When we think of superheroes and supervillains, we expect them to do amazing things while they fight or carry out crimes. It wouldn’t be much of a superhero story if people walked around, talking to each other the whole time. While not everyone in comic books has powers, the ones that do usually have some sort of limit, just to keep things from getting out of hand. Of course, movies are a visual medium and movies like to go big, which is why superheroes and supervillains tend to be a little more powerful there than in the comics.
Superhero movies need to have big scenes to put in trailers, so every now and then, a writer or director will go a little too far. In some cases, the overpowered movie scenes are taken directly from the comic books. Other scenes are made up for the movie, making the characters way more powerful on the screen than they ever were on the four-color page. With all the superhero movies that we’ve seen, here are the moments that made our eyes bug out and say, “Wow, I didn’t know he or she was that powerful.”
16. STORM CREATES TORNADOES
Storm is a member of the X-Men who has the power to control the weather, which already makes her one of the most powerful members. She can create lightning bolts, windstorms that literally blow her enemies away and let her fly, and clouds to block her and others from being seen.
In 2003’s X2: X-Men United, Storm took it up a notch when the X-Men were being chased by fighter planes. She used her power to create several huge tornadoes that blew the planes off course and crashed. To make one tornado would have been impressive, but to create so many of them was way beyond what she’d ever done before or since. After all, making a bunch of tornadoes could have come in handy when fighting Magneto.
15. CAPTAIN AMERICA STOPS HELICOPTER
Captain America has always been described as having the peak physical strength of a normal human, which is why this moment wouldn’t have been that big a deal with another superhero, but was huge for Cap. Bucky Barnes seemed to be killed in the first Captain America movie when he fell from a moving train. In 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Cap discovered Bucky had been captured by the Soviet Union, which turned him into a brainwashed cyborg.
At one point, the Winter Soldier tried to escape in a helicopter. Captain America grabbed hold of the helicopter with one hand and the landing pad with the other. Using just his strength, he was able to stop the helicopter from taking off. A normal human would have either let go or had his arms ripped off, but he actually pulled the helicopter back down.
14. SUPERMAN MOVES THE MOON
In 1987, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace brought Superman up against one of his greatest threats when Lex Luthor used DNA and the sun to create a solar-powered clone of the Man of Steel. The clone, named Nuclear Man, was able to beat Superman to a standstill and even infected the hero with radiation sickness with his long nails. Stay with us on this…
Anyway, it turned out that Nuclear Man was powered by the sun, so Superman took the sun away. He flew up and actually pushed the Moon out of its orbit to cause an eclipse that shut down his enemy. How did Superman move the Moon? He actually did stuff like move Earth and the Moon in the comics, but it’s one of the greatest feats of strength we’ve ever seen on screen.
13. MAGNETO MOVES A BRIDGE
In 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, Worthington Labs created a so-called “cure” for mutant abilities, a serum that strips them of their powers. Some mutants embraced the cure, but others (led by Magneto) opposed it, especially when the government started using the cure as a weapon against them. To protect the lab where the cure was developed, it was built on the site of the former island prison, Alcatraz. Surely they couldn’t get to it, right?
Wrong. Magneto used his power over magnetism to rip loose and turn the Golden Gate Bridge so that it connected Alcatraz to the mainland. Considering the bridge weighs hundreds of thousands of tons, it was an amazingly powerful show of Magneto’s true powers that no one saw coming.
12. NIGHTCRAWLER VS. SECRET SERVICE
In X2, the twisted general William Stryker wanted to turn the government against mutants by using a mind-control drug to send one to attack the president of the United States. The mutant he sent was Nightcrawler who has a devilish appearance and the power to teleport. He also has a background in the circus that gave him acrobatic skills.
In the opening scene of the movie, Nightcrawler broke away from a tour to run through the halls of the White House, headed for the Oval Office. His teleportation made him an unstoppable force as he took on dozens of highly trained Secret Service agents with just his tail, feet and acrobatic skills. It was amazing to watch him popping in and out of rooms, punching and kicking, all surrounded by swirling clouds of smoke. He was a one-man army with a pointy tail.
11. HULK PUNCHES LEVIATHAN
In 2012, Marvel’s The Avengers took the superhero genre to a whole new level. For the first time, we saw a team-up of major heroes like Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and the Hulk. Along with Hawkeye and Black Widow, the four had to team-up to fight an invasion of alien Chitauri, led by Loki.
The Chitauri had a ton of weapons, the most fearsome of which was the gigantic flying whale-like creature nicknamed the Leviathan. A Leviathan could tear down buildings just by brushing against them and even Iron Man and Thor had trouble taking them down. Yet when Bruce Banner finally changed into the Hulk, he stopped a Leviathan with a single punch to the nose. It was an amazing introduction to the heroic powerhouse.
10. QUICKSILVER OUTRUNS EXPLOSION
There are two people named Quicksilver in Marvel movies, but one of them is way faster than the other. In FOX’s X-Men movies, Quicksilver first appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past where he was able to run around and take out a group of guards with ease. In 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, Quicksilver surpassed that by saving the entire X-Mansion.
At one point, an explosion rocked the stately manor. Everyone would have died if Quicksilver hadn’t come along. Looking like everyone else was standing still, Quicksilver raced through the building and grabbed students, teachers and the X-Men to carry them outside. The whole time, we saw the explosion moving so slowly that he was able to just run around fireballs as the mansion shattered around him.
9. SUPERMAN REVERSES TIME
In 1978, Superman starred in his first major motion picture where we saw his origin and first battle with Lex Luthor. In the movie, Lex used a nuclear missile to trigger an earthquake that would destroy the West Coast. Superman was able to stop the quake, but it caused widespread destruction as dams broke and cities collapsed. When Superman ended the destruction, he discovered to his horror that Lois Lane was trapped in a sinkhole and buried inside her car.
Superman didn’t take his grief standing still, but flew at high speed around the Earth until he reversed time. By going back to before Lois was killed, he was able to save her and also broke all his speed records up to that point. Even the Flash needs a special device to go back in time, but not the Man of Steel.
8. XAVIER ALMOST KILLS ALL HUMANS
In X2, William Stryker had a vendetta to destroy or control all the mutants on Earth, but he didn’t know who they were or where to find them. That’s where Xavier came in, as an unwilling partner. Using a copy of Cerebro and his son’s mind-control power, Styrker made Xavier extend his power to try to find and kill all the mutants on Earth. That could have been millions of people.
But Magneto took it a step further by reversing Cerebro to make Xavier find and brain-crush all the humans on Earth, which included billions of people. To use nothing but his mind to connect to every human and overload them all would have been an incredible job. Fortunately, the X-Men were able to stop him before he succeeded.
7. DR. MANHATTAN REBUILDS HIMSELF
In 2009, the movie Watchmen brought the graphic novel by Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore to life. In the movie, a group of retired superheroes have to try to work together to save the world. None of the heroes have powers except for Dr. Manhattan,k whose abilities made him into a god. While most of what he did in the movie was pretty OP, we decided to highlight his creation.
Dr. Jon Osterman was just a scientist before he was caught in a lab accident that completely disintegrated him. Yet it turned out he had survived, becoming a ghostly force. His first use of his new power was to reassemble a new and muscular body for himself out of thin air. It took weeks of piecing together veins and muscles and skin, but he literally created life from nothing.
6. XAVIER FREEZES EVERYONE
In 2017, Hugh Jackman made his final appearance as Wolverine in Logan. Set in a near-future where the X-Men were dead and Professor Xavier had a disease that caused his mind to fail, Logan was caught up in an attempt to rescue his female clone X-23 and deliver her across the border. Without his medication, Xavier suffered “attacks” that caused his psychic power to make everyone in the area freeze in place.
The most pivotal moment came in an Oklahoma casino where the cyborg Reavers had been sent to re-capture X-23. Xavier froze not only everyone in the casino but the people outside on the street as well. Only Wolverine and X-23 were able to resist Xavier’s power, which could have killed them all. It was amazing to see what Xavier could do with just a thought.
5. SPIDER-MAN STOPS TRAIN
In Spider-Man 2, the hero had to stop Dr. Octopus, a scientist with metal tentacles who was hungry for power. In one scene, Spider-Man fought the villain on top of a moving train. While that was already a great scene, the fight turned more dangerous when Dr. Octopus knocked out the driver, ripped out the controls and fled. Spider-Man was left to handle the runaway train.
To stop it, Spider-Man fired webbing at passing buildings and stuck them to the train, but the webbing snapped. Spider-Man tried again, but this time he held onto the webs. With all his strength, he held onto the webbing until the train came to a stop. The effort to stop tons of metal going at high speed was enough to knock him unconscious, but Spider-Man did it.
4. WOLVERINE SURVIVES NUKE
Wolverine’s healing powers have always been legendary. A bullet to the head just slows him down, and fire burning off his skin just made him mad. That’s always been true, but we saw a whole new level in 2013 with The Wolverine. In The Wolverine, Logan went solo for his own adventure after his origin story.
At one point, we saw a flashback of him spending time in a Japanese prison hole in Nagasaki where the US nuclear bomb was being dropped. A young soldier freed him just before it hit. In return, Wolverine shielded the soldier from the blast with his own body, leaving him with charred skin all over, but healed completely within seconds. While he didn’t get the full impact of the explosion, it’s amazing that he could shrug off a nuclear blast better than the rest of us handle paper cuts.
3. MAGNETO STOPS MISSILES
In 2011, X-Men: First Class showed how the X-Men first formed and the war between humans and mutants first started. In the 1960s, evil mutant Sebastian Shaw tried to drive the world to nuclear holocaust so he could take over. In the process, the military found out about mutants and turned against them, launching missiles at the island beach where the X-Men stood in hopes of wiping them out.
Magneto stopped the missiles by using his magnetic power to freeze every single missile in mid-air. It was amazing to watch his control over the missiles, even after seeing Magneto grab and use multiple rifles and guns in earlier movies. These were moving objects armed with explosives and he tossed them around with a flick of the wrist.
2. SUPERMAN LIFTS ISLAND
In 2006, Superman Returns brought back the hero on a new adventure that pushed his already legendary strength to its limits. Lex Luthor used Superman’s crystal technology to hatch a new scheme to make himself rich. By firing a crystal into the ocean, a new Kryptonian continent began to form that would destroy the West Coast and kill billions. Superman tried to stop him, but discovered the continent was laced with kryptonite that weakened him.
Yet Superman recovered and actually flew under the Earth’s crust to lift the entire kryptonite-infused island into outer space. In Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Superman was strong enough to move the Moon, but what made this moment so powerful is that the island had kryptonite in it. How did he overcome it? An extra dose of sunshine and sheer willpower.
1. APOCALYPSE LAUNCHES NUKES
In 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, the first mutant returned after thousands of years of suspended animation trapped in an underground pyramid. Apocalypse believed that he was put on Earth to cleanse it, which really amounted to killing humans and mutants alike.
Apocalypse had a lot of powers in the movie and they weren’t really well-defined. One of those powers let him control minds but not at the level of Professor X. Still, at one point he was able to use his ability to work through Xavier to control people all over the world. While Xavier was using the psychic booster Cerebro, Apocalypse worked through him to control people in command of the world’s nuclear arsenal and launch them all into space. Considering there were hundreds of soldiers in his command, it boggles the mind how easily Apocalypse did it.
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