It’s almost 100 degrees in Atlanta, Georgia on the set of Captain America: Civil War and the heat is unbearable. There’s very little shade and the sun feels hotter than it’s ever been, but I’m watching them shoot what may go down as Marvel’s craziest action sequence ever – one that will most assuredly produce consequences that spread throughout the Marvel cinematic universe – and so heck yeah… it’s all worth it!
On one side of a long stretch of concrete – dressed up to look like a German airport hangar – we have team Captain America, poised to charge at the opposition in order to gain access to the Quinjet. Only the opposition -- and the ones guarding that Quinjet -- is full of people who are supposed to be their allies. Yup, on the other side of the hangar looking to stop Cap (and Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch, Falcon and Hawkeye) are team Iron Man, consisting of Iron Man, War Machine, Vision, Black Widow and the newest Marvel hero, Black Panther.
Essentially, we’re about to watch the beginning of a civil war between two teams of heroes on opposite sides of a critical political debate, in which the government wants more oversight over who and where they fight. As difficult as this is to write, we’re about to watch our favorite heroes quite literally throw down in one the biggest, most sprawling action sequences we’ve ever seen in a Marvel movie.
“We're referring to this sequence as the splash panel or the double panel,” codirector Joe Russo explains. “If you're a comic book fan you know that any epic book you would open up [includes a splash panel]. As a kid I would just go through and look at who was fighting who. I'd stand there in the store for 15 minutes until the guy told me to buy the book or get out. You'd just study it, and so this sequence is our live-action splash panel or double panel. It's a big epic sequence.”
Russo tells us that the entire 15-minute sequence – which features a number of wild fights, like Black Widow vs. Hawkeye and Winter Soldier vs. Black Panther – is being shot with brand new IMAX cameras. In fact, this is the first time they’re being used, specifically for this momentous scene.
“It's the only one that we're doing on the camera,” he says. “The camera literally just rolled off the press like a week before we started using it. It's an IMAX 65, so it's the ARRi's 65. It's a joint camera between ARRis and IMAX. We're going to shoot all of Infinity War on those cameras.”
This scene will be unlike anything we’ve seen to date, and it’ll no doubt test your own loyalty to characters you’ve been rooting for over the course of several movies.
And as we watch Hawkeye trade punches with his good friend Black Widow (whom do you root for??), one thing we notice is the fight happening behind them – that of Winter Soldier and Black Panther. This is the first time we’re getting a taste of Black Panther’s fighting style, which is completely unlike any other Marvel character in that it’s a combination of martial arts and catlike motions. Its seriously intimidating and super cool to watch in person, and a tantalizing tease at what’s to come from the popular comic character, played by Chadwick Boseman.
Will this sequence go down as Marvel’s most memorable, perhaps topping the insane finale in The Avengers? We can tell you there’s a very strong chance it will, but at the very least it’ll be a scene you won’t soon forget.
Captain America: Civil War hits theaters on May 6. Check out our visit with Team Captain America right here.