ByJames Wood, writer at
Unabashed Transformers fan. Man crush on Tom Hardy. Avid fan of Tommy Wiseau's cult disasterpiece The Room.
James Wood

(WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for the movie below)

With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story released and Passengers just around the corner, it's high time to look back at this year's big action set pieces, of which there have been plenty, but there are those that really have impact and knockout entertainment value, and have made it onto my list of favorites.

I'm an action junkie. Explosions fascinate me, fight scenes leave me in awe, and big-scale destruction and characters facing off have me hooked! Sometimes I'll more invested in the action rather than story, and I'm not afraid to admit that, hence why I enjoy films like Battleship and Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen. For me, these action sequences below hit all the right notes, boasting the characters skills, the stakes of the story and of course — spectacle.

Usually my reaction to any big explosion, awesome fight scene and world destruction...
Usually my reaction to any big explosion, awesome fight scene and world destruction...

1. 'Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice' — Doomsday Battle

Yes, I really enjoyed Dawn of Justice. So shoot me. This film ends with a mighty smackdown of the biggest and best DC heroes. Wonder Woman's totally badass, show-stopping entrance is a particular highlight, with Junkie XL and Hans Zimmer's war-ready musical score that comes in and then drops the mic. Detailed and beautifully chaotic visuals as well as intense sound design make this a gripping and epic action sequence, one of my favorites of the year. It takes a good two hours to get to this point, so the wait is more than worth it.

1.5. 'Dawn Of Justice' — Warehouse Fight

Well done, Zack Snyder, your film has two mentions on my list — well, a half mention if you will. You just can't deny, even if you hated this film, that Batman's warehouse fight is freaking incredible. He moves like a hurricane through his opponents, snapping bones and taking them down, crushing them like tooth picks. Choreographed to perfection and mixed to make every punch and knife slash sound threateningly real, this is how you do action. Moreover, you can't also deny Snyder's ability to craft such fluid showdowns.

2. 'Captain America: Civil War' — Airport Fight

The itself is one of Marvel's best movie moments. The majority of key players we've come to love across multiple installments — as well as newcomers Black Panther and Spider-Man — battle it out, the stakes have never been this high for a Marvel film. Nobody dies, but they don't half beat each other to a pulp, as friends become rivals and their playground is an airport that gets decimated. Ant-Man becomes Giant-Man and holy shit the crowd goes wild — did anyone see that coming? The intricate action, attention to continuity and stunning visuals heighten the battle, and boy it's one of the best pieces of cinema spectacle I've seen all year.

3. 'Deepwater Horizon'

Peter Berg's masterclass adaptation of the true events of BP's disastrous oil spill packs some of the most savage, brutal and relentless action scenes ever seen in a film rated PG-13. The minute the oil bursts and every piece of equipment and piping gives way, the sh!t hits the fan, you'll need to strap yourself in for this. Fireballs, torrents of thick oil, falling structures and probably the biggest movie explosion ever erupts as the terrified and endangered rig workers attempt to scramble to safety. Berg handles the action with realism and ensures he doesn't Hollywoodize any of these real moments; it's an incredible piece of technical filmmaking.

4. 'Doctor Strange'

CGI takes a step forward with this incredibly enjoyable Marvel movie. While there are a ton of spectacular moments in this mind-bending adventure here, there's a particular moment that stands out. chases after Kaecilius as an entire city and sea bends and breaks apart, structures and walkways spin and twist as these sorcerers chase after one another in a world where physics are defied. Visually, I've never seen anything quite like it, don't miss it in 3D, this is a masterclass piece of action directed with such verve and swift pace and designed down to a tee.

5. 'Suicide Squad'

Compared to other superhero movies, Suicide Squad's action sequences don't have the massive scale and grandeur that films like Civil War, Dawn of Justice or The Avengers feature. This squad of antiheroes take it to the streets and office blocks to battle the baddies. However, that's not to say doesn't impress with its action beats, especially when the squad fight the Enchantress' army in a street. Shit hits the fan and the squad slice and dice their enemies. David Ayer keeps the action balanced nicely between all these characters, and Will Smith's Deadshot gets his time to shine as he single-handedly takes out an armada of soldiers with his unbeatable gun slinging skills. The epic music gives him a heroic feel and the action shots are stunning.

6. 'Ghostbusters'

Most divisive film of the year? Easily. I love this film, so shoot me. These new female kick supernatural butt and it's a joy to watch when the New York action finale unfolds. The special effects are awesome, with NYC becoming a playground for ghostly apparitions and proton-pack action. Each of the ladies gets their moment of lime light, especially Kate McKinnon's Holtzmann, who unleashes her new weaponry and dishes out the pain in slow-motion. It's just pure fun and entertainment, with a solid balance of gags and action, and the 3D is enjoyable with a barrage of effects soaring out of the screen.

7. '10 Cloverfield Lane'

This incredibly tense and well-paced thriller is one of the best films of the year, with three outstanding performances, and twists that come out of nowhere. For some, it seemed the last 15 minutes did not live up to everything else that came before, nor did it impress all, but for me the finale is a thrilling, visually stunning and explosive climax that throws Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Michelle into a tailspin as she is attacked by an alien entity. Chased relentlessly, tossed around in her car, blown to bits and dropped from big heights, her evening takes a wild ride and it's an absolutely jaw-dropping and thrilling end.

8. 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows'

Out of all the crap I've seen this year (and there has been so much), Out of The Shadows took me by surprise with its energy, solid humor and excellent visuals. Improving upon the sequel with its characters and story (well, story not so much), still delivers on the action front, offering a roaringly energetic and bombastic sequence in which the turtles leap onto a plane, crash into a river, flee an attack by Bebop and Rocksteady in a tank and weave in and out of danger. The unbroken camera shots, seamless visuals and fun chaos make it a rip-roaring good time.

9. '13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi'

Michael Bay is mostly known for his critically bashed films, as well as his infamous stye that gets an awful lot of flak for being over-stylized and sexualized when it comes to his representation of women, as well as his love of explosions. In , Michael Bay doesn't hold back on his explosions, as this intense, gritty and terrifying depiction of war is so thrilling that the levels of realism are apparent throughout, making you care for his characters. From the minute the first bullet is shot and the first explosion roars, this war-drama becomes a non-stop ride where every minute is filled with so much threat that it's hard not to get swept up in the whole feature.

10. 'Deadpool'

Well, at the end of the year, Deadpool remains one of the best films I've seen. It's a joy; Ryan Reynolds delivers, as does the comedy, the ultra-violence and the action is bold. The last act is where it all happens, which is surprising as this film is packed with swordplay, highway shootouts and brutal beatdowns. However, , Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead bring the action to new levels when they battle it out against Ajax and his minions, as well as the incredibly strong Angel Dust. Guns galore, total chaos and much like Ghostbusters, comedy that mixes in so well with the carnage.

What's your verdict on the action sequences of this year? Let me know in the comments what you think of my choices. I'm sure some will have a thing or two to say about me choosing Ghostbusters and Dawn of Justice to feature here.


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