It has been over a month since we could last see a film at the cinema in the UK. With all the major releases being pushed back we won’t be seeing most big films for a good while. One that was originally scheduled to be coming out at the beginning of May was Black Widow, the MCU’s first foray into Phase 4. Well as a big fan of superheroes with a decent comic book collection at home, I will be sorely missing Black Widow’s release. So to give myself a good dose of superhero action I am going to look back over my favourite moments and scenes from comic book film history. Obviously this list is just my opinion, and I would love to hear your favourite superhero movie moments in the comments. Major SPOILERS ahead for almost all of these films, so you have been warned.
50) Counting the Bullets (Deadpool) – The comedy was really what made the first Deadpool film so noteworthy, along with Ryan Reynolds’ pitch perfect portrayal of the character of course. There isn’t a huge amount going on in the way of story with the film really being built around three major action sequences. A lot of those aren’t too special, but contained within the massive freeway fight is the moment where he tells the audience to count down the twelve bullets he has left, which are numbered in a couple of slow-mo shots. This is one of the few times that really uses Deadpool’s super reflexes and agility to great use, and the moment he has to take out the last three guys with one bullet is awesome.
49) Kneel before Zod (Superman II) – Terrence Stamp’s Zod is an awesome villain, and responsible for one of the greatest and most iconic lines in any Superhero film. After easily storming the White House Zod and his soldiers confront the President and his staff. Zod orders him to “kneel before Zod” and so one of the most iconic moments was born. This is something that has been quoted in other iterations of the character, such as in Smallville and has been referenced, over even directly quoted in non-Superman media as well such as Supernatural or Mallrats. Although nothing will ever beat the Terrence Stamp original.
48) Shingen Fight (The Wolverine) – The Wolverine is an exceptionally underrated film in the X-Men universe, and has a couple of fantastic action sequences. One of those is where Logan and Yukio fight Shingen. Whilst Logan is recovering from conducting surgery on himself to remove a robotic parasite that was suppressing his healing powers, Shingen attacks in full samurai armour and Yukio is forced to fight him off. Wolverine finally recovers just in time to stop Shingen killing Yukio and the pair engage in a fairly brutal battle. What makes this scene so great is this is the moment in the film that Logan finally decides to once again embrace his X-Men persona that he’s been distancing himself from, declaring himself to be “the Wolverine”.
47) Sharing His Power (Shazam!) – Throughout the entirety of Shazam! Billy has been searching for a family. And even when he finds this foster family that will bring him in and accept him he doesn’t really fit because he has the powers of Shazam!. However he realises that the only way to stop Sivana and the Seven Deadly Sins is to share the power of Shazam! with them. To do so he has to open up his heart to them and this is where he really accepts them as a family and all six of them are brought onto the same playing field. It’s not only a great heroic moment, but a touching one in a film that is really all about family.
46) Blowing up Parliament (V for Vendetta) – Whilst V may be the titular character in V for Vendetta it is really Evey’s movie, and it is so fitting for the final choice of whether to actually blow up Parliament to be hers. Equally fitting is for Finch, who has been leading the pursuit of V to allow her to do so because of the horrendous crimes he’s uncovered from the Tory-I mean-Norsefire government (they are canonically born out of the Conservative party). Sure V gets the action packed finale, but it is this choice by Evey and Finch that are at the heart of the film. Two people who have slowly come to realise that this is a necessity. And the final moment as Evey tells Finch that V was all of us is so important. It isn’t this superpowered man in a mask who makes the difference, it is regular people standing up to a corrupt system and fighting those who need it.
45) Mysterio Illusions (Spider-Man: Far From Home) – When we all found out that Mysterio was going to be in the second MCU Spider-Man film we all knew there had to be sequence where he really messed with Peter Parker’s head, but we all wondered how they’d managed to make it work cinematically. The answer is brilliantly. The whole technological aspect brought to the character, with drones projecting fake images for everyone to see was a really cool twist, and this was easily where they made the most use of it. It looks fantastic, it really gets to the heart of Peter’s insecurities, and the way they transition through various elements his’ psychological torture is genius.
44) Batman v Superman (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) – I know that Batman v Superman is a film that has massively divided opinion, but coming out of the film I certainly didn’t feel let down by the confrontation between the two titular characters. Now I’m just talking about the fight between the two, and not one of the most derided moments in the film, “save Martha” which I’m counting as a separate moment.The actual fight really delivered, as Batman got to really show the ingenuity that would allow him to take on Superman, and Supes being held back by his humanity that keep him from just wiping Batman out.
43) Bullet Train (The Wolverine) – I talked about one of the action sequences in The Wolverine already, but the really stand out is definitely the Bullet Train fight. It starts off small scale with Logan taking on a group of four Yakuza on the train. However when Logan and two of the gangster end up atop the train it becomes one of the most unique action sequences I’ve ever seen. With Logan and one of the Yakuza both trying to avoid obstacles, it does almost become video game esq, but James Mangold’s direction keeps it feeling kinetic enough, and different enough to avoid feeling that way. And the final moment where Logan throws himself in the air to take out the final guy several carriages back is epic.
42) Floor 39 Drug Den Bust (Dredd) – It was hard to pick a singular moment from Dredd that really stood out, because it is just such a consistently good film. I’m sure many people would go to the rotary cannon scene, but upon rewatching it was actually the first drug bust in the tower block that I loved the most. Pretty much any scene where someone uses Slo-Mo is fantastic. The slowed down effects are fantastic, and the colours in those scenes are so vibrant. So to get an action scene filmed with the Slo-Mo effect is awesome. It’s violent, bloody, so pretty to look at, and a perfect set up for everything that comes afterwards.
41) Lucifer Cures Constantine (Constantine) – John Constantine is a character that has been damned to Hell and he battles demonic forces on Earth in order to curry favour with Heaven. This is something that has made him a special prize in the eyes of Lucifer. When John has to commit suicide in order to summon Lucifer to inform him of a plot between Lucifer’s son Mammon and the angel Gabriel it also mean Lucifer will claim his soul. This is where the genius of John’s plan comes to fruition as the self sacrifice he’s made means that he has finally been redeemed. But John is a prized soul, so to punish him Lucifer cures him of his injuries, and terminal lung cancer so he still has a chance to damn himself once again. This is a true beating Death moment that is brilliantly played out. Peter Stormere’s Lucifer is awesome, and despite the lack of a scouse accent Keanu Reeves makes an awesome Constantine. This is a very underrated film, and this is a brilliant bit of storytelling.
40) Saving the Train (Spider-Man 2) – I know this is a scene that would probably be around the top of many people’s lists. As a reimagining of the classic Superman saving a vehicle scene it’s really solid, although has certainly been topped. In reality what makes this scene memorable is the reactions of the passengers on the train who can all see his face, but are all going to keep his identity a secret. I really am not a fan of Tobey Maguire as the character, either Peter or Spider-Man, but this one scene he’s fantastic, in a silent scene for him. The look of shock and fear when he realises he doesn’t have his mask, and the way it turns to confidence and gratitude is beautifully played.
39) X Force Parachutes In (Deadpool 2) – Deadpool was a smash hit, but its incredibly simple story was essentially contained to three set pieces with some skits to fill the gaps between. Deadpool 2 brought the scale into the film, without compromising the humour that had made the first so special and unique. Nowhere was that better exemplified than the scene where Wade had assembled his X Force and they all parachuted in. We see everyone but Wade and Domino die in increasingly hilarious ways, before Domino’s lucky superpowers kick in a way that I didn’t think would translate to film. Oh and this sequence contains a tiny cameo from Brad Pitt as Vanisher.
38) Angel of Death (Hellboy II: The Golden Army) – No one does better creature design in his films than Guillermo del Toro, and one of the best is his stunningly beautiful Angel of Death from Hellboy II. With Big Red on the verge of death Liz and his friends bring him to the Angel for a cure, something the Angel says he can do, but Liz must make a choice. Liz is warned that if Hellboy lives then he will doom humanity, and no one will suffer more than her. I wish we could have seen this choice really pay off in a third del Toro Hellboy film, but alas it wasn’t to be, and we are just left with this powerful choice that Liz had to make for the man she loves.
37) Blood Rave (Blade) – Opening scenes don’t get any cooler than Blade. As a film I think that Blade II is superior, but no moment in the franchise stands out like the blood rave. As a young woman brings her date to a rave he slowly begins to notice a few drops falling on him, right before the sprinklers start shooting blood everywhere. It is such an imaginative way of bringing Vampires into the modern time, and feels exactly like the kind of thing they would be doing in the 90s, when rave culture was at its peak. This scene also gives us the big introduction to Blade, Wesley Snipes in all his glory, which leads into the epic opening fight scene, which shows us just how badass Blade is.
36) Some Days You Just Can’t Get Rid of a Bomb (Batman 1966) – I unashamedly love the Adam West Batman film. If you’re a big fan of what the character has become in films with deeper dives into the psychology of Bruce Wayne, well this is certainly not that. The 1966 Batman is a straight up comedy, and no moment in the film is funnier than Bats’ futile attempts to dispose of a bomb only to find that every direction he wants to throw it has some innocents be it nuns, a marching band, a mother with a pushchair, or even some ducks. The punchline is perfect, with Adam West’s completely straight and earnest delivery of “some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb” becoming a truly classic comedy moment.
35) Reaching Her Full Potential (Captain Marvel) – Captain Marvel was an awesome film about a woman who was being kept down by a society that feared they would be unable to control her if she was allowed to reach her full potential. In the final act of the film Carol comes to realise this, and during her conversation with the Kree Supreme Intelligence removes the implant they were using to suppress her powers. The way this is shown both in the real world and the virtual one Carol’s mind is in works fantastically, and as she finally becomes the Captain Marvel that we know from the Comics we are treated to the iconic shot of the film as she glows with light and her eyes ignite.
34) Wonder Woman Arrives (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) – The final fight in Batman v Superman does stray a little too far into becoming a big CGI mess as the titular duo take on Doomsday. But it does offer us a truly brilliant moment. When Diana arrives, in her full Wonder Woman costume for the first time it is a proper punch the air excitedly moment. Dropping in to save Batman’s life we then hear her brilliant theme written by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL. I also love the moment between Bats and Supes as they both thought she was with the other. I don’t love that final act, but Wonder Woman’s introduction is fantastic.
33) First Flight (Iron Man) – It has been said before, but back when it came out in 2008 Iron Man was an incredibly risky project. Marvel hadn’t been performing strongly, the X-Men and Spider-Man franchises had just fallen off a cliff with their third installments, and Robert Downey Jr had been a hugely unreliable hire with his past substance abuse issues. The film up until this point had been really strong, but the first flight that Tony Stark takes in it is the first time we really see the character in costume, it had to be epic. And it was. From the automated suiting up, to the inside the helmet shots it worked perfectly, and it looked great. This was probably the first massive hurdle the MCU faced, and it flew over it with ease.
32) How About a Magic Trick (The Dark Knight) – I was around 14 when The Dark Knight came out, and whilst I’ve come to love some of the scenes with more nuance and depth to them, I still love the magic trick scene. This just perfectly exemplifies the unpredictable, manic nature of Heath Ledger’s Joker in the film. When he first asks the assembled gangster of Gotham “how about a magic trick” you don’t really know where it’s going to go, certainly I didn’t expect to see him smash the pencil through a henchman’s face. Ledger’s performance absolutely sells the moment, I particularly love his little “ta-dah”.
31) Quicksilver in the Kitchen (X-Men: Days of Future Past) – Evan Peters’ take on Quicksilver was alright, but nothing special, up until the break Magneto out of his prison. During the escape as Charles tries to stop him from hurting the guards Quicksilver takes the situation into his own hands. The super slow-mo scene is brilliant. Watching Quicksilver mess with everyone and everything, eventually having everything work out in their favour, is a lot of fun, and setting it all to ‘Time in a Bottle’ just works perfectly. Sadly they rehashed this in X-Men Apocalypse and the law of diminishing returns was really in effect there.
30) Circle Shot (The Avengers) – In everything that happens in the action packed third act of The Avengers there are so many great moments. But none has become as iconic as the circle shot showing all six of the Avengers standing their ground against the invading Chitauri army. It starts with Bruce Banner’s fantastic “I’m always angry” line, and culminates in the six Avengers preparing to face off against their enemy together. After all the infighting and bickering this is the moment where they truly come together as The Avengers. We also get to hear Alan Silvestri’s powerful Avengers theme to underscore this moment.
29) Kilmonger’s Death (Black Panther) – Let’s get this straight, I’m talking about Kilmonger’s death scene, not the fight sequence where he is mortally wounded, that’s a bit of a CGI mess. His death scene on the other hand is exceptional. Michael B. Jordan is exceptional throughout the film, delivering a character who you can relate to, but it is in his final scene where he shines the most. His performance is heartbreaking as he dies getting to look out over Wakanda, the fairytale he’d dreamed of growing up. Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole’s writing is brilliant in capturing this, and the devastating final line “Bury me in the ocean, with my ancestors that jumped from the ships, because they knew death was better than bondage.” is so powerful.
28) Peggy’s Goodbye (Captain America: The First Avenger) – I’ve said it before but The First Avenger isn’t a good film, but it does have this one exceptional and heartbreaking scene. As Steve Rogers prepares to sacrifice himself he gets the chance to say goodbye to Peggy over the radio. Most of the scene is actually shot from Peggy’s perspective, meaning that we’re focused on Hayley Atwell’s remarkable performance. I’m so glad that we got a couple of seasons of Agent Carter, and the odd later MCU appearance, because her performance in The First Avenger is really the only reason I go back to that film.
27) Dominoes (V for Vendetta) – A powerful scene showing the beginnings of a popular uprising from the oppressed people against the Northfire government as the dominos of V’s master plan begin to fall into place. I love the way the Wachowskis brought this moment to life, as we see how these small acts slowly begin to snowball into full scale revolution, including how Norsefire begins to destruct from within. Creedy’s growing frustration with being blamed, V sending out the Guy Fawkes masks to increase chaos, and Finch’s investigation into Larkhill all leading to the big turning point as the young girl is shot by a fingerman. Whilst I previously talked about the big social and character moment in the film, this is just a brilliant bit of film making, that uses the visual metaphor of the dominos to perfection.
26) Ride to Homecoming (Spider-Man: Homecoming) – Michael Keaton is a hell of an actor. Honestly in lesser hands Adrian Toombs would not have been the intimidating threat he is in Spider-Man: Homecoming. That said we’ve seen plenty of great actors in nothing antagonist roles, but the writing, particularly in the car ride to Homecoming, is fantastic. The reveal that Toombs is actually Liz’s dad got a great reaction out of the audience every time I saw the film and the following scene is probably the tensest that we’ve had in any MCU film thus far. Tom Holland also deserves praise for the scene as Keaton’s foil, but watching Michael Keaton slowly figure out that Peter is Spider-Man is a hell of a ride. One little detail I never noticed is that the traffic light they’re stopped at actually turns green as Toombs realises, and it is touches like that which show the attention to detail filmmakers put into their films.
25) Breaking the Bat (The Dark Knight Rises) – The Dark Knight Rises isn’t the consistently brilliant film that The Dark Knight was, with the third act in particular holding it back. One thing that always frustrated me was the reveal that Bane was just a pawn in Talia al Ghul’s plan. One of the big reasons for that is the breaking the bat scene earlier in the film. This is an iconic comic book moment from Knightfall, but Christopher Nolan did an exceptional job updating it for film. Not only is Bane a huge physical threat for Batman to face, but his intelligence comes across in that moment. Tom Hardy is so imposing, and you completely believe he could best Batman in a hand to hand fight.
24) Lift Fight (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) – A lot of Superhero and comic book films have great action sequences, but usually there’s a good helping sci-fi or fantasy in those as well. But, until the third act, The Winter Soldier offers far more grounded action sequences that rely on the direction of the Russo Brothers. Whilst the highway scene is fantastic its the lift fight that takes the cake. Action sequences in that era had relied too much on quick editing to make them feel frantic, but this was around the time we started to move away from that, and The Winter Soldier was an integral part of that. It is brutal, real, and you feel every moment of it. It is so well done that it has easily become the most iconic part of the film. It has become so iconic they reimagined it in a brilliant way in Avengers: Endgame.
23) Wolverine’s Mansion Rampage (X2) – The first X-Men was a solid film, and undoubtedly the star coming out of it was Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. The only problem was he was never allowed to fully let go. Well that’s something they rectified in X2 where Wolverine goes all out to defend the X-Mansion from William Striker’s men. The pure ferocity of Jackman’s performance is remarkable and it took the defining character of the first film to a whole new level. Strangely this may have actually been one of the worst things for the franchise as they never really got away from that for years, and struggled when they didn’t have Wolverine to build their films around.
22) Starlord’s Introduction (Guardians of the Galaxy) – I’ve sung the praises of the first scene after the opening credits of Guardians of the Galaxy many times before, because it sets the tone for the whole film so perfectly, and with a joyous bait and switch. The moody and ominous opening is brilliantly pulled away to have Chris Pratt’s Starlord singing along to Redbone’s ‘Come and Get Your Love’. Not only does this perfectly set up the tone that James Gunn is going for in Guardians, but it also sets up exactly who Starlord has grown up to be. He’s easy going, fun, and loves 80s tunes (or at least the one tape of them he’s got. I think this perfectly exemplifies how music is used in Guardians, its not just popular needle drops like Suicide Squad, but its all about the right song for the right scene.
21) Nightcrawler’s White House Attack (X2) – Nightcrawler is definitely a fan favourite X-Man, certainly one of my favourite characters in the series, so to see him introduced in the opening of X2 was incredible. But it is done in such a shocking way that pays off later in the film. This is a taste of what Nightcrawler could do if he was inclined to do evil, and that is always what has made the X-Men so impactful, it is this morals and belief in doing the right thing. It does also help that this is probably still the best action sequence in any X-Men film, bringing Nightcrawler’s vanishing powers to the big screen and using them in such a cool way. It looks stunning, its a gripping opening, and more than the first X-Men movie this really gets to the heart of the fear around mutants, and that being weaponised by those who hate them.
20) Flight (Man of Steel) – If the Iron Man first flight genuinely made you believe a man could fly (in an iron suit) then Man of Steel took it up a level. A lot of moments on this list are the big, epic, heroic moments, but the Flight sequence in Man of Steel is epic in a different way. It’s a scene that both has a grandiose scale to it, but a smaller and more intimate feel at the same time. A lot of that feels down to Hans Zimmer’s incredible score. ‘Flight’ is one of those pieces of music I can listen to completely on its own, removed from the film because it is so wonderful, but in the context of the scene its magical.
19) Cap Wields Mjolnir (Avengers: Endgame) – I have never heard a crowd pop like they did when Cap lifts Mjolnir for the first time at my midnight screening of Endgame. That whole screening had a special atmosphere, but this moment was absolutely electric. It has been something that has been speculated since Age of Ultron back in 2015, and Thor’s “I knew it” really does sum up the feelings of the entire fanbase at that point. And seeing Cap wield Mjolnir and his shield in tandem was really special, and exceptionally well done by the Russo’s. They realised how to make the two weapons work well together, and made this moment stand out during the epic final third of the film.
18) Bring Me Thanos (Avengers: Infinity War) – It feels as though Thor in Infinity War is the character who comes out the best. He conducts several exceptional feats in the movie, all leading up to the moment he arrives in Wakanda to turn the tide of the battle. Controlling the Bifrost with Stormbreaker he arrives just as each of the Avengers begins to get overwhelmed and delivers the cry of “Bring me Thanos”. With Alan Silvestri’s classic Avengers theme playing behind it, this is a moment that gives me chills. Thor is my favourite Avenger and to see him get this incredible moment in Infinity War will always be epic.
17) A-Force Assemble (Avengers: Endgame) – I know this is a divisive moment with some people feeling its unearned, but I don’t care. I love it. Seeing Scarlet Witch, Gamora, Nebula, Mantis, Valkyrie, Okoye, Shuri, Wasp, and Pepper come together to back up Captain Marvel is epic. Marvel have done a great job recently of bringing through some great female characters, although it is a shame that at the moment only Wasp has had their name in the title of a movie, but this was a good moment to showcase how in films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther they have finally started pushing some women, and women of colour to the fore more, and incredibly badass.
16) Soul Stone (Avengers: Infinity War) – For those who talk about Thanos as one of the great villains, the soul stone sequence in Infinity War has to be the principal moment to point to. He’s a character who I think does genuinely care for Gamora as his favourite daughter, but not as much as he cares about completing his life’s mission. The way the Russo Brothers unfold the scene on Vormir is masterful filmmaking, focusing on the characters and their relationships, and really the scene that indicated how they were going to approach Endgame. I think both Josh Brolin and Zoe Saldana are fantastic in this scene, and bring this father and daughter relationship that they’ve been growing so well over the film to a brilliant and emotionally devastating conclusion.
15) Doc Ock’s Redemption (Spider-Man 2) – Whilst I’m not a fan of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man I cannot deny that Spider-Man 2 is a great comic book movie, and that is all down to the story that Alfred Molina’s Otto Octavius goes through during the film. He is a pretty perfect example of a sympathetic and tragic villain. Even compared to characters like Kilmonger, who I’d say are understandable, they aren’t tragic in the way Doc Ock is. And director Sam Raimi and screenwriter Alvin Sargent give him the redemption he deserved. Realising his mistakes throughout the film, he chooses to sacrifice his life and his life’s work and contains the destruction from the nuclear reaction that was threatening to cause mass destruction. Molina is exceptional as is Raimi’s direction and it provides the perfect ending to a great film.
14) Saving the Plane (Superman Returns) – The original Superman film had an iconic moment where Superman saves Lois and stops a helicopter disaster. I imagine at the time this would have been stunning to watch, but 1978 is a long time ago now and the visuals don’t really hold up. Whilst Superman Returns isn’t a great film, its homage to this scene, as Superman saves a failing plane, with Lois on board, is breathtaking. Having Superman prevent an air disaster with more modern effects works perfectly, and this is a great opportunity to showcase Brandon Routh’s Superman. I only wish the rest of the film had lived up to this stunning sequence, because this is a great Superman scene, possibly the best ever put to camera.
13) Thor is Still Worthy (Avengers: Endgame) – Thor’s story in Endgame has divided people. There were those who criticised it for making light of mental health issues, and depression, but in actual fact I found it to be empowering. Despite the negative slump Thor has been in, and the weight gain and self doubt, the moment in 2013 Asgard (from The Dark World) where he is still worthy to wield Mjolnir is so important. It is so important to let people know that mental health issues do not mean you’re unworthy, and this is a great way you can represent that in a big budget superhero action film. Hemsworth’s performance in Endgame isn’t just the comic one we’ve seen in Ragnarok or the stoic but pained on from Infinity War, it is a brilliant portrayal of depression, and he really makes you feel his surprise and delight of still being worthy.
12) Logan Dies (Logan) – I think we all knew that Logan wasn’t going to survive the film given Hugh Jackman’s retirement from the role and the overall tone of the film. But I don’t think many of us were expecting it to be as emotional as it was. Both Hugh Jackman and Daphne Keen are extraordinary in this scene as they make Logan’s death so emotionally raw. It is incredible to think that Keen would only have been about 11 when filming this, because she plays it with the emotional maturity that some veteran actors can’t. And something that I will come back to later in this list is the the theme of family in Wolverine’s whole X-Men story, and this really delivers the payoff to that with Laura finally calling him daddy, and his final words “so this is what it feels like” meaning what it means to have a family. It’s truly heartbreaking stuff to give such a great character the sendoff he deserves.
11) All of You Were Wrong (Black Panther) – This is moment in Black Panther that has really grown on me every time that I’ve seen the film because this is really the moment where T’Challa realises that the way Wakanda has operated on a policy of isolation is wrong, and in the ancestral plane confronts his forefathers. This is what Ryan Coogler is trying to say with the film, that neither the traditional Wakandan ways of secrecy or Kilmonger’s choice to wage war on the world is right. This is the moment that T’Challa truly becomes a worthy king, and a great leader, who won’t turn his back on the rest of the world. It is powerful stuff coming from Ryan Coogler about the way the world should be, connected and united.
10) After Party (Avengers: Age of Ultron) – Age of Ultron might have its problems, but it is probably a better film than some people give it credit for. This was around the time that Marvel and Kevin Feige seemed to be trying to take too much control over each individual film, and it shows as the best moments in Age of Ultron are those that director Joss Whedon pushed for. I love a lot of the stuff at Hawkeye’s farm, which just didn’t make this list, but it’s the after party where we see the Avengers hanging out in Stark tower that does make the cut. We get to see these characters removed from the big action or crisis situations and how they interact as friends. Without a scene like this Civil War and Infinity War have far less impact. This also sets up the Captain America with Mjolnir moment in Endgame, and Vision lifting it later in this film so perfectly. We also get Ultron’s first appearance, and James Spader is such a great villain.
9) Troll Market (Hellboy II: The Golden Army) – I talked earlier about the creature design in Guillermo del Toro films, but now let’s talk about the worlds that he created, in particular the troll market. This place feels so real and alive in a way that so many of these fantasy worlds just don’t. It’s gritty and grimy, but vibrant and fascinating. This is also the place where Hellboy fights Prince Nuada’s chief warrior Mr. Wink, the giant troll with a projectile metal fist. This fight uses the troll market as a setting brilliantly, particularly in the final moment for Mr. Wink as his fist gets trapped in a furnace pulling him in. This just showcases how much thought del Toro puts into his world, because he has to make it believable that Wink and Hellboy would fit into this world, and have that furnace being a believable feature, and there aren’t many directors who could pull it off like del Toro.
8) Airport Fight (Captain America: Civil War) – For pure action sequences you won’t top the airport fight in Civil War as Captain America and Iron Man face off, along with all their supporters. There is so much happening here, and it gives every one of the 12 heroes a chance to shine in some way. Amid all this chaos this is our first proper look at the MCU’s version of Spider-Man and this is the first time we see Giant Man in the MCU. They all take this time to begin or develop so many relationships during this time, like Vision and Scarlet Witch, Black Widow and Hawkeye, and Spider-Man and Cap as people from New York. I also love the way the first slowly escalates, as people start off going a little easy on one another, before launching into a full on, all out fight where no one is pulling their punches anymore. As a pure action sequence there aren’t many in film history that can top it.
7) God of Thunder (Thor: Ragnarok) – I said earlier that Thor is my favourite member of the Avengers, and it isn’t remotely close. His best heroic moment, even more than the ‘Bring Me Thanos’ one in Infinity War comes from the final confrontation in Thor: Ragnarok. Beaten down by Hela he finally comes to accept, with the help from a vision of Odin, that he didn’t need Mjolnir in order to harness his control of lightning, and he has power beyond it. Obviously this has to happen just as his allies seem overwhelmed so Thor can have one of the most badass hero moments ever. All set to Led Zeppelin’s class ‘Immigrant Song’ this is just cool. On top of this we also get Valkyrie and Loki in the battle and Hulk fighting Fenrir. What’s not to love?
6) Crossing No Man’s Land (Wonder Woman) – This moment in Wonder Woman sums up what the character and the film are all about. She is someone who isn’t going to just standby and let bad things happen. She refuses to accept Steve Trevor’s warning that they’re powerless to help the local’s who have had their village taken, and in one of the most spine tingling sequences in any comic book film crosses no man’s land and confronts the Germans. This is the attitude that makes Diana such a hero, she refuses to take the attitude of you can’t save everybody, and fights to change that. Brilliant shot by Patty Jenkins and Matthew Jensen, and wonderfully scored by Rupert Gregson-Williams this is a moment that always brings tears to my eyes. A true hero moment.
5) The Snap / I am Iron Man (Avengers: Infinity War / Avengers: Endgame) – This is really two moments that mirror one another in the two biggest crossover event films ever. Firstly Thanos delivering the snap to erase half the universe in Infinity War, a moment that many of us speculated would happen, but were still slightly shocked that Marvel actually went for it. Secondly we have the reverse moment where Tony Stark sacrifices himself to snap Thanos and his armies out of existence. I love the mirror symmetry of these moments as the big finales of both films, how it comes full circle. And how Tony’s journey across the 12 years of the MCU finally comes full circle with his line “I am Iron Man” echoing the final line from the first Iron Man film. The snaps are both such rich moments with so much going on, and brilliantly executed by the Russos.
4) Family Dinner (Logan) – Logan is a masterpiece of a superhero film, not because they finally unleash Logan in full on r-rated glorious violence, although that is great. No Logan is a masterpiece because of the small and intimate storytelling around Logan, Charles, and Laura, and the growth of this small and unconventional family. Nowhere is that more evident than when the three of them get to stop for dinner with the Munson family at their farm. Logan’s whole journey throughout the X-Men franchise and his own spin offs is all about his search for some kind of family. Having lost that in Jean and the X-Men he finally recovers with Charles as his father figure and his biological daughter Laura. This scene gives us, and the characters, that little bit of hope before it is cruelly snatched away from us.
3) Leap of Faith (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) – Into the Spider-Verse is a film with such a unique and eye-catching pop art style, this means that visually it really stands out from almost any other animated film. I don’t think I have ever seen a scene like the one where Miles really becomes a Spider-Man in his own right, and takes the leap of faith to know he’s ready. The upside down shot of Miles falling is just stunning, the kind of shot I would gladly have framed on the wall of my house, truly a work of art. But with this being the emotional climax of Miles’ journey on top of all that, it is a near perfect scene. Also being set to Blackway & Black Caviar’s original song for the film ‘What’s Up Danger’ is the perfect musical accompaniment for the moment.
2) Interrogation (The Dark Knight) – For a long time the interrogation scene in The Dark Knight was my favourite scene in cinema history (I’m a comic book guy, don’t at me). This scene is really a perfect microcosm of the film as a whole featuring the battle of ideologies between Christian Bale’s Batman and Heath Ledger’s Joker. With the Joker trying to push Batman into breaking his strict moral code through antagonising and mocking and Batman trying to overcome him without giving in. This scene features Ledger at his most magnetic and captivating in a film that is often defined by Ledger’s performance, as the Joker really controls the scene and holds all the power despite being the prisoner. Batman slowly becoming more desperate to get the information out of the Joker means he comes very close to beating the Joker to pulp and fulfilling the Joker’s vision of proving Batman to be as morally compromised as he is.
1) Avengers Assemble (Avengers: Endgame) – I said that the interrogation used to be my favourite movie scene, and that is because Avengers: Endgame managed to eclipse it last year. Seeing this film at a packed midnight showing surrounded by big fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was probably the most special cinematic experience I ever have had, and very possibly ever will have. The emotional peak of the film comes as a battered and beaten Captain America stands alone against Thanos. With almost all hope gone it suddenly roars back as we hear through Cap’s earpiece “on you left”. Doctor Strange opens portals to bring almost every major character who is still standing at this point into the battle, including all those who had been snapped, and it gives me goosebumps every single time. Alan Silvestri’s beautiful piece of music, titled ‘Portals’, that underscores this moment is perfect, and manages to elicit a similar emotional reaction to watching the scene because of the memories it evokes. I cannot stress how perfect a payoff this scene is for anyone who has stuck with the MCU as a fan throughout, finally giving us all these characters together, standing off against the ultimate foe. And then, just to really deliver, we are finally given the line we had been denied in both The Avengers and Age of Ultron as Cap cries “Avengers assemble”. This is perfection.