'Captain America: The Winter Soldier': What's Marvel's Secret?

Anthony Mackie weighs in on what separates the Marvel Studios movies from others in the superhero pack.

There's something special about the Marvel Studios movies.

Is it the casting? That's part of it. Choices that seem left of center at first glance, like Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, become a key part of the Marvel movies' success. The same can be said about the directors the studio implements. Take Jon Favreau, for instance. With little more than indie and comedy experience at the time, Favreau was an instrumental factor in "Iron Man" and launching the greater Marvel franchise.

That greater Marvel franchise, too, is something that virtually all other comic book films have attempted to emulate since Nick Fury first told Stark about "the Avengers initiative" at the end of "Iron Man." Now that the Marvel Cinematic Universe exists, every studio wants a shared universe of its own.

All of these elements, and more, are key to the Marvel Studios success story. But the success boils down to an even simpler ingredient: Confidence.

At the "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" premiere in Los Angeles last month, Falcon actor Anthony Mackie praised Marvel for the studio's bold decision making and creative choices.

"They have great taste," he told MTV News. "They have the confidence and ability that if something does not work, they go back and make it work. That's part of making quality films."

That confidence trickles all the way down from executives like Kevin Feige to directors like Joe and Anthony Russo to cast members like Samuel L. Jackson, who has played one-eyed super-spy Nick Fury in six Marvel films and counting. Indeed, there are few better examples of the confidence Marvel's actors bring to their roles than Jackson. He owns Fury in a way that few other superhero movie veterans could ever muster — a combination of the Marvel material, and Jackson's own confidence.

"Just knowing what's going on around you and knowing your surroundings," Jackson told MTV about the secret to his swagger. "Being confident that you can handle any situation that comes up, and trying not to be surprised by anything."

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier," perhaps the most confident Marvel Studios movie of them all, hits theaters on April 4.