5. X2: X-Men United – Introducing Nightcrawler
Another entry from Bryan Singer who introduced the world to Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) in a brilliant, mind blowing sequence showing the blue skinned teleporter work his way though the White House on his way to kill the President. While the Special FX are impressive, it’s more about the editing and the shot selection that turns this scene into something that feels more akin to Alien than a big budget superhero blockbuster. A perfect example of how less is more when it comes to film.
4. Blade – The blood rave
I’m still amazed how little love Blade gets when discussing comic book movies. The first Blade is a B-Movie masterpiece and will always make me wonder if director Stephen Norrington had real skill or just got real lucky. The opening sequence for Blade is a fantastic blend of music, imagery, and action. Things take a sinister turn When the blood begins to pour from the ceiling and you realize that this isn’t a party, but a feast. Then Blade walks out and proceeds to take down what feels like a hundred vampires. While there are certainly elements of this sequence that feel dated (the music, the FX), it’s still a kick-ass movie.
3. The Avengers – The Battle for New York
Manhattan has taken its fair share of beatings in movies. It’s become such a magnet for alien invasions, super villains, and irradiated monsters that I’m not quite sure why any fictional character would want to live there. The Avengers was a great, crowd pleasing picture that got so much right. It’s the film’s final act where comic books fans finally get to see the promise fulfilled: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on-screen teaming up to stop an Alien invasion that seeks to conquer the planet for the diabolical Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Everything in this sequence feels like fried gold. The action is practically perfect and the odds feel sufficiently stacked against our heroes who are outnumbered and outsized by gargantuan city stomping space worms. Watching our favorite Marvel heroes fight side by side and on such a massive scale made everyone’s inner child squeal with delight.
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past – Time in a bottle
A scene that achieves a level of technical perfection while giving you some great insight to the character. As our heroes are about to be gunned down by Military Police within the bowels of the Pentagon, Quicksilver (Evan Peters) runs into action using his super speed to set a series of movements into motion that will save his friends and incapacitate the enemy. Words will never do this sequence justice. Like Singer’s other contributions, there’s a sense of perfection to the scene. One that perfectly captures his take on the character and makes his power set seem mind blowingly awesome. The sequence in X-Men: Apocalypse is equally impressive on a technical level, but it will never have the same impact as the original.
1. The Dark Knight – The interrogation
If you want to talk about ‘getting it right’, look no further than Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece The Dark Knight. It’s a movie that gets so much right about Batman and the Joker. Nowhere is that done more powerfully than in the interrogation room scene. From the moment the lights come on and you realize the Joker is no longer alone in the room, the scene unfolds into something truly legendary. For the most part it’s a conversation between two men with wildly different views of the world and yet, at their core, are disturbingly similar. Nolan’s minimalist direction is perfectly matched by Heath Ledger’s transformative performance. His Joker is disturbing and never goes for the cheap laugh. As you watch the balance of power shift you realize that even though he’s in a cage, the Joker is very much in charge.
Well there you go. Ten amazing comic book scenes. What would make your list?
Anghus Houvouras is a North Carolina based writer and filmmaker and the co-host of Across the Pondcast. Follow him on Twitter.