The top 5 most satisfyng and most disappointing CBM fight scenes

I give you my top five choices for most satisfying and most disappointing in CBM brawls...

If there is one thing about this summer’s Man of Steel that CBM fans are desperately hoping for, it’s a great fight scene. Since Superman Returns featured nothing of the sort, fans are itching to finally see the Last Son of Krypton throw a punch, and will get such a treat when Henry Cavill’s super fist hopefully connects with Michael Shannon’s evil face.

As much as the CBM community loves (and complains about) origin stories, costume designs, and faithful dialogue, most fans (and casual moviegoers) can admit that the biggest reason they go to the theater to check out the newest superhero flick is the appeal of seeing a super-powered slugfest. So here is a list of what I consider to be the five most satisfying fight scenes in CBM history, followed by the five most disappointing:

*I did not include CBMs that are so bad that no slightly sane or intelligent person would expect anything even remotely fulfilling about them (I’m looking at you, 2004’s Catwoman).

Most Satisfying (Had high expectations, and met them all)

5. V vs. Peter Creedy and his men (V for Vendetta – 2005): 2005’s V for Vendetta may not stick out in most CBM fans’ minds when it comes to action, but the final showdown between Hugo Weaving’s V and the evil Peter Creedy is as satisfying as they come. V confidently tells a rather large group of Creedy’s soldiers that he will let them open fire on him…and that before any of them can finish reloading their weapons, they will all be dead. Needless to say, V makes good on his promise, displaying badassery at its best!

4. Hulk vs. the Abomination (The Incredible Hulk – 2008): After the abomination (pun embarrassingly intended) that was Ang Lee’s Hulk, fans of the “green rage-monster” were given a satisfyingly brutal beat down between Ed Norton’s more relatable Bruce Banner/Hulk and Tim Roth’s “almost-Captain America-but-eventually-went-overboard-with-the-super-soldier-serum” Abomination. This was exactly the type of fight scene I want to see in a Hulk film: violent, catastrophic, and with a healthy dose of explosions. Watching an extremely pissed-off Hulk choke out Abomination with a chain is like watching an MMA fight on acid…only much better!

3. Spider-Man vs. Green Goblin final battle (Spider-Man – 2002): So even though Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin looks and moves a lot like a “Power Rangers” villain, the final fight scene in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man is still as awesome as they come. The fight starts off with an adrenaline shot by way of the Goblin’s pumpkin-bomb exploding in Peter Parker’s face; which is friggin’ jaw-dropping upon first viewing. Norman Osborn’s death was at once dramatic and brutal; with the line, “Don’t tell Harry,” putting the audience in the perspective of Peter’s constant struggle between his personal life and that of his alter ego. My favorite type of superhero ending is one where the hero has to go through some serious sh*t to save the day, and this Spider-Man did just that (in case you’re wondering, yes that was a shot at this past summer’s Amazingly unnecessary Spider-Man). The state of Spidey’s costume by the end of the scene tells the whole story: it looks like it just got blown the hell up…and it did.

2. Batman vs. SWAT team and Joker’s thugs (The Dark Knight – 2008): Christopher Nolan’s Bat-films may not be most loved for their fight scenes, but this one stands out not primarily for the choreography or special effects, but because of the editing. This scene is as intense as it is mind-blowing, as the audience is given a perfect example of Batman in his prime. As Batman glides into a building harboring Joker’s thugs with a SWAT team rushing in, the tension is palpable. We, as the audience, know that the supposed “terrorists” are actually the hostages disguised as Joker’s men, but no one else knows. This makes for a pulse-pounding siege by the Dark Knight as he simultaneously incapacitates the SWAT team and takes down the bad guys single-handedly (albeit with some help from Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox). The goosebump-worthy moment comes when some SWAT men seem to have Batman cornered and he kicks one SWAT team member off the side of the building, revealing to them and to the helicopter hovering overhead that he had been latching each of the SWAT men together as he was fighting them; and latched them all to a poll so they could be left hanging. THIS is the Batman I wanted to see more of in Rises…but I’ll get to that a little later.

1. The Avengers vs. Loki & Chitauri army (The Avengers – 2012): Okay, so I know this scene is riddled with head-scratching moments and one absurd cop-out, but I just don’t care. I like to think of the epic final battle at the end of The Avengers in somewhat of a similar way that I think of the entirety of 2010’s Inception: when I really sit and think about it, it makes absolutely no sense; but if I just sit there and allow myself to be genuinely entertained, it is friggin’ great. From start to finish, Loki’s Chitauri invasion of New York is the best on-screen representation of super-heroics in comic books. It was exhilarating, action-packed, and epic as hell watching the team finally come together and become the Avengers we all know from the books. Even with the burning questions I had afterward, (Why didn’t Thor fly or use more of his lightning against the Chitauri? A fail-safe built into the Tesseract by someone who was under mind-control? Does Black Widow have super powers that I don’t know about?) and the total cop-out demise of the Chitauri (simultaneous death from destruction of the mothership? Come on!). It was still a home run, and managed to successfully make me feel like I was watching the most badass of comic book cartoons come to life in live-action. Unbelievably EPIC.

Honorable Mention:

Nightcrawler vs. the Secret Service (X2: X-Men United – 2003)
Hit Girl vs. Frank D’Amico’s thugs (Kick-Ass – 2010)
Spider-Man vs. Doc Ock on train (Spider-Man 2 – 2004)
Batman vs. Rah’s Al Gul final battle (Batman Begins – 2005)
Blade vs. Deacon Frost final battle (Blade – 1998)

Most Disappointing (Had high expectations, but was ultimately a letdown)

5. Fantastic Four vs. Doctor Doom final battle (Fantastic Four – 2005): The mind-numbingly horrible portrayal of Dr. Doom and Fantastic Four’s disastrous campiness ensured that what little excitement existed going into this film was quickly demolished. The seemingly one and only redeeming quality in sight was the rush of getting to see Marvel’s first family duke it out in CGI greatness with one of the comic book industry’s best villains, and what everyone got was the thrill of watching that dude from Nip/Tuck try. Admittedly, Doom was portrayed in a much cooler light in the sequel, Rise of the Silver Surfer, but was ultimately overshadowed by the coolness of the Surfer and the collective “WTF” reaction to that film’s adaptation of Marvel heavyweight, Galactus. What Fantastic Four will be best remembered by is the fact that it pretty much ended up being one long screen test for Chris Evans in his future Captain America role. At least the CBM community got something positive out of this crapfest.

4. Spider-Man vs. Venom & Sandman final battle (Spider-Man 3 - 2007): I was torn between including this 2007 wreck of a Venom portrayal and 2010’s embarrassment: Iron Man and War Machine vs. Whiplash in Iron Man 2. Ultimately, I chose to go with Spidey 3 due to the overall hype that surrounded the thought of an on-screen battle between fan-favorite Venom and the webhead, which far outweighed the hype surrounding Whip…who? In director Sam Raimi’s third outing with Spidey, fans were pissed off at a very early juncture due to the casting news of Topher “That 70’s Show kid” Grace as Eddie Brock/Venom. The collective suspicion eventually became justified as the CBM community watched in anguish as the character of Venom was repeatedly raped on-screen “South Park-George Lucas” style. The horrid design/casting/plot choices came to a crescendo of crap at the film’s “climax” when the New Goblin (What?...Who?) swoops in to save Peter from a flying cloud of sand and Eric Forman with fangs. Oh, and did I mention that Peter ends up defeating Venom by hitting two poles together? Hey, at least Iron Man 2 gives me the opportunity to pronounce Mickey Rourke’s character’s name like Stewie from Family Guy: “Hwip”lash.

3. Green Lantern vs. Parallax final battle (Green Lantern – 2011): As if the screw-up known as 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer didn’t teach anyone anything, the concept of the evil, villainous, sh*t-cloud appeared in a CBM once again but this time as the DC Comics villain, Parallax. Yes, I am aware that both Green Lantern and FF: RotSS included other villains besides their respective clouds of sh*t (Hector “try not laughing at me” Hammond and Dr. “Nip/Tuck” Doom), but neither made any sense of their choice to include giant, floating masses of feces. Also, it has been proven twice now that trying to make a fight scene work between a superhero(s) and a cloud of sh*t is not all that entertaining to watch, so let’s all hope that Hollywood doesn’t want a third crack at it…Wait, what’s this you say?...Michael Bay is making a Transformers 4 AND possibly a TMNT movie? Damn.

2. Wolverine & Sabretooth vs. Deadpool final battle (X-Men Origins: Wolverine – 2009): If you look at this one on paper it sounds pretty great: Hugh Jackman (once again) as Wolverine, Liev Schreiber as Sabretooth, and Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. Well, 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine became a perfect example of Hollywood having all the right ingredients with absolutely no direction. Why the final showdown version of Deadpool was in no way like his comic book counterpart is beyond me, but I know even Ryan Reynolds wasn’t happy with it. Even the special effects were on point, making X-Men Origins one of the best looking crappy movies I’ve ever seen. Perhaps this fight scene would not have ended up so high on my list if two concepts were not the case: the anticipation of a live-action Deadpool created a hell of a hype-storm, and the stupid plot choice of having successfully evil Sabretooth team up with Logan during the climax. Did the makers of this film ever even see a picture of Deadpool from the books?

1. Batman vs. Bane final battle (The Dark Knight Rises – 2012): Okay, so I know fans of Christopher Nolan’s Bat-epic are probably pissed off by my top choice, but please hear me out. First of all, the reason Bats vs. Bane is my top choice is mostly because of the hype surrounding it; both from the casting dream-team of Christian Bale and Tom Hardy, and the events of the film itself. The simple thought of Bale playing a superhero that is facing off against Hardy as a super villain is enough to create a massive level of hype, and 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises did just that. The first time the two meet up, I was satisfied. Watching Bane break Batman’s back wasn’t the best superhero fight scene I’ve ever seen, but it was by no means bad. What was bad was watching Batman at the end of the film put such an easy beating on a character that is supposed to be intimidating above all else. Hell, even Rocky had a tougher time in his rematch with Clubber Lang. Batman, (the older, just-recovered-from-a-broken-back version) somehow has an easier time taking out the muscle-bound Bane than he did fighting a couple of dogs in The Dark Knight. Then, to top it all off, Bane ends up with the upper hand by…..pointing a shotgun in Batman’s face? For such a seemingly physical threat to resort to such a “joe schmo” method of killing was head scratching, only to be outdone by the shameful deus ex machina solution of Catwoman busting in with perfect timing and a cannon blast to Bane’s chest. The only thing that could have made this fight scene more disappointing would have been to reduce Bane down from mastermind to simple henchman, or to make him cry or something….oh wait….

Dishonorable Mention:

Spider-Man vs. The Lizard final battle (The Amazing Spider-Man – 2012)
Fantastic Four vs. Galactus final battle (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer – 2007)
X-Men vs. Juggernaut final battle (X-Men: The Last Stand – 2006)
Iron Man vs. Iron Monger final battle (Iron Man – 2008)
Iron Man & War Machine vs. Whiplash final battle (Iron Man 2 – 2010)

So, those are my choices for the most satisfying and most disappointing CBM fight scenes. Disagree? Please let me know your choices in the comments below. Agree? Great!...I always knew I was a genius.
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