Red Stewart presents superb opening scenes in superhero films…
Newswriters spend a lot of time learning how to create great hooks, and the same can be said for filmmakers. An opening, whether before or during a title sequence, is integral to capturing audience attention. It sets the standard and tone for the rest of your motion picture.
Superhero movies, being blockbusters with hefty budgets, have the ability to create some truly memorable openers. At Flickering Myth, here are the five we feel are the most amazing of the bunch.
#5. A Beautiful Lie – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Whether you’re a comic, movie, or television fan, chances are you’ve seen some variation of the Wayne Family death at least three times. As such, no one was asking or expecting to view it again when Ben Affleck was cast as The Dark Knight.
Yet, Zack Snyder decided to do his own depiction, using the tragedy as the opening for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. And honestly, call us surprised – we were floored. Gorgeously shot, possessing only a single word of dialogue, and accompanied by Hans Zimmer’s phenomenal score, there were few who didn’t tear up during this opener.
#4. Spider Titles – The Spider-Man Trilogy
Sam Raimi advocated for opening title sequences in superhero films with his Spider-Man trilogy. And while this trend was unfortunately not followed by the MCU, his movies stand out for the better because of them.
Ultimately what you get is something simple: a literal spiderweb of visual effects alongside Danny Elfman’s iconic theme, with the sequels incorporating visual recaps of the predecessors. Overall, they all were spectacular, and make for a nostalgic treat.
#3. Destiny Still Arrives – Avengers: Infinity War
How do you depict the utter savagery of the Mad Titan? How do you show this guy to be a force to be reckoned with in just a few minutes? Well, the Russo Brothers came up with a simple yet effective way – have him slaughter the Asgardians, torture Thor, and beat the crap out of the Hulk.
Backed by phenomenal special effects and a terrific performance from Josh Brolin, we were left dreading Thanos’s upcoming fight with the Avengers.
#2. The Times They Are a-Changin’ – Watchmen
One of the most unique things about Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s Watchmen graphic novel was its extravagant backstory. So many things had happened in the world the story took place in, giving enough supplementary material for DC to publish an entire prequel series decades later!
Obviously, to depict all of that in a 3 hour picture would’ve been impossible, so Zack Snyder came up with a different idea- use the opening titles to showcase this history. From alternate history to the original Watchmen team to the violence that befell vigilantes, it was a glorious narrative to watch. And with Bob Dylan’s iconic “The Times They Are a-Changin’” playing in the background, we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect track.
#1. The Bank Robbery – The Dark Knight
IMAX and Nolan might seem like an inseparable couple now, but back in the day, the filmmaker was still experimenting with the technology. These were bulky cameras that made a lot of noise, better suited for shooting documentaries than feature length pictures!
Yet, by mastering the tech, Nolan gave us one of the greatest opening scenes in any superhero film via a bank robbery. In The Dark Knight, the Joker has hired a group of hitmen to rob the Mafia’s banks. At the same time, he gives each of them the secret task of offing a specific colleague once they fulfil their purpose.
With hi-tech sound and superb dialogue, Nolan introduced us to both Heath Ledger’s Joker and the potential of IMAX filmmaking.
What are your favourite superhero movie openings? Let us know on our social channels @FlickeringMyth…