In a year that will be remembered most for questionable politics and a never-ending stream of celebrity deaths, we needed #superheroes to save the day more than ever. However, while some of 2016's biggest comic book movies didn't soar as high as we hoped, each of the year's biggest releases contained moments of jaw-dropping, spine-tingling perfection that gave even the most chilled fanboys a hardcore nerdgasm.
With that in mind, join us as we break down the best comic book movie moments of 2016, with nary a "Martha" in sight.
10. Quicksilver Slows Things Down — X-Men: Apocalypse
It would have been impossible to top Quicksilver's slo-mo debut from #XMen: Days of Future Past, but director Bryan Singer came very close with his return to the franchise. This scene our minds with a stunningly designed set piece that followed Evan Peters on a rescue mission, all set to the soundtrack of the Eurythmics' hit song, 'Sweet Dreams'.
9. Harley Quinn Goes Retro — Suicide Squad
Whether you felt that #HarleyQuinn's costume in #SuicideSquad was a powerful feminist statement or gratuitous eye candy, it's hard to deny that her bubblegum hair and high, high shorts left their mark on our collective cultural consciousness in 2016. However, fans who first fell in love with the Clown Princess of Crime on the animated Batman series would have felt somewhat disappointed if her original costume didn't make an appearance during her big screen debut. Fortunately, director David Ayer paid the fans their due by including her first outfit in a brief flashback where Harley dances with the Joker, in what appears to be pale moonlight.
8. The Joker Has The Last Laugh — Batman: The Killing Joke
Amidst the controversy that surrounded this R-rated version of the iconic #Batman story, it's easy to overlook how The Killing Joke was actually a rather faithful adaptation of Alan Moore's game-changing graphic novel, particularly in the film's final moments. As Batman and The Joker break down into fits of laughter, the screen fades to black, leaving us with a hilariously grim and ambiguous ending. In this sense, no other comic book movie scene from 2016 captured the essence of its source material so perfectly.
7. "Dormammu, I've Come To Bargain" — Doctor Strange
#Marvel Studios have come under fire recently for repeating formulaic plot points throughout the majority of their films, yet the final confrontation between #DoctorStrange and the Dread Dormammu was anything but conventional. By trapping his adversary in a never-ending time loop, Dormammu was forced to 'kill' the Sorcerer Supreme over and over again, until the cosmic entity eventually grew weary and finally agreed to leave Earth alone.
In a year where the majority of films ended with an apocalyptic bang and hordes of CGI enemies, the climax of Doctor Strange was remarkably inventive, all while capturing the signature humor that's helped make Marvel a household name.
6. The Dark Phoenix Saga? — X-Men: Apocalypse
After X-Men: The Last Stand ruined the team's most iconic story arc of all time, the Phoenix rose from the ashes at the end of Apocalypse. By decimating the titular villain with a mind-blowing display of power, Jean Grey finally showed cinema-goers exactly why her descent into villainy is one of the most chilling, yet awe-inspiring comic book stories of all time.
5. Team Thor — While You Were Fighting: A Thor Mockumentary
After fans were left wondering what #Thor was up to during the events of Captain America: Civil War, Marvel surprised us with a mockumentary starring Chris Hemsworth himself, which hilariously spelt out exactly why the God of Thunder didn't end up joining either Team Cap or Team Iron Man. Let's just hope that Thor invests in a phone by the time that Civil War II eventually hits our screens.
4. Strange Goes Dali - Doctor Strange
There's nothing like having your astral form thrown through countless, trippy dimensions to convince you that magic is real, but that's exactly what happened to Stephen Strange in the most inventive scene from 2016's Doctor Strange. The surreal aesthetics of this Dali-esque sequence perfectly captured the drug-fuelled artwork of Steve Ditko's earliest work on Doctor Strange comics, including some bizarre looking space cabbages and hands that began to sprout even smaller yet no less horrifying hands of their own.
3. Wonder Woman Arrives - Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice
Despite being billed as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the real star of Zack Snyder's second #DCEU film was undoubtedly Gal Gadot, who brought #WonderWoman to life with Amazonian flair. Whatever you think of the CGI-fuelled finale, it's hard to deny how impressive it is when the third part of DC's holy trinity leaps into the fray, deflecting Doomsday's energy blast with her signature bracelets.
2. Counting Bullets — Deadpool
Out of all the movies included on this list, #Deadpool arguably contains the most memorable moments, thanks to the film's outlandish script and brazen one liners. Yet none capture the Merc with a Mouth better than the opening scene, where Deadpool dispatches 15 goons with maniacal glee and a healthy dose of unadulterated violence to boot.
1. Don't Get Your Underoos In A Twist— Captain America: Civil War
For audiences who grew up reading #Marvel comics, there really can be no other winner on this list than the airport fight scene from #CaptainAmerica #CivilWar. Never before has a film ever come this close to bringing the comics to life, pitting hero against hero in an epic fight lifted straight from the panels themselves.
While it's impossible to choose one defining moment from this game-changing sequence, special mentions must surely go to the debuts of Spider-Man and Giant-Man respectively, both of whom drew a collective gasp of geeky joy from the majority of audiences... or was that just me?
Few fight scenes can sustain interest for such a long period of time, proving once again that no one can handle action sequences quite like the Russo Brothers, especially in ways that continue to innovate and surprise throughout. Avengers: Infinity War? TAKE MY MONEY!
- 'X-Men: Apocalypse': Deleted Scene Hints Jean Grey Could Become Dark Phoenix Sooner Than We Thought
- 5 Things We Learned About Thor From 'While You Were Fighting: A Thor Mockumentary'
- The Trippy Steve Ditko Comics That Inspired Marvel's 'Doctor Strange' Movie Are All Kinds Of Dope
With the likes of Logan, Wonder Woman and Spider-Man: Homecoming waiting in the wings this year, 2017 could prove to be the best year for comic book movies yet, although it'll be a tough call to top the cream of the crop from 2016.