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James Mangold's Logan is a lot of things. It's Hugh Jackman's final outing as Wolverine. It's a hit, R-rated comic book movie. It's even an ode to the western genre. You can call it many things, but as CinemaBlend learned during the 2018 Writers Guild Association Beyond Words Panel presented by Audi last week, you should not call Logan "high-octane" in front of James Mangold. Faced with that description of the film, Mangold told the audience:
How myself and Scott Frank and Michael, on Logan, you know, we were very clear that this is a movie, like from Page 2 we had kind of a little manifesto built into the script about how this isn't gonna be another one of those CG fuckathons where if someone falls out a building and... You know, there's kind of an arms race among these kinds of movies. That's why it broke my heart when Claudia described our film as 'high-octane,' it's like stick a knife in my eye. I'd never wanna make a film someone calls fucking 'high-octane.' It's like what a cliché, 'oh the action movie guy made a movie, it's high-octane.' It's like, I tried to make an Ozu film with mutants.
James Mangold doesn't seem to have a problem with people praising Logan, but he would rather see us stay away from the wording that he considers "cliché." By his estimation, calling Logan a "high-octane" movie pigeonholes him as an "action movie guy," which in turn doesn't recognize the film's more artistic influences from Japanese cinema. This definitely seems to tie into Mangold's other recent comments about disliking post-credit scenes and Easter eggs as well. Despite the fact that Logan is inspired by comic book source material, he seems particularly interested in disassociating from that label.
That's not to say that Logan doesn't have its own fair share of sequences that fit the "high-octane" bill. Despite a budget lower than many other comic book movies of a similar ilk, the film utterly embraces its hard-R rating in a serious way and delivers some truly breathtaking action sequences, such as the ending, which sees Wolverine battle a younger version of himself in the form of X-24.
James Mangold wanted to make something with more substance than a conventional action movie or a sanitized blockbuster seen in franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the DCEU. That said, he still delivered some great action along the way, and that's something worth celebrating in addition to its artistic accolades.