Russo Bros. On How The MCU Spider-Man Is Different In ‘Civil War’

We are under four months away from the premiere of Captain America: Civil War and the marketing campaign has been light on Spider-Man.

Captain America Civil War Spider-Man

We are under four months away from the premiere of Captain America: Civil War and the marketing campaign has been light on everyone’s favorite web-slinger.  While some wait patiently for the reveal, the anticipation is killing others.  I sit firmly on the fence between these polar opposites – I desperately want to finally see the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of Spider-Man, while also wanting to wait for the reveal to be special.  I think there is something to be said for it to be a true surprise – something we don’t often get in the social media/spoiler world we live in.

That said, however, I am certainly not apposed to hearing more about the MCU’s version of Spider-Man, and today we get just that from none other than the Russo brothers (courtesy of  In an interview ahead of Wizard World New Orleans, the Russo brothers were asked if fans will see Spider-Man in any trailers or on any merchandise before Captain America: Civil War is released.  “No. We really can’t comment on that,” replied Anthony Russo.  “Part of making these movies is maintaining surprise so that everybody’s excited and that’s one we’re going to make fans surprised,” added Joe Russo.

Joe Russo went on to state:

“We took a very personal approach to the character. He was my favorite character growing up, so the opportunity to bring Spider-Man to the screen is a dream come true. It’s something that I spent a lot of time thinking about as a kid. We had thought back to the things that excited us about him as a character when we were younger, and one of the most important components of that was that he’s a high schooler burdened with incredible powers and responsibility. That really differentiates him from every other character in the Marvel universe as opposed to other superheroes. For us, it was extremely important that we cast somebody very close to the age of a high school student. The previous films had adults playing a high schooler. We wanted more of an authenticity to the casting. We were very specific about that. We wanted an energy and charisma from the character, an energy, but also an insecurity that would make him fun to watch in contrast to the confident superheroes. It was also important to us that the actor that was cast feel contemporary because the other films that portrayed where he lived is more… they honored the comic books in terms of the choices. But you go look at the home that Tobey Maguire lived in in Raimi’s Spider-Man was… those were very expensive homes. We wanted to relate it to the reality…”

Anthony Russo added, “The everyman appeal of the character, which is something we’ve always loved.” Joe Russo continued

“A character growing up with his aunt in New York, a single income family… Where would they live? What would that look like? Where could they afford to live? We asked ourselves all those questions. We try to take a very logical and realistic and naturalistic approach to the character. Again, in combination those are all of the things that we try to do, and of course, to bring our own touches, too.”

Anthony Russo added:

“I would also add, again, we’re introducing this character in a Captain America movie. If you look at what we did with Winter Soldier with the Cap character in terms of bringing him into the modern world, trying to ground the movie tonally into something that was a step toward real-world, at least to the degree you can do that in a superhero movie, that’s still the tonal universe that we’re playing in in Civil War. We’re bringing a character… we’re bringing Spider-Man into the movie in that universe, now, in that specific tonal stylistic world. I think underscoring everything Joe was saying about your question in terms of how were we thinking about the character in relation to past interpretations of the character, part of our choices were all so colored by the specifics of the world what we were playing in with these two Captain America movies, meaning Winter Soldier and Civil War. It’s a very specific tonal world. It’s a little more grounded and a little more hard-core contemporary. That was also coloring our choices a lot about the character on Spider-Man.”

Joe Russo the said:

“We’re fans, also. I still go to midnight screenings of movies when they come out. I’m still first in line to buy the new issue of the book. I still have my entire collection in my closet. It takes up entirely too much space in my closet but I’ll never give it up. These things are really important to us and because we have a history with these characters, all of them, I read almost every comic book character you could think of when I was a kid. I have at least several histories of every character. There’s a deep history that we can draw upon where we had great emotional and strong psychological connection to the characters as a child. We want to reach into that and understand what elementally motivated you to love the character. That’s what we try to bring out in the characters now. There are certain things. We talked about Cap. There are things that bothered me as a kid about him. We tried to correct those things in our interpretation of the character.

I want to be clear. We’re not trying to denigrate other interpretations of Spider-Man. Raimi’s movies are fantastic. Spider-Man one and two are amazing. Two, is one of if not my favorite comic book movie of all time. But he made a very strong choice with those movies from a color palate standpoint to a costume standpoint, execution standpoint, camerawork standpoint to honor the feeling of the comic book. We’re trying to honor the feeling of naturalism and to honor the feeling of reality. The harder we can pull these characters into reality, the better for us, especially because we’re all so connected now through social media, the Internet. We’re all so dialed in to what’s happening in current events. That it’s important for us that these characters live in the world that we live in because it makes them more real and it makes our experience of watching them more passionate and more well-rounded.”

It is awesome to hear this from the directors.  Further, it illustrates the point that they didn’t really have a “plan b” if they couldn’t use Spider-Man when conceptualizing Captain America: Civil War.  They show genuine love for the character, the mythos, and how he should be represented within the MCU.  They show great care, and know that they are setting the stage for the solo MCU Spider-Man film in 2017, and beyond.  Which is even more important considering the Russo brothers will also be helming the two-part Avengers: Infinity War saga to close out Phase 3.

I don’t know about you, but this franchise could not be in better hands, and I can’t wait for what’s to come. What do you think about how the Russo brothers are approaching Spider-Man?  Where do you land on the reveal – during marketing or when we are all sitting in the theater in May?

Captain America: Civil War hits theaters on May 6th, 2016.


Heroic Staff

Heroic Staff

Heroic Special Activities Division Agent Trainee Program