Since the first X-Men movie kicked open the door for modern comic book films back in 2000, there has been a steady stream of superhero action that has shown few signs of abating. While there had been team films and solo outings, never before had a superhero movie attempted something as ambitious and potentially problematic as the hero vs. hero story, Captain America: Civil War. Far and away the most jam-packed superhero movie to hit the silver screen, with over a dozen superheroes brawling at a time, scenes such as the much celebrated Leipzig Airport Battle could have easily devolved into an incomprehensible mess of arc-reactor beams and spiderwebs. Speaking to Cinemablend, fight choreographer James Young, elaborated on the difficulty of dealing with the size of the cast and the effort to give each character their time in the limelight.
“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.”
Trying to thread the needle of having all of these superheroes fight was not an easy task. Every character is somebody’s favorite and the last thing you want to do is have their fans feel like their superhero went down too easy or worse, that they got lost in the shuffle of brightly colored characters. Luckily these concerns were clearly on the minds of the film’s creators.
“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.”
The issue of juggling these characters is especially compounded when dealing with the introduction of Black Panther and Spider-Man to the MCU. The careful balance of having to introduce these two new prominent characters into an existing dynamic while also keeping in mind to not let them take over the film was brilliantly realized in the finished product. Much to the enjoyment of moviegoers, each hero was used effectively and in tune with their own unique characteristics and skills. From Ant-Man’s turn into Giant-Man to Spider-Man’s AT-AT inspired takedown of said Giant-Man, nobody sat on the bench. Everybody brought their A game. And soon we’ll all be able to relive this awesome clash of heroes when Captain America: Civil War comes out on DVD and Blu-ray on September 13th.