The leap from "Captain America: The First Avenger" to "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is a big one — certainly a greater shift from, say, "Iron Man" to "Iron Man 2" and "Thor" to "Thor: The Dark World."
Where the "Iron Man" and "Thor" franchises remain consistent in characters, world and tone from film to film, there are major departures between the first and second "Captain America" movies. That happens out of necessity, of course. At the end of "First Avenger," Steve Rogers is thawed out of ice and alive in the modern day, while the vast majority of his allies and enemies are either dead and gone, or virtually unrecognizable.
But bringing "Winter Soldier" into the modern world was a challenge that directors Joe and Anthony Russo were very much prepared to embrace. In fact, that's exactly what drew the Russos to "Captain America" and the Marvel Studios universe.
"We wanted current themes in the movie," Joe Russo told MTV News on the "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" red carpet in Hollywood last month. "We wanted current action in the film. As directors, we take our inspiration from the things that we love."
The action in "Winter Soldier" has been compared by some to films like "The Raid," the Indonesian martial arts movie that ranks as one of the most bone-crunchingly gruesome action movies out there. ("The Raid 2," in theaters now, makes "The Raid" look like "Bambi," by the way.) As for the themes and tone, "Winter Soldier" has been likened to the style of classic 1970s political thrillers like "3 Days of the Condor" — which, ironically enough, stars Robert Redford, who plays Alexander Pearce in "Winter Soldier."
All of those inspirations are on full display in the "Captain America" sequel, and that's because the Russo brothers know exactly what they want — and they're not afraid to throw it all at the wall.
"When somebody says, 'Hey, you get to make a comic book film,' then we're trying to put everything in that movie that should be in a comic book movie," said Joe Russo.
"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" hits theaters on April 4.