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Captain America: Civil War is a suspense thriller, says Anthony Mackie

The two sides in Captain America: Civil War are taking shape with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) on the side of law enforcers, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) on the side of the law enforcer enforcers and the Sokovia Accords as the point of conflict. On paper, it looks like a straightforward, if colossally powerful, dust-up between two former allies and their cohorts. Not so, says the man who’ll be siding with Cap as The Falcon. “I would say this one is more of a true suspense thriller,” Anthony Mackie tells Empire.

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The first Captain America was, of course, a war movie, while Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a ‘70s-influenced espionage thriller with shades of Pollack and Pakula. In its early acts at least, 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 MCU won’t be turning all Kramer vs. Kramer on us. "Once we get all of that out the way, then it becomes more action-packed and more of us kicking each others’ ass."

With just about half of all the actors listed on IMBd appearing in Captain America: Civil War there’s 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 MCU 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."

Captain America: Civil War is out in the UK on April 29, with Elizabeth Olsen, Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Brühl, Chadwick Boseman, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Emily VanCamp, Sebastian Stan… and breathe… Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Marisa Tomei and Martin Freeman also appearing, and Joe and Anthony Russo behind the camera. Head here for absolutely everything you need to know about it. If you want to catch Mackie in the meantime, look out for John Hillcoat’s Triple 9 from February 19.