Ask any fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe what their favorite film in the franchise is and a common answer will be 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Cap’s second standalone feature is one of the more acclaimed entries in the canon, expertly blending political intrigue with the genre thrills moviegoers have come to expect. The reaction to Winter Soldier is one of the main reasons why so many are excited to watch this summer’s Captain America: Civil War, which sees Captain America 2 directors Joe and Anthony Russo return to the helm.
One of the more striking elements of Winter Soldier was its tone. The MCU is known for being mostly light-hearted, but the Captain America sequel was more serious in its execution, taking cues from 1970s spy thrillers and Jason Bourne movies to deliver a unique experience. Those who enjoyed that interpretation of the source material will be happy to hear that the Russos strived for that style once again when making Civil War.
While at Wizard World Cleveland Comic-Con (hat tip Comic Book), the sibling directors discussed their approach to tackling Civil War, mentioning that their intention was to make it more intense than its predecessor:
“We really did a radical reinterpretation of Captain America in Winter Soldier. We were twice as aggressive in tone and execution on Civil War.”
It isn’t surprising that this is the case. Given that the title of the movie is Civil War, one would think that things would get contentious and aggressive, as two sides of Earth’s Mightiest fight for control. Based on the marketing materials that have been released thus far, it’s apparent that Captain America 3 won’t be a fun romp a la Guardians of the Galaxy or Ant-Man. Described as a psychological thriller, there are potentially devastating consequences that await the Avengers, with the directors promising an ending that will be controversial in nature.
The catalyst for all this is the relationship between Steve Rogers and his lifelong friend Bucky Barnes, who was brainwashed by HYDRA to become the Winter Soldier and carry out missions for the organization. During their appearance in Cleveland, the Russos mentioned that Cap and Bucky’s dynamic “will be further fleshed,” which makes sense since Bucky seems to be at the center of the titular conflict’s genesis. It will be nice to see this take shape, as viewers arguably haven’t spent that much time with the two together. The First Avenger provided a brief taste of it, while the old allies were on opposing sides in The Winter Soldier. Since this is the emotional crux of Civil War, how the Rogers/Barnes relationship is handled could go a long way in selling audiences on Captain America’s motivations.
The Russos are going to have a major presence in Marvel’s Phase 3, as they’re also directing the two-part Avengers: Infinity War event due in theaters 2018 and 2019. Their success in bringing this ambitious, grand stories to the big screen will go a long way in determining if the latest wave of MCU films sets a new high standard for the franchise or symbolizes its downfall. At this point, it would be unwise to bet against them. The brothers surprised a lot of people with the sophistication of The Winter Soldier, so fans have every reason to believe they can do it again with Civil War.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.