The R-rated “Logan,” Hugh Jackman’s final Wolverine blockbuster,
really pushes the romantic bounds of what a Hollywood
superhero film can be, so it shouldn’t be too startling that
its director, James Mangold, isn’t a outrageous fan of cookie-cutter
Still, his send-up of tentpole cinema on a
new episode of the podcast “The Business” is notable
since it skilfully distills the problem many see with big-budget
films these days, generally superhero ones.
“Tentpole cinema in general, they are not movies, generally —
they are magisterial exercises in two-hour trailers for another movie
they are going to sell you in two years,” Mangold said. “There
are so many characters that any impression gets an arch of about
6 1/2 mins at best, and I’m not exaggerating. You take 120
minutes, you take 45 of it for action, what are you left with,
order it by 6 characters, you have the impression arc of Elmer
Fudd in a Warner Brothers cartoon. That regulation is dull for me.”
And Mangold isn’t just articulate about the studios trying to mimic
Marvel’s success with obtuse material. “If I’m going to insult
other movies, I’m going to do it with a big broom,” he said. “I’m
going to contend that this is endemic. I’d contend if you’re just going
to demeanour at Marvel’s grosses and somehow make their cinema free of
this kind of criticism, that’s not fair.”
He did discuss “Guardians of the Galaxy” and the first “Iron Man”
as examples of good filmmaking, but he pronounced the common world
of superhero cinema was repetitive.
Mangold is positively in a position to criticize.
“Logan” is conspicuous in balancing big-budget movement with a human
play that has some critics job it the best
superhero film ever. It took outrageous risks and ultimately
landed with audiences in a tangible way.