Marvel Studios will make history when it releases Avengers: Infinity War, the unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“It’s sort of an unprecedented experiment because never before has someone taken very successful franchises [of this scale] and merged them all together,” says Anthony Russo. “It was exciting for us. The reason that we wanted to do the film was because the level of ambition was so high with it.”
The film has a complex and unique tone because it is made up of several franchises that have very different tones. “We like to combine things that don’t seem like they belong together and see what you get. We describe it as like a mad scientist process,” adds his brother Joe.
Grounding on emotional truth
Iron Man, Captain America and the rest of the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Black Panther — with so many big characters and personalities, with each one bringing something integral to the table — how did the co-director brothers balance it all out?
“We always try to ground it in an emotional truth for the character,” says Joe. “If something doesn’t feel emotionally true or emotionally real for a character, then we can’t follow that storyline. We have to always use that as our guidepost through the narrative, and that’s how we hold everything together ultimately.”
Another thing the brothers used to guide them is ‘strange alchemy’ — and no, it is not specifically about Doctor Strange. “Strange alchemy is a phrase that we came up with in the writer’s room when we were working on breaking the story for Infinity War, where we basically said the exciting aspect of this film is that we’re going to take all of these characters from different franchises in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and we’re going to put them together,” shares Joe. “It means ‘strange’ in that how can we create odd or eccentric ‘alchemy’ between characters. Who can we put together that’s going to create the most sparks and fireworks? Conflicts between heroes can be entertaining.”
Joe further explains, “Of course, if you take Doctor Strange [played by Benedict Cumberbatch], who’s a narcissist, and you put him in a room with Tony Stark [played by Robert Downey, Jr.], who’s a narcissist, that would be two beta fish in a tank. Something is going to happen. If you take Thor [played by Chris Hemsworth] from Thor: Ragnarok and you put him in a spaceship with the Guardians of the Galaxy [led by Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord], something absurdist and insane is going to happen. We spent a lot of time moving cards around and thinking about how the alchemy would play out between certain groups of characters until we landed on the stories that we have in the film and the character groupings that we have in the movie.”
“I don’t think that they’ve seen anything on this level of intensity with these levels of stakes and ramifications in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before. There’s nothing comparable to it. If Marvel Studios has been writing a book for the last ten years, then these are the final chapters of the book. There’s finality, and there will be endings. And there will be new beginnings. I think rarely, especially in “Avengers: Infinity War,” do commercial movies go to the place that this film goes to.”
Avengers: Infinity War opens in Philippine cinemas 25 April 2018.