FEATURE: Counting Down the 10 Best Comic Book Movie Moments of 2017

FEATURE: Counting Down the 10 Best Comic Book Movie Moments of 2017

While everyone is making their picks for the top 10 best movies of 2017, I decided to pick my favorite moments--specific scenes that made the year in comic book movies great. Check 'em out!

It’s the end of another year, and that means the countdowns must begin! However, rather than a typical list of the top 10 movies of the year, I wanted to showcase specific moments that defined Comic Book Movies for the last year—the scenes that made the movies, and our 2017, great. Be warned though: there are SPOILERS ahead!

10. Superman Is Resurrected, Almost Immediately Regrets It (Justice League)


If there’s one objective way to describe Justice League, it’s this: it’s a series of cool moments flimsily held together by thin plot and transitional scenes. And while the majority of the film just doesn’t achieve what it sets out to do, the one positive is that the newly-resurrected Superman finally feels like Superman (minus the CGI upper lip, of course).

The final fight with the film’s villain, Steppenwolf, brings Superman back into focus after being largely absent for most of the movie. He delivers a corny line about being a fan of truth and justice and tells Cyborg he’s glad to be alive again. Not long after the fight, he finds himself on his back, wincing in pain, and saying, “I take it back. I want to die.” It’s a lighthearted moment that indicates that Justice League might be learning from Batman V. Superman’s mistakes.

 

9. The Band Gets Back Together (Runaways)


Though the five Netflix Marvel series focus on heroes in New York and carry a more mature tone, Runaways, streaming on Hulu, is decidedly more teen friendly in its portrayal of superheroes and villains in Los Angeles. This is very much in line with the youthful nature of the comic series which tells the story of a group of teenage friends who discover their parents are secretly super villains, and how that knowledge would affect their lives.

Runaways takes some liberties with its source material, including added subplots and altering characters’ origins, but the core concept is still present in the Hulu series. It’s refreshing to see teenagers in the MCU (outside of Spider-Man, that is), and the first on-screen meeting of the soon-to-be Runaways makes for a fun regathering of estranged friends before all hell breaks loose on their lives.

 

8. Alfred Gives Bruce Wayne (and Audiences) a Crash Course in Batman Movies (The LEGO Batman Movie)
 


After the critical acclaim of 2014’s The LEGO Movie, it was only a matter of time before other LEGO properties were given their own big screen treatments. The LEGO Batman Movie brought Will Arnett’s Dark Knight back for another go in a movie about family, friendship and learning how to move on from loss.

Early in the movie after Batman returns from saving Gotham City (including a wild musical number), Alfred (voiced by Ralph Fiennes) finds him alone in Wayne Manor, mourning the loss of his parents. Alfred confronts Bruce about his fear of losing loved ones, but Bruce’s reaction is to deny and dismiss any feeling other than rage. Alfred responds by listing all the times Batman has exhibited similar feelings—which is just a countdown of every single Batman movie from 2016’s Batman v. Superman to 1966’s Batman: The Movie including LEGO-fied versions of iconic scenes from each (except the Batusi, which, c’mon… that just needs to be seen in its natural state). It’s an awesome retrospective that showcases the longevity of Batman respectfully but also with a sense of humor.
 

7. The Defenders Have a Nice Chinese Dinner Together (The Defenders)


Bringing the stars of four separate television properties together is easy in theory, after a bump in the road with Iron Fist, Marvel’s Netflix series left viewers wondering if Defenders could successfully unite the street-level heroes without suffering from tonal differences, but the finished product quelled those fears thanks to solid performances from the main actors as well as the supporting cast.

Shortly after their first encounter with The Hand, the four heroes, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, find themselves in a Chinese restaurant that’s just closing for the evening. Iron Fist throws some money at the staff, and the Defenders have a long talk in the best episode of a tv show set primarily in a Chinese restaurant this side of Seinfeld. What follows is a mostly dialogue-driven episode that utilizes quick camera movements and colored lighting to showcase the unification of four separate but related properties.

 

6. Thor Meets Korg (Thor: Ragnarok)


Taika Waititi’s decision to make Thor: Ragnarok a comedy rather than an action film like its predecessors was met with skepticism, but if the critic scores and fan reception tell us anything, it’s that it was a rousing success. Sure, there was plenty of action, including that awesome gladiatorial battle between Thor and his green friend from work, but the best character bits came from great dialogue—80% of which was reportedly improvised by the actors.

The breakout character of the film was Waititi’s own character, Korg, the gentle rock creature who couldn’t hurt anyone (“unless you’re made of scissors”) whose failed revolution landed him a spot in Sakaar’s gladiator pit. He’s big but polite, and he steals every scene he’s in with a soft-spoken charm that makes you forget he’s a motion-captured New Zealander and not actually in the scene.

 

5. Yondu, Rocket and Groot Kill Everyone (Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2)


With Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, writer/director James Gunn presented a story that’s more personal to Peter Quill. Quill, played by Chris Pratt, finds himself at the center of an existential crisis upon the discovery that his father, Ego, is a Celestial hellbent on consuming various worlds to gain more power. Consequently, Quill begins to see his original captor, Yondu (Michael Rooker), as a father figure in his own right. The result is a movie that has a lot more emotion than is expected from a space fantasy about a group of cosmic outlaws.

However, the wildest moment in Guardians vol. 2 comes when Yondu has to take his ship back from his fellow Ravagers’ mutiny. Paired with Rocket and Groot, Yondu concocts a plan that ends with the most gorgeous mass murder in a movie since, well, maybe ever. Top it all off with the inclusion of the ironic yet somehow incredibly fitting “Come a Little Bit Closer” by Jay and the Americans, and you’ve got it all.

 

4. Frank Castle Gives Billy Russo a New Face (The Punisher)

 
Jon Bernthal’s portrayal of The Punisher in Daredevil’s second season gave audiences a new version of Frank Castle. While he was still brutal in his dispensing of criminals, the writers allowed him to be a more humanized, sympathetic character than previous film adaptations. This Frank Castle is exactly who we got in his own Netflix series in the Fall. Some fans complained that The Punisher moved too slowly, that it was a boring melodrama as opposed to an action series.

While the show did focus on the more dramatic and personal aspects of Castle’s predicament, including characters marred by PTSD to mirror Castle’s own suffering, the build-up to the final confrontation with Frank’s former partner Billy Russo felt like a fuse burning its way to a cache of dynamite. As the firefight finally comes to an end, Frank decides not to kill Russo but to scar him for life—literally. The sound of flesh scraping against glass mixed with Russo’s screams are the audible origin to Billy’s new face, and there’s no doubt we’ll see him again with a new name—the apt moniker Jigsaw.

3. No Man’s Land (Wonder Woman)

Wonder Woman was WB’s superhero hit of the year, and it gave DC fans the glimmer of hope it needed after last year’s missteps. For the first time ever, audiences were able to see Princess Diana on the big screen, and the payoff was, well, wonderful!

Easily the most memorable scene of the entire film comes with Diana’s first exposure to conflict during World War I. As the English and German forces fire from trenches across the battlefield, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) warns Diana that the area between the crossfire is “No Man’s Land,” and that Diana has no chance at crossing it. Of course, Diana is no man, and she marches across the battlefield like only a demigoddess can. It is undoubtedly the most superheroic scene on this list, and perhaps the most of the entire year.

2. Logan Gives His Last Piece of Fatherly Advice (Logan)


Let’s be totally honest: with as much hype as it had accrued over its production, it was still a shock just how good Logan turned out to be. It’s almost unanimously the best comic book movie of the year, and some say it may surpass 2008’s The Dark Knight as the best comic book movie of all time.

Set amid a post-apocalyptic/western hybrid backdrop, Logan tells the story of Wolverine coming to terms with his own demise and the discovery that he has a daughter, Laura. At the climax, Logan, holding Laura’s hand as he dies, reflections on his life and tells Laura, “Don’t be what they made you.” It’s the perfect ending to Wolverine and a great beginning to Laura’s story.

1. Adrian Toomes Gives Peter Parker “The Dad Talk” (Spider-Man Homecoming)


 
Perhaps the most surprising twist of the year’s Comic Book Movie cycle was the revelation that Adrian Toomes, a.k.a. The Vulture, was actually the father of Peter Parker’s homecoming date Liz. What follows is an increasingly more intense car ride that leaves Peter and Toomes aware of the others’ alter ego while Liz remains blissfully ignorant of the situation.

The scene comes to a head when the car pulls up to the homecoming dance, and Adrian asks if he can give Peter a private talk as her dad. The scene is a masterful, Michael Mann-style dialogue that’s punctuated by great acting from Michael Keaton and Tom Holland. It’s the most sinister a Marvel villain has felt in a long time, and, for my money, it’s the best comic book movie scene of the entire year.

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