“Logan” Director Dismisses Tentpole Films

Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold have scored much acclaim for “Logan,” the film which took the X-Men franchise in a more artistic, grounded and interesting direction – even if only for the duration of this film itself.

A big part of the success was that it was effectively a self-contained work, one that relied on very simple and basic storytelling, pulling no punches, and sticking with a small focus on only a handful of main characters – be they super powered or not.

Most modern comic book films on the other hand, from the MCU to the DCEU, are what are considered tentpole films – high-concept, CG-heavy action fare with multiple characters in films more akin to episodic TV in their reliance on carrying on story threads from the previous movies.

Speaking in a new interview with KCRW, Mangold made it clear he’s come to detest tentpoles and the way the genre has become these days:

“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 arc 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.”

Mangold, who also directed 2013’s “The Wolverine”, suggested “Iron Man” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” as tentpoles that aren’t necessarily bad films. “Logan” has been a huge commercial success, having already surpassed $500 million at the worldwide box office on top of some of the year’s best film reviews.