9:30 am EST, November 25, 2015

The ‘Captain America: Civil War’ trailer: Our breakdown and best bits

It's finally here and our chill is non-existent.

When it was announced that Captain America: Civil War foes Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr would be appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night, we started suspecting that they might have some news about a trailer, but we were kind of expecting to get, say, a 30-second TV spot, not two and a half minutes of full HD glory.

We’ve been waiting for this footage for 84 years, and we were still woefully unprepared for how freaking amazing it turned out to be.

We always knew that due to the divergence of events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the original comics, the cause of the titular ‘civil war’ wasn’t going to be exactly the same as the original story involving the Superhuman Registration Act. The trailer gives us a really good impression of what’s going to drive the film, without giving too much away.

To summarize, Steve finally finds Bucky, their trust is rebuilt, and he warns him about the officials — the government or military — who consider Bucky a killer and a criminal. We then go back, presumably, to earlier in the movie, where the Avengers are finding out about the criticism of their actions, partly due to the damage in Sovokia, and the restrictions that are to be put into place. There are shots of Steve on the run, communicating with a worried Natasha, and it’s made clear that Steve is opposing the limitations and higher authority in order to help Bucky escape.

The conflict between Steve and Tony — who sides with the government – starts to make itself clear, and there’s a rather heartbreaking scene of Steve’s gear and shield being taken away while he and Sam stand stoically, as well as several introspective moments of Steve silently reflecting on things. These quiet moments are followed up by a ton of action scenes, including explosions, the introduction of Black Panther and the eventual Cap squad line-up, complete with Hawkeye and the Scarlet Witch. It ends with a final confrontation in which Steve and Bucky seem hell-bent on tearing Iron Man apart with the strength of the shield.

We loved every single second, but we’ve broken down some of our very favorite Captain America: Civil War trailer moments below.

That helplessly happy eyebrow twitch

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To our astonished delight, the trailer immediately sets up Steve and Bucky’s reunion as the emotional center of Captain America: Civil War. The opening moment is a continuation of the Ant-Man post-credits scene where Steve and Sam confront a trapped Bucky, but while Steve’s lines in the stinger had a worryingly distant tone, this is another story — it’s intimate and hopeful, and a display of extraordinarily nuanced acting from Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan. When Bucky starts revealing his memories to Steve, they’re both overjoyed. Despite the high-stress situation, it’s probably the happiest and the most disarmed that either character has been since Bucky fell from the train in World War II — they’re trembling with it. Opening the movie’s very first teaser trailer with this scene is Marvel reinforcing the fact that Steve and Bucky’s relationship is more important than anything else in each of their lives, and that Civil War is going to be all about Steve fighting to protect that.

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Falcon as a fully-fledged Avenger

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As of the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Sam Wilson has officially joined the new Avengers team as the Falcon, and now we get to see him in action. We had some fun with him in Ant-Man, but this trailer sees him kicking ass and taking names in the way we’ve been waiting for. Sam’s got the slickest moves out of anyone in the trailer, diving off buildings and gracefully taking people out mid-air. When his wings are folded away, he’s by Steve’s side every step of the way, providing pragmatic commentary as they go on the run from the government. He’s cautious, suspicious and skeptical in moments where Steve is headstrong and hopeful, which is the kind of grounding presence that might help our hero stay alive. At this point, it’s even money between him and Bucky as to who might take over as Cap for a while, but there’s no doubt Sam’s earning his keep as an Avenger.

‘He’s my friend.’ ‘So was I.’

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In the Civil War comics event, the rift between Captain America and Iron Man was personal and painful, due to their long partnership as co-leaders of the Avengers. In the MCU, their relationship is a bit different — this Steve and Tony haven’t actually known each other all that long, and their dynamic is still pretty tense. This exchange is a fascinating character moment, and a continuation of the sad fact that Tony adores and admires the other Avengers, but due to his destructive defense mechanisms, it rarely comes across right, causing most of them to merely tolerate him. Every scrap of evidence we have suggests that none of the gang — least of all Tony, who Steve genuinely seems 1200% done with most of the time, including in this trailer — have matched the closeness of Steve’s past loved ones, yet Tony thinks that his bond with Steve may be comparable to Bucky’s, in terms of loyalty owed. He’s deluded, of course, but it’s going to be interesting to find out how Steve and Tony each view their situation.

Bring on the Black Panther

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One of the new major Marvel players set to make his debut in Captain America: Civil War is Chadwick Boseman as Prince T’Challa of Wakanda, the Black Panther, and we got a few quick glimpses of him in last night’s trailer. There weren’t any shots of Boseman unmasked as T’Challa, but his super-suited identity makes his first appearance in the Civil War fray, fighting on Tony’s side and coming to blows with Cap’s team. We don’t know what powers or abilities the MCU’s Black Panther will have (in the comics he’s an expert martial artist with enhanced strength thanks to some tribal gods) but he’s able to hold his own against the Winter Soldier, sending Bucky flying with a kick to the face! His suit is likely to be vibranium-based — given that he’s the prince of the country where it comes from — which would make him a formidable opponent for Steve, who relies on the power of the same material when he uses his shield.

Stucky’s synchronized Iron Man smack-down

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Captain America: The First Avenger — Steve goes after Hydra for Bucky, incidentally saves the world. Captain America: The Winter Soldier — Steve goes after SHIELD for Bucky, incidentally saves the world. Captain America: Civil War — Steve goes after Tony and the American government for Bucky… world-saving status as yet unknown. These two are the MCU’s strongest and most enduring representation of friendship, but most of that has been shown in the tragedy of separation, and we’ve had very little opportunity to see them actually working and fighting together. The trailer had some amazing shots of our 97-year-old super-soldiers side-by-side as they should be, including Steve grabbing Bucky’s shoulder for comfort in a mirrored moment of their “end of the line” flashback, but whether you’re Team Cap or not, we can all agree that the final scene, of Bucky and Steve brutally and ruthlessly whaling on Tony in his Iron-Man suit, is super intense and like nothing we’ve seen before in a Marvel movie. They move perfectly in tandem, barely looking at each other — they share the use of the star-spangled murder-frisbee between them almost like they’re sharing a brain. It’s beautiful to watch, immensely satisfying, and quite possibly foreshadowing of Bucky having what it takes to wield the shield.

If the trailer is anything to go by, directors Joe and Anthony Russo have done a truly incredible job with Captain America: Civil War. Some other jaw-dropping, gasp-inducing or tear-jerking moments included Tony sitting devastated with an immobile Rhodey draped across his lap, Bucky jumping off a building in his civilian clothes, Steve stopping a freaking helicopter by dragging on it, Bucky going one-on-one with Tony in a fierce fight that might be a replica of a very specific comic book scene, and a very anxious Natasha trying to protect her friend while staying on the right side of the law. The snippet of orchestral score we heard was gorgeous, and the cinematography is also beautiful, very comparable to the Russo brothers last Marvel project, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This movie doesn’t feel overblown and fantastical like Avengers: Age of Ultron, or excessively grim like the current DC slate. It feels painfully real, and seems to perfectly balance its urgency and action with character-driven breathing room.

The thrill of this terrific trailer is exacerbated by the fact that Marvel’s last ensemble movie, Age of Ultron, left a lot of fans unmoved. It was a commercial success, but for people who truly follow the MCU fandom, it’s considered one of their worst projects, and many beloved characters suffered at the hands of Joss Whedon. As the Civil War cast grew to include other stars who have their own solo franchises, Captain America fans were also nervous about the fact that Civil War seemed to become “Avengers 2.5” instead of “Cap 3,” and that it would no longer truly be Steve’s story — especially given how much Age of Ultron ignored the events of Winter Soldier. This trailer should firmly put those fears to rest, as it’s obvious that this is Steve’s emotional arc, and that the crux of the conflict is what Bucky Barnes means to him. Bucky’s immense impact in fandom, helped along by Sebastian Stan’s wrenching performance as the Winter Solider, is clearly something that aligns with the Russo vision for the MCU.

Joe and Anthony Russo have teamed up with screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely — who’ve penned every Cap movie so far — and given us the hero we deserve in Steve Rogers. We can only assume their deep understanding of the source material and careful, complex handling of the character will extend to the other Avengers they now get to write for. We couldn’t be more excited Captain America: Civil War, and for this awesome foursome to carry their plan forward with Avengers: Infinity War.

What’s your favorite moment in the ‘Captain America: Civil War’ trailer?

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