I’m still not sure how I feel about Marvel Studios adapting Civil War, especially not in a Captain America film. What I do know is that if I trust anyone to do it, it’s Anthony and Joe Russo, directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Jon Favreau got the ball rolling with Iron Man and Joss Whedon directed the first and wildly popular team-up superhero film, The Avengers, with his sequel coming out in May. The Russo brothers, on the other hand, only came on board last year but in my opinion, they’re already the most important directors involved in the ever growing Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
First, they’re simply great directors. Captain America: The First Avenger was a fine origin story for Steve Rogers with a good script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely but it wasn’t a great film. It had serious pacing and editing problems and fell into the MCU’s frequent trap of a forgettable villain.
Fast-forward three years to the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, with Markus and McFeely penning the script again and newcomers Anthony and Joe Russo coming on as directors. The movie received rave reviews and was the best Marvel film of 2014 (yes, better than Guardians of the Galaxy). The Russo brothers constructed a tight, well-paced, thought-provoking, emotionally charged, and entertaining action/thriller film that added new-found depth to the MCU.
I trust them to make a good film with Civil War (mostly). From the silver screen to the living room screen, they proven themselves over and over again. They’re the helm of Marvel Studios after triumphantly directing the first two episodes of Marvel’s Agent Carter miniseries.
Being a good director doesn’t automatically make you a good fit for a universe that is growing rapidly and developing new threads.
Anthony and Joe Russo understand the MCU and its characters better than anyone so far (definitely with a helping hand from Markus and McFeely, of course). Steve Rogers is virtually unrecognizable as the same character between films, where he’s willing to break the rules to do what’s right as a stubborn and underdog fighter in both Captain America films, and The Avengers, where several jokes are made at his expense and he seems simply like the Hollywood cookie-cutter version of this character.
Characters we already knew and loved (Nick Fury, Black Widow, Maria Hill) were effortlessly added into Captain America: The Winter Soldier while characters that were introduced for the first time have now become an integral part of the MCU (Sam Wilson).
The movie relied on trust that the audience knew what was going on with S.H.I.E.L.D. and its growing presence and power. It drew from its predecessor, Captain America: The First Avenger, with the infiltration of HYDRA and appearance by Zola. It made the impact of Winter Solider, on Steve, the larger MCU, and the audience as a character we’ve met before, clear.
Frankly, it’s not just the best Marvel movie from last year, it’s one of the best Marvel movies period. While they may be relatively new, the Russo brothers have already made an impression on the MCU and Marvel Studios.
Civil War is a controversial event in Marvel comics history and I’m not sure will translate well to the MCU. If there’s anybody who could convince me otherwise, however, it would be these two. McFeely seems to agree:
“I think part of the reason for bringing back us and bringing back the [Russo] brothers is because Marvel is very pleased with Winter Soldier aesthetically. I think it’s a really adult movie. It’s very well made and that’s partly the texture of the movie. You can argue it’s the most realistic of the Marvel movies, whatever that is to you. I think it’s fair to say that a Russo brothers movie will stay in that vein.”
With rumors that the catalyst between Steve and Tony in Captain America: Civil War will be Tony finding out it was the Winter Soldier who killed his parents, the film is bound to be intense. If the Russo brothers can repeat what they dd with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as McFeely claims they will, we might be safe yet.
The Russo brothers are also rumored to take on the Avengers following Whedon with Avengers: Infinity War Part I and II and frankly, if they keep it up, I’ll be happy to stick with them until the end of the line.
What do you think? Are they your favorite Marvel directors too? Are you looking forward to Captain America: Civil War? Let us know in the comments!