Joe and Anthony Russo, directors of Avengers: Infinity War, recently stressed how important it is that heroes "feel pain."
"You're not the guy to make the sacrifice play," Steve Rogers snapped at Tony Stark. Under the influence of the Tesseract, The Avengers saw Captain America highlight the cost of heroism. That's essentially the theme of the MCU to date; what does it truly mean to be a hero? By the end of The Avengers, Stark had proved Cap wrong. He'd launched himself through a portal, carrying a nuclear bomb on his back. It was the ultimate "sacrifice play."
While answering fan questions at Sina Weibo, Joe Russo - one of the directors of Avengers: Infinity War - stressed how important themes of pain and sacrifice are to heroism. Asked about how to handle this kind of theme, he responded by pointing out that this is the nature of good storytelling. There should always be risks, and pain.
"We love being told good stories, and we love telling good stories, and all of our energy, and our effort, and our thought, and our passion goes into telling the best story that we can. And for us, the best stories have stakes. Characters have to make sacrifices. To really, really feel the true emotion and the hero's journey they have to go through trials and those trials could cost them something."
But, Russo continued, this isn't just a function of good storytelling. It's also central to what it means to be a hero.
"So, for us, its very important that the heroes feel pain and that they make sacrifices because I think that, not only is it great storytelling, but it also is inspiring and I think we need a lot of inspiration in this world right now. So, for us, I don't know if we can ever get you to accept it, but I promise you this: we'll do our damnedest to tell you the best story possible, and what you do with it from there is up to you."
To the Russo brothers, it's clear that being a hero means being willing to take a stand - no matter the potential consequences. There has to be a sense of risk, a sense that the hero could lose, or even that winning will mean paying a severe price. The classic example is the Russos' own Captain America: The Winter Soldier. One of the best-loved Marvel movies to date, this film carefully constructed a new 'world' around Cap, showing him as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.. By the movie's close, Steve Rogers was forced to bring S.H.I.E.L.D. down in flames. Triumphing in battle against Hydra cost him the new life he had built for himself.
There's exactly the same pattern in Captain America: Civil War. There, the Russos set up the film with Cap as leader of the Avengers. Steve Rogers has once again rebuilt his life, this time centered around leadership of a small team. As the film progresses, the team fractures and fragments. By the close, Cap is a fugitive, on the run from justice. Once again, his triumph has cost him everything.
The stakes have never been higher than Avengers: Infinity War. Thanos is coming to Earth, and he's seeking the unlimited power of the Infinity Gauntlet. The trailer has already made it clear that the Mad Titan is the greatest threat this world has ever faced. Given the Russo brothers' philosophy, we can assume that there will be a steep price to pay in order to defeat him.
Source: Marvel Studios Movies
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019