There are a number of factors at play when a director jumps on board a title from a superhero franchise. They are usually limited to a ratings limit, plus the need to drive the story forward to a point where a sequel will take over.
Fortunately for filmmaker James Mangold and Logan, he had the pleasure to close a chapter of a beloved X-Men character. Given the blessing from Fox to go ahead with an R rating that allowed an unfiltered level of violence and graphic material, the man known as "Jim" from his colleagues expressed his gratitude to the cast, crew and studio.
We Didn't Make This To Sell T-Shirts
Bringing on board a number of his trusted behind-the-scenes co-workers, Mangold admitted to his shock and delight that he could create something that didn't need to fit into a neat box.
"I think it was pretty clear to them (studio) that this was going to be Hugh's (Jackman) last," remarked the director. "So one way or another it was going to be closing in that sense. I think that for us - the idea that when I see this film, you know just four or five days ago when they were putting the finishing touches on it, I turned to a lot of my crew who had been with me through 3:10 to Yuma, Girl Interrupted, Walk the Line - they had been with me for a lot of movies. And I was like 'I can't believe we got away with this.' What I mean by that is that it's a very personal movie. It's a very intimate film and regardless of last chapter, whatever chapter, the part that startles me is I got to make a movie like I got to make other movies. Instead of me jumping on board a train, a kind of franchise train built to sell tickets to all four boxes, sell home video, move merchandise, t-shirts - I felt like we just made a movie. A very personal movie about these characters. They mean a lot to us and I think the public."
Mangold: Movies Are Behind TV
Pointing to the success of programs on HBO that push the limits and draw the viewer in, Mangold argues that the small screen stole a march on motion pictures and Logan is a means of bridging the gap.
"Well, it's a function of the rating (R). There is a lot of - you know you turn on cable television, use my friend's Game of Thrones as an example. What we've gotten used to especially on cable is in some cases NC-17 in theatrical. So you do have this thing where movies have got to a level where they're not in front anymore. They're the kind of kaboose in terms of whats happening. You then take it to the further example where you have a character whose renowned for having this berserker vicious side and it's very hard to put that on film. I can speak from first hand in a PG-13 film... Once we had the clearance and the spacing with the rating, we just let our imaginations do what they would do."