Nowadays, superhero films are a common thing. We get about ten superhero blockbusters a year. However, that wasn't always the case. There was a time where superhero films weren't very popular or successful. Sure, there were plenty of superhero-themed movie serials in the 1940's, but those types of movies eventually went out of style.
In the 1950's and 60's, there were barely any superhero films. 1966 brought us Batman: The Movie, which was a wonderful film, but aside from that, there wasn't much going on in the world of superheroes.
There wasn't much superhero stuff in the 1970's, but things changed in the year 1978. Richard Donner's Superman film came to theaters. It was the film that left an eternal impact on superhero films. Since there had been so few superhero films, making a Superman film was no easy feat. Originally, the script was a borderline comedy. However, Richard Donner came along and made sure that while the film would be fun, it would also be heartfelt, emotional and capture the morality of Superman. Directing Superman was a true challenge. Getting the Krypton sets made and figuring out how to make it look like Christopher Reeve was really flying were true challenges. However, Richard Donner proved he had what it took to make the film a reality.
Richard Donner directed Superman and had started directing scenes of Superman 2. However, he ended up spending more money than he was supposed to. This led to the film's producers firing him. While that was sad, the 1st Superman was a huge hit. It was beloved by fans of Superman, but it also connected to multiple generations and demographics. Richard Donner's film proved that superhero films had the potential to be something big. While there had been a few superhero films in the past, Richard Donner's Superman film was the first film to be a major hit.
Richard Lester was brought in to be the new director of Superman 2. He was also the only person credited for directing the theatrical cut of the film, even though Richard Donner had filmed a good portion of the film. For a long time, Richard Donner's version of Superman 2 remained unseen. However, in 2006, Superman 2: The Richard Donner Cut came to DVD. This version of the film contained the footage that Donner had shot. Richard Donner had filmed some important scenes with Marlon Brando. However, since Marlon Brando was so expensive, his scenes for Superman 2 were not used in the theatrical version. The Richard Donner Cut brought those scenes back. If you're a fan of the original Superman films and haven't seen the Richard Donner Cut, I highly recommend it. The theatrical version of the film is good, but some of the most important scenes of the film were cut out. The Richard Donner Cut brings those scenes back in spectacular fashion.
Richard Donner's time with superheroes didn't end with Superman. He was also a producer on the first X-Men film. 2000's X-Men film helped superhero films achieve a new level of success, so Donner, once again, helped superhero films soar to new heights.
More superhero films will come and go, but Richard Donner's Superman was and will always remain one of the most important. Special thanks go to Richard Donner for making the last four decades of superhero films possible. Thank you for making people of all generations believe in truth, justice and the American way.