The first Phase 3 movie out of the gate for Marvel will be Captain America: Civil War, and studio head Kevin Feige called it the movie that all the others have been leading up to.
Is that just hype? We won't know for another nine months or so, but the footage premiered for the first time anywhere today at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California -- with Chris Evans (Cap) and Anthony Mackie (Falcon) joining Feige onstage to send the crowd into delirium -- left this fan desperately wanting more.
First, the bad news: we did not get a glimpse of Spider-Man (Tom Holland) today. But we did get a brief flash of Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) in his full costumed, clawed glory, even if you dared not blink for fear of missing it.
Here's a breakdown of what I saw:
- The footage opened with Cap, Falcon and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) tracking a van that turns out to be full of explosives
- Falcon deploys a drone from his flying rig (a mechanical version of the comics' Red Wing)
- Crossbones (Frank Grillo) and thugs shows up and a street battle in a market begins
- The Widow dispatches two of Crossbones' henchmen
- Cap and Crossbones go at it hand to hand as Crossbones springs a variety of blades from his arm gauntlets
- Crossbones' mask is ripped off and he tells Cap, "He recognized you. Your buddy, your pal, Bucky."
- Next is the scene from the end of the Ant-Man credits, with Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and his arm caught in a vise as Falcon and Cap stand over him. Only this time Cap asks, "You know who I am?" to which Bucky -- who apparently does -- replies, "Your mom's name was Sarah."
- More shots of the trio locked in battle with Crossbones
- - Some kind of hearing room. Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt) says, "The world owes you an unpayable debt...but some see you as heroes and others as vigilantes. People are afraid."
- Cap: "The job is trying to save as many as possible, but sometimes that isn't everyone."
- - Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) appears on the scene and says to Cap: "Sometimes I want to punch you in your perfect teeth."
- - Cap to Tony: "What are you without all that?"
- Quick shots of Vision (Paul Bettany), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Panther and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen)
- - A shot of Cap leading his team as they begin to run. Someone asks, "What do we do?" Cap: "We fight."
- Iron Man and War Machine (Don Cheadle) charging forward
- Hawkeye pins the Widow to the ground. Widow: "We're still friends, right?" Hawkeye: "Depends on how hard you hit me!"
- - Finally, Falcon throws open a van door and awakens a sleeping Scott Lang/Ant-Man(Paul Rudd), who jumps out and grabs Cap's hand. "I can't stop shaking your hand!"
With directors Joe and Anthony Russo returning from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the gritty, hand-held visual aesthetic remains the same, making this more explicitly connected to The Winter Soldier than, say, Age of Ultron.
And as usual with a Marvel movie, it's the character moments that stand out -- the tension between Cap and Stark, the exchange between Black Widow and Hawkeye, and Ant-Man stumbling over his words as he meets Cap for the first time.
Captain America: Civil War comes out May 6, 2016. The wait seems long already.