Movie Feature

'Civil War' deconstructs the Marvel Universe, says director Joe Russo

By Zaki JufriMovies - 25 April 2016 12:00 AM | Updated 26 April 2016

'Civil War' deconstructs the Marvel Universe, says director Joe Russo

“Ladies and gentleman! I’m Chris Evans and I play Captain America!”

“And I’m Anthony Mackie, and I play the Falcon.”

“Together, we’re ebony and ivory!”

Like their characters in the movie, Chris Evans and Anthony Mackie are a double act. 

In the upcoming ‘Captain America: Civil War’, Evans and Mackie – as Steve Rogers/Captain America and Sam Wilson/Falcon – play on the same team.

If you’ve watched 2014’s ‘The Winter Soldier’, there was a budding bromance of sorts between the two characters. Here, the pair play full-fledged BFFs and it seems the relationship have rubbed off set.

“We didn’t have Mackie in the first ‘Avengers’ movie, but in this one, … I tell you what; he’s a one-man wrecking ball,” laughed Evans while in Singapore for the movie’s publicity tour.

“Whenever Mackie gets on the set, there’s a 10 per cent drop in productivity,” quipped the 34-year-old actor.


Anthony Mackie and Chris Evans at the 'Civil War' blue carpet event at Marina Bay Sands 

Sebastian Stan, who reprises his role as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier agrees: “When you have a shoot this long, there has to be an element of fun on set, and especially so when you have witty personalities like Mackie and Paul Rudd.”

And it is this exact wit that compels fans to clamour for more Marvel movies.

MORE: Movie Review: 'Captain America: Civil War'

Movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe are known for their irreverence and humour. No matter how serious or dramatic things may get in a film, there will be the odd joke or witty aside to crack the tension. 

“Going to the movies is a commodity. You’re paying money for an experience. If you can go to the movies and you can laugh as well as cry, get angry, feel scared and root for your favourite characters is so much better than just getting one of those things. We try to find a balance of those into the storytelling as much as we can,” explained co-director Joe Russo, who directed the movie with his brother Anthony.

With some fans calling it ‘Avengers 2.5’, ‘Civil War’ features almost the entire main “earthbound” Marvel characters, with newcomers like Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and the newly minted Spider-Man (Tom Holland) filling the gaps left by Thor and Hulk.

Not just a sequel to the critically acclaimed ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, ‘Civil War’ paves the way for the massive two-part ‘Avengers: Infinity War’.

This movie revolves around the aftermath caused by the heroics of our heroes. Iron Man then leads a drive to register superheroes with the government while Captain America resists it.

Things come to a head when friend-turned-assassin Winter Soldier resurfaces, further fanning the conflict between the two Avengers’ factions.


Team Cap (comprising Falcon, Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye and Ant-Man) battles Team Iron Man in 'Civil War'

“The movie is about accountability, and how we should govern power,” Russo said.

Stan chimed, “The themes of the film is strangely familiar to the world we’re living in right now like the US presidential race and the Apple-FBI dispute.”

MORE: 
Team Cap kicks off 'Captain America: Civil War' S'pore tour with friendly rivalry

“We try to make the film topical. That’s how you keep the superhero genre relevant; by finding issues that speak to the audience,” Russo said.

He emphasised, “When they’re sitting in the theatre, they will feel the immediacy of the storytelling. It feels like they’re watching a movie about their world.”



Chris Evans at the 'Civil War' Singapore press conference at Marina Bay Sands

The Russo brothers’ last film ‘Winter Soldier’ significantly altered the dynamics of the Marvel Universe with the fall of SHIELD and the revelation of arch-nemesis HYDRA’s existence.

“‘Winter Soldier’ was a political thriller; ‘Civil War’ is a psychological thriller,” Russo noted.  A cinephile at heart, the director cites the works of François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and Andrei Tarkovsky as his influences, and looked to thrillers such as ‘Se7en’, ‘Fargo’ and ‘The Godfather’ as inspiration for this movie. 

Evans and Russo agree underneath the weighty tone of the movie, there is a familial story at its core. 

“It is a love story; the same type of love that you have for your mother, father and friends,” Evans summed up.

MORE: 
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“In this film, you see cap for the first time prioritizing that love over allegiance to the people, which has always been his prerogative. He’s the kind that always puts himself last, but in this movie, Bucky means so much more to him. This is what creates that conflict,” he explained.

It is the Bucky factor that makes ‘Civil War’, a ‘Captain America’ rather than an ‘Avengers’ movie, ensemble cast notwithstanding. 

Russo added, “We felt that the natural progression of these characters was to put them in a fight with each other. When a very controversial issue is introduced into a family, there are going to be different points of view of how to deal with that issue.”

“We’ve been building up the Marvel universe for many years, but now its time to deconstruct and tear it apart,” the director said.

‘Captain America: Civil War’ opens 28 April 2016

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Marvel's Captain America: Civil War
  • Marvel's Captain America: Civil War

    (2016)
  • Rated
    PG /
    Genre
    Action, Adventure
  • Language
    Eng
  • (6 Reviews)