Why Captain America: Civil War’s Fight Scenes Were So Challenging, According To The Fight Choreographer

Captain America: Civil War

There are a lot of things to love about Joe and Anthony Russo's Captain America: Civil War, but the action is certainly towards the top of the list. From the spellbinding airport sequence to the Iron Man/Captain America showdown, the film is filled top to bottom with some amazing and practical hand-to-hand battles. Clearly it must have been a tremendously hard movie to orchestrate -- but according to fight choreographer James Young, there was one aspect that proved most important: making sure that every hero gets their own big moment that lets them stand out as an individual character in the ensemble.

With Captain America: Civil War scheduled to arrive on Blu-ray and DVD in the coming weeks, I had the pleasure of recently hopping on the phone to talk with James Young about his work on the blockbuster (the movie being his fourth Marvel Studios title he's been a part of after Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Guardians of the Galaxy). I was curious how he viewed the experience of making Civil War in contrast to The Winter Soldier, and after noting that the sheer number of different characters made it a new ballgame, he explained why that was a particular challenge in his department:

The number one thing that was the hardest, that we always try to look to do, was to give every character their hero moment. Like in the airport scene. All these characters in this fight can have their own movie - like Iron Man: own movie. Ant-Man, own movie. Captain America. All these guys could have a standalone movie, so in a fight where it's 14 characters, 15 characters beating the snot out of each other, how do you make each one relevant? That was the biggest challenge.

Those moments are all over the film, with the aforementioned scene in Leipzig/Halle Airport feeling as though it is filled with more than every other Marvel movie combined. From Ant-Man making his debut as Giant Man, to Spider-Man having fun with Falcon and Winter Soldier in the terminal, each sequence and each segment of each sequence does highlight what it is that each character literally brings to the fight.

In the making of Captain America: Civil War, James Young was certainly able to pull on his experience working on The Avengers: Age of Ultron, on which he was an assistant fight coordinator. Going further, explained that his job was not only giving each hero their specific moment, but also layering it all so that it never feels crowded. Said Young,

That's the challenge with Avengers in general. How do you make all these characters shine on screen and not have one of them overshadow the other? I think in Civil War, that was the biggest goal that we set ourselves up to achieve. Let's try to make every character pull something off in this fight that changes the fight for a better way.

James Young could say nothing on the subject of The Avengers: Infinity War, which will once again have Joe and Anthony Russo back at the helm, but after seeing Captain America: Civil War, we definitely hope he comes aboard as the film's fight choreographer. The blockbuster will once again be another step up challenge-wise, given that it's expected to feature just about every known Marvel Cinematic Universe character, but we'd argue Young has proven himself the man for the job, with Civil War being the only evidence he needs.

Speaking of which, you'll be able to see Captain America: Civil War again soon, as the film will be arriving on Blu-ray and DVD on September 13th.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.