'Civil War' Directors Talk Third 'Captain America' Movie's Appeal to Non-Marvel Experts

"What we tried to do with the movie is we tried to represent both sides of the issue and make sure that both Cap and Tony had very emotional reasons for doing what they were doing and sound reasons for doing what they were doing," Joe Russo told THR at a screening in Lower Manhattan Wednesday night. "We wanted people to walk out of the theater arguing with each other about who was right."
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Anthony and Joe Russo at Wednesday night's Cinema Society 'Captain America: Civil War' screening.

When Captain America: Civil War starts playing in U.S. theaters in a few hours, there will surely be plenty of Marvel devotees in the audience. But moviegoers who aren't as immersed in the Marvel universe might also be tempted to check out the third Captain America movie, which boasts a 92 percent freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is one of the most anticipated movies of the summer.

In addition to the past Captain America films, Civil War, which centers around a rift between Chris Evans' Cap and Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man also builds on the second Avengers film, Age of Ultron, and features Paul Rudd's Ant-Man, who debuted in his own movie last summer.

But don't worry if you're not an expert on every piece of Marvel content produced up to this point, Civil War directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, say you'll still be able to enjoy the movie.

"We think it's very important to make the movies welcoming to fresh eyes," Anthony Russo told The Hollywood Reporter ahead of a New York screening of Captain America: Civil War on Wednesday night. "Maybe they're always going to be satisfying to the fan base because we do play to the fan base in a very specific way. I think the movie is very accessible to someone with fresh eyes."

At the center of Civil War is a debate about international oversight, with the Avengers facing the prospect of UN supervision: Iron Man is for it and Cap against.

But the Russo brothers said their film doesn't take a definitive stand on the issue, raising questions they hope viewers will discuss as they leave the theater.

"What we tried to do with the movie is we tried to represent both sides of the issue and make sure that both Cap and Tony had very emotional reasons for doing what they were doing and sound reasons for doing what they were doing," Joe Russo told THR. "Because they're complicated issues. They're not issues you can really answer. We wanted people to walk out of the theater arguing with each other about who was right. I tend to say if you support big government and governmental control but you also think that accountability is extremely important, you might side with [Iron Man] in this movie. He's all about accountability in the film. If you support individual freedom and you prioritize that over everything else then you might side with Cap in the movie. The movie doesn't attempt to answer these questions, it attempts to pose them."

Anthony added, "I think the most difficult thing about it is that it's a paradox at the center of our society and at the center of our political life. Yes, we do need government, and we need government to have control of people or else other people are vulnerable. At the same time we want the freedom to be individuals and do what we want and say what we want and go where we want. There's always an eternal war between those two needs, and it just depends on what your specific experiences are at any given moment, which pushes you one way or the other."

The screening, hosted by The Cinema Society with Audi and Fiji, took place at Lower Manhattan's Brookfield Place complex. The directors were joined by stars Downey Jr., Evans, Rudd, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman and Paul Bettany.

Other guests included Trevor Noah, Jennifer Connelly, Adrien Brody, Christian Slater, Harvey Keitel, Jaimie Alexander, Jason Jones, Billy Magnussen and Scott Adsit.

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