Love is so difficult to describe, let alone express. It could be a display of affection, a virtue where people show kindness and compassion, or an emotional response to something or someone. There are so many great love stories told in the form of epic novels or movies. Certainly, love cannot be part of the superhero genre, right? Wrong! If we pay attention, many comic book films have shown love as a motivation or plot device. Obviously we're distracted by the action going on, but at the core of these movies, the best and sometimes overlooked moments have been driven by love.
Valentine's Day is coming in a few weeks, so let's take the opportunity to share 10 of the best moments driven by love in comic book films.
10. Suicide Squad (2016) — 'Would You Live For Me?'
Harley Quinn and the Joker. For years, their relationship has seen ups and downs, interpretations and complications. Let's leave that overall discussion for some other time. For now, let's focus on the #SuicideSquad version of this relationship. This particular romantic moment comes during #HarleyQuinn's origin story, when the #Joker asks her if she would live for him. This version of the Clown Prince of Crime is over-the-top, narcissistic and charms Harley to the point of being almost hypnotized.
Once Harley decides to take a dive into the acid vat, the Joker seems to be enjoying himself, but then the unexpected happens: He has second thoughts. Is it regret? Remorse? Love? He's not quiet sure, but in that brief moment, the Joker knows he can't live without her. Maybe that's why he laughs at the end — because of the sheer absurdity of it all. She is in love with the madness that he represents and he is fascinated with the violent and damaging chaos she embodies. Mad love indeed.
9. The Wolverine (2013) — Kuzuri
It's long been said that Jean Grey is Logan's greatest love, but it was Mariko Yashida who showed him what love truly means. Their relationship is explored during #TheWolverine, but the moment when she shares with him the tale of Kuzuri — the beast that saved her father's life and who would watch over young Mariko as she slept — is the moment when Logan feels nothing like the beast he's been brought up to believe he is.
Mariko is no mutant, she has no powers and is part of a world that has alienated and fears Logan's kind. Logan shows his vulnerability and for the first time in a long time he lets his guard down. In that moment, while Mariko gently strokes his claws, unafraid, #Logan is at peace.
8. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) — 'You Know, I Still Don't Know How To Dance'
#CaptainAmerica is the personification of courage, loyalty and duty. But even a remarkable superhuman like Steve Rogers cannot exempt himself from feeling fear. In the last moments of the movie, Cap knows what he has to do, and you can see the dread written all over his face. Until he hears Peggy's voice. Both know how it's going to end, but they decide to engage in casual conversation, enjoying their last moments together. There are different ways to express love, and in this scene love becomes a shelter and plays as a bittersweet goodbye. All of a sudden, Cap is no longer afraid.
7. V For Vendetta (2005) — 'But I Don't Want You To Die'
#VforVendetta is a great movie, full of action and outstanding dialogue. The last thing you imagine could fit into this dystopian political spectacle is a love story. V and Evey didn't need a whole arc to explain their love, they just knew they were in love. It took less than a minute for them to express their feelings for each other and share the most intimate moment they could ever have:
V: I told you, only truth. For 20 years I sought only this day. Nothing else existed. Until I saw you. Then everything changed. I fell in love with you, Evey. And to think I no longer believed I could.
Evey: But I don't want you to die.
V: That's the most beautiful thing you could have ever given me.
V was never meant to be a balls-to-the-wall superhero; his power is the rhetoric and the movie nailed that part. Love doesn't have to be a roaring display of affection. Sometimes, a whisper is more than enough.
6. Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014) — 'I Don't Know What Came Over Me'
This scene is more than just Peter Quill saving Gamora. It's a moment when he realizes there's more to the galaxy than fame and riches. #GuardiansoftheGalaxy was a hit thanks to moments like this. In true Star-Lord fashion, Quill gambles with his own life to save another. He knows that if Yondu doesn't show up, he will die. But none of that matters, as long as #Gamora is safe. In a movie full of quips, jokes and quick-fire dialogue, this moment of silence is all that is needed to express love (maybe even sexual love). The right person will always bring out the best in you.
5. The Crow (1994) — 'I Have Something To Give You. I Don't Want It Anymore'
People think that the motivation behind the titular character is revenge. I beg to differ. Revenge is selfish, self-absorbed and can be at a times confused with justice. Eric Draven was nothing like that. This story shows us the power of empathy. Love can be selfish, too, and empathy keeps the balance needed for a healthy and reciprocal relationship. Everything done by Eric throughout the movie was about and for Shelly, his fiancée.
Eric Draven: Little things used to mean so much to Shelly — I used to think they were kind of trivial. Believe me, nothing is trivial.
Even when he transfers all 30 hours of pain to Top Dollar, it was so the criminal could feel what she felt. Eric could have easily done the same thing to Top Dollar, or worse, but a lesson needed to be taught, and revenge would have been a disservice to Shelly's memory. She was a compassionate and loving woman, and Eric at that very moment realized why she was so special. The power of empathy is truly one of the purest forms of love.
4. The Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015) — 'All My Friends Are Fighters. And Here Comes This Guy, Spends His Life Avoiding The Fight Because He Knows He'll Win'
I know the quote in the header is not part of the dialogue in the video, but I felt it was important to include it, since the video above follows up that great and flirty conversation they have during the #Avengers party. Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner are two damaged individuals who find comfort in each other's arms. It also shows that love needs to be a two-way affair and this is why this scene is so important, since Natasha makes Bruce see that she also has a say in all this. She calms the beast inside him and he brings out the humanity she though had died years ago in the Red Room.
3. Spider-Man (2002) — That Upside Down Kiss
This moment definitely needed to be included, just for the fact that it's so iconic. One of the most romantic moments in comic book movie history, and one of the best on-screen kisses ever committed to film! This moment is not higher on the list only because what we see here is not actually love, simply because Mary Jane doesn't know that #PeterParker is under that mask, so it's more about lust. But, hey, lust and unbridled emotion also counts for being romantic. Of course, Peter needed to hide behind a mask, but the point is that being impulsive is also part of love and, thanks to that, #SpiderMan gave us one of the most beautiful moments in a comic book film.
2. Deadpool (2016) — 'I'm Memorizing The Details Of Her Face'
Not gonna lie. I didn't think #Deadpool would be this good. The movie is a blast from start to finish. It showed us a different side of the superhero genre, one that proves there is still so much potential to explore. But beneath all the jokes, childish humor and gore, we found a love story. All the motivation behind Deadpool's actions was Vanessa. This scene shows us that Vanessa truly loves him in a very real, palpable, relatable situation. No more jokes, no more one-liners as she clasps his hand, assuring him that she is all in, no matter what. Very underrated scene and a moment that shows us love can be cruel and unfair.
Bonus: Deadpool — 'You're The Inspiration'
Included this moment not only because it's one of the best scenes in the movie, but also because it reinforces everything that the movie has been about up to this point. It's all been done for Vanessa and this snippet shows us that Deadpool never deviates from his goal. She is the inspiration.
1. Iron Man 3 (2013) — 'I Got You'
I chose this moment for several reasons. Tony Stark is arrogant, overconfident, compulsive and narcissistic, but all of that goes out the window when the Mandarin attacks his Malibu home. There is no strategy, no clever quips coming from Tony's seductive lips. The only thing on his mind is Pepper Potts.
I love how this scene represents true character development for Tony. Yes, underneath all the bravado he is a good guy, but up until this point he is still trying to improve himself and everything around him. The moment he sends the #IronMan armor flying over to protect Pepper (which, by the way, is one of the best scenes I've ever seen in a superhero movie) is the moment when Tony realizes that there's someone in his life worth more than himself. He is willing, without hesitation, to sacrifice his life for her.
Tony: I do what I know. I tinker. I — threat is imminent. And I have to protect the one thing that I can't live without. That's you.
Pepper inspires Tony to be a better man — and that to me is the definition of true love.
If you have a favorite moment or a better one, share it with us in the comments section below.