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The director of ‘Logan’ delivered a brutal critique of big-budget superhero movies

james mangold


The R-rated “Logan,” Hugh Jackman’s final Wolverine blockbuster,
really pushes the emotional boundaries of what a Hollywood
superhero movie can be, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that
its director, James Mangold, isn’t a huge fan of cookie-cutter

Still, his send-up of tentpole movies on a

recent episode of the podcast “The Business” is notable
because it deftly distills the problem many see with big-budget
films these days, especially superhero ones.

“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,” Mangold said. “There
are so many characters that each character gets an arch of about
6 1/2 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.”

And Mangold isn’t just talking about the studios trying to mimic
Marvel’s success with lesser 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 say that this is endemic. I’d say if you’re just

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