Why Logan’s Director Hates Most Superhero Movies

Logan and X23 stand over a grave in Logan

Logan eschewed the superhero formula to such an exhilarating extent that it's already been rightfully labelled as one of the greatest entries in the genre yet. This was very much director James Mangold's plan, because even when the film was in development he spoke passionately about the brutal and visceral direction he hoped to take the character of Wolverine in. Clearly, he see that direction as being as far away from other comic book adaptations as possible, because James Mangold has now admitted that he actually despises the current brand of tentpole superhero movies. James Mangold explained,

Tentpole movies in general, they are not movies, generally. They are bloated exercises in two-hour trailers for another movie they are going to sell you in two years. There are so many characters that each character gets an arch of about six and a half minutes at best, and I'm not exaggerating. You take 120 minutes, you take 45 of it for action, what are you left with, divide it by six characters, you have the character arc of Elmer Fudd in a Warner Brothers cartoon. That formula is empty for me.

While James Mangold doesn't come out and name Marvel Studios as the victim of his contempt, it's quite clear that's who he is aiming his comments at. I mean, just look at Captain America: Civil War, which was packed to the rafters with most of the MCU's superheroes, even managed to introduce a new one in the shape of Spider-Man, and then left an unresolved conflict that audiences are dying to see resolved over the next two, three or fifteen movies. Still, the airport scene was absolutely dynamite, though.

Of course, James Mangold has actually worked on a film that comes off as just a cog in the superhero machine. Before Logan James Mangold directed The Wolverine, which was squeezed into X-Men's increasingly chaotic time-line back in 2013. It was a sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a prequel to the original X-Men trilogy, and was released just a year before X-Men: Days Of Future Past. It was also very tepid and underwhelming, too.

But we should be grateful for the issues that James Mangold had working on The Wolverine. Because, as his comments to KCRW made clear, this provided James Mangold with the impetus to make a distinctive Wolverine film that had its own style and didn't heed to any films before or after it. It also helped that Logan was deliciously violent and entertaining.

We're still not too sure what the future holds for the X-Men franchise after Logan. James Mangold already knows where he's heading, as it was recently announced that he will follow Logan up with the NYPD cop drama The Force. Just don't expect him to dabble in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or DC Extended Universe after that.

Gregory Wakeman