There are two schools of thought floating around about the upcoming Logan, Hugh Jackman’s final farewell to the beloved character that launched his career (at least until Fox offers him a ridiculously big paycheck and convinces him to do one more).
Others think that this new approach to the franchise is pretentious and cheesy.
Similarly, depending on whether or not you buy into Logan’s grim Western vibe, you’ll likely think that James Mangold’s commentary on the trailer is either a welcome insight into the movie, or an annoying overindulgence.
Both opinions have merit. In an interview with Empire Online, Mangold has given his insight on every single aspect of the short one minute trailer, detailing his choice of music, aesthetics, and even explaining Wolverine’s scars.
So why, according to Mangold, is the trailer so artsy? From the sounds of it, the director had to push hard against Fox to take this unique marketing approach:
“The real driver in all these decisions is trying to separate ourselves, in an accurate way, from the other superhero movies. We think we’re going to deliver something a little different and we want to make sure we’re selling audiences on the difference. Sometimes even when a movie’s a little different, the studio’s trying to market the movie just like all the others. [Cash’s] music, in a way, separates us from the standard, bombastic, brooding orchestral, swish-bang, doors opening and slamming, explosions kind of methodology of some of these movies.”
Going further, Mangold delved into just what, in his opinion, makes his movie so special:
“I don’t so much think about comic-book framings but I think about film noir framings and classic Hollywood filmmaking styles, German expressionist filmmaking style of the early part of the last century, which has a lot in common with comic-book art.”
Oh dear. Namedropping German expressionism is always a worrying sign for a comic book movie.
Well, unless you like that sort of thing. Batman Returns is probably the German expressionist litmus test for movie audiences, as Tim Burton took on the sequel movie only because he was allowed to make it as twisted and weird as possible.
If you like Batman Returns, you’ll like German expressionism, and, apparently, Logan.
If you think a Batman movie that’s more about The Penguin biting people’s noses off is a bit much, you might need to take this as a warning sign.
Even in the camera angles, Mangold is looking to ignore popular trends:
“In modern filmmaking everything’s in close-up, so every scene there’s 150 cuts to keep track of what’s going on with every element. I’m trying on this film to set frames that are, in some way, descriptive and yes, are kind of evocative of comic-book panels and also for me classical filmmaking.”
All in all, Mangold’s longwinded explanation of why his film is special suggests that the movie might well be very divisive.
If you’re after a nuanced, darker superhero movie that pretends it’s a Western, this might be for you.
If you just want to watch Wolverine stab people and chase explosions, you might need to sit through some self-indulgent wide shots of Hugh Jackman crying in order to get there.