While comic book movies aren’t the first medium to give birth to the final boss battle -- thank you, video games -- they certainly know how to use them to their advantage at the box office. Who doesn’t love watching their favorite live-action hero kick-punch the Big Bad?
With Marvel’s November release of Thor: The Dark World promising yet another bout between the Avenger and his adopted brother Loki, Fandango breaks down Marvel’s best big-screen showdowns. From Spider-Man to Iron Man, we take a look at ten epic fistifcuffs. Rattle off your favorite brawls in the comments below!
1. Blade vs. Deacon Frost
Movie: Blade (1998)
Finishing Move: Kicking a syringe full of anti-coagulant into an alpha vampire’s face, naturally.
After vampire Deacon Frost becomes a skin suit for the Blood God, Blade (Wesley Snipes) has to take the baddie down in a shirtless, kick-happy brawl. While tame compared to today’s big-budget standards, the fight features one of the best cheesy finishing lines ever -- “Some muthaf!@#$% are always trying to ice skate uphill” – before ending with a needle of blue stuff kicked right into Frost’s eye.
2. Iron Man vs. Killian
Movie: Iron Man 3 (2013)
Finishing Move: One rocket, one extremis-fueled Pepper Potts, lots of comeuppance.
The fight between Tony Stark and Killian’s thug, Savin, ends in one of the best finishing moves of all time: chest-emitted repulsor blast through said thug. The only way to top that is to have drone-like Iron Man suits fly in for some mayhem, culminating with some fun and inventive action centered on Tony Stark and the “resurrection” of his new super-powered girlfriend.
3. Hulk vs. Loki
Movie: The Avengers (2012)
Finishing Move: “Puny god.”
We’ve watched it 167 times, and it keeps getting funnier. Every. Single. Time. Captain America tells Hulk to smash, and smash he does, making a permanent Loki-shaped indent in the floor of Stark Tower.
4. Spider-Man vs. Green Goblin
Movie: Spider-Man (2002)
Finishing Move: Death by self-inflicted glider to the torso.
Just like in the original Marvel comics, Green Goblin is his own worst enemy in the end. Norman Osborn attempts to remotely control his glider and skewer the webhead. Instead, a blast of Spider-Sense and a quick dodge ensures that Goblin is hoisted by his own trident-like petard.
5. Wolverine vs. Lady Deathstrike
Movie: X2: X-Men United (2003)
Finishing Move: Adamantium overdose. Lots of clawing.
Wolverine’s six claws almost prove no match for Lady Deathstrike’s ten, a fact made apparent when she Ginsus the X-Man something fierce. But Wolverine is nothing if not a scrappy, crafty fighter, and he finds a way to hurt another mutant who can heal from anything. He injects her with the heaviest metal known to comic book kind, ending her in the very place where Wolverine was born.
6. Hulk vs. The Abomination
Movie: The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Finishing Move: Using industrial chain to choke out Abomination.
Sure, that’s how the fight ends. But for our money? Hulk’s best fight move, hands-down, is when he uses two car chassis as boxing gloves to go smash happy on Abomination. Proof positive that more (read: all) movies should feature things getting punched with cars.
7. Spider-Man vs. Dr. Octopus
Movie: Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Finishing Move: First, a daylight battle atop a moving subway, followed by good ol’ fashioned “seeing the error of one’s ways.”
Until Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight came along, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 was arguably the best of its genre. That high praise is due in large part to the film’s effortless balance between the story’s emotional stakes and its blockbuster set pieces. The aforementioned train fight is the film’s signature scene, but the final fight inside Doc Ock’s lair -- centered on yet another Spidey villain dying (kinda) by his own hand -- is one hell of a way to end your movie.
8. Wolverine vs. Sabretooth
Movie: X-Men (2000)
Finishing Move: Cyclops’ optic blast
Following their first encounter in the snowy Canadian wilderness, Wolverine and Sabrertooth duke it out atop the Statue of Liberty. Logan goes full human adamantium missile on his snarling rival, stabbing and slashing. But in the end, Logan defeats his nemesis with a little assist from Scott Summers’ eye beams. (Scott Summers’ Eye Beams is the name of my new folktronica album, btw.)
9. Magneto vs. Sebastian Shaw
Movie: X-Men: First Class (2011)
Finishing Move: Willing a Nazi coin through a former Nazi’s skull. Yup.
Technically, yeah, Magneto is a villain. But in the First Class timeline he was a hero kinda sorta-ish, going full bad guy in his final showdown with the man who made him who he is: Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). This scene is one of the darkest moments in Marvel movie history, and also one of its best.
10. Hulk vs. Space Eel
Movie: The Avengers (2012)
Finishing Move: “I’m always angry.”
Banner’s secret to keeping the big-green rage monster is finally revealed, in one of the most fist-pumping good times at the theater in the history of ever.