“Captain America: Civil War” stars Chris Evans (Captain America/Steve Rogers) and Anthony Mackie (Falcon/Sam Wilson) were on hand at Disney’s D23 Expo to debut the first footage from the hotly anticipated Marvel movie, which was previewed exclusively for the 7,500 fans packed into a super-sized hall at the Anaheim Convention Center on Saturday morning.
The action-packed reel positioned Evans’ Cap and his team against Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Don Cheadle’s War Machine, with Avenger pitted against Avenger in a battle near the end of the trailer.
“Are we still friends?” Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff asks Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton/Hawkeye at one point during the brawl. “Depends how hard you hit me,” Clint quips.
The disagreement between the former allies seems to stem from a speech delivered by William Hurt’s General “Thunderbolt” Ross, who tells Steve, “The world owes you an unpayable debt — a great many people see you as a hero, but there are some who prefer the word vigilante. People are afraid.” Steve responds, “This job, you try to save as many as you can. Sometimes that doesn’t mean everyone.”
In one scene, Downey’s Tony Stark tells Evans’ Steve, “Sometimes I wanna punch you in your perfect teeth.” Perhaps having learned from his mistakes in “Age of Ultron,” Tony seems to be arguing for more accountability from the superheroes, while Steve is willing to work outside the government system — which makes sense, given S.H.I.E.L.D.’s betrayal in “Captain America: Winter Soldier.” Tony points out, “We have no boundaries, we’re no better than the bad guys.”
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The footage also included Cap, Falcon and Black Widow on the hunt for Frank Grillo’s Crossbones in an urban environment (with Falcon deploying Redwing — a modified drone he used to scan the weight of a vehicle). When Crossbones revealed himself, it set off an action-packed brawl around the streets and marketplace, with Black Widow getting the chance to deploy some killer moves on a henchman while Crossbones went toe to toe with Cap — tossing him into cars and trading blows before gloating about Steve’s former friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan). “He remembered you, you know — your pal, your buddy, your Bucky.” The trailer delivered on the promise of “Captain America: Winter Soldier” and the stinger at the end of “Ant-Man,” showing Steve and Sam confronting Bucky in a bunker and trying to establish if Bucky remembered who he was (“Buck, you know me?”) with another scene showing Bucky going to battle alongside his best friend in the fight against Iron Man.
The footage didn’t show Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, but did give a hint of Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther in civilian clothes and extending his costume’s claws, and ended with an amusing scene that saw Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang (aka Ant-Man) meeting Captain America for the first time, and thoroughly geeking out over the encounter: ” I know you know a lot of super people, so thinks for thanking of me! Uh… thanks for thinking of me,” he stammers. Another shot from the film saw a funeral taking place, with the coffin draped in a Union Jack.
“Civil War” also stars Paul Bettany (whose Vision was seen wearing a suit in the footage instead of his caped ensemble from “Ultron” — perhaps because he was attending said funeral?), Emily VanCamp, Martin Freeman and more stars from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Marvel boss Kevin Feige also debuted a concept art trailer from “Doctor Strange,” which has not yet started production. Although Benedict Cumberbatch couldn’t make it to the Expo because of his commitment to “Hamlet” in London, he sent a video message, promising, “Girls, cars, explosions, a bit of astral projection — the usual fare.” Of his mystical titular role, Cumberbatch said, “He’s an extraordinary character and brings in a whole other dimension — multiple dimensions” to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
The concept art footage, narrated by director Scott Derrickson, showed Stephen Strange — the world’s top neurosurgeon — embarking on a quest for healing after an accident damages his hands and ruins his career. His journey leads him to meet the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who teaches him mystical arts that imbue him with power. In addition to sweeping landscapes and the familiar streets of New York, the art also featured surreal scenes of hundreds of cars floating in the air and streets skewed at odd angles in visuals reminiscent of “Inception.” The final scene showed Strange creating a ball of yellow energy between his hands.
“Captain America: Civil War” hits theaters on May 6, 2016. “Doctor Strange” will bow on Nov. 4, 2016.