The Marvel Cinematic Universe broke new ground in Hollywood. By creating interweaving narratives along multiple franchises, and periodically culminating into massive team-ups like The Avengers, they did the seemingly impossible: They made movies work like comic books. The events of their most recent entry, Captain America: Civil War, left lasting repercussions with the relationships of The Avengers seemingly damaged beyond repair. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo, who helmed the last two Captain America films, are now taking on the next two Avengers films, and they certainly have their work cut out for them.
While there’s a huge lockdown on plot details about Avengers: Infinity War, it’s a fair bet that big baddie Thanos (played by Josh Brolin in Guardians of the Galaxy) is going to make a power grab for the infinity stones to attain god-like power. If comics have taught us anything, it’s that this will require every superhero in the known universe to stop him.
So how will these heroes work out their differences to come together again? That’s exactly the question that Independent asked director Anthony Russo in a recent interview. Russo’s answer was very telling about his priorities as a storyteller.
“There’s a writing adage that says ‘write yourself into a corner.’ My brother and I have always loved that adage. That was one of our favourite things about Civil War – that it ended in a difficult place where it’s hard to imagine what the road forward exactly is for both Tony Stark, Steve Rogers and these two sides that have suffered the consequences of this division. On a storytelling level, it is a very difficult place and yes, that is very much the condition of the world as we move forward after Civil War. This very much sets the stage for where Infinity War begins – it’s a place of a strong divide.”
Russo also promised that they wouldn’t be taking any shortcuts. That divide is the defining aspect of the Avengers’ relationships right now, and there won’t be any easy, offscreen resolutions.
“We believe things that are important and complex for a character to go through should be seen on camera. The divisions that happened at the end of Civil War were so deep they’re not the kind of things you can resolve or move through off camera; they’re the kind of things you have to directly deal with in the storytelling. That’s our philosophical approach to how we handle those things.”
While Marvel Studios films have their fair share of detractors — folks turned off by simply by its genre or its often lighthearted tone — they’ve won their fair share of casual audience members through stories that always remain focused on strong character arcs. For those concerned that Infinity War‘s ultimate hero team up might simply devolve into a chaotic slog of action beats, it’s heartening to hear that the Russo’s are intent on keeping characters and relationships at the center of the experience.
Captain America: Civil War will be released in Digital HD on September 2nd and on 3-D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, VOD, and Digital SD September 13.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming– July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.