One Of The MCU's Biggest Fight Scenes Was Planned Using Action Figures

Over the years, we've seen for ourselves that action scenes in Marvel movies can be a bit of a coin toss. Last year's "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" featured an epic bus brawl with a three-act structure, but for every memorable takedown, there's another Marvel flick with a lengthy light show, an inexplicable beam shooting into the sky, and some back and forth blasting destined to fade from memory as soon as the credits roll. And for that reason, the better fights become that much more notable, especially when they strike the perfect balance between visually and emotionally intriguing. Back when light beams and were really having a moment, one particular battle made its mark for mixing emotion, humor, and onscreen badassery while giving fans of the comics and MCU alike so much of what we'd been dying to see: I'm talking, of course, about the airport scene in "Captain America: Civil War." 

In his review of the film, /Film's Ethan Anderson carved out time to praise this scene, writing:

"To say that the first battle between all of our superheroes in Captain America: Civil War is the best action sequence Marvel Studios has ever created is not hyperbole or grandstanding. In fact, this is just some of the best action in movie history. The scene is that good. The way our heroes fight against and with each other on the airport tarmac delivers exactly what fans have always wanted out of a comic book movie of this scale. Whether it's Spider-Man swinging fast off of a flying War Machine, or Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) firing a tiny Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) towards Iron Man, the way these heroes engage each other is creative and endlessly entertaining."

That kind of onscreen magic doesn't happen without massive effort though and took much strategic planning and choreography to nail down for the film. Along the way, it changed tremendously. To get everything in place before time came to film, the VFX and stunt teams used ... *drumroll please* action figures!

Some heroes are made of plastic

Action figures: good for collecting, great for playing with, and perfect for planning the climax of your multi-million dollar superhero movie! In a video from Corridor Crew (via ScreenRant) stunt coordinator and Winter Soldier double James Young dug into the planning process for the airport fight, which was initially planned out through weeks of sitting at a table and playing with action figures. Turns out those Hollywood elites aren't so different from the rest of us — whether you're the person in the audience or behind the scenes, you'll always find yourself smashing a Captain America figure into Iron Man and cheering for victory. Here's how Young described the process:

"We designed this fight over a long period, even before we started physical prep, like actually going in and starting previses. Myself and Sam Hargrove the coordinator of the movie, we sat with Kevin [Feige], Joe and Anthony [Russo], Dan DeLeeuw and ... the head of VFX, and we sat down for a week, maybe two weeks at first, six, seven hours a day at a table with the figurines. And basically the first week was like 'alright, let's talk about the team makeups in terms of story and let's put these guys against each other and come up with a list of hundreds of things that could happen.' Like we just came up with just a massive amount of lists of 'what if Natasha fought Cap' and originally, she fought him on the roof, we actually shot the fight. So yeah, these teams changed constantly."

It's all fun and games to watch the Avengers fend off alien invasions and Ultron copies, but it really upped the chaos to see them battle one another. The airport fight sees the Civil War sides of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Steve Rogers (Evans) collide, as the Sokovia Accords conflict comes to a head, Steve doubles down on his desire to protect Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and Black Panther pops in to terrify everyone with his deadly claws and hunt for vengeance. This scene also introduces a suited-up Tom Holland as Spider-Man — then immediately makes his fight some of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Sure, the stakes are complicated by the fact that they don't actually want to hurt one another and the tarmac looks pretty dull, but a tiny Ant-Man goes inside Iron Man's suit and Wanda throws cars at people. What's not to love?