Throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s eleven year run there have been several directors and writers who have brought these movies and characters to life. The Russo Brothers first Marvel movie debut was Captain America: The Winter Soldier where they displayed a great sense of understanding the character of Captain America and creating a superhero movie on a lesser scale than some of the other Marvel films that had been made at the time.
Only until recently The Winter Soldier was my favorite film because of its more personal storyline and its impactful significance to the overall plot of the MCU. Since The Winter Soldier, however, they have made three other films (Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame) that are clearly some of the greatest superhero movies ever made. (I will only be talking about Civil War, Infinity War considering that Endgame ends with a profound conclusion.) But what makes these three movies so perfectly composed and entertaining? Well, it’s simple. The Russo Brothers like cliffhangers.
For example; let’s look at the endings of these three movies.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Winter Soldier, for the first three-fourths of the movie, is an exciting political thriller that follows Steve Rogers trying to find his place in the world. When Nick Fury is abruptly “killed” he must figure out what’s really happening inside of the organization he works for, S.H.I.E.L.D, before the world could be at risk. He is joined by S.H.I.E.L.D spy, Natasha Romanoff, and retired soldier, Sam Wilson, and together they singlehandedly expose HYDRA who has corrupted S.H.I.E.L.D to the highest level over the past 70 years.
The movie is already a really good film through its near entirety but it’s the end sequence that leaves an impact. We see S.H.I.E.L.D/HYDRA brought down by Captain America and his friends which impacts the MCU in a huge way, considering that S.H.I.E.L.D was one of the most important aspects in the first phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Secondly, we get the emotional fight between best friends, Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes. Bucky was captured by HYDRA and turned into a weapon that would change the course of history throughout the decades. When he was given a mission to kill Captain America he almost does but realizes, in an emotional moment, that he would be killing his best friend. Steve Rogers falls into the Potomac River and is doomed to drown but Bucky saves his life. We see Bucky walking off to an uncertain fate and it leaves us wondering what’s going to happen next.
But the relationship between Steve and Bucky isn’t over. In fact, it’s just started as Sam and Steve begin their search for their lost ally.
It’s an emotional way for the movie to end and perfectly leads into Captain America: Civil War in a very exciting fashion.
Captain America: Civil War
Like The Winter Soldier this movie is filled with fun and exciting moments throughout three-fourths of the film. It possesses a heavier weight than The Winter Soldier as it makes The Avengers responsible for their heroic but destructive actions. We see the heroes split straight down the middle in their opinions on the Sokovia Accords and it leads to a fascinating airport battle that has plenty of awesome moments between these various characters.
But, in classic Russo Brothers fashion, the movie’s lighter, more adventurous tone is replaced by a darker and emotional ending that will impact the MCU moving forward. As Iron Man goes to help fugitives Captain America and Bucky Barnes face a serious threat they end up falling to Zemo’s brilliant trap that would tear The Avengers apart.
Tony is shown the unseen footage of his parents being murdered by, guess who, Bucky Barnes (who happens to be standing not three feet away.) Of course, Tony loses his cool and these characters that have grown to be allies become mortal enemies.
An ugly fight breaks out that ends with Bucky losing his metal arm and nearly dying, Iron Man getting his suit shut down, and Captain America leaving his shield behind, relinquishing, at that moment, the title of Captain America. It’s a heartbreaking development between Tony and Steve and has really placed The Avengers in a rut. This is yet another movie that ends with a compelling cliffhanger as Steve tells Tony in a letter that he’ll always be there if the moment arises. And that’s what leads into Infinity War.
Avengers: Infinity War
And Infinity War is a superhero masterpiece as it showcases over two dozen superheroes facing the ultimate threat in Thanos. Like the Russo Brothers’ previous two movies it is filled with exhilarating moments that’ll make the most casual Marvel movie viewer happy but at the end of the film what happens? The film takes a tragic turn that’ll change the MCU forever as Thanos obtains all six Infinity Stones and manages to wipe out half the universe.
Not only is it a shocking cliffhanger going into Avengers 4 but it shows, once again, that the Russo Brothers know how to drop the mic on a movie. And why this is an important observation is that it shows that we can pretty much expect a shocking conclusion to this two-part Avengers finale that will permanently change the MCU from there on out. What that could be, I can’t predict, but I know for a fact it’s going to be awesome.
The Russo Brothers have honed the art of making personal developments between these characters even on a scale as grandiose as Infinity War. Yes, the action may be incredible, but it is the human stories of these individuals and the obstacles they face that make these movies so relatable. And that’s why they are the best directors to make these final two Avengers films and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a great day.