Marvel gave fandom something to really be thankful about this week, when they unleashed the trailer for one of next year’s most anticipated movies, ‘Captain America: Civil War’. The trailer accomplished many things. It gave fans a glimpse of the various Marvel heroes in action and taking opposing sides. The focus, however was on the star-spangled man with a plan, Captain America. That was by design, according to the film’s directors Joe and Anthony Russo.
Now that most have re-watched the clip a few times, the Russos are giving some behind the scenes commentary. These things aren’t just slapped together! Trailers are intended to entice viewers without giving away too much about the story.
But for those who crave even more, here’s what the Russos had to say:
The clip opens with Cap (Chris Evans) and the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) with Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) whose arm still seems trapped, like it was at the end of ‘Ant-Man’. The once brainwashed Bucky seems to have shaken off his control and once again recalls his life from before.
Though this sequence kicks off the trailer, Joe Russo says:
“That’s not early in the film. But we felt like it was the cleanest way to draw a line and highlight that this is Captain America 3, and not Avengers 2 and a half.”
Anthony adds to expect more explanation:
“There is a story about how Cap gets to Bucky and that’s fairly involved.”
Bucky proves he is back to normal when he recalls Cap’s mother’s name (Sarah) and the fact that once-scrawny Steve Rogers used to “wear newspapers in your shoes.”
“His memories are foggy but he has them. He’s also different now. There’s a part of his personality that was under mind control, and he murdered a lot of people. So he’s got a very complicated history. Who is that person? How does that character move forward? He’s not Bucky Barnes anymore. He’s not the Winter Soldier anymore. He’s something in between.”
Bucky appears to have been framed. “I don’t do that anymore,” he says when asked about the mysterious explosion shown.
“All we can say about that, is certainly The Winter Soldier has a very complicated history as an assassin and a weapon of Hydra – and that history ends up pulling him into a new conflict.”
It’s been known that William Hurt would be reprising his role as Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross from ‘The Incredible Hulk’, but seeing him in action in the trailer was still a thrill. Ross appears to take on an important role, when he accuses Cap of all characters, of being a “vigilante.”
“The job is to tie all these films together. To be able to pull from The Hulk, which may have been forgotten about a little bit, and make it relevant again within the cinematic universe, is important to us. We thought it would be interesting to take a character who had a fanatical anti-superhero point of view. Now he’s become much savvier and more political and has put himself in a position of power, not unlike a Colin Powell. He’s cornering the Avengers politically now, he’s out-manoeuvring them.”
But is Ross all that off-base?
“You cannot have a character called Captain America without examining the politics of what that means, especially in this day and age. The heroes in this universe operate under their own auspices, not under the directive of a government, and that can cause a lot of problems. There’s a certain level of imperialism that we’re examining – what right do those that have power have to use that power, even if it’s to do good? How do you govern that kind of power?”
The Sokovia Accords appear ominously. Captain America referenced “The Accords” in the ‘Ant-Man teaser and now we know these are the movie version of the Superhuman Registration Act from the ‘Civil War’ comic… which perhaps not surprisingly, is actually not a big influence on this movie of the same name.
“We’re using the essence of what Civil War was about. The comic book isn’t applicable to the storytelling that we’ve structured up to this point, but the concept of registration, the notion that heroes need to be either monitored or controlled because their power can be scary, is applicable.
“The Accords are the world jointly trying to govern the Avengers moving forward. It has to do with the effects of Ultron and Sokovia [raised and nearly dropped in ‘AoU’], and New York City [the scene of the trans-dimensional invasion in ‘The Avengers’], and Washington D.C. [nearly crushed by falling helicarriers in ‘The Winter Soldier’]. Examining the third acts of all the Marvel movies, we’re saying, if you could point to the collateral damage in all those incidents, could you use that against the Avengers to control them?”
Sokovia is of course the homeland of The Scarlet Witch and it appears to be she who is being handed the Accords here.
“The challenge was, we’re doing the story of Civil War. Which everybody knows is nominally about superhero registration. And in a lot of ways that can be a political issue, and we didn’t want the conflict of the movie to solely exist on that level. We wanted to figure out very personal reasons why everyone’s relationship to this idea of registration is going to become complicated. That’s what the relationship between Steve and Bucky allowed us to do, to get very personal in terms of why people would lean one way or the other.”
One nice element in the trailer, and one that helped reestablish that this was indeed a ‘Captain America’ movie despite the guest appearances, was the presence of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), a throwback to ‘The Winter Soldier’. Clearly, Natasha has taken the side of Tony Stark and the governments of the world, cautioning Steve, “I know how much Bucky means to you. Stay out of this one.”
“We thought it would be interesting to take that relationship that was so strong in Winter Soldier, and test it. She sees that they have made mistakes, very public mistakes and she’s trying to convince Steve that it might not be as black and white as he sees it and maybe they have some culpability, and maybe they have to accept that culpability, and then find a way to work within the system so that the Avengers aren’t disbanded.”
“It’s a great position to put Natasha in in this movie. In a way, her head is with Tony’s side of things, but her heart is with Cap in a lot of ways. It’s a really awesome spot for her as a character in the film.”
“The arc we’re tracking for Captain America, the thing we thought would be most interesting with this character when we came on board to direct Winter Soldier, was to take him from the most ra-ra company man that you could get, this character who was a somewhat willing propagandist, and by the end of the third film he’s an insurgent.”
“You have to pit him against the establishment, only this time it’s even graver consequences and even graver stakes than in Winter Soldier. In Winter Soldier, he was on the side of right because the establishment had been corrupted by a very evil organization. In this movie, it’s just the establishment versus Captain America and he has to make a choice whether or not he can tolerate the establishment any longer.”
And representing the establishment? Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).
“Tony’s defining characteristic is his egomania, in a lot of ways and we thought it would be interesting to bring him to a point in his life where he was willing to submit to an authority, where he felt it was the right thing to do.”
Referencing the destruction in ‘AoU’ and probably the first ‘Avengers’, Joe adds:
“He now has a guilty complex and the guilt drives him to make very specific decisions.”
Among comic readers, most were Team Cap when it came to the comic book ‘Civil War’ but Joe Russo doesn’t think film audiences will be quite as one-sided.
“When people leave the theatre, they’re going to be arguing about who was right in the movie, whether it was Tony, or whether it was Cap. Tony has a very legitimate argument in the movie that’s a very adult point of view, about culpability, about the Avengers’ responsibility to the world, and the world’s right to have some sort of control over the Avengers. It’s a very complicated emotional arc for Tony Stark in this movie. Downey is utterly amazing in the part. I think he’s taking this character he’s been crafting for years and goes to some very risky places in the movie with the character.”
Perhaps the most quotable line in the trailer is Tony sneering to Cap, “Sometimes I want to punch you in your perfect teeth.”
“Tony is a person who understands the grey as well as anybody. Cap is extremely black and white and there is a certain level of moral fibre and fortitude that a guy like Tony would perceive as being irritatingly perfect, and irritatingly obstinate. The notion of wanting to punch Cap in his perfect teeth is a way to express his frustration with Cap’s inability to conform to politics, and to compromise.”
Anthony adds, regarding the dynamic between Cap and Iron Man:
“We also played with the history. By the time Tony Stark was born and grew up, Captain America was a legend. We’re tracing the history between these two characters. It’s very interesting. It’s a sick, complicated relationship.”
But that isn’t the only interpersonal relationship that gets explored in ‘Civil War’. Anthony Mackie’s The Falcon debuted in ‘The Winter Soldier’ and appeared briefly in ‘AoU’. Expect him to grow even more here, according to Joe:
“He’s deepening his relationship with Cap. It’s Falcon, Cap and Bucky – how is that dynamic going to work going forward? How does he feel about Bucky? How does it alter his relationship with Cap if Winter Soldier comes back into the picture?”
Yes, ‘Civil War’ is still a Cap movie and yes, he’s the central character, but c’mon. We know the heroes take sides and we know they clash. The fans demand: Bring It On!
“When I was a kid, collecting comics, I would look at the great double panels, and study all the characters in battle with each other. Sometimes it’s referred to as a splash panel. This is our splash panel.”
“The way we went about it, it was about tracing what was going on with these characters and we would examine each character on a very personal level – how would they respond to the idea of registration? What stakes would they have in this issue? Why is it good or bad for them? That’s how we went about it.”
The ‘Civil War’ is wall-to-wall awesome, but among the killer moments, one managed to outshine nearly all of them: Black M***** F****** Panther. Fans didn’t just get a glimpse of the Wakandan leader but a quick shot of him in action.
But how much of that was Chadwick Boseman and how much was CGI?
“It’s a combination of a practical costume and VFX. It’s a vibranium weave, a mesh, almost like a chainmail. Luminescence is something we have to do in post… He’s there for a very different reason which brings him into conflict with Cap and his team. His motivations are not their motivations.”
Toward the end we get another look at Cap in action, demonstrating his super strength in a new way by holding a helicopter in place while clinging to a building.
“He’s hanging onto that helicopter for an extremely passionate reason. In stories you’ll read where a mother will lift a car off a child. There’s something very important happening in that scene and for us it really represented his struggle as a character, one man pitted against a helicopter that’s trying to take off. Can he stop it? And what are the limits of his strength? For us, it’s one of the most powerful shots in the movie and it’s Chris Evans, who works very hard to physically exemplify this character. On set, we had him straining against a crane holding this helicopter, and you have this fantastic shot of his muscles bulging and you can feel the pain and the energy and the determination as he tries to stop this thing.”
No commentary from the Russos on this shot but it’s perhaps the most shocking in the entire clip. To paraphrase Boyz II Men, have we come “To the end of the Rhodes?”
Joe did say:
“The theme of the movie is betrayal and it’s a very powerful theme. The movie’s extremely emotional. It hinges on that emotion, and on a very personal level we didn’t want the movie to become about politics and people arguing about platitudes. The third act is built around a very personal moment between these characters.”
Like, y’know the death of one of their allies?!
But this is a super hero movie, so expect these ideological arguments to take physical form. As the trailer ends, we see Cap and Bucky tag teaming Stark (and not in a slash fic way):
To wrap, Joe stresses:
“It was important for us to make sure that you very clearly understood that this is a companion to Winter Soldier. It’s not a companion to Age Of Ultron, this is not a companion to Infinity War…”
And there you have it! Feel free to rewatch the trailer a couple dozen more times. Hopefully getting the film makers’ comments will help enhance your enjoyment, even though there are still six months to go until we get the whole story.
‘Captain America: Civil War’ opens on May 6, 2016. It is directed by returning ‘The Winter Soldier’ team of Joe and Anthony Russo and stars Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Frank Grillo (Brock Rumlow/Crossbones), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier), Daniel Brühl (Baron Helmut Zemo), William Hurt (General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/The Falcon), Emily Van Camp (Sharon Carter/Agent 13) and Martin Freeman in a mystery role. The film also features Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Don Cheadle (War Machine), Paul Bettany (The Vision), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) and Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) and introduces Chadwick Boseman as The Black Panther and Tom Holland as Spider-Man. Marisa Tomei is also rumored to appear as Aunt May.
Source: Empire Online