If you sit down to watch an ‘Avengers’ film today, you’ll be watching a Joss Whedon film. All that will change next month, when ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ arrives in theaters. Unlike its predecessors, this installment will be helmed by brothers Joe and Anthony Russo, a directing team that has previously made its mark on the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the acclaimed films ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ and ‘Captain America: Civil War’.
So what sort of changes can we expect with a new set of hands on the wheel? The Russos themselves have previously compared the change to a new writer taking over a comic book, but however you describe it, a Joss Whedon film is unmistakably distinct from a Russo Brothers film (and vice versa). And the differences aren’t limited to what ends up on the screen. Different directors can also have wildly different approaches behind the scenes. Speaking to CinemaBlend, ‘Infinity War’ stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany shared their insights into the contrasts in the two directorial styles. As Olsen explains:
“The biggest difference is that Joss wrote everything. When he writes them, he plays every single character in, like, a cabin, and he does the fighting sequences as much as he can and then he writes it. I think the main difference is that the Russos delegate, and they trust everything that they’ve delegated things to. Not saying Joss didn’t, but that’s a lot of pressure to be a director and then go home to also do rewrites for next week. So I think it’s just as it gets bigger, things become more specific to different departments, and I think it allows maybe even a freedom within the dialog sometimes… Not saying that one’s better than the other, because Joss knows these characters better than maybe each one of the individuals do, because he lives it and breathes it, and the Russos at the beginning of filming are like, “You’re in control of your character. If there are things you think we missed, please participate, please say.””
“They really want you to be a collaborator, and it’s great. There’s a huge upside for that. For them [the Russos], when you’re dealing with so many characters and actors, to have two of them, it’s brilliant because you can play one off against the other.”
Fans have already had a taste of this in terms of how the Russos handled the team dynamic among the various Avengers in ‘Civil War’, but ‘Infinity War’ will, at last, offer them a chance to do so in a film that is not (by necessity) a Captain America story first and foremost.
Directed by the Russo brothers from a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ marks the culmination of a decade-long effort by Marvel Studios and sees the Avengers team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to take on Thanos. The film counts Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan, Paul Rudd, Chadwick Boseman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olson, Sebastian Stan, and three gentlemen named “Chris” among its gargantuan cast. The long-awaited movie is set to arrive in theaters on April 27, 2018.