Directors Anthony and Joe Russo earned the Marvel Cinematic Universe greater artistic cred with their film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the hope is they’ll do it again with Captain America: Civil War – the next major Marvel Studios release (sorry, Ant-Man) and the beginning of Phase III for Marvel Studios’ shared movie/TV show franchise.
The Russos will thereafter helm the two-part Avengers: Infinity War, which will serve as the capstone to a decade’s worth of Marvel Studios storytelling. Production on both Infinity War features is expected to last some nine months total; as though the scope of the project wasn’t impressive enough, it’s now confirmed the next adventure with Earth’s Mightiest will be shot entirely in IMAX – the first for a Hollywood feature film.
Certain sequences in Civil War will be filmed using IMAX/ARRI 2D digital cameras, ahead of the Russos shooting the Infinity War movies entirely using the state of the art joint customized digital version of ARRi’s new large format camera, the Alexa 65. Here is the official statement on the matter, from the Russos:
“The intent with the Infinity War films is to bring ten years of accumulative storytelling to an incredible climax. We felt that the best way to exploit the scale and scope required to close out the final chapter of these three phases, was to be the first films shot entirely on the IMAX/ARRI Digital camera.”
For those filmmaking tech fans out there: the Alexa 65 was officially launched in December 2014 at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Los Angeles. The camera system is described as “a scaled-up version of an Alexa XT,” equipped with a sensor slightly larger than a 5-perf 65 mm film frame – able to capture an uncompressed ARRIRAW 65 mm image with “staggering intensity and definition.”
It’s become increasingly common for big-budget tentpoles to have sequences filmed in IMAX (Star Wars: The Force Awakens being another upcoming example); or, in the case of Christopher Nolan’s recent projects (The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar), large chunks of the entire movie. The next logical step would be to shoot an entire feature in the format, and such a technical quality is befitting for a story as massive in scale and stakes as Infinity War.
Marvel Studios’ two-part Phase III climax will focus on Thanos (Josh Brolin) – who’s been featured in multiple Marvel films by this point – and his quest to unite the Infinity Stones, so that he might wreak havoc on the universe. It’s a conflict that will not just concern Earth’s Mightiest, but most likely cosmic superheroes such as the Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel (whose solo movie arrives in between Infinity War – Part 1 and Part 2). This will indeed be a proper MCU “event”.
Upside is, the IMAX/ARRI digital cameras will not only allow the Russos to make the Infinity War films look appropriately expansive, in terms of cinematography. The camera system is also far more agile than traditional IMAX cameras, so it won’t have the constrictive effect on camera movement and mobility that the IMAX format has suffered from in the past. It should also be much quieter than its predecessors, making the recording of dialogue/ambient sound effects easier.
Infinity War – Part 1 & 2 is being written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the same writers behind all three Captain America movies. The screenwriting duo, like the Russos, appears to have found a way to balance the commercial demands of these Marvel Studios projects with their creative interests – which bodes well for Infinity War. (Fingers crossed, Civil War doesn’t change the general opinion on that subject.)
The other concern is that everything about Infinity War – the scale of the narrative, the number of characters, the challenges of shooting in IMAX – could prove too much for even the Infinity War four-man directing/writing team. Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron took such a toll on Joss Whedon that he was simply too worn out to work on another Avengers film (or two), but there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic the Russos will prove able to delegate enough to avoid a similar burn-out.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron is now playing in theaters. Ant-Man arrives on July 17, 2015; Captain America: Civil War – May 6, 2016; Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man reboot – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Black Panther – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – November 2, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019.
Source: Marvel/Disney, IMAX