‘Makes Me Feel Really Old’: The Russo Brothers Get Real As Captain America: The Winter Soldier Turns 10

 Masked Bucky Barnes as Winter Soldier holding Captain America's shield.
Masked Bucky Barnes as Winter Soldier holding Captain America's shield.

10 years ago, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the ninth of the Marvel movies in order, was released to the public, and it was a major landmark for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In addition to being met with a wave of critical acclaim (including the 5/5 score from CinemaBlend’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier review) and making over $714 million worldwide, it also marked Joe and Antony Russo’s MCU directorial debut, with the directing duo later helming Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. So naturally the Russo Brothers shared their thoughts on The Winter Soldier turning 10 years old, and understandably, it’s making them feel “old.”

The Russos chatted with Total Film while attending the Sands: International Film Festival in St. Andrews, Scotland, and starting off, Joe Russo recollected how being tapped to direct Captain America: The Winter Soldier (which can be streamed with a Disney+ subscription) launched them on a professional journey that saw them overseeing four movies within less than a decade, which is a lot to ask for from any director. In his words:

It makes me feel really old! It was honestly a thrill. I mean that whole period was so immersive and thrilling for us. We basically entered the MCU on that movie and exited it seven years later with Endgame. That whole ride was like a rollercoaster that more and more people kept joining. We started working with Marvel in 2012 and Endgame released in 2019. I mean, when you think about it only being seven years, that’s a lot to pack in - four movies in seven years.

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Chris Evans looking serious in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
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Picking up several years after the events of The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier followed Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers learning that Bucky Barnes, his best friend, was still alive, albeit brainwashed into the Winter Soldier, HYDRA’s top assassin. Making matters worse, it was revealed that HYDRA, which was originally thought to have collapsed at the end of World War II, had been embedded in S.H.I.E.L.D. since its inception, and its operatives, led by Alexander Pierce, intended to use Project Insight to eliminate present and future threats to them. Fortunately, Steve was able to foil their plan alongside Natasha Romanoff, Sam Wilson, Nick Fury and Maria Hill, though S.H.I.E.L.D. was left in disarray.

During the interview, Anthony Russo mentioned that “more and more people” kept coming aboard with each new Marvel movie they made, but despite these gigantic casts and crews, he and his brother considered these people “family.” As he put it:

Family is really important to us. We grew up in a big Italian family and we have always seen our movies and our work as an extension of our family. If you're gonna go spend time away from the ones you love, you want it to be with other people that you love. The thing that stands out to me most is how long our relationships have lasted coming out of those movies - our creative collaborators, our actor friends, everyone that we worked with, we still spend a great deal of time with them, are very close to them, and share a lot of memories with them.

Following Avengers: Endgame’s release, Joe and Anthony left the MCU and directed movies like Cherry, The Gray Man and the upcoming The Electric State, which Netflix subscribers will be able to watch. While the brothers haven’t ruled out ever working with Marvel again, Joe Russo did say in 2022 that they wouldn’t be ready to do anything with the company until “the end of the decade.” Still, Captain America: The Winter Soldier undeniably remains one of the most consequential MCU movies, and considering how well it was received 10 years ago and continues to be appreciated, fans can be thankful the Russos were the ones to helm it.

Following Steve Rogers’ retirement in Avengers: Endgame and the events of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the MCU’s Captain America saga will continue with the upcoming Marvel movie Captain America: Brave New World, with Sam Wilson now filling the star-spangled mantle. It comes out on February 14, 2025, but the next immediate MCU movie lined up is Deadpool & Wolverine for July 26.