Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame are known for showing the true breadth and scope of the MCU in ways that were previously thought to be impossible, featuring 30+ superheroes and villains with wildly different power sets battling it out for the survival of the universe on distant planets and in deep space. In a recent chat with Fox 5, the architects of the two films, the Russo brothers, revealed how heavy use of CGI allowed them to finish the films in record time.
“You know, CGI makes things more efficient. So, we could make Infinity War and Endgame back-to-back. If we had to make those two movies in that way, they would have been four years apart, easily.”
The use of CGI in place of practical effects has divided movie audiences for years, with bad CGI getting made fun of mercilessly, like Superman’s mustache in Justice League, and even good CGI being accused of turning a movie into a video game. For Anthony Russo, the main question when it comes to how much CGI to use depends on the type of reality you intend to depict onscreen.
“There is a big difference too because CG has certain strengths, right? Part of the reason why it works so well in Star Wars, in general, is that when you’re dealing with ships and creatures, non-human forms, and machines it does a little better. When you’re dealing with the human form, you can see its weaknesses.”
“The virtue of the characters in the Avengers films is that they’re not, you know… Captain America doesn’t fly a spaceship or a fighter jet. You know? If you’re dealing with the human body and that stuff is much more difficult to achieve in visual effects at a visual effects level. You have to use the tools different tools depending on what the action is and what the storytelling is. Because of that, I believe the two are very different from one another and how you approach them.”
Regardless of whether fans feel the MCU uses too much CGI or not, the simple fact is the way superhero movies dominate theaters is directly a result of advancements in CGI which allow characters like Spider-Man and Iron Man to show up onscreen ripped almost directly from the pages of their comic books, rather than, say, filmmakers trying to put Robert Downey Jr. in bulky real-life Iron Man armor.
While the Russos are done with the universe-threatening horror unleashed by Thanos in Endgame, the real-world emergency that has forced theaters to close down worldwide is a whole different ballgame. For Anthony Russo, as much as he misses the theater experience, going back to cinemas right now is not an option.
“I do think, at the end of the day, where are you gonna put the risk? I think there are more immediate places to put the risk in terms of human connection than a theater full of strangers, unfortunately. It’s a very personal question, and it depends on people’s individual circumstances, but unfortunately, I don’t see myself getting into a theater in the foreseeable future.”