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When you consider how big the Marvel Cinematic Universe is - now consisting of seven feature films - it's pretty amazing that all of their films have received mostly positive critical reception. Even the the weaker titles from the franchise, like The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2, earned far better reviews than the worst examples of comic book movies (ex. Batman & Robin, Elektra, Fantastic Four, etc.). Positive reception from critics and audiences is what has turned the MCU into one of the most popular movie franchises in history. So to say that one of their upcoming films is going to top everything we've seen so far-- at least in terms of grit-- is a bold statement. But that's exactly what the co-director of Captain America: The Winter Soldier is boasting.

"It’s going to be much grittier than any Marvel movie to date," said filmmaker Joe Russo, who is brothers with co-director Anthony Russo, in an interview with ScreenDaily. The site was present for Disney’s CineEurope presentation earlier this week where they actually showed off never-before-seen footage from both the Captain America sequel and Alan Taylor's Thor: The Dark World, which will be out in November of this year. But listening to Russo it sounds like Chris Evans' next adventure as the star-spangled former Popsicle is the one to really be excited for, if you've been waiting for Marvel to match DC's Man of Steel and The Dark Knight for toughness.

While we will have to wait a while to see if Russo's promises are true-- the movie's not coming out until next year--he is working with one of the best casts that Marvel has assembled yet. In addition to Evans returning as Cap the film will also once again have Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes (this time playing for the bad guys as The Winter Soldier), Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, Toby Jones as Arnim Zola, Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, and Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter. Newcomers to the franchise include Emily VanCamp as Agent 13, Anthony Mackie as The Falcon, Frank Grillo as Crossbones, Georges St-Pierre as Georges Batroc and Robert Redford as Agent Alexander Pierce (one of the head honchos of S.H.I.E.L.D.). Captain America: The First Avenger screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely wrote the script. Little is known about the actual plot, but it has been said that the movie will have more of a political thriller vibe.

We probably won't get to see a trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier until Thor: The Dark World is released in a few months, but at least for now we have some pretty kick ass concept art. Check it out in the gallery below.

UPDATE: This story has been edited to reflect that Screen Daily mis-transcribed Russo's statement. He promised his film would be "grittier" than any other Marvel movie, not "greater."

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