We’ve all been there before. You flip on a random movie, and after spending five minutes in, you realize you know who’s good, who’s bad, their conflict, how it’ll resolve, how the main character will get the love interest, and how the overall resolution will come to pass. It’s a staple of a lot of genre content out there that fans can fall back on familiar tropes, and at the end of the day, most superhero fare falls squarely into that.
Understandably, there are plenty of people out there who are none too thrilled with this development. Many go to the movies to be intrigued and surprised and challenged, while others go for pure, fun, comfortable escapism. For his part, Ford v. Ferrari and Logan director James Mangold is a part of the former group.
“I’m really tired of movies where you know exactly where it’s going and audiences are very mixed about it,” the director told /Film. “Sometimes, when a movie doesn’t seem to know where it’s going, you bitch about it, and you also bitch about the movies where you know exactly where it’s going! The reality is that I’m much more of a fan of the movies where I’m feeling surprised and I’m not seeing just last year’s movie maybe in blue with new people. One of the reasons this movie’s [Ford v. Ferrari] very dear to me is that the studio took a big risk on the movie where there is no best-selling book, there is no superhero, there’s nothing that compels an audience to come.”
Mangold is definitely right about one thing: we complain no matter what. You get people who complain if the story doesn’t go exactly as they expect, and you get people who complain if the movie is too predictable. Personally, I like a mix of both. I love my tentpoles to give me familiar tropes in a unique way, but I also am totally cool if I can predict most events before they happen.
That being said, I’m often happily surprised when wrong, and enjoyed films like Avengers: Endgame, Knives Out, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi simply because I didn’t know how it would all turn out. I don’t think swearing one off for the other is the right way to go, but can see how different audiences would want different things. That being said, I’m also fairly confident most audiences who want want the familiar tropes would still go out and say they want to be surprised, all the while lying to themselves through their teeth.
What do you think of Mangold’s comments? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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