It's a well documented fact that nerds and geeks like to make lists. I am a nerd so here is a list of what I feel are the best scenes to ever be seen in comic book movies.
NOTE: This is in no particular order so the last one is not necessarily 'the best' - they are all just great scenes. I also would like to point out that I am trying to avoid enormous action set-pieces such as the battle of New York for the purposes of identifying more crucial or pivotal scenes.
Frankenstein's Monster - X-Men: First Class
As a boy Erik Lehnsherr was forced into a concentration camp, separated from his family and saw his mother killed before his very eyes. Just after Shaw (or Schmidt as he is then) shoots his mama dead, the young mutant rather understandably goes a bit nuts. He kills two guards in the ensuing madness but it's not 'til years later in Argentina that he gets his greater revenge.
Fueled by hatred Erik Lehnsherr, the man, first toys with his targets before brutally murdering them. It may not be as poignant as when he pushes the coin through Shaw's brain in the film's finale but it does serve to set up Erik as having been transformed - a man who will stop at nothing to take his vengeance and is arguably the moment he truly becomes Magneto.
Knightfall - The Dark Knight Rises
I am not a fan of the final instalment of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy but some scenes do stand out and this one in particular stands above all others. Bruce has been fooled in to following Selina Kyle down in to the sewers only to get locked in a cage with the beast that is Bane.
Tom Hardy's Bane may not be a completely faithful conversion of the character but what they do get right, they get very right.
No matter what Bruce throws at him, Bane is completely unyielding. He is intimidating, imposing and incredibly brutal. The low angle shots really give an impression of total dominance while Bruce is left flailing like a child. After seeing Batman pretty much trounce everything in his path in the first two films, it came as a bit of a shock to see him so soundly beaten (even though it was expected). By the end Bruce is a broken man, dragged away lifeless and defeated.
Quicksilver Destroys All Guards - X-Men: Days of Future Past
When I saw this scene at the cinema I was literally swept up in the awesomeness. By this point we already know that Peter/Pietro is a speedster, able to move quicker than any of the other characters can even register, but it's not until the moment Charles, Erik, Logan and himself are cornered by guards that we get to see through his goggles.
The slow-motion action is some of the best I've ever seen in cinema let alone comic book movies and it's hard to imagine Avengers: Age of Ultron topping it. Not only is the scene incredibly well conceived in terms of how it's shot, it also serves to show us a little of Quicksilver's personality. He is a jovial sort and his nonchalance really shines through as he takes care of the guards and casually changes the trajectory of bullets. Added to that a satisfying crash at the end, coupled with the bewilderment on his associates faces and we really do have a stand-out scene.
The Joker Introduces Himself - The Dark Knight
Heath Ledger's portrayal of The Clown Prince of Crime is nothing short of legendary. He not only won an Oscar for the role but also (in my opinion) raises the whole film several points, so it's hard to narrow down one scene alone. The interrogation scene between him and Batman is often hailed as the best but this scene, brazenly interrupting the gangster's meeting and killing one of their men, is where we find out all we need to know about the Joker.
He is highly intelligent, seems to have knowledge beyond his means and is willing not only to kill but also to die. He's like a force of nature blowing through and even manages to get in a couple of gags. But damn it, he is not crazy! He's out-gunned and out-numbered but he completely owns the room.
Doc Ock Awakens - Spider-Man 2
I am a huge fan of Sam Raimi so it was inevitable I would include a scene from one of his Spider-Man films. Aside from the incredible set piece on the train, this scene of Otto Octavius awakening in hospital after unconsciously taking out the staff with his new found appendages is pure Raimi. For anyone familiar with Raimi's earlier work, particularly on Evil Dead and Evil Dead II, you will instantly recognise the Raimi trademarks. From crash zooms to whip pans and slapstick mixed with horror, this scene has it all including a chainsaw! It may not be the most pivotal scene on this list but from a purely stylistic point of view it is a true joy to watch and is still superior to anything in the Spider-Man films that have followed.
Norman Is Not Normal - Spider-Man
Yes, I know...another Raimi scene! But there is no doubt the performance and staging of this moment is incredible. With the mirror acting as a symbol for Norman's fractured psyche, we get to see Willem Dafoe give a tour-de-force as he comes to terms with his actions and ultimately submits to the Goblin's way of thinking. Much is made of Spider-Man villains (particularly Raimi's) always being portrayed in a sympathetic light. There is some truth to this but it doesn't apply to the Green Goblin. Before his accident he is a driven man, determined to achieve success at almost any cost. Initially he is not in control of his actions - his mind seems to split and the 'normal' Norman has no recollection of any of the Goblin's actions. But, by the end of the film Norman tries using this 'innocent' persona to attempt to kill Peter. He is manipulative and down right mean and it is this scene, stood in front of the mirror holding a paper, which is where he turns.
So that's my list, I hope you enjoyed it. Undoubtedly there will be a lot of disagreement with it - if so let me know! What are your favourite scenes and why? I do have a feeling I've missed something big.
*Apologies for not having videos for all but they're a bit difficult to come by in high enough quality.