Now that we are in the “Age of the Superhero,” there’s no small shortage of seeing all our favorites from childhood on the big and small screen. With seven movies hitting theaters this year alone (not even counting the vast wealth of superhero televisions shows on networks like The CW, ABC, Netflix and more), it’s a great time to be a fan as we have a wide variety of some great stuff to choose from.
It’s still February, so our true superhero season hasn’t officially started yet. Although we got the LEGO Batman Movie already, superhero films really kick on next month with Logan, which is already wowing everyone. It has a 96% score on Rotten Tomatoes, and were here at Heroic Hollywood really enjoyed it! Until then, we still have to decide between movies like 50 Shades Darker and Fist Fight. While pondering if I should see Fist Fight (I ended up seeing John Wick instead), I started thinking about all the true and blue fist fights that have been in both superhero movies and TV shows. There’s been a wide range of awesome sequences in the MCU, DCEU and Fox’s Marvel universe, as well as the shows that air on Netflix, ABC and The CW. Here are the 18 best fight sequences we have seen in the world of superheroes
Superman vs Batman (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice)
Yes, yes, we know: “Martha” was someone that stops you dead in your tracks and makes the movie substantially less enjoyable. Yes, yes, we know: it’s a very short fight scene, especially since the movie is literally titled “Batman v Superman.” All fair points.
That said, this was an interesting, exciting fight. Many fans say Batman can beat anyone (with enough prep time) because “he’s Batman dammit!” This fight actually gave us the first time to see him work his preparation though on the big screen, and show Superman that he was messing with the wrong one. Everything from using sonic machines and Kryptonite grenades to weaken Superman, as well as machine guns to distract him, Batman slowly dismantled an alien with the power of a god, proving himself to be the badass we all know he is to where he can best Kal-El.
Daisy vs. Hydra (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. sometimes can be a mixed bag. It took the show some time to get it’s footing in the first season as they had to substantially tread water while waiting for the Captain America: The Winter Soldier reveal before they could change course. Since then, the show has consistently done what it’s supposed to do. Making Skye (AKA Daisy Johnson) become an Inhuman introduced a new angle, and the former hacker’s role on the show evolved.
In the 19th episode of the second season, “The Dirty Half-Dozen,” Daisy is forced to take on an army of Hydra soldiers in one pivotal scene. As Daisy enters the room, she’s facing a score of soldiers and we see a great 30-second montage where she’s shooting and fighting her way through them. Adopting the single tracking shot technique, we get to see actress Chloe Bennet performing her own stunts in a well-choreographed scene as she takes them all down. For a small screen show, this was rather impressive.
Oliver vs. Ra’s Al Ghul (Arrow)
Arrow is known for its well-hidden stunt work throughout the series. Oliver and many members of Team Arrow conduct their vigilante activities against many villains of Star City in well-choreographed moments. We know that actor Stephen Amell is in great shape for his work as well as evidenced by his Salmon Ladder activities.
Most of the time, Oliver never really has such a great challenge as he continues to “save the city” on Arrow. However in episode 9 of the third season of the show, “The Climb,” Oliver is forced to face off against League of Assassins leader Ra’s al Ghul to defend the citizens of Starling City against a reprisal for being unable to find Sara’s killer. Oliver faces off against Ra’s al Ghul and we learn just why he is called “The Demon’s Head.” The two engage in a fierce sword battle at the top of a mountain where Oliver realizes he’s not the top dog in this fight. In the cliffhanger, Oliver is defeated and mortally wounded by Ra’s al Ghul, and he is left for dead.
The Flash vs. Reverse Flash (The Flash)
The Flash always starts each episode saying “my name is Barry Allen, and I’m the fastest man alive.” However, Eobard Thawne, The “Reverse Flash” showed him what “fast” truly means when the two first faced off for the first time.
Barry has actually been searching for Thawne his whole life, even before he was able to connect with the Speed Force, as Thawne murdered his mother, which forced his father to be arrested for her murder. Barry thought that he finally would be able to take him on one-on-one. Unfortunately, Thawne proved to be much faster than Barry and took him down in a well-orchestrated attack. This gave Barry his first loss, which forces him to realize that he has to be stronger and faster if he wants to defeat him.
Nightcrawler’s White House Attack (X2: X-Men United)
X2: X-Men United, the sequel to X-Men (one of the first of the modern blockbuster superhero movies) started off with a spectacular opening and introduced us to Kurt Wagner AKA Nightcrawler. The unique looking (and heavily religious) mutant with a tail and the ability to teleport was considered a fan favorite and should have been in more X-Men movies. He manages to show up again in X-Men: Apocalypse as his younger self.
The movie starts off with Nightcrawler as a bad guy (thanks to some good ol’ fashioned mind control by William Stryker), who attacks the White House trying to assassinate the President. The entire sequence of him doing battle with Secret Service Agents while teleporting and besting them in hand to hand combat was filmed very well.
Mansion Attack (X2: X-Men United)
Another great moment in X2 is when Skryker’s soldiers enter the X-Mansion to try and capture all of the mutants. One thing that the X-Men movies had trouble with was showing Wolverine in his full on Berserker Mode, where he was a wild beast ready to claw through anything. Hopefully, Logan will show more of that since it is an R-Rated superhero movie. However, for a brief moment in X2, they unshackle Wolverine as he defends the students at the school from the soldiers and claws through the soldiers.
Avengers vs. Ultron “Together” (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Age of Ultron had the challenge of trying to outdo the first Avengers film in regards to scale, humor, and scope and at the same time continue to tell the tale of the MCU and set up for future films. While there are a few things to complain about in the film, it had some great moments. Vision’s introduction and the Hulk vs Iron Man fight were a few of them.
However, the moment that takes the cake is the final battle sequence where The Avengers make a stand against a horde of Ultrons. Though Iron Man and Captain America had a few moments of bickering (that eventually grew into the events of Civil War), they stood tall together as a team to take on the Ultron army. The battle sequence was perfectly done, from the images to the music. This gave us our first “splash page” in the film that perfectly encapsulated a comic book come to life.
Ant-Man vs Yellowjacket (Ant-Man)
Ant-Man was a unique and interesting film. Coming off such a grand movie as Age of Ultron, Marvel opted to then tell a movie on a much smaller scale, literally. Instead of saving the world from aliens, it was all about a heist that only could make a thief the superhero. Many of the effects were greatly done to capture the size of everything compared to Scott Lang.
The final battle sequence pitted Lang against Yellowjacket, Hank Pym’s rival who wanted to sell the shrinking technology to the highest (criminal) bidder. The fight where he was going back and forth with Yellowjacket in a briefcase (although was CGI) was one of the most creative fights in a while and everything from light sabers to pocket keys was a weapon of mass destruction. The final battle sequence in Lang’s daughter’s bedroom featured Ant-Man leading a pack of ants against Yellowjacket, with even Thomas the Tank Engine becoming a weapon. Ant-Man was creative for these sequences and the fighting was well done.
You are going to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier on this list a few times. The movie is just that great! The Russo Bros managed to make Captain America as cool as he’s ever been in both movies and in comics in one simple movie. They even made Batroc the Leaper an interesting character!
In the beginning of the film, Captain America is sent to rescue a S.H.I.E.L.D. ship being held by Batroc and the two engage in combat against each other during the raid. It doesn’t hurt that they cast MMA fighter Georges St-Pierre to play the role of the mercenary. Using excellent choreography in the manner of The Raid, they managed to make this an awesome scene. And this was just the beginning of that movie!
Bane vs. Batman (The Dark Knight Rises)
Since the first movie in the Dark Knight trilogy, Batman was the best at what he does. Even when he was challenged in the movie, he never lost a fight. Not against the League of Shadows or against The Joker. However, in The Dark Knight Rises, he meets his match against Bane.
Christopher Nolan directs the hell out of this scene. The music stops, and all you can hear is the alpha male aggression as the two face off against each other. Bane is the victor from the beginning as Batman never really has a chance. Not only does it show the sheer might of the third movie’s villain, but it also humbled Batman as he was not prepared for a foe as brutal and as intelligent as he was.
Batman Saves Martha (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice)
Yes, yes: Martha was a dumb moment in Batman v Superman. However, it leads to an awesome fight scene. In the aftermath of their fight, Batman promises Superman that Martha will not die tonight, and he surely means it.
Batman storms the warehouse where she is being held and shows us just why Batman is one of the best fighters in the DC universe. Channeling the awesomeness from the Arkham video games, Ben Affleck takes on many of Lex Luthor’s henchmen and gives us the best fight sequence from the superhero movie as he dismantles them with relative ease.
Elevator Fight Scene (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
The moment when Steve gets in the elevator and notices that the number of passengers is getting “bulkier” than usual, he can see the writing on the wall. The best part of it is when he prepares to fight against the undercover Hydra agents, Steve politely asks them “Before we get started, does anyone want to get out?” From that moment on, we get yet another dose of raw aggressive fighting, and this time in an enclosed space like an elevator as Steve takes on more than 10 people. Filming this must have been quite a task, given the multiple angles, fight choreography, and enclosed space. But leave it up to the Russo Bros, as they continued to catch lightning in a bottle multiple times this superhero movie.
Highway and Bridge Fight (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
When Captain America, Black Widow and Sam Wilson decide to take the fight to Hydra, it starts a chain of events that leads to an awesome battle sequence. They first kidnap Jasper, who reveals Hydra’s master plan of eliminating more than a million people of interest in the name of keeping “order” and then the Winter Soldier tracks them down leading to an awesome firefight and fist battle.
Everyone gets a chance to shine. Black Widow shows once again that she needs her own solo movie as Scarlett Johansson excels in all her scenes. At this point, Anthony Mackie isn’t yet the Avenger Falcon, but shows his might when dealing with the Hydra soldiers. Captain America goes against a score of Hydra soldiers and then faces off against the Winter Soldier one-on-one, which is an exceptional fight between the two of them. The fight ends with the reveal that the Winter Soldier is Bucky, his WWII friend he thought has been dead since the events of Captain America: The First Avenger. The fighting is great and the emotional payoff works.
Punisher’s Prison Fight (Daredevil)
While the Marvel superhero movies and shows like Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have kept it relatively safe, Marvel’s Netflix shows are more than eager to push the envelope. Whether it be the bone-crunching fights of Daredevil, the hard drinking and loud bed-breaking sex of Jessica Jones, or the rampant use of the N-word on Luke Cage, Marvel is not afraid to toe the line for the Netflix series. And none is clearer than when Frank Castle AKA the Punisher is in prison.
Thanks to his work as Shane on The Walking Dead, no fan batted an eye when Jon Bernthal was cast as The Punisher as he not only could nail the role, he absolutely did.
The Kingpin sets him up to be murdered in his cell, and Castle decides that today’s not the day. Facing off against an entire cellblock of people ready to shank him, The Punisher takes them all on with his fists at first and then with their own weapons. Literally a war machine, The Punisher dispatches them all with extreme prejudice, and a few moments that actually made you groan.
Hallway Fights (Daredevil)
Speaking of Daredevil, we get to see the title character truly in action early on as he takes on a score of the Russian mob to save a child. This scene is exceptionally done as it is all a single take (even though that’s disputed… it still looks perfect) as he goes down a hallway and through various rooms besting the mobsters in single combat.
In the second season of Daredevil, we have to revisit the infamous Hallway fight and try to one-up it with the stairway fight. This time Daredevil faces off against a large number of groups in a biker gang through one long extended tracking shot showcasing him taking on scores of enemies.
The fighting in both scenes in tremendous as is the filmmaking techniques to not only capture the brutality of the scene, but also the technical marvel of the shots as well.
Battle of New York (The Avengers)
The final battle of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes against The Chitauri in The Avengers is a highlight for superhero movies. This is an accumulation of all of the Phase 1 movies finally coming together in one great climactic battle. Faced against scores of alien invaders, the Avengers must work together. Under Captain America’s leadership this group of heroes (who are not always seeing eye to eye) band together to save New York, and in effect save the world from the aliens.
The scene where the camera focused on each of the Avengers as they are doing battle and cueing up the heroic music was one of the first times where I sat in the theater as a full grown adult and smiled from ear-to-ear as though I was an eight-year-old reading the comics, but instead of reading greatness in the funny pages, I was visually seeing greatness on the big screen.
Captain America and Winter Soldier vs. Iron Man (Captain America: Civil War)
Captain America: Civil War is probably one of Marvel’s best films. It managed to be an Avengers movie, while at the same time being completely a Captain America movie. The ending of the superhero movie had Bucky and Captain America trying to stop Zemo’s super soldiers from taking over the world, or whatever they were led to believe. However, Zemo just wanted to have the Avengers turn on each other and did it in a way that would fracture them forever (or at least until Infinity War).
Revealing that Bucky killed Tony’s parents while brainwashed sets Tony into a murderous rage and Captain America who knew they were killed as a result of Hydra had to reveal to his friend that he knew all along since Winter Soldier. Betrayals revealed, rage exponentially grows in a brief scene. Tony turns from a smart, wise-cracking superhero into an almost Jason-like monster, hell bent on revenge and Steve has to fight his friend for the sake of his best friend. The fight scene is personal, heartbreaking, and has consequences for the MCU going forward.
Airport Battle (Captain America: Civil War)
The airport battle in the middle of Captain America: Civil War was just pure awesomeness. As stated before, it managed to hide an Avenger movies inside of a Captain America movie and made sure that each character had a moment to shine.
Pitting #TeamCap against #TeamIronman, heroes who would be friends on any other day, are forced to do battle against each other. The entire sequence was done exceptionally well. It gave us our first dose of the MCU’s Spider-Man, and showcases that triple kick from Black Panther. Black Widow and Hawkeye, who have an almost platonic bond found themselves at odds with each other due to the Accords and were forced to fight as well. Although many have argued that the fight was “pointless,” it had real stakes, and real consequences, as now War Machine is crippled.
When comparing against the Civil War of the comic, some could say it’s a let down as there were more forces against each other in the comic. However, if you look at it from a movie standpoint, it was flawless. The battle gave us as comic fans everything we could ever hope for and was an accumulation of the past MCU films finally coming to a full-blown internal battle where both sides technically are right, and both side technically were wrong.