There is no denying the success that Marvel has had in the world of movies. With that success in mind I decided to look back at all of Marvel’s movie (including the movies NOT made by Marvel studios) to create a list of the Top 50 Marvel Movie Moments. Of course in the fine tradition of lists I am sure there are items I listed too high, too low, or did not list at all. Feel free to sound off in the comments to let me know just how wrong I am. Ranking moments is a challenge. What makes one moment stand out over the next? Well I looked at a few things. First was how much the moment stuck out in my mind, like a cinematic version of word associate. I also considered how effective the scene actually was. Was it a thrilling action sequence, a deep character moment, or a sweet exhibition of two characters deeply in love:? Lastly I looked at the iconic status. There are certain scenes that have been etched in movie history for one reason or another. Looking at all of those factors I came up with this list:
Warning: Below are spoilers and huge plot points for nearly all of Marvels movies. Read at your own risk.
50. Death to Parkor
Movie: Punisher: Warzone
Moment: The Punisher takes out a group of parkor performers with a friendly rocket
Why It Stands out: When The Punisher: Warzone came out nearly every action movie had the obligatory parkor action sequence. For a moment it appeared The Punisher was following that tired trend, but that quickly changed as a rocket appeared in the foreground. The Punisher: Warzone is a misunderstood movie for a lot of reasons. Not all of its satirical commentary was effective. This is the one instance where it worked the best.
49. The Danger Room
Movie: X-Men 3: The Last Stand
Moment: The X-Men appear to be in a dystopian future, where they are fighting to stay live. After the head of a sentinel falls to the ground it is revealed that they are in the infamous Danger Room.
Why It Stands Out: Since the first X-Men movie we were waiting for a glimpse into the Danger Room. We finally got it with the addition of a one of the X-Men’s most legendary foes The Sentinels. Considering everything X-Men 3 got wrong, this was one of the few things that actually worked.
48. Hannibal King Mouths Off
Movie: Blade Trinity
Moment: After being captured Hannibal King refuses to lessen his witty repartee just because he is chained up like a vampire pet. Going so far to expose the fact he has a Hello Kitty tattoo. Something no one should ever admit.
Why It Stands Out: At the time of this film’s release Ryan Reynolds was actually still a fresh face. His comedic demeanor had yet to wear thin like it has today. I still point to this moment and this role as the indication that Reynolds has great potential, whether he has lived up to that hype is still left to be determined.
47. The Punisher vs. The Russian
Movie The Punisher
Moment: Frank Castle gets an unexpected house guest in the form of a Russian Assassin.
Why It Stands Out: A combination of clever chorography and well placed comedy caused this to standout in an otherwise grim film. The juxtaposition of brutality and over the top humor was surprisingly well.
46. Magneto Escapes
Movie: X2: X-Men United
Moment: Using the metal Mystique secretly placed in a guard’s blood Magneto finally escapes from his plastic prison.
Why It Stands Out: I have loved the interesting ways they have used Magneto’s powers in the X-Men franchise. Seeing him suck metal from the pours of a guard gave me flashes of the infamous moment of Magneto sucking the adamantium from Wolverine’s body. It’s a reminder of much of a badass Magneto really is.
45. Zola Shows His True Form
Movie: Captain America: The Winter Solider
Moment: In the first Captain America movie we get a tip of the hat to the android version of Dr. Arnim Zola. In a surprise twist we actually get a War Games like sequence that displays the article intelligent version of Zola and also reveals Hydra’s secret plans all along.
Why It Stands Out: In many ways this entire scene works as a gigantic data dump. A way to reveal a ton of exposition quickly and effectively. Beyond that it’s a well-staged scene that is very reminiscent of classic Sci Fi and espionage movies. It goes to a place I did not expect Captain America to go. I loved the risk of being weird.
44. Whiplash Attacks
Movie: Iron Man 2
Moment: Tony Stark comes face first with an enemy he never knew he had. Whiplash instantly makes his presence known, and we also get a great view of Tony Stark’s classic suitcase armor.
Why It Stands Out: Although many loved the first Iron Man movie, many complained there was a severe lack of action. Iron Man 2 did gives us more action, the most effective being this moment. Plus its great to see Iron Man night just fighting another person in an armor suit.
43. “Have You Tried Not Being a Mutant”
Movie: X2: X-Men United
Moment: Bobby Drake sits down with his family to reveal he is a mutant. His families then proceeds to go through the five stages of grief seemingly all at once.
Why It Stands Out: What is compelling and rather sad about the allegorical implications of the X-Men franchise is how their plight can be reflected in so many real world issues. This moment shows what drove Bryan Singer to this property, and why it was such a personal story for him to tell.
42. “Don’t Tell Harry”
Moment: The Green Goblin and Spider-Man have their final showdown. Mirroring the comics Green Goblin meets his end by the blades of his own glider. With his final breath Harry Osborne pleads to Peter to not tell Harry.
Why It Stands Out: Personally I am not one who feels movies need to follow the comics, or get all that excited when they do. However, when you have a moment like this that mirrors such an iconic moment even I can appreciate it. Not to mention the final nail of Green Goblin showing an edge of humanity with his final breath.
41. “F$#@ Off”
Movie: X-Men: First Class
Moment: Magneto and Prof. X travel across the globe seeking fellow mutants to join them and happen upon a familiar face. Before they even ask Wolverine responds to them in words; “F@#$ Off”
Why It Stands Out: It is a belief that PG: 13 movies are allowed one use of the F word. If that is the case I cannot think of a better use of it than this film. It’s a nice nod to the character and an unexpected cameo.