Joe and Anthony Russo are Marvel Studios’ top-dog directors of the moment. After Joss Whedon left the Avengers films for a myriad of reasons and Captain America: Winter Soldier became a smash-hit for the franchise, it makes sense that the two would be the studio’s next choice to helm their mainline project.
Now a year removed from Captain America: Civil War, which also did incredibly well, and having wrapped production on Avengers: Infinity War, the two just did an interview with Variety Magazine.
About half the interview is a bunch of fluff questions. The interviewer asks what super powers they would like to have, what it’s like to work with your brother (like the Coen Brothers and the Wachowskis don’t also exist), and if they had seen Wonder Woman. The answer to the final one was a yes, for what it’s worth, and they liked it.
They were also asked if they would direct a Star Wars film, and they said they would if they were given the opportunity because they love the franchise. I imagine many directors would helm Star Wars if they could.
The most interesting part of the interview follows the interviewer asking, “Do your comic-book films comment on real-world issues?”
Their answers are pretty lengthy, but interesting:
Joe: “My brother and I are politically minded guys. We’re all impacted by what’s going on every day in the world. Heroes are a way to remove yourself from what may be difficult concepts to talk about in your life. They’re a way to get some distance and have an experience in a theater where you’re confronting those issues in a way that’s safer for your psyche.”
Anthony: “In ‘Winter Soldier’ we were thinking about the surveillance state. In ‘Civil War’ our heroes had to decide, is it better to allow themselves to be monitored and controlled by the government or to disband and not let that happen? It’s a theme that just keeps expanding. You’ll find that “Infinity War” and the still untitled Avengers movie deal with much larger issues. They move beyond the politics. Those stories were specifically about Captain America, and he’s a guy that wears a flag on his shield. We can’t help but address current American issues with him. ‘Infinity War’ deals with much deeper, more universal and more profound themes of fate and destiny and the essence of what it means to be a hero.”
For those who’ve read my reviews, I strongly feel that superhero fiction is a great place to deal with political and social issues. It helps resolve that impotence that we all can feel when faced with problems that have existed for a long time and are so much bigger than us.
Given that the ideas of vigilantism and criminal justice are in themselves politically charged concepts, I feel that you really can’t escape the tough questions forever in this storytelling medium. What do your characters fight for? Why do they do what they do?
It’s good to know that the directors most responsible for where the Marvel movies are going at this point feel the same way.
In more nerd-specific news, they also had this to say when the interviewer asked about the next two Avengers films serving as an ending point for the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
Anthony: “If the first ‘Iron Man’ movie were the first chapter of a book that would be written over 10 years and 22 films, these two movies are the final chapters of that book. Of course, there will be other books written.”
Joe: “The [Marvel Cinematic Universe] will go on after these films, but there are many ways in which these films are a culmination and completion of one road.”
Avengers: Infinity War is slated for release on May 4th, 2018.