On paper, it looks like a straightforward, if colossally powerful, face-off between two former allies and their cohorts. Not so, says the man who will be siding with Captain America as The Falcon. "I would say this one is more of a true suspense thriller," Anthony Mackie tells Empire magazine.
The first Captain America was, of course, a war movie, while Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) was a 1970s influenced espionage thriller. In its early acts at least, Captain America: Civil War will be doing something different and mainlining simmering tensions into its tapestry of old friends. "The build-up to the fight is what makes it so interesting," explains Mackie, "because there are so many different factions of who's right and who's wrong and who supports who." Fear not, though, this corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe won't be a courtroom drama drama. "Once we get all of that out the way, then it becomes more action-packed and more of us kicking each others' ass."
With the huge cast involved, Captain America: Civil War has a lot of character heavy lifting to be done in those early stages. But, assures Mackie, the fighting won't start until the motivation, loyalties and stakes for this plethora of characters is established. "If it's a civil war, you have to establish why there's a war," he stresses. "You can't just start fighting and expect people to appreciate it."
A slow crescendo building up to a screen shuddering third act may be on the cards, with Mackie neatly capturing the Marvel ethos. "What Marvel is very good at doing is making these stories about characters and story and then layering action on top of that. And this holds true to that."
With Marvel regulars Elizabeth Olsen, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Emily VanCamp, Sebastian Stan, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Frank Grillo and William Hurt, alongside new faces Chadwick Boseman (42), Daniel Brühl (Rush), Martin Freeman (The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug), Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler) and Tom Holland (The Impossible), Captain America: Civil War arives in the UK on 29 April.
Mackie, meanwhile, can currently be seen on screens in John Hillcoat's (Lawless) Triple 9.