Batman versus Superman. Professor X versus Magneto. Spider-Man versus Venom. Over the years, comic book movies have shown some of the most impressive smack-downs between superpower-wielding titans. These battles often stand out in their individual movies and leave viewers talking for weeks after a blockbuster’s initial release.
In April 2017, Marvel was kind enough to grace us with the awesome first trailer to “Thor: Ragnarok.” The highlight of the trailer was most definitely the build up to the “Gladiator” style showdown between Thor and the Hulk. This event is the fight that all Marvel fans are craving to see, and got us in the mood to go back and check out some of the MCU’s other superpowered beatdowns! So read on and check out our countdown of the 15 most amazing Marvel movie fights!
SPOILER WARNING: The following list contains spoilers from every Marvel movie released to date!
15. TONY STARK VS. ALDRICH KILLIAN
“Iron Man 3” was met with mixed reception from critics and fans. Though the film was beaming with snappy dialogue and a unique directorial vision from Shane Black, the twist did detract from the enjoyment for some fans. Instead of going toe-to-toe with ol’ Shellhead, Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin was revealed to be an actor employed to be a face of evil. Hired by Guy Pierce’s Aldrich Killian, “the Mandarin” was a puppet who served no real true purpose in the story.
That being said, those who enjoy the film do so because the final action sequence made up for this bait-and-switch. Killian, a long time admirer-turned-hater of Tony Stark, finally came face-to-face with the man he had grown to despise. Meanwhile, Tony Stark (who spent a majority of the film questioning whether or not he was good enough to don the armor again) sees his brainpower and physical talents come to fruition. The two battle in a visually impressive, high stakes battle of personal merit that certainly gives the film a better reputation than some argue it’s worth.
14. THE AVENGERS VS. THE CHITAURI
The final battle of “The Avengers” was nothing but satisfying. In 2012’s team up of monumental proportions, comic book fans were finally treated to seeing countless stars and personalities meet in a snappy, comedic and well-planned picture. The large majority of this satisfaction was because to the Battle of New York. After Loki summoned the Chitauri, the Avengers went into full action mode and beat down some aliens. Seeing Hawkeye’s building jump while firing an arrow felt thrilling, the Hulk’s gargantuan terror was exciting, and the diversion of a nuclear missile by Iron Man was adrenaline inducing.
Though some could argue that the remaining Chitauri dying at the end wasn’t a true victory, the Battle of New York represented more than that. It was the culmination of differing ideologies coming together for a true purpose. Seeing the Avengers team working as a unit and take down some aliens and save the people of New York was phenomenal and a perfect ending to this first historical team up.
13. ANT-MAN VS. FALCON
“Ant-Man” was the movie that Marvel took a gamble on. Though a beloved character by comic book fans, Ant-Man is not nearly as well known as Thor, Captain America, or most other pre-existing properties. Some bad buzz surrounded the film after original director Edgar Wright left the project and rumors circulated that Marvel wanted Wright to incorporate more tie-ins to the larger MCU.
Some worried that this notoriously unpopular “studio interference” would lead to unnecessarily forced cameos. Luckily, the MCU tie-in that was incorporated into the film was superb. When breaking into the Avengers headquarters, Scott Lang unfortunately runs into Falcon. The two newest Avengers then break into a hilarious and surprisingly fulfilling fight. Seeing Falcon’s very choreographed and military trained style mix with Scott Lang’s clumsy awkwardness was fantastically funny and exactly what “Ant-Man” was all about. The juxtaposition of the two styles, most importantly, further pushed Scott Lang on his journey to finishing his training.
12. THOR VS. FROST GIANTS
Often underrated in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the “Thor” movies boast their own unique variety of action. Many who are fascinated by the new “Ragnarok” trailer may think back upon the first impressive 2011 film from Kenneth Branagh. Truly showcasing Thor’s power, one of the most memorable sequences comes towards the end of the film when the Norse demigod faced off against the Ice Giants.
Both visually impressive and climactically apt, the face-off was foreshadowed at the beginning of the film and carried out to fruition at the film’s end. Though the mind games between Thor and Loki are thoroughly compelling throughout the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, this battle was truly action packed and a perfect conclusion to the theatrical epic. It showcased Thor’s power and embodied the well-edited and intense feeling that the entire film boasted. Not to mention, this sequence left viewers feeling like they immediately needed more Thor, Loki, Odin and Jane Foster.
11. DANCE BATTLE: THE GUARDIANS VS. RONAN
There is a good case to be made that “Guardians of the Galaxy” is Marvel’s best film. Though it is not as monumental in scale as “The Avengers” or character-driven as “Iron Man,” the film is still absurdly entertaining. With its own brand of character building through humor and its own brand of world building by James Gunn’s impressive visual designs, “Guardians” isolates itself. It is truly independent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and stands alone in the best possible way.
Though Ronan the Accuser is not the most memorable Marvel villain of all time, he certainly plays his role in “Guardians.” By threatening to destroy the galaxy with an Infinity Stone, the Guardians are thrown into action to stop the nefarious scheme. The film’s offbeat humor and promotion of teamwork all come together in the film’s final showdown: Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill sings and dances to distract Ronan. In doing so, he allows for the other Guardians to steal the Gem away from the fiend and save the galaxy. Though simpler than the bombastic action that came before it, this dance was perfectly in Quill’s character and gave the most worthwhile chuckle of the entire picture.
10. IRON MAN VS. CAP VS. THOR
When big personalities come together, they rarely get along. This was precisely the case in 2012’s “The Avengers.” Before they could take on the Chitauri, the team of all-powerful giants had some growing pains. Thor’s immediate arrival and attempt to steal Loki away from S.H.I.E.L.D. leads to a full conflict between the demigod, Captain America and Iron Man.
Thor’s lightning and hammer certainly pose a threat to the Earthly men. However, Stark’s technology and Cap’s shield are worthy opponents. After the shield bounces off rays of lightning, clearing an entire forest, this fight ceases. Luckily it is merely a scrimmage, allowing our heroes to later team up, having not killed each other. This battle shows that all friends have conflict. In this case, the conflict is a little bit more than a small spat about who gets the last piece of pizza. However, the disagreement proved that this truly is a team of all stars when working together, but extremely hazardous when torn apart.
9. IRON MAN, THOR, CAP VS. ULTRON
Though seen as the sequel that was not quite as good as the original, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” still has a lot of greatness to offer. For example, the new team members of Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and the Vision are ambitious additions to the already impressive Avengers line-up. Another positive to the sequel’s credit are the visuals. Joss Whedon took the realistic yet comedic style of the first film and amped them up for “Ultron.” The effects are reminiscent of a Saturday morning cartoon, with a creative colorful palette and fun set pieces.
One of these set pieces comes in the finale of the sequel. When the secondary members of the Avengers team are taking down worthless robots, the Holy Trinity of Avengers team up against the main body of Ultron. Constructed of vibranium, the A.I. system requires three superheroes combined to destroy its rock-solid shell. Luckily, the heroes do so in a true moment of impressive visuals, throwing together Cap’s shield, Iron Man’s blasters, and Thor’s lightning, proving once again that teamwork conquers all.
8. GOING DOWN
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is undoubtedly one of Marvel’s best products to date. Rather than write a film of half comedy and half action like “The Avengers,” “Cap 2” really turned the genre on its head. “The Winter Soldier” boasts a political thriller concept contained inside a superhero movie. Incorporating spies, double-crossing, modern commentary on political affairs, and even Robert Redford, the sequel proved that this was something special.
One of the most iconic scenes of the film (and truly of the entire MCU) took place shortly after Steve Rogers discovered that S.H.I.E.L.D. had been secretly infiltrated by HYDRA. He realizes that he is in an elevator full of HYDRA operatives and, once the door closes, he is forced to go hand-to-hand with them. When this tight-quarters battle ensues, Rogers takes down nearly a dozen of these operatives without getting a scratch on him. It truly showcases Cap’s amazing strength and the gritty and tense manner in which Joe and Anthony Russo direct action.
7. IRON MAN VS. IRON MONGER
In the film that kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans are treated to some of the most raw and gritty action seen in any superhero movie, to this day. “Iron Man” presents Tony Stark as a playboy billionaire who is reduced to using the brain that made him famous in the first place. After using said brain to build a suit of armor to escape the terrorist group that captured him, he returns to his normal life. And that should have been the end of it.
Unfortunately for him, Obadiah Stane (Tony’s work rival) gets his hands on this original Iron Monger outfit. When it is discovered that Stane also commissioned the terrorist group that kidnapped Stark and the villain was plotting a nefarious scheme all along, conflict ensues. A memorable final battle through a Los Angeles night is bloody and merited based on the history these characters have with each other. The reactor explosion that kills Stane was memorable and shows the unfairly fierce competition between rivals that is found in any company, only upgraded to the tenth degree.
6. IRON MAN VS. HULK
Otherwise known as Veronica versus the Hulk. In the trailer to “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” fans were amazed by the footage of the Hulk fighting the Hulkbuster. Speculation ramped up across the Internet as to why the two were fighting. Could it be a setup for “Civil War?” Could it be a disagreement over who had a bigger role in creating Ultron? Could it be about whether or not they’ve finally had too much shawarma!?
Though none of these rumors came to fruition, the fight was still pretty epic. Under Scarlet Witch’s spell, Bruce Banner/The Hulk rampages through Wakanda. Stark, calling in the Hulkbuster armor, feels lucky to have this backup plan for situations such as the one that has just arisen. Seeing such an epic, classic showdown translated flawlessly to the screen was truly impressive. More impressive, perhaps, is the fact that the fight isn’t entirely weighted towards one side and could have become a lot more interesting should it have gone on longer.
5. THE DOCTOR VS. LUCIAN
Many can make the argument that “Doctor Strange” was not all that different from Marvel’s usual formula. Jerky hero learns a lesson, comes out with great responsibility. However, the magical element of the film is what separates it from the realistic action boasted by countless other Marvel properties. Whether it be testing Strange on Mt. Everest or seeing his hands sneak past Wong, the visual art of the film is captivating.
What many fans leave the film remembering is a particular battle that takes place near the film’s conclusion. When still learning his powers, Strange has an out-of-body fight with Lucian, a nefarious crony of Mads Mikkelsen’s primary antagonist. While shifting around a hospital noisily (and invisible to all mere mortals), Rachel McAdams’ Christine Palmer is terrified. This sequence showed off the horror chops from director Scott Derrickson and proved that trusting him with a bigger budgeted superhero film was well worth the gamble.
4. CAP AND WIDOW VS. THE WINTER SOLDIER
One of the highlights of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is its continuity. Though Black Widow appeared in “Iron Man 2,” and both Phil Coulson and Nick Fury made continuous appearances throughout various films, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” truly marked the most united standalone film that Marvel had yet released. It was like the “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” premise that we all wanted to see play out. The highlight of the interconnectedness running throughout the film is Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff.
Captain America and Black Widow learn to work together while learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Then, when roughly the halfway point is reached in the film, the two prove that their teamwork is paying off. Dodging the Winter Soldier, the two mislead the trained assassin with a clever voice recording and some smoke. While saving the civilians, who are unluckily caught in this mess of a fight, Steve and Natasha prove that man always defeats monster and that even a half-robot killing machine is no match for a hot duo of super spies.
3. NICK FURY VS. HYDRA
Rounding out this list’s love for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is truly the most iconic battle involving just one M.C.U. character: Nick Fury. Fury is essential to uniting the Avengers team and making sure that their operations run as smoothly as possible. However, many question how the S.H.I.E.L.D. director got his position? Hardcore fans of the comics already know his origins, but those only familiar with the film beg an explanation. Though a Nick Fury standalone film or Netflix series is unlikely, this action sequence is by far the most telling reason why the man with the eye patch is the badass we know and love.
When cornered by HYDRA agents on a random street in Washington D.C., Fury knows something is wrong. He utilizes his car’s impressive technological advancements to fight back against machine guns, handheld weapons and rocket launchers. Fury never even goes head to head with any of these foes. He uses his wits to outsmart them and the best possible technology to escape. This tight match is an impressive showing by the S.H.I.E.L.D. director and another spectacle from the creative eyes of Joe and Anthony Russo.
2. TEAM CAP VS. TEAM IRON MAN
At a single mention of “the airport sequence,” millions of fans start whooping worldwide. Though “Civil War” had showcased Black Panther versus the Winter Soldier and Cap’s new Avengers team versus Crossbones, nothing had quite compared to “The Winter Soldier.” The tensions were rising and the arguments were verbal, but there seemed to be no true fighting. It was more of “Captain America: Diplomatic Dispute.” This all changed when the airport sequence struck.
Tony Stark had taken enough of Cap’s rebellion and insisted that no one else gets hurt. Both teams had brought in reinforcements to ensure that everything worked out, from the point of view of his or her respective ideology. This was where diplomacy ended. Featuring an impressive MCU debut from Spider-Man, the action was a riot in every sense of the word. Instead of being fully out for blood, the character’s addition made the film still feel perfectly “Marvel” in tone. The “debut” of Giant-Man was a stellar twist in the action, as well. More than anything, though, seeing these characters turn on each other in such a human way was satisfying.
1. STEVE ROGERS AND BUCKY BARNES VS. TONY STARK
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has boasted many twists over the years, but none have been as emotionally impacting as the closing 15 minutes of “Captain America: Civil War.” The film truly plays to both sides of the conflict: Cap and Iron Man. Cap’s is warranted based on his loyalty to his friend. Tony understands this and is ready to compromise. That is, however, until the shady and villainous Zemo plays to Stark’s pathos.
Once Stark realizes that Rogers is protecting the man who killed his parents, Stark is out for blood. Many say that there are no real stakes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the final fight of “Civil War” is a testament to the contrary. Stark could have killed Bucky or Cap or both. This rage, now felt equally on both sides, comes to a head and is exactly what “Civil War” needed to be. It ended on a gritty floor with tears and dismemberment. This conflict separated the Avengers team for the foreseeable future and provided a troubling lead-in to the next Avengers film. The emotionally charged power from Stark and the defense and loyalty of Rogers face off in a memorable, dirty, and all-encompassing conflict that is undoubtedly the best Marvel Cinematic Universe fight.
Let us know which Marvel Movie fight is your favorite in the comments!
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