As Marvel's Cinematic Universe continues to grow, so too is the technology used to bring the comic book characters and worlds to life. The studio’s next feature release, The Avengers: Age of Ultron has already set a new record for visual effects shots within a Marvel film. The movies in Marvel’s Phase 3 will no be even larger in scope - especially those helmed by Anthony and Joe Russo, which now include Captain America: Civil War, and The Avengers: Infinity War - Part 1 and 2.
However, filmmaking technologies aside from VFX are available to directors to create more cutting edge theater experiences. With production on Civil War set to start on April 27th, it will be the first to film using IMAX's new 2D digital cameras.
Variety is reporting the Russo brothers will use the IMAX cameras (co-produced with the German manufacturer Arri) for a 15-minute sequence of the film with "some incredible scale to it," according to Joe Russo. The director went on to explain that the scene will be a key part of the narrative, meaning the use of the new camera technology will be more than just a technical showcase:
“We like being on the cutting edge of technology, and we like to enhance storytelling with technology in a way that pushes the narrative forward creatively. When you’re working on a Marvel film, there’s a sense of showmanship that goes along with the movies, and no exhibitor exploits that better than IMAX.”
IMAX already has a digital 3D camera and a film 2D camera, but the digital 2D cameras will allow Captain America: Civil War to be more easily converted to 3D in post-production. This announcement also means the Russos join the list of recent directors - including Zack Snyder (Batman v. Superman), J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Christopher Nolan (Interstellar) to merge IMAX's format with blockbuster storytelling.
As to the story of Captain America: Civil War, a short synopsis confirmed it's sticking to the comic event written by Mark Millar. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) will be divided by a proposed act that would demand superhero registration, intended to better monitor superhuman activity.
It won't just be the superhuman caught in the drama either, as Scarlett Johansson explained to Collider that while she couldn’t reveal which side Black Widow will take, the "psychological twists" in store will surprise fans. But as serious as the events facing the MCU may be, Johansson doesn't believe Marvel films are simply getting darker, but adjusting to the demands and tastes of their audience:
"I have read the script for Civil War. You know, the film has a very different feeling than anything of Marvel’s that I’ve read or been a part of before. These films are—I don’t think darker is the right word because there’s definitely always going to be some kind of levity, and that comes in a form of humor or hope. When you compare these films to like Batman, it’s a different feeling obviously, it’s a different audience experience, but as the stakes loom like larger and larger I think these films are kind of maturing with the audience; so there’s even more complex psychological twists that I sort of hadn’t necessarily anticipated."
In speaking about Civil War compared to The Winter Soldier, Johansson confirms what many fans have suspected since the moment the subtitle was applied to the third Captain America adventure. In short: that the film will play act as more of a prequel to The Avengers: Infinity War than Winter Soldier did for Age of Ultron.
As if it wasn't enough for Civil War to act as "a pre-Avengers 3 and 4," the movie will also act as the beginning of Phase 3, including films such as The Spectacular Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel.
It seems those behind Captain America: Civil War will up the ante both in terms of technology and the scope of the story. The IMAX cameras may only be used for a short sequence of the film, but sound like they will hopefully be used smartly, to create a better-looking final feature. As for the story, Civil War will be more integral to the overarching storyline of the MCU than previous Captain America films even managed.
That doesn't mean Marvel is putting all of their effort into films down the road, but keeping up the standard in the present, releasing films that are both financially successful - Age of Ultron is expected to break box office records - and critically well-received. Whether the third Captain America film will be another of Marvel’s hits remains to be seen, but all indicators point toward success for Civil War.
Captain America: Civil War premieres in theaters May 6th, 2016.