'Avengers: Infinity War': Anthony Russo on the Value of Fantasy Films, Universes Colliding, and the MCU

When the world is waiting breathless for perhaps the most fervently anticipated superhero movie in [...]

When the world is waiting breathless for perhaps the most fervently anticipated superhero movie in the history of the genre and an element of surprise must still be maintained, there are still some fascinating topics to explore with filmmaker Anthony Russo, one half of the fraternal directing duo behind Avengers: Infinity War.

He provided some keen – yet spoiler-free – insight into some of his experience making the ultimate Marvel Cinematic Universe film to date in a recent interview with ComicBook.com at the red carpet for Avengers: Infinity War.


ComicBook.com: You and Joe have been working on this film for a long time now, yet whenever a new Marvel movie comes out, people seem to find something that really resonates for the moment that it's released, for the current culture. Look at "Black Panther" – it was the right movie at the right time. Do you have a sense of what you think people are going to be saying, "How did they know what we'd be talking about or feeling?"

Anthony Russo: Yeah, I think the theme of this film we tried to explore is like, what does it mean to be a hero in a complex world? And I think we're living in a very complex world. When you weigh the cost of being a hero against the value of being one, sometimes that gets very muddy. But I think we're seeing that in our world today, and it's a scary thing and a complex thing.

And I think one thing that fantasy films allow us to do is they allow us to live out our anxieties, and these conflicts, and these tensions that we're all experiencing in our lives in a way that's just one step removed from reality, and in a way that allows us to process it a little easier on an emotional level, and I think that's one of the great values of these films. I think that perhaps this movie can help do that.

Tell me about finding the right voices and the right flavors for those corners that you hadn't worked in yet in the MCU. What was fun about making sure you got the Guardians sounding right, and Wakanda looking right?

Joe and I, we are huge fans of what these movies are. We are huge fans of the source material that all these movies come from. So the most important thing for us as fans is we want to be told a new story. We don't want to see what we expect. We want to come into a narrative, whether it be a comic book or a movie, and experience an expression of the characters that we haven't seen before. We want to see the characters taken to places we haven't seen them before. We want to see slightly different colors filtered through the auteur vision of whatever artist is presenting that.

So that's what we try to do as filmmakers. We try to chase that same experience that we're looking for. So hopefully this movie, while it has many of the characters that they've come to grow and love, it will be a fresh expression of those characters, and one they weren't quite predicting.

What were the character combinations that blew even you away when you finally got them together on set? Were there ones that you were giddy watching two actors go at it that you hadn't seen on screen together before?

There are so many, to be honest with you, but the one that jumps into my head first and foremost, and this might be because we shot it fairly early on, is the interaction between Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy, particularly Chris Pratt, Star-Lord. There was a combustibility in that relationship and in that encounter, that really, while it was great on the page, when we came to execute it in the actual film, blew us all away. So I'm very excited for audiences to see that.

Will you guys happily spend a good chunk of the rest of your careers in the MCU? Is it a happy place for you to play?

We certainly could. This is definitely the most amazing professional experience my brother and I have had. We've had a lifelong passion for this material. Our collaborators on these films are the best people and the best craftspeople we've ever known. Yeah, we could go a long time here.

In your humble opinion, should we be even more excited about the next Avengers film than we are about this one already?

You know what? It's hard for me to say that, because we still have another year of work left on that other film. So this is the movie that all of our creative energy has come to fruition on. So this is the one we are ready to present.


Avengers: Infinity War is playing in theaters as of tonight.