • Ha!

  5. Superman is still awesome, he’s not broken, some directors just don’t know how to handle him correctly. At this stage Snyder has shown me little that he would be able to handle it. I think he’s a decent director, but if he injects even a scene of slow motion (unless it involves catching bullets that are coming at eyes, that is just radical), he has failed.
    As for the Thor thing, low blow bro, low blow.

  6. I want to get this out of the way before I continue with my comment, I am more of a DC guy than a Marvel guy. So if I sound biased, it’s because I am.

    Okay, with that said, I didn’t interpret what Snyder said as an insult to Thor and his upcoming movie. I think his mentioning of Thor was directed more at Superman’s cinematic shortcomings. When you really take a step back and see things through the eyes of a non-fanboy, Superman’s situation is really sad. It’s pathetic that Thor, a second-tier (sorry, he is) character has a movie coming out that looks awesome, and Superman’s last outing (only 4 short years ago) was met with a thunderous “meh.”

    And Snyder is right. The cinematic Superman is broken. Well perhaps not broken, but in need of a makeover. The vision of Superman that we saw in 1978′s Superman is without a doubt classic. However, as Superman Returns proved, that version of Superman (along with a terrible story) just won’t cut it. We need a new Superman for a new generation. Hopefully Snyder and company can deliver.

  7. Look “a1d2h” Snyder wasn’t dissing Thor. Snyder is RIGHT. Superman has yet to have a TRULY EPIC film. Even the old donner stuff doesn’t hold up to today’s standards. You’re just a bitter and angry marvel-fan. I love Superman- he’s my favorite superhero and I want him to finally get the epic film he deserves. He is the most legendary superhero who set the milestone for other heroes to follow. Thor is still relatively new compared to Superman and the fact that they seem to have gotten Thor right on his first outing on the big screen is pathetic considering that we’re 5 Superman films in and none of them can hold to today’s standard, looks like Thor will beat all 5 crap superman flicks and that is sad. Also “Superman Returns” was an immense failure. You think making Superman into a bastard-father/stalker was a good representation of the character? The film was boring as hell too.

    Superman NEEDS a truly great film. That is all Snyder is saying.

  8. Hopefully Snyder does a better job than all of the previous directors. Because no matter how successful or beloved any of the Christopher Reeve films are, they are flawed. They don’t portray everything correctly. Since when has Lex had a sidekick, a fullhead of hair, and a sense of humor? Since when has Lois been a chain-smoking skank? And I’ve read my fair share of Superman comics over the course of my 23 years on this earth, and I can tell you Jimmy Olsen has always had red hair.

    Superman Returns messed up on the fact that instead of rebooting the series (Batman Begins style), they continued from where Superman 2 left off and kept it in Donner’s universe. Meaning Lois still smokes, which is just wrong. I didn’t like the kid, Richard White, or having another female villain with second thoughts about hanging with Luthor. Whether people admit it or not, Routh was awesome as Superman. He looked like he stepped right out of the comic book. I don’t believe he was given adequate chances in the film to shine. He knocked Clark out of the park, but as Superman, he was just kind of there most of the movie. Whine about the costume or whatever you want to say, whine about Routh being too small (still buffer than Reeve), but he was the best choice. Even Dana Reeve gave him her support.

    So hopefully Snyder keeps his word and ignores everything that came before, and gives us a great reboot (Batman Begins style). I’ll wait and see on opening weekend, because unlike most “experts” as you guys like to call yourselves, I like to give a film a chance before I decide whether or not it will be worth watching.

    • Gary,

      Believe it or not, I agree with you on all your points. I think the problem with the original Superman movies was that in Hollywood they looked at the phrase “comic book” and thought “Hey, ‘comic’ – that means FUNNY, right?”.


    • The first couple of Superman films had some other flaws as well. Flying around the earth and reversing it’s orbit with no ill effects on earth and that subduing a villain with a plastic wrap S symbol which magically grows to a larger size with no explanation whatsoever for this new ability come to mind.

      • Superman actually doesn’t reverse the orbit of the planet; rather, he spins around the world so quickly that he goes back in time. The Earth spinning backwards was meant to show us, the audience, that he was going back in time.

        • Then why, when he started flying back the other way, the earth stalled and then started revolving the correct way? He wouldn’t need to fly around the planet, all he needed to do is fly faster than light in outer space.

  9. Ben Moore says in the article “Hence the reason Bryan Singer made Superman Returns – it was so much easier to basically remake Richard Donner’s Superman”

    Did you even watch Superman Returns. It wasn’t a remake of Donner’s Superman the movie. It was a continuation of Superman 2. It was in the same universe, but it wasn’t a remake. If it had been a remake, we wouldn’t have had the kid, we would have had the origin story, we would have had to watch Lex Luthor joking around with his sidekick Otis (who shouldn’t have existed), and watch Clark giving Lois crap about smoking (which has irked me since I was a kid because Lois isn’t a smoker.)

    Superman Returns failed at the aspect that it tried to stay true to Donner’s film, which wasn’t fair to the cast. Because all it did was leave them open to crybaby’s who are still living in 1978 complaining that it’s not Christopher Reeve.

    • My statement was what can be referred to as “hyperbole,” but my point was that the plot, style, etc. was very much the same. Luthor’s the bad guy. His big scheme is all about real estate. Good guy wins. The end!

  10. I don’t think he was saying “THOR has a movie?” in the sense that THOR doesn’t deserve one; more in the sense that THOR is usually considered a pretty low rung on the superhero ladder, and Superman is the top. It’s like the article SR ran on Aquaman, the King of Atlantis, the protecter of 70% of Earth, and how his movie was kind of a low priority. Personally, I think Aquaman is greater than about 99% of superheroes, in either Marvel or DC. But, that’s what Zack’s saying.

  11. …. the world’s out of balance…, I’m sorry, WHAT? Because one cmpany is making a movie about one of their characters ‘ahead’ of Superman the world is out of balance? Thats a STUPID comment by any standard. Cant be “taken out of contxt”, it’s just stupid. Sherlock Holmes just recently had a movie made, oh wait, he was supposed to wait in line behind Superman. I’m a filmmaker and I’d like to make a film about Zorro, or Tarzan, or Alladin, or Robin Hood, or King Arthur, or any of literatures or comicbookdoms characters, BUT WAIT!! I’ve got to wait in line behind Zaac Snyders Superman movie. So that the world doesn’t get out of balance. By all means, lets keep the world in balance. If Zac Snyder makes movies the same way he makes comments, well……..

    • Decaffeinated is the right choice. You’re going to give yourself an ulcer.

  12. Vic, could I cuss juuuusst this once, maybe. I mean, the worlds out of balance? Come on, man.:)

  13. I like his movies but he shouldn’t have said that. Thor is fresh and original. Give it a chance. Guess he wouldn’t know anything about original since he copied 300 and and watchmen pretty much to the tee. Haha. Kidding. We’ll see about Sucker Punch. Till then keep Thor’s name out yo mouth!

    • Don’t forget the Dawn of the Dead remake ;)

  14. Superman is a comic icon but, Thor is an actual god character that goes back thousands of years. What is it with guys like him, Singer and Vaughn that they have to talk about what other people are doing wrong in an attempt to hype their projects.

    These guys are a revolving door directing these movies and they don’t ever seem to be what everyone wants. I just like how nobody thinks anyone does it right.

  15. Wonder who’s going to direct the next Superman reboot?

    • Kathryn Bigelow lol

    • Uwe Bol? :-)

  16. These guys have massive egos. Obviously I don’t know the guy at all personally but what if Christopher Nolan just went off one day and said exactly what he was thinking about us movie fans. It probably wouldn’t be good a la James Cameron. At least Snyder is being honest.

  17. he does have a point, a Superman movie is more important than a Thor movie. No dissing Thor but Superman is better, there’s no denying it.

    But to be fair, they are 2 completely different studios.

    Glad he’s working on it, and not some guy whose gonna play it save and not take the risks Superman needs

  18. I find nothing wrong with what Snyder said. All he said was that if Thor has a film, than why the heck can’t Superman have a kick ass film.

    Thor is NOT a major 1st tier super hero either. Nolan and Snyders Superman will earn more money at the overall box office than Thor will.

    That should prove it. I’ll tell ya….the team of Nolan, Goyer and Snyder collaborating on making this next Superman film screams EPIC to me.

    Can’t wait!

  19. I am gonna get this before Beckett does…

    Nolan is no longer involved in “The Man of Steel.”

  20. Thats right Christopher Nolan is no longer to the Man of Steel attachment

    • See above.

      • It’s still only a producer. He basically left the project so he could focus all of his creative attention and direction to Batman. He is a producer only in name, just so they can throw his name out there when advertising comes around.

        • He was only ever producer. Who said he was anything more than a producer? I’m confused as to where these comments are coming from.

          • Sorry Ben, but what was all the ruckus about him leaving the project a few months ago then? Screen Rant reported on it, Nolan said he was not doing any work on Superman at all and had to focus on Batman. Considering they are released within 6 months of each other, I fail to see how he will actually be doing any ‘Producing’
            Plus IMDB? Hardly reliable.
            Nolan was only ever involved to drum up fanboy and media excitement, nothing more.

            • He left the day-to-day duties. He’s still a producer. He still gets producer credit and money.

  21. I think many people are missing the point. He’s not dissing Thor by any means. From my view he is only stating how weird it is, that the world we live in today can manage to get a good movie about a god of thunder, but they can’t manage to do one about an American Icon. Superman and Batman are the most beloved comic book heroes out there, and for one of them to only be a cinematic memory at this point is a bit disturbing.

    • Thing is it’s a statement that makes no sense since there was just a Superman movie, if people thought it was some life affirming event is opinion. And how does he know what the Thor movie is going to be like ?

      This along with Singer and Vaughn going on about how they have to undo the “damage” done to the X-Men movies ironically while Singer was doing the Superman movie, which I guess was bad according to Snyder, makes these guys seem like whiny high school kids. Then they are the first one to cry foul when “fan-boys” question their following the comics to the letter.

      None of these guys have bought in the money of the really heavy hitters and they are not making Citizen Cain, the Godfather or Apocalypse Now. They need to just make their movies, try and make them a fun experience for however long the running time is and stop with all this fake artsy BS.

  22. Thor is ok. Orginal… But also superman. I pay my respect to both superheros. It is time for the man of steep to take over the big screen with a good, action, drama story. Hope is like nolans batman.

  23. Nolan IS involved in the Man of Steel as much as they like to downplay it. He is the freakin main producer and wrote the story!

    Plus he will be seeing his fair share of dailies as the film progresses during the filming stage. He most certainly will be involved. Perhaps not as hands on….but he will be informed of it’s progress during the production.

  24. Nolan is not involved at all no matter how badly you guys want him to have input on the film.

    And since when does money have anything to do with quality? Watchmen was pretty decent imo. I don’t care how much it made in theaters.

  25. I have an impression of Snyder (whether it’s true or not) — he doesn’t like following in others’ footsteps, and for that reason I think he is true to his word that it is a reboot. However, I also think he is really arrogant and over-hyped.

    Also, I truly wonder how much input Snyder is going to have on this film. I for one haven’t liked any of his movies. so maybe I can put that as a positive. I really want to like his movies (I sat through Watchmen twice hoping it’d be better the second time and I had to stop it halfway through because I couldn’t watch any longer. But I’ll probably still see Sucker Punch (again, because I like Snyder’s visual style and I’m hoping for that one film that actually works with it).

    I also hope this Supes film does well becuase I really want a good Supes film. I just don’t have that much faith in Snyder.

  26. HAHAHAHAHA! Are you kidding me? How many movies and chances has Superman had and now that Thor has his first, all of a sudden “Superman not getting any love?” Sounds like a spoiled brat pouting to get some attention to me.

    Oh and the JLA/Avengers fight was the biggest fluke ever! Not once did Thor use any of his magical energy attacks on Supes. Oh wait that’s right makes sense because we can’t have Superman lose right? Hell Shazam in the movie Public Enemies showed Superman is no match for his magical abilities. Sorry but Superman has no defense if Thor had been show to cut loose with a few hundred magical lightning bolts. I mean he is the God of Thunder right? Too bad he couldn’t be in that fight.

    • Agreed. Superman has a weakness to magic and magic weapons, both of which are a major part of Thor’s offense. The JLA/Avengers fight was obviously inspired by one of Thor’s fights with Count Nefaria, including the one-handed hammer catch. Of course, Nefaria isn’t hurt by mystical weapons like Superman, so catching the hammer makes sense for him but not for the Man of Steel. It would be like old-school Green Lantern blocking yellow bullets with his ring : impossible.

    • The movie Public Enemies, and indeed, the book it was based on, do not prove that Captain Marvel is always and forever going to beat Superman. He has lost to Superman in fights, as well.

      • Kingdom Come.

        • So an out of continuity story in which Captain Marvel did NOT out and out defeat Superman is your proof that he could defeat Superman? My point was that there are stories depicting both outcomes, so it’s a meaningless reference.

          • I was agreeing with you, Superman wins that fight in the end of Kingdom Come. I know its out of continuity but that wasn’t the premise. I was affirming your premise that there are stories where Superman wins against Captain Marvel.

  27. Again people- Superman had 5 CRAPPY films. None of them were deserving of the title SUPERMAN. I know this because I’ve been a lifelong Supes-fan. And so for Thor to get a really epic movie-treatment on his FIRST film, that is pathetic for the way Superman has been treated.

    I still say Snyder was just being honest and people (particularly MARVEL fans) are getting butthurt over it. Seriously this is ridiculous. I have loved all of Snyder’s movies- 300, Dawn of the Dead and Watchmen. I’m sure he’ll make a kick-butt Superman film that will WHOOP Thor in the box office.

    But again Snyder is right. Superman is the original superhero, the king-daddy of all heroes. It is horrible the way Hollywood has been treating him. He deserves a really epic film…a film either ON Thor’s level or ABOVE it.


    • Disagree – the original Donner film is one of the best comic movies ever made (goofy Lex cohorts aside)

    • Superman had TWO crappy movies, TWO great films, and ONE film that divided his fans and casual audiences about the action and certain choices made…but NOT 5 crappy films. Not by a long shot.

  28. Its not a diss, its a compliment. Zack is saying that superman as the world’s most known hero should finally have a good movie like thor is going to. Thats all. His mentioning of thor is only because he seems that thor is going to be good. Why cant superman too… I liked SR but as a supes fan it was a disaster. I cannot remember in reeves’ superman 3 seeing the child!! It was suppose to be the bridge between the 2 and i said in another topic bring metallo or brainiac for this movie, you can still have lex do a cameo, after all Lex is his archnemesis, but def not the main villian. Even a refen e to zod but notas the main villian either.

    • I disagree. Snyder’s words about Thor having a movie ahead of Supes means the world out of balance is a pretty straight diss at Thor, but, granted, it is open to interpretation. However, combine that with the “Thor has a movie? Really? Come on” and his meaning is fairly obvious.

      Personally I think Snyder’s a jaskass and his comments here solidify that in my mind. He could’ve been much more tactful, e.g., “Thor’s getting a film that is shaping up to be good, Supes deserves one too.” But no, he had to say the world is “out of balance” because Thor has a movie. He’ll probably come out with a retraction in a few days, e.g., “that’s not a slam at Thor, it was *yadda yadda yadda*”

      BTW – SR wasn’t a bridge between 2 and 3, it was a sequel to 2 (ignoring 3 and 4 ever existed).

  29. Nolan IS still involved in The Man of Steel. Every time there is a casting announcement or an interview with Zack he talks about his collaboration with Nolan. He is still a producer and very much involved in the movie, he has however turned over the decision making to Zack and has stepped away from making all the decisions, but he is still consulting and in Snyder’s ear.