James Mangold is credited with making one of the most well-received comic book movies in the form of Logan. In preparation for a digital watch party organized for the movie by ComicBook.com, Mangold gave an interview in which he described how Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy showed him the way towards making a compelling film about superheroes.

"It seemed to me that the only films of this ilk that did interest me, that I did admire, or to use Chris Nolan's movies as an example, the ones that have really moved me beyond just the spectacle. There was a very clear decision to apply a film genre to the material, if that makes any sense."
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"The reason I'm always pointing out the so-called superhero movie, and I keep pointing out that I don't think it's the genre. Is that from a creative perspective, in terms of making a movie, there are as many kinds of superhero movies as there are movie genre."

For James Mangold, in a genre cluttered with films that all looked the same, Nolan's work as an attempt to take a superhero story and fit it into the mold of a particular genre of storytelling was the way to go. Just like Batman Begins was inspired by Blade Runner, The Dark Knight by Michael Mann's Heat, and The Dark Knight Rises by A Tale of Two Cities, so too was Logan inspired by classic westerns, particularly Shane.

The filmmaker further went on to explain that this fitting of a superhero story to a particular genre is what helped the narratives, even in comic books, stand out from the crowd. Especially when it comes to subverting what had been seen before in previous Wolverine movies.

"What I mean by that is that you could make a Greek myth, warriors and gods superhero movie, like a Hercules story. You can make a Bible story as a superhero story, which has been done, a Christ parable. You could make a Western as a superior story. As Chris did, you can make a noir film as a superhero story. We've seen comedies. We've seen buddy pictures."
"We've seen all of the most successful ones, to me in my personal opinion, don't just say to themselves, "I'm making a superhero movie." They take it somewhere specific, and I think that was true to the comic books. I don't think the comic book artists were satisfied with just making in a sense straight "superhero" stories. They were always adding a prism through which to view this particular story. At least the most memorable comic books sagas I know, had a narrative position in terms of what they were trying to do with these characters."

Mangold's theory of sub-genres within the comic book movie genre is how most modern superhero films operate. Ant-Man films are essentially heist movies. Guardians of the Galaxy are space operas. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was an espionage thriller, and Shazam was a coming-of-age adventure. So it seems the lessons Nolan and Mangold tried to teach with their films have been well-and-truly learned by the movie studios. This news originated at ComicBook.com

Neeraj Chand