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James Mangold Addresses a Common Pitfall of Superhero Films

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James Mangold Explores Key Element in Superhero Films

Filmmaker James Mangold, known for directing Logan, emphasizes the significance of placing character development at the core of a successful superhero movie. He stresses the importance of allowing the protagonist to have flaws. Mangold recently discussed his experience with Logan and how it influenced his approach to the Indiana Jones franchise during a press junket for the upcoming film Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

While superheroes have dominated Hollywood over the past two decades, few films have been as pivotal within the subgenre as Logan. Mangold took Wolverine’s (played by Hugh Jackman) story to new heights by stripping away his immortality and forcing him to confront the consequences of his actions. As a result, Logan stands out among superhero movies for its humanity, presenting a narrative that refuses to rely on simplistic notions of good versus evil. Mangold attributes the film’s success to this approach, which he also sought to incorporate into Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. In Mangold’s own words:

“My intention was to infuse the movie with a humanist sensibility, exploring the character’s struggles. Whether it’s cape-wearing crusaders or superheroes like Wolverine or the X-Men, or even within the ‘Indiana Jones’ franchise, one thing remains true: these are iconic heroes, each with their unique superpowers. Yet, what drew me to both of these characters and compelled me to make movies about them is the presence of their super liabilities. They possess their own flaws and regrets.”

Image via 20th Century Fox

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Shared Themes Between Logan and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Following his success in revitalizing the X-Men franchise with Logan, Mangold took on the responsibility of concluding Indiana Jones’ (portrayed by Harrison Ford) adventures with Dial of Destiny. While mutants and archaeologists may appear disparate at first glance, Mangold reveals that both movies explore the journey of a hero who must adapt to a changing world that is leaving them behind. In Mangold’s words:

“Undoubtedly, a common thread between the two films, for me, was discovering characters who find themselves at a crossroads where their usual tactics are no longer effective—where the world has undergone transformation. I believe this is even explicitly mentioned in ‘Logan,’ but it applies to both movies. In Indiana Jones’ case, we encounter him in his seventies, amidst the era of modernism, rock and roll, moon landings, triangulation, the Red Scare, nuclear fears, and the Vietnam War. It’s a vastly different world from the clarity and simplicity of the ’30s, where a united free world battled against Nazis. It’s an entirely different environment. Similarly, Hugh Jackman’s character, Logan, faces diminishing returns as his powers wane. This vulnerability brings forth a compelling journey for the character.”

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is set to release in theaters on June 30, 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about superhero films

What is the importance of character development in superhero films?

Character development is crucial in superhero films because it allows the audience to connect with the protagonist on a deeper level. It adds complexity and realism to the story, making the superhero more relatable and engaging.

How did James Mangold’s experience with Logan influence his approach to Indiana Jones?

James Mangold’s experience directing Logan, where character flaws and humanity played a significant role, informed his approach to the Indiana Jones franchise. He aimed to bring a similar humanist sensibility to the character of Indiana Jones, exploring his struggles and vulnerabilities.

What are the shared themes between Logan and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny?

Both Logan and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny share the theme of a hero adapting to a changing world. In Logan, Wolverine faces diminishing powers, while Indiana Jones finds himself in his seventies, navigating an era of modernism, rock and roll, and geopolitical shifts. Both characters embark on journeys of self-discovery and must confront the challenges brought by the evolving times.

When will Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny be released?

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is scheduled to hit theaters on June 30, 2023.

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