Avengers: Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo were tasked with ending not just their two-part epic launched with Avengers: Infinity War, but the entire 11-year, 22-movie Infinity Saga of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"We not only had to resolve our own movies but all the other MCU movies from the last 10 years," Anthony told IndieWire.
"Our approach has been subversive, making these superheroes confront the finality of death. There's a sense of introspection that allows these characters to deal with who they are individually and collectively."
The directors, who steered two Captain America blockbusters with The Winter Soldier and Civil War before tackling Marvel Studios' biggest effort yet in their back-to-back Avengers, left Earth's mightiest heroes feeling not-so-mighty after suffering a devastating defeat at the Infinity Gauntlet-wielding hand of Thanos (Josh Brolin).
"This is a unique moment in time because I don't think ever before on this scale have characters 'lost it' so dramatically in a commercial film," Joe said. "And it does put them psychologically in a very profound place. And we can express that through the environments."
For inspiration, the Russos looked to Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni, who was among the Russo brothers' favorites growing up. In his films, "environment was always reflecting the psychology of the characters," added Joe.
"We use the digital internegative in our real set design and in our CG set design to reflect psychology, but not in a way that's as highly expressionistic as Red Desert. But certainly when you watch [Endgame], you'll see how our choices reflect tone. These movies have incredible scale and fantastical settings. The real challenges are incredible photorealism and how you accomplish it in lighting and tone."
Those groundbreaking special effects, supplied by Industrial ILM, Digital Domain, Weta, and Framestore, were partnered with the script again penned by their four-time collaborators Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
"If the narrative is fresh, if the narrative is original, if what is happening to these characters and the road they are traveling together hasn't happened before, then we are necessarily going to arrive at someplace original on a visual effects design level because everything is in support of that narrative," Anthony said.
Avengers: Endgame is now playing.
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