Logan needed to be R-rated for reasons beyond violence and language, according to the movie's co-writer/director James Mangold. Fans were excited when it was first announced Logan was receiving an R rating, which would finally allow the dark, bloody side of the Wolverine character to come forth. But more than giving the action scenes a harsher edge, Logan presented a more mature, melancholy version of the titular character, which led to rave reviews.
The films grossed over $600 million worldwide, showing there was a willing audience for a more personal, character focused comic book movie. Logan’s excellent word of mouth even nabbed it an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay; a feat almost unheard of within the genre. Mangold has spoken before of the artistic reasons for seeking an R, which freed him of many of the confines he found himself in while making The Wolverine.
Speaking about the film at the 2018 Writers Guild Association Beyond Words panel (via Cinema Blend) Mangold spoke again on the topic, and why the mature tone of the story dictated the rating:
You have to have a slightly off-pedal goal for your film, and the people who are gonna go "What the f*** is that 8-minute scene between Professor X and Logan? That’s like 8 minutes of two guys in a tank talking.' And it's like 'Yeah. that's not gonna change because the vibe of this movie is an adult drama.' That's why, for instance, we wanted an R-rating. It wasn't because of the violence and it wasn't because of the language, but because I didn't have to write a movie, and neither did my compatriots, for 11-year-olds. If we had a rated-R movie there were gonna be no Happy Meals. There can be no action figures. There was gonna be no marketing on Saturday morning cartoons or anything like it, so that suddenly you're not making a movie written for someone under 14, 15. And that changes the length of scenes. It changes what they're talking about.
While The Wolverine was a solid movie, it was clear Mangold was never entirely comfortable working within the comic book movie formula. That film wanted to be a character study, but it periodically had to stop for action setpieces, with the silly third act showdown with The Silver Samurai feeling like it belonged to a completely different movie. Those lessons informed his approach to Logan, which became more of a modern day Western than a traditional comic book adventure, which is a tone viewers found refreshing.
Mangold also made headlines recently with his comments on post-credits scenes, which he has a burning hatred for. Using wonderfully colorful language, the filmmaker feels they’re basically ads for the next movie in the franchise, and undermine the integrity of the film they’re attached too. Mangold’s own The Wolverine featured a post-credits sequence setting up X-Men: Days Of Future Past, and it was such commercial decisions that again had the director stressing Logan needed to be rated R. Needless to say, Logan did NOT feature a post-credits sequence.
Source: Cinema Blend
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