Both 'Hobbs & Shaw' and 'Captain America: Civil War' feature scenes where the hero uses brute strength to ground a helicopter. But who did it better?

It’s a tale as old as time: You’re chasing after your superpowered foe, trying to protect your friends and save the world. But just as your enemy is within your grasp, he gets in a helicopter and begins to fly away. You look around and realize the only things that can prevent his escape, and the catastrophic fallout, are you and your big muscles. And so, you stop that helicopter with your brute strength — because you’re Captain America.

Or are you Dwayne Johnson?

Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) in "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw," directed by David Leitch. Photo Credit: Universal Pictures CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, Chris Evans, 2016. ph: Zade Rosenthal / © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
Credit: Universal Pictures; Everett Collection

Steve Rogers’ helicopter-wrangling success story was one of the most memorable moments in Captain America: Civil War, and until this weekend, Cap (Chris Evans) stood alone as the undisputed ’Copter Catching Champion. But with the release of Hobbs & Shaw, he’s now got competition in the form of Johnson’s Luke Hobbs. So who is the ultimate helicopter wrangler?

Below, EW breaks down each hero’s chopper capture to determine who did it better. Each candidate will be given up to five points each for brute strength, theatricality, and pained facial contortion. The candidate with the most points after three rounds wins!

Brute Strength

Captain America: Right off the bat, Captain America has the advantage in a strength contest because of his superhero origins. Cap has the benefit of super-serum-powered strength and stamina, and his singlehanded grounding of a helicopter is one of the best displays of his enhanced physical capabilities. In Civil War he’s able to make restraining that chopper look like nothing more than a particularly intense chest and back workout. +5

Dwayne Johnson: What Johnson doesn’t have in super serum, he makes up for with a diet of 5,000 calories a day. Luke Hobbs may not eat that much, of course, but we have to figure he gained the strength to hold back a helicopter without getting ripped in half somehow. While Hobbs gets some help from a truck, a chain, and his partner Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), his strength is still something to be lauded. +3


Captain America: Cap keeps it simple. No frills, no extra machinery. Just the helicopter, the platform, and his big, big biceps. It’s an incredible feat, but it’s not theater. +2

Dwayne Johnson: Now this is what we’re talking about. Throwing a chain around an airborne chopper from an airborne truck in slow motion? Excellent. The quippy dialogue? (Hobbs: “Let’s go fishing, Shaw!” Shaw: “You catch him, I’ll gut him.”) Yes, please. The only issue is Johnson’s strange need to put his shirt back on before chasing after the helicopter, because, well, that’s just weird. +4

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw - Official Trailer #2 [HD] (screen grab) Dwayne Johnson CR: Universal Pictures
Credit: Universal Pictures

Facial Contortion

Captain America: Cap really does give us a solid grimace: eyes closed, brow furrowed, teeth showing. Even some grunting and labored breathing! +3

Dwayne Johnson: Captain America’s grimace is good, but Johnson’s has something the First Avenger’s doesn’t: neck veins. No pained facial contortion is complete without strained neck veins. Plus, while Cap just grunts, Johnson lets out a perfectly melodramatic, full-throated “AAAGHHHH!” +4

Final Score

It’s a good thing for Steve Rogers that the genetically engineered super-soldier fought by Johnson in Hobbs & Shaw isn’t Captain America himself, because while both gave an admirable effort, Johnson edges out Captain America with a score of 11 points to 10. All hail our new ’Copter Catching Champion!

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Captain America: Civil War
  • Movie
  • 146 minutes