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When Superheroes Collide

The second set-up filmed is a fight scene between Black Widow and Hawkeye. Black Widow has her small nightsticks while Hawkeye has a bo staff for close combat since a bow and arrow isn’t great for hand-to-hand combat. We’ve seen Black Widow and Hawkeye go at it before in the Avengers, but never with this kind of weaponry in their hands. Renner and Johansson really know what they’re doing, with the latter getting some movement tips from her stunt double before the scene begins.

While Black Widow and Hawkeye fight in the foreground, the Winter Soldier and Black Panther are fighting each other in the background. But since those two are not the focus of this shot, their stunt doubles are doing the action instead of Sebastian Stan and Chadwick Boseman. In fact, we didn’t see the latter actually in his suit until we were leaving.

Producer Nate Moore talks about how this fight is different from seeing the heroes fight any villain where they’re out for total defeat, but that doesn’t mean the stakes aren’t still high. The fighting is still very dangerous, and it’s a challenge to portray it in a way that is exciting but believable within the confines of the abilities each of these heroes have:

It’s a challenge. It’s something that we talk a lot about. Who’s more powerful than who and what happens? I think part situational you put ’em in situations where they’re having to make tough choices . I think the other thing to think about, and again this is something that I think the comics, I think tonally don’t have to get as right, which is these people like each other. I’m not trying to beat the shit out of you. I’m not hitting you full blast because why would I do that? I’m trying to stop you, I’m trying to prevent you. So I think it prevents Tony Stark from blasting Hawk in the face. You’re just not gonna do that.

That doesn’t mean you still can’t have a battle that has real stakes and tension but it does mean for characters like Vision, especially, who feels like he is the protector of humanity in some respects, from going full Vision power because are you gonna do that to somebody like Black Widow? Are you gonna do that to Wanda? I don’t know. I mean that’s pretty severe. It is that idea of situational use of power. Of challenging them in ways that are clever. All the tricks in the book are on the table. Tony’s suit of armor can do a million things. Hawk has a million bows and arrows. There are ways that we have to, I think, just internally, of challenging these characters to be really be pushed to the brink, without sort of lethal force.

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However, Joe Russo talks about how they made sure that the heroes really did have a grudge to hold against each other, enough so that they did want to fight each other and not necessarily hold back much:

There’s an intensity in this film. We dug deep to find motivations that were extremely personal and very emotional to the characters. It’s not for all characters because like any fight people take sides and some people have stronger motivations than others, and as the fight gets worse people drop out because they don’t have the stomach for it. We have a couple characters that go to the end and they go to the end pretty hard and pretty ugly.

So not everyone is going to stay in this fight, presumably until it’s just Captain America and Iron Man going head to head, maybe with Bucky Barnes alongside his longtime friend. But don’t expect to have an easy time choosing your side, even after the movie is over. Stephen McFeely says:

We want people walking out of this movie going, Tony’s right. And half the other people going, Steve’s right. That would be a dream if we got 49-51 split. Because the question is a legitimate one. Do they need oversight or not? And as soon as you imply oversight… Steve at one point says in the movie, what if these people send us somewhere we don’t think we should go? What if there’s a place we need to go, and they wont send us? Right? It’s an excellent argument.

Christopher Markus adds:

Part of the challenge in not making Tony clearly wrong as he seems to me to be in the comic book, where you’re like, you built an inter-dimensional prison… is to give him his own personal reason, the same we’ve given Steve a personal, you know sort of illustration of this, give Tony his own one, so that he’s coming from a place where you understand why he would make this decision.

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