The wait is finally almost over and you will soon be able to see Captain America: Civil War, this week, at your local multiplex. But, before you do:
On Wednesday, we met directors Joe and Anthony Russo at a Midtown Manhattan hotel as part of the almost one last “victory lap” of a press tour. (When the reviews have been this good, why not?) Yesterday we published the big news from this interview that Avengers: Infinity War 1 and 2 are going to have a name change pretty soon, since both movies are two separate stories. But there’s still plenty more to learn.
Ahead, the Russos talk about scouting out the DC competition and their own relationship to the DC characters; how the tone has changed at Marvel Studios since the departure of Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter; and the future of the “big bad,” Thanos. When I sat down, Joe Russo asked if I was “team Cap” or “team Iron Man.”
A lot of people do side with Iron Man.
Joe Russo: You would have thought it would have easily have skewed in Cap’s favor. I think it’s a real sign of the times that we’re finding a lot of people who are for government oversight regulation.
Snowden’s leaks were interesting. Some people are fine with the spying as long as it keeps them safe.
Joe Russo: I think we’re asking questions we’ve never had to ask before. Because of the proliferation of violence and the ease of which people can attack undefended civilians, there seems to be a growing collective sociopathy that is breeding throughout the world. It’s forcing us to examine what freedom is. Freedom versus security is a critical issue moving forward and will probably be the defining issue of the next 30 or 40 years of government.
This got deep based on just you asking if I was “team Iron Man.” I only picked him because no one else really was.
Joe Russo: So you wanted to give him a little love.
He has some valid points.
Anthony Russo: He has some valid points. And he’s very emotionally vulnerable, so you can empathize with him on that level.
You two have to be pleased with the reception so far.
Joe Russo: We are. We’re fans first. I mean, that’s why we started making these movies. We grew up reading comic books, so we understand the mythology in a very deep way and we have an emotional connection to it because we were fascinated with it as children.
Were you more Marvel or DC back then?
Joe Russo: Marvel. I just found these characters more flawed and interesting.
I’ve seen people shift over time.
Joe Russo: I always had a really hard time getting into Superman as a kid. There just wasn’t a lot of vulnerability there for me. I loved Batman. He’s the one DC character I really loved.
I loved The Flash.
Joe Russo: I think, as a kid, that was a fun character to be on the playground.
Anthony Russo: A 6-year-old is taken with The Flash.
Joe Russo: I found that Martian Manhunter was the Martian Superman. Wonder Woman was the female Superman. There was repetitiveness in their characters. Aquaman is the sea Superman. Where I found that Marvel was building characters that are flawed and unique. Spider-Man was my favorite character growing up. I loved Wolverine.
Weren’t you happy you got to include Spider-Man in Civil War?
Joe Russo: Are you kidding? That was a sheer force of will to get him into the movie based on my love of the character. There’s no universe where two studios should be sharing a billion dollar piece of IP – beyond the fact that there were a lot of circumstances that lined up to allow this to happen.