James Mangold, director of Logan, is an individual of strong opinions. And he has very specific ideas about the ways he does and doesn’t want his latest film to be received.
Last week, Mangold participated in a panel at the 2018 Writers Guild Association, and during that panel Mangold had to hear his beloved film described as “high-octane.” He did not like it. He told Cinema Blend:
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.
His complaint makes sense. Logan works incredibly hard to give itself an identity separate from other recent superhero movies, and one can understand why Mangold would be a bit defensive about that. Besides, “high-octane” is one of those movie descriptors that has drifted so far from whatever metaphor it was initially apart of that it no longer means anything at all. A... car? Is Wolverine a car? Is that what you’re saying here?
Anyway, avoid calling Logan anything but a thoughtful, tragic action film around James Mangold. He greatly appreciates your help in this matter.