Evans and Johansson explain how things are gonna get complicated for Captain America

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Jul 21, 2013, 9:39 AM EDT

Of all the current Marvel film franchise heroes, Captain America is the squeaky-cleanest of the bunch. While that’s fantastic from a role-model perspective, it also makes him a lot harder to shape a film around when your hero is too perfect. 

To promote the upcoming sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Chris Evans (Captain America/ Steve Rogers) and Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow/ Natasha Romanoff) revealed in a press conference that Cap goes through some major moral challenges in the sequel, which he weathers with the help of Black Widow.

Talking about Cap’s tendency to be too perfect a character for an imperfect world, Evans said, “To be candid, the hurdle with Captain America is that his nature is to put himself last and put everyone else’s conflict on his back. As a result, it’s difficult to find an interesting film, because most complex characters have flaws. He’s a Boy Scout.”

“What’s good about this movie,” he continues, “is that the first film was about his opportunity serve and to be a soldier. The Avengers had so many other characters, so you couldn’t dive too deeply into any of the individual characters. This movie is showing Cap now given the opportunity to give of himself, and the question now becomes what’s right? The conflict with modern society, as opposed to the 40’s, is what is right?

"In the '40s, it was very easy to say Nazis are bad. Today it’s a little bit harder to ask 'Who am I serving?,' and with modern technology and the access -- which is relevant for all of us -- where is the line? It makes an interesting conflict for him. What are we willing to sacrifice? And Cap is questioning what is the right thing to do. We explore Cap struggling, because it’s not black and white. It’s gray. His relationship with Black Widow is interesting because she is someone who has always been able to compromise her morals. Something happens, and as a result these two people from separate worlds come together, and they find a lot of common ground.”

Johansson then teased even more details, which point to a blooming romance between the Avengers.

“When we find these two characters, we’ve been working together for two years. Both are agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. We’re fighting on the ground. It’s not like we have superhero powers. We have a shorthand and fight in a similar style. It’s a working relationship. But they find themselves in a situation where their working relationship becomes more of an intimate friendship. They have some unexpected similarities, their guard is up, and they have trust issues, also working for the man for their entire professional careers. They are starting to question what they want and question their own identities. A complex relationship forms.”

Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens April 4, 2014.