It’s pretty amazing at what an epic force Marvel Studios has become with their shared cinematic universe. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that Iron Man in 2008 would kick off this massive and expansive film universe that, ultimately, would rival the comic books and I certainly didn’t see it being the runaway train of money-making potential that it would become. Just the concept alone of having separate origin films that culminated in a movie event that was The Avengers was truly something to behold but with each movie and each building block of their movie Phases, new unheard of elements come rushing in and making their world even bigger. For example, there was the landmark deal between Marvel and Sony so that Spider-Man can be a shared property and so he could finally take his place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and he was a welcomed sight, I tell ya whut) but now Marvel is once again shaking things up as they are introducing Doctor Strange into the mix and interjecting magic alongside the rest of the fantastic elements we’ve already seen. Strange’s film will offer up a new level of action that hasn’t been touched yet in the MCU but before we go any further into those reality warping visuals that will hit us this Friday let’s take a look back at the road so far and recount some of the best, most amazing, and outright epic action sequences that have been delivered.
Here are my 10 Best Actions Scenes in the MCU (so far… and in no particular order).
10. Daredevil: That Hallway Scene!
Marvel Studios broke new ground when they hit the ground running with their first Netflix series; Daredevil. This series allowed deeper character development of not only the hero but the villain as well and it also allowed the studio to go a little darker and create something that would be skirting the R-rating arena. Very early on in the series the show illustrated exactly where it was going with a sequence reminiscent of the cult classic Oldboy. A single shot fight sequence in a hallway with no cuts and nothing but brutal and excellently executed action; it really set the stage for where the show was going.
9. Thor: The Dark World: Now You’re Thinking with Portals!
Although widely held as one of the more forgettable films in the MCU, Thor: The Dark World does offer up a killer battle between our hero and the dark elf Malekith. The eye-catcher to this duel is the fact that it takes place at the center of a convergence and the fight sees the two beings going in and out of portals and literally battling across worlds and across realms. The portal element is an exciting and memorable element and it also paves the way for some very amusing moments along the way.
8. Guardians of the Galaxy: Dance Off, Bro!
Okay, this isn’t really a fisticuffs, “let’s blow some stuff up” type of battle but there’s an element of competition to this and it culminates in a badass display of teamwork. Finally, it was a bold move by James Gunn and co-writer Nicole Perlman to have the film end with Star-Lord challenging Ronan to a dance battle because if the humor didn’t balance the epic moment that follows the whole thing could have ruined the entire film but, because Gunn is clearly a being from beyond our world, he was able to make an entirely unique and memorable action sequence that perfectly mixes the fun, humor and grand scale that is the Marvel fight scenes.
7. Iron Man 3: A Suit for Every Occasion
Probably the biggest takeaway from Iron Man 3 was the unique twist they took with the character of The Mandarin. However, the film does offer up it’s incredible moments of excitement like Stark’s rescue of the crew of Air Force One but, more importantly, the wild finale that saw him jumping from suit to suit as he fought Aldrich Killian and his Extremis-powered army. Normally, Iron Man is all about badass weapons while wearing a single suit but this added factor of seeing him go effortlessly and fluidly from one suit to the next offered up an ending that was creative, fun and filled with some fantastic action!
6. The Incredible Hulk: School’s Out Forever
Without a doubt, I think The Incredible Hulk is the most underrated film in all of the Phases of the MCU but regardless of how the overall reaction was to this one, this film still delivers some smash-worthy action. Yes, getting to hear Hulk say “Hulk Smash” out-loud during the final battle against Abomination is flippin’ awesome but it didn’t look as cool or as slickly presented as the army attempting to capture Banner on the college campus. The buildup to the transformation and all the way up to Hulk shielding Betty Ross from a crashing helicopter while her father looks on made for an incredibly satisfying scene but also one completely worthy of all that is Hulk!
5. Ant-Man: Toy Warfare
Ant-Man’s action scenes, as well as the entire film, is set on a much smaller scale (no pun intended) than the other films released in the MCU. However, that isn’t to say that none of them were memorable. The fight between Yellowjacket and Scott Lang in the helicopter was very entertaining but the real winner has to be when they are battling in the play area of Scott’s daughter Cassie. Not only does this sequence pack in a lot of great gags (like Thomas the Tank Engine’s role in it all) but it also excellently showcases the scale. Not to mention it was just damn cool when Ant-Man is leading a charge of ants out of the rug towards Yellowjacket on the toy train.
4. Iron Man: A Hero’s First Rescue
Of course we have to go to the film that started it all and basically put us on the course of the comic book movie adaptation golden era we currently find ourselves in and made the C-list hero of Iron Man a household name. Everything about this film is fantastic but nothing beats the moment when Tony Stark has had enough and decides to take matters into his own hands and flies into Afghanistan in order to stop some members of the Ten Rings. The scene is simple but effective at showing off the tech Tony has and it even works in some good old fashion drama as he makes his entrance saving the life of a father trying to shield his son from death. It has all the basic ingredients that make a great hero rescue.
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Buddies Go to Battle
This film is, without a doubt, one of my favorites that Marvel Studios released. The story adds in some espionage and political thriller elements and it wonderfully adapts one of the more memorable Cap stories of recent history. One of the best parts is the first real fight between our hero Captain America and Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier. Not only does Bucky make an amazing entrance but the entire fight is filled with tightly executed action and fight choreography. You have Black Widow kicking ass and blasting bullets, Falcon proving that he doesn’t need his suit to deal out damage and an incredible fist fight between Steve and Bucky. Honestly, how amazing was it when Winter Soldier flips the knife he’s using in the air and catches it?
2. The Avengers: New York, New York. It’s a Helluva Town
While some of the novelty of The Avengers may have worn off as the MCU got bigger, it was still pretty damn amazing to see Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow and Hawkeye all come together to stop Loki and his Chitauri army. Seeing these heroes in their own films (or being established in other films) and assembling was pretty flippin’ epic and the entire battle of New York mirrors that. Director Joss Whedon did a tremendous job of delivering a long and endlessly exciting final act that never allowed one Avengers to dominate the action and wasn’t afraid to mix in the humor. I don’t care how many times I watch it, the whole sequence is unbelievable!
1. Captain America: Civil War: A New Reason for the Window Seat
When we heard all the buzz over just how big the cast was for Civil War, there was concerns that the film was going to be overcrowded and lack the focus on the conflict between Captain America and Iron Man. However, the cast proved to be less of a distraction and more of a blessing as it offers up what is, in my opinion, the best action sequence that Marvel has put together yet. Not only did this fight at the airport put teammate against teammate, it also saw the action introduction of Spider-Man to the MCU and ended up showing off exactly what Marvel does best. The fight is exciting and utilizes all the best elements of every hero involved. There’s no shortage of humor but, at the same time, there’s a deep level of emotion to the fight and it really helps the plot move along and really showcases the stakes that are at hand in the story. Plus, how cool was it to see Ant-Man become Giant Man?
The MCU has given us so many other great action scenes to enjoy—too many, in fact. I had a hell of a time narrowing them down to just ten. There’s also the battle the first introduces War Machine in Iron Man 2, Tony and Steve duking it out at the end of Civil War, the entire battle of Sokovia, Daredevil’s second hallway fight that involved Punisher taping a guy to his hand, Thor versus the Destroyer, Jessica Jones taking on Kilgrave and, one I was really heartbroken to not include, Nick Fury’s epic car chase in The Winter Soldier. Like many, I’ve very excited to see what Marvel brings to us in their future films like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Doctor Strange but, for now, what are some of your favorite action moments in the MCU. Let us know in the comments!
Rev. Ron not only has a strong love for comics but he also has a serious love for movies (but not in a creepy way). So, when you take a comic and adapt it for a film, he’s super in love (but, again, not in a creepy way). When he’s not reading comics, he’s watching movies and when he’s not doing either of these he’s reviewing the movies he just watched and you can read those reviews on his blog at RevRonMovies.BlogSpot.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@RevRonster), if ya feel like it. Thanks!