The last two decades has seen an explosion in the fandom of comic books. Thanks to the wonderful medium of film, we have seen many of our modern-day myths come to life on-screen. Because we have not only some of the greatest fictional characters of all time, but also some of the greatest directors and script-writers in cinematic history, sometimes we end up with memorable lines that define and determine these heroes, and their stories. If we let them, they can define us, as well.
These ten quotes are by no means a definitive "best", nor was I able to encompass all of the comic book universe. Sadly, I couldn't even begin to delve into the DCAU or Marvel's animated universe. Nevertheless, here are ten quotes that I think are some of, if not the best, and certainly some of my favorites.
10. "With everything that's happening, the things that are about to come to light, people might just need a little old-fashioned.." -Agent Coulson, Avengers
This was one of my favorite lines from Avengers Assemble. It really wrapped up in a nutshell why Captain America is still relevant to today's society. It explains why he's still so loved (no, it's not just because of Chris Evans), even though many wouldn't agree with his morals and ideology. He's a man who does what's right, and he does it old-school. And when it all boils down, that's not such a bad thing.
9. "I fight for truth, justice, and the American Way." -Superman, Superman
Again, we have a return to old-school ideology, ideals from a simpler time when right was right and wrong was wrong. In a simple sentence, we see a complete picture of Superman. It's an ultimatum, a manifesto. If you don't stand for right, then you're wrong, and I'm coming for you. Forget the powers, forget the tights, that's Kal-El at his finest, a man hungry for the truth, and an avid defender of what's right.
8. "Just because someone stumbles and loses their path, doesn't mean they're lost forever. Sometimes, we all need a little help." -Professor X, Days of Future Past
Anything that Patrick Stewart touches is pretty much gold, and Prof. X is no exception. In one of the best X-Men films, we saw two of the best actors in that film face to face, talking as if to oneself. The entire exchange was amazing, and carried with it a message of redemptive hope.
7. "You will give the people of Earth an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun, Kal. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders." -Jor-El, Man of Steel
I think my work here is done. Actually, no. This sums up Clark's role as a "savior" so well. That symbol of hope that Superman is, and that leader of worlds that he will become is wrapped up in that one quote. We see the reason for why Kal-El was saved in the first place, that he might save others.
6. "Here's a little Holiday greeting I've been wanting to send to the Mandarin. I just didn't know how to phrase it until now. My name is Tony Stark and I'm not afraid of you. I know you're a coward, so I decided... that you just died, pal. I'm gonna come get the body. There's no politics here, it's just good old-fashioned revenge. There's no Pentagon. It's just you and me. And on the off-chance you're a man, here's my home address: 10880 Malibu Point, 90265. I'll leave the door unlocked. That's what you wanted, right?" -Tony Stark, Iron Man 3
Not one to mince words, right? No, not our Tony. Though the "I'm Iron Man" line may be more famous, this was always the epitome of Stark stubborness, guts, and pure stupidity. No one could be so brazen, so bold, and still get away with it, but Tony Stark could. It was a serious threat and challenge to the Mandarin (too bad it wasn't the real thing...) coming from a clown. And, in typical fasion, RDJ nailed the performance.
5. "It's not about saving our world. It's about saving theirs." - Hank Pym, Ant-Man
If you've read my review on Ant-Man (which you should, by the way), then you would know that this film was one of the most down-to-earth MCU films to date. And because of that, this line carries so much weight. Why does any real-life hero go into battle? Why does a soldier charge into bullet fire? So that we can have a world to live in. This is why any hero ever has existed, to ensure a life for those around them, even if it means losing theirs. Their sole purpose is to ensure the peace and prosperity of others, and this line perfectly captures that idea of heroism.
4. "I'm Batman." -Batman, every Batman film ever.
Yes, it's cliche, and yes, it's been used over and over again. This still is one of the best lines Batman has given us. It's a classic, and with two simple words, he instills fear into the hearts of everyone. And I mean everyone. Yes, I'm looking at you, Clark Kent. That's all Bruce Wayne needs, two words and he becomes legend. Though some would use this to poke fun at the Dark Knight, this still is the quintessential catchphrase of Batman.
3. "I'll give them heroics. I'll give them the most spectacular heroics the world has ever seen! And when I'm old and I've had my fun, I'll sell my inventions so that everyone can have powers. Everyone can be super! And when everyone's super...no one will be." -Syndrome, The Incredibles
This sends chills up and down my spine. The philosophy behind that quote is so powerful. When we give everyone nice things, then no one has nice things. When you have total equality, no one is better off, and all suffer. And the scary thing is that the people would have flocked to Syndrome, begging him for powers. And he would've given it to them, only to take away their freedom, and in the end, make them no better than the rest.
2. "Ever dance with the Devil in the pale moonlight?" -The Joker, Batman
This is what defines Nicholson's Joker. Well, besides that rhubarb line. It shows the crazy, psychotic, maniacal nature of the Joker, something that we saw brilliantly in the film. Though it had no real significance to the plot, other than a tie-in to a flashback, it is almost as synonymous with the Joker as "I'm Batman" is with the Dark Knight. And, it's more fun than "Why so serious?"
1. "Why do we fall, sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up." -Alfred Pennyworth, Batman Begins
This completely captures the essence of the Dark Knight trilogy, front to back. From Bruce's childhood to his time in the Pit, this sentence is there with him, pushing him to continue on. Besides its power within the film, it has great power for us as the audience. Bad stuff happens in life...a lot. We fall, we fail. But we learn to get back up and keep fighting. And that truly is the message of that trilogy, so neatly encapsulated in one line.
Well, there you have it! These are ten of my favorite lines, but I have so many, that this list could change by the week. And like I said, this is in no way exhaustive, or objective. It's just a list of what I happen to love right now.
What's your favorite quote from a superhero film? Be sure to let me know in the comments! While you're at it, be sure to subscribe! Till the next article, comic book fans!