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After months of being in production, Joe and Anthony Russo’s Captain America: Civil War is finally about ready to wrap principal photography on the epic 2016 blockbuster. The cast and crew is now in Germany getting the last material that they need, and after one more week of shooting the film will be heading into the editing process to get ready for next year’s release. This schedule suggests that it’s going to still be a while before any official footage is actually released from the film in the form of a trailer… but today we actually got a very early look at the movie, and it looks as though it’s going to blow minds.
Following the big animation presentation that was held yesterday afternoon, this morning Disney put on their live-action show at the D23 Expo down in Anaheim, California, and part of that two hour event included a special debut look at next year’s first film from Marvel Studios. The reel didn’t really include any kind of extended sequences, and was cut more as a sizzle reel, but it definitely got our blood pumping with anticipation.
The footage began with a shot of Captain America (Chris Evans) in full gear, his famous shield placed on his back, and staring out what appears to be a hotel window. Using a communicator, he reaches out to Falcon (Anthony Mackie), who is also suited up, but standing on a rooftop. The flying hero then activates "Redwing" – a special drone that launches from his pack – and the device flies down to street level where it can investigate a particular car. Using specialized scanners on the robot, Falcon confirms that the car is what they’re looking for, and we see a quick shot of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) chilling out at a nearby café to make sure everything goes okay. Falcon then dives from the roof where he’s perched… but that’s when things start to go really, really wrong.
A van full of dudes show up, and bad dudes start pouring out, but the most significant presence is Crossbones (Frank Grillo) – who is dressed in full armor, complete with skull mask and an exo-skeleton that provides him with some serious power. His entrance is only made more grand by the fact that he throws a magnetic bomb that attaches itself to Cap's shield - forcing the hero to throw it in the sky to avoid hurting anyone. Falcon and Black Widow face off against the henchmen, both showing off some extreme fighting skills, but it’s Cap who is pitted against his former adversary. The Super Soldier gets totally rocked by a couple of punches thrown by Crossbones, and is only barely able to stop himself from getting stabbed by one of the villain’s retractable knives. Eventually gaining the upper hand, Cap is able to get the bad guy’s helmet off… but that’s when the ridiculously scarred Brock Rumlow begins teasing the hero, saying, "He remembered you. Your pal, your buddy, your Bucky…"
With that sequence concluded, the footage began to focus more on what we can expect to be the central plot of Captain America: Civil War. While we see shots of the Avengers facility, Cap trying to prevent a helicopter from flying off a rooftop, and the titular hero running through an exploding building, General Thadeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross (William Hurt) provides a bit of narration, clearly speaking to people about the importance of differentiating heroes versus vigilantes. He notes that people are afraid – and it seems like he’s in a position where he’s more than happy to take advantage of that fear. Following that, we see a shot that looks exactly like the mid-credits scene from Ant-Man, with Cap and Falcon down in a dank basement with a trapped Bucky. Cap asks his old friend if he remembers who he is, and the former Winter Soldier confirms by saying that Steve Rogers’ mom’s name is Sarah and that he used to wear newspapers in his shoes.
From there, the clip also set up the idea of heroes fighting against heroes, with Captain America and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) specifically going head to head. While we didn’t get to see the characters exactly go toe-to-toe, Tony Stark threatens to punch the star-spangled Avenger in his "perfect teeth," and Cap yells at his friend about the idea of being covered by "protection" (which may be a reference to the movie’s Superhero Registration Act). The clip also gave us a brief shot of Cap and his followers charging into battle against Iron Man and his people – with Black Widow and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) specifically winding up fighting. Widow asks her longtime S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague if they’re still friends, which gets the response, "Depends on how hard you hit me."
Perhaps the best moment in the footage, however, came in the very last clip. Serving as a perfect follow-up to the post-credits scene in Ant-Man, the moments featured Captain America, Falcon and Scarlet Witch approaching a white van, and opening its door to find Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) sleeping inside. The shrinking superhero bolts awake, and immediately finds himself in a state of shock because he is actually standing in front of the Captain America. He rushes out of the van and takes Cap’s hand, and begins shaking it furiously – until he openly admits that he has been shaking his hand for way too long. Scott turns around to see Scarlet Witch, saying, "I know you too. You’re great," but then finds his attention drawn right back to the world’s favorite super soldier, tripping over his words: "I know you know a lot of super people, so thanks for thanking of me….Thinking of me."
It should be little surprise to those who have been following along, but the Captain America: Civil War footage was the best stuff that was shown during the live-action D23 Expo presentation, and has only served to increase my anticipation for the blockbuster. The clips didn’t deliver or first look at Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, and Chadick Boseman’s Black Panther only showed up for a half-second to show off his shiny vibranium claws, but Joe and Anthony Russo seem to be bringing back the same kind of slick, thrilling aesthetic that they used to fuel the epic Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the many fight sequences featured really looked just as fun, visceral and impactful as everything we saw in the 2014 movie. We already anticipated that Civil War would wind up being one of the biggest movies of next year, and it now really looks like the film is ready to deliver on its promise.
Captain America: Civil War will be in theaters on May 6, 2016.