With Marvel’s insanely ambitious 23 film arc – starting with Iron Man and culminating with the release of Avengers Endgame – finally coming to a close, now is the perfect time to offer up what I think is the top 100 moments from superhero movies. Superhero movies have been around for a while, but they weren’t a common thing till around the turn of the century, with even more films being pumped out at the beginning of the MCU in 2008. To honor these movies that have entertained us so much, I have compiled a combination of entries that have a bit of everything. Moments that have thrilled us inspired us, made us laugh, and even some that made us cry.
*Warning! Possible SPOILERS below! Proceed with caution!*
Lastly, I wanted to share a few of the rules of my list to help clear up any questions you may have:
1) For a scene to be included, it had to be one continuous scene. The entire Battle of Wakanda, for example, didn’t make the cut due to it jumping back and forth between the action on Wakanda and the forging of the ax with Thor.
2) The movie must have had a theater release. No direct to DVD. Endgame was the cut-off, so no Far From Home.
3) I limited a film to no more than four entries or otherwise, I would have just put the entire Dark Knight movie on here.
4) Most likely I broke these rules and you will just have to get over it.
On to the List!
50. Bullet in the Eye | Superman Returns (2006)
We had always heard about how invincible the Man of Steel was but were never able to fully realize the extent of that invincibility. Mainly due to the constraints or lack of CGI and the effects at hand for the previous live-action films. Well, thanks to modern technology, we were able to get an incredible “holy crap” moment that showed how invulnerable Superman truly is.
Superman played by Brandon Routh, who flat looked the part, flies in to stop a heist where the bad guys mount a turret gun and begin to hold off the police. Once Superman arrives, they turn the gun on him and unload all the bullets into his chest as he simply walks through them like they were just raindrops. Once close enough, the gun pulls out his handgun and fires a bullet at close range right into Superman’s eye. The close up of the bullet hitting his eye, smashing around his pupil, and falling to the ground was jaw-dropping. One of the best representations of hero’s abilities.
49. Putting on the Makeup | The Crow (1994)
Man, what would have been had Brandon Lee not suffered that fatal accident while filming this movie? The Crow came at a perfect time during the dark 90’s grunge movement and worked on every level. Brandon Lee did a fantastic job at playing the back from the dead and internally torn man, Eric Draven, out for vengeance. A year earlier, a group of thugs broke into his home brutally killing him and the love of his life. Draven comes back from the dead with one purpose and that is to seek justice at any cost. He returns to his abandoned home to be haunted by memories of their past life together, and we then get one of the best “putting on the outfit” scenes. The white base with simple black outlines would be highly effective and memorable for our damaged anti-hero.
48. “Let’s Just Say I’m Frankenstein’s Monster” | X-Men: First Class (2011)
The setting sun peering through the windows of this bar paints a beautiful setting, the score helps build some tremendous tension, and Michael Fassbender takes care of the rest. Erik Lensherr had been seeking vengeance ever since his mother was taken away from him by Nazi soldiers and he realized his full powers. On his mission to find his creator, he just happens to find some former Nazi soldiers having a drink in a local bar and decides to have a little chat with them. Magneto has been a part of some of the best scenes from the X-Men franchise with this being his finest in my opinion. The climax of the scene is just built so well and Fassbender delivers one the best lines in the most sinister fashion.
47. Tumbler Chase | Batman Begins (2005)
Christopher Nolan’s Batman origin story helped bring superhero films to a more realistic world. To this point in the film, we had seen some of the normal Caped Crusader staples in his outfit, gadgets, weapons, and classic hero lines. The only thing missing so far was the iconic Batmobile. We saw a glimpse of it earlier in the film when Bruce and Lucious Fox took a camouflage painted prototype out for a spin. With cops on his tail and his love, Rachel Dawes, in need, we get an exhilarating chase with the completely blacked out Batmobile on the streets of Gotham like never before. We witnessed the tumbler smash through cement barriers like they weren’t even there, turn on a dime, leave cops in the dust, Batman maneuver from driver to launching bombs back to the driver, go to stealth mode and fly from rooftop to rooftop. This is how chase scenes are done.
46. Night Club Scene | Blade (1998)
This is one hell of an entrance to a character that the general audience knew nothing about. Before Iron Man, Spider-Maguire, or even Wolverine, there was Wesley Snipes’ Blade. The day walking, leather trench coat wearing, sword-wielding, a vampire hunter with serious martial art skills. What starts off as your typical guy follows a hot girl (Traci Lords no less) to a rave that all of a sudden becomes an absolute blood bath or shower. As the music thumps and lights strobe, we see a lot of pretty people dancing when the fire sprinklers burst on, but instead of water, we get a downpour of blood. Along with our naive beret-wearing douche, we learn that some of these ravers are of the vampire persuasion.
Then we see this cool looking mofo just standing there as whispers of “it’s him” start to spread and the vampires are scared of this guy? All hell breaks loose as Blade begins to shred and decimate all vampires in sight. Just a thrilling and fun sequence every time I watch it.
45. “Some Days, You Just Can’t Get Rid of a Bomb” | Batman: The Movie (1966)
It is amazing how far superhero movies have come in the last 20 years let alone what they used to be back in the ’60s. I don’t any scene on this list really captures the essence of what comic books initially were before they became all dark and brooding. It is just goofy goodness that you have to love the absurdity of the whole thing.
Batman comes across a lit realistic looking bomb and does what heroes do. He picks it up with his bare hands and proceeds to run around as calmly as possible warning people of the danger, while he tries to find a spot with no one around in order to let it go off. But he just can’t get rid of this bomb! After running around with the bomb over his head for two minutes while constantly running into a mother with a stroller, a marching band, and some ducks, Batman was finally able to find a place to get rid of the bomb. Just in the nick of time as well. “It’s alright Robin.”
44. The Twist | Unbreakable (2000)
When Unbreakable came out, we weren’t all jaded by the “king of the twist endings” just yet so whether you saw it coming or not, this twist at the end of the movie was really well done. Learning that Elijah had masterminded all these terrorist events in order to find his opposite was horrifying. He practically murdered hundreds of people because of his comic book obsession and the disease that had plagued him his whole life in hopes to find his nemesis.
Shyamalan constructed this film so well that we didn’t realize we were watching an origin story or even a superhero movie. Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson played their parts fantastically with this final scene delivering a gut punch to David and the viewer.
43. Thor’s Arrival | Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Since Thanos beat the snot out of him at the beginning of Infinity War, Thor had been on a mission to do whatever it took to stop Thanos and avenge his brother and friend’s deaths. With his hammer destroyed, he was in search of a new weapon to help defeat this threat and he found that in his freshly made ax, Stormbreaker. He was now ready to face Thanos again!
I’ll never forget the high pitch squeals when this massive bolt of a lightning hit in the middle of the battle of Wakanda and Thor emerged shouting, “Bring me, Thanos!” It was pretty epic to say the least. Banner’s line of “you guys are screwed now!” helped seal the deal on this heart-pounding arrival.
42. Wolverine’s Intro | X-Men (2000)
We didn’t know what to expect when the live-action X-Men was announced, and the most worrisome part was how everyone’s fan-favorite was going to turn out. Almost twenty years and nine appearances later, we can all agree Hugh Jackman’s portrayal wasn’t too shabby. I don’t think Logan’s introduction on screen could have been any better. The lost soul who knows nothing but violence making money in unsanctioned cage fights just fits, doesn’t it? Jackman nailed the look and we soon learned he nailed the attitude. Even if you didn’t know anything about the character, you got a good sense of who Wolverine was and what he was all about instantly.
41. X-Force Skydive | Deadpool 2 (2018)
Some of the best scenes in superhero and action movies is recruiting a team of badass individuals to accomplish singular cause. Introducing all the different characters and unique abilities that they bring to the table that makes them special. The mighty leadership of one to be able to pull together a motley crew of individuals together and accomplish an impossible task. The excitement, joy, and pride Wade Wilson was feeling were palpable right up till the moment they were all hilariously and unceremoniously killed by the ultimate villain…a heavy wind…RIP X-Force.
What do you think of the selection so far? What was your favorite superhero movie moment?