I haven't done an article like this, so I figured I'd give it a go. The following is, of course, entirely my opinion, before you go ranting at me, and so these are subjective, and no doubt you'll have a different list. Most superhero movies- or indeed shows- bring us a final confrontation between villain and hero, or even hero versus hero. But there are some which are epic, moving, or inspirational than the rest, better choreographed, generally better- and the beauty is its again subjective. I'll break down my favourites here from the last fifteen odd years.
Anything that should be on there that isn't? Let me know in the comments. And please note: these were considerably hard to narrow down, and I have many in a discard pile, so while I know many of you will disagree, try to keep the "this list sucks" comments to a minimum, if you please, and just pop in your favourites!
Please note: this list isn't really in any particular order. They're roughly ranked, but I hate deciding, so it's subject to flux.
10: Spiderman VS Green Goblin. (Spider-Man.)
Why? Odd to say this is actually a fairly old movie now, but I still really like this scene. Starting with Peter being absolutely smashed by some awesome Goblin moves and weaponry- the slow motion and shrieks I may find somewhat unintentionally amusing, but still- culminating in that final moment with the Glider that comic fans loved, with some awesome Dafoe acting, makes this scene memorable for me.
9: Iron Man VS Iron Monger. (Iron Man.)
Why? This scene is certainly a long one, but it's a great one all the same. Seeing the Iron Monger come to life on screen was something that got any Marvel fan excited, for a final showdown with Iron Man (the simplicity with which his suit comes on and its initial design still trumps all new ones for me.) The collateral damage is really good, the weaponry really gets shown off- this isn't just a brawl- and the fight ends with an elegant simplicity most of these other fights lack.
8: Batman VS Ra's al Ghul. (Batman Begins.)
Why? Batman does show up a few times on this list, so haters of The Caped Crusader are likely to yell at me, but oh well. This scene was truly intense, from both Gordon's perspective and Batman's. It had Batman fighting Ra's al Ghul, someone never seen in live action until now. The speeding train, the awesome Batmobile, the music, the choreography and intensity of the fight between Bruce and Ra's, with that final dialogue between them, makes it pretty great.
7: Thor VS Malekith. (Thor: The Dark World.)
Why? In short this is just a very epic scene. I'm not a huge fan of the movie on whole, but this scene has excellent visuals, is well scripted, and the shift in planets was also very well done and an excellent choice, with Mjolnir's desperate flight adding some gratifying comic relief. Perhaps the transitions and fights seemed almost too much like a Mortal Kombat game, but it was fun anyway. And it ends very heroically and triumphantly. What more can we ask for?
6: Green Arrow VS The Dark Archer. (Arrow- Year's End and Arrow- Sacrifice.)
Why? WHAT? A TV SHOW makes this list? I'm sure many of you just asked that. And my answer is, quite simply, yes. On top of that, the Deathstroke fight very nearly made this list, so it came close twice. Why do I include this? Because not only are both scenes well scripted, have incredible stunts- which [Arrow](series:720988)is renowned for- and are very well choreographed, they quite simply delivered. These weren't fights built up over an hour, these were fights where the expectation was built over several weeks. And they delivered on that.
The first scene is hands down one of the best archer fights we've ever seen on TV, or in movies, for that matter. It has a simplicity to it which the others lack while maintaining its tension, and everyone was freaking out when he was actually beaten by this new guy with the dark arrows, Oliver's back filled with them as he tumbles out the window. The revelation about the season-built list in this scene also adds to it. The second is much the same, but the stakes are a hell of a lot higher- and again, in one of the best episodes of TV I've ever seen, turns all expectations on their head. The (very well made, thanks to Blake Neely, who created one of the best TV scores out there today) music is pumping, there's a particular elegance to the rooftop fight, and the final sacrifice to win an unwinnable fight was something which made us all pretty impressed.
Honorary mention- Arrow VS Deathstroke (Unthinkable)
Edit: Due to me reconsidering and popular demand, I agree Slade VS Oliver needed to be added. As commenter Nick Webster puts it: "I loved the way they shot it and wove together the current day fight and the flashback fight, I've never seen a fight sequence like it. Mixing the past and present like they did gave the showdown this extra gravity and grit. It gave you an amazing sense of the history and that this matchup wasn't something new, but something steeped in time that was about to end one way or another. I know I'll catch some hell for saying this, but I put the Arrow/Deathstroke showdown just a little above the Batman/Ra's al Ghul showdown.
Don't get me wrong, I think the Batman/Ra's al Ghul showdown is stellar, but still lacked some of the weight of the Arrow/Deathstroke showdown. In the Batman/Ra's al Ghul Showdown it felt (to me) that Ra's was saying, "We were going to do this anyway, we wanted you to help, but you won't, so now you're in the way." there was some vendetta, the "you burned my house, now I burn yours" thing, but still it felt a bit like a Ra's al Ghul business trip with a little revenge on the side. With the Arrow/Deathstroke showdown, Deathstroke basically said, "Look at this, I did all this because of you, because you got her killed, because I hate you and because you had the gall to think that you killed me. All the death and destruction, it's because of you". Amazing." And I agree. It was beautifully shot with flashbacks/present day intertwining, the choreography- as always- was spectacular, and it was scored extremely well. On top of that, it was a satisfying end to an arc that had begun over a season ago- the equivalent of three movies to put that in perspective- and it did it more satisfyingly than most films do.
5: Batman VS Bane. ( [The Dark Knight Rises](movie:39011))
Why? This scene has a particularly unignorable simplicity. Just one incredibly strong man going up against a man whose resolve won't be shattered. I had in mind the first video particularly, as the dialogue- my gripe is still their voices, admittedly, though it's not too big a deal- is well made and delivered, and it features some of those punches which genuinely look like they hurt and you wince at. What's more? Bane breaks the Bat, and the hero actually truly loses and nearly, indeed, dies; what's more, he doesn't just lose, he's absolutely destroyed. Which was something special to see and a departure from the usual. The second scene isn't as good to me, but it's still very well scored, acted, and features a triumph the whole movie has been building up to.
4: Captain America VS Thor VS Iron Man (The Avengers.)
Why? THIS to me is the scene that made [The Avengers](movie:9040). The final fight was spectacular, but it wasn't really a showdown, it was very much a very long fight against aliens, which, in my opinion, came dangerously close to generic alien-blockbuster territory. But this scene was something else. Well acted, well scripted, well choreographed, and with a few epic moments, it's already a high contender, but the fact this was the first time we saw Thor, Cap, and Iron Man interact on screen made it something special.
3: Batman VS The Joker. (The Dark Knight.)
Why? Far and away my favorite movie of all mentioned on this list, it seems a travesty not to put it first, but we're measuring fights, not movies. All the same: this scene has a particular intensity and high-stakes feeling that many fight scenes lack. The use of the Joker's crowbar, "detective vision," and amazing acting from both Ledger and Bale results in an incredible scene. Furthering that, the moment when Joker pulls out the trigger we're genuinely unsure what will happen- the hero certainly isn't guaranteed to win here, and at the end of the day, he doesn't.
2: Captain America VS The Winter Soldier. (Captain America: The Winter Soldier.)
Why? This scene has a simplicity to it just like the above, which escalates into something bigger. It's well scored, well choreographed, and the pair look like they've stepped out of the comics. What makes it so special really is the relationship between the two, and how that culminates.
1: Superman VS General Zod. (Man of Steel.)
Now this one is certainly going to earn me some snide comments, as the movie, in short, on whole isn't a favourite. Well, I'm a huge fan- you might just have to deal with that. The criticisms for it are typically very unfounded (not to say all are, but the "he destroyed Metropolis" excuse is really old. He didn't, Zod did, and the fact people are protesting against him in Batman V Superman means this is just a part of the plot anyway.)
Why? This scene is visually incredible, primarily. The two contenders look pretty much exactly like their comic counterparts, fighting in arguably the most iconic comic book city besides Gotham. What's more, they do it in a comic book fashion, reminiscent of the final battle between Doomsday and Superman. You didn't think a man as powerful as Superman could invade Metropolis and not cause some damage, did you? On top of this, the incredible super-punches, gravity defying flight, and atmosphere re-entering explosiveness fight ends in a moment of intensity and death no one expected, with particular brilliance from Cavill. This scene is scored amazingly. And, finally, the attention to detail in such a climatic moment is brilliant- the buildings all feature DC Universe references, Lexcorp appears, and, yes, that is the Wayne satellite. The intensity, drama, and the sheerness that yes, this is a massive superhero fight tops this list for me, even if the movie itself wouldn't.
Hate my list? Probably. Let me know in the comments what you would have included and your favourite epic showdowns! (Though if you're here just to bash whatever movies are mentioned...well, clear off, in short.)