With their mix of imaginative characters, sprawling storylines, and fantastic scenes of spectacle, the Marvel movies have built up a reputation for providing endless hours of entertainment. They are films that audiences come back to time-and-time again, and they include heroes and villains that light up the screen.
While many of these films are simply fun to watch, there are some which offer standout scenes. These are fan-favourite moments which have either become talking points for Marvelites or sequences which have transcended the films themselves, to become cultural touch points.
In this post I am looking at all of these moments to highlight the best. From Blade and Spider-Man, through to the X-Men 2 and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, these are the scene-stealing moments which stand out from the crowd.
Nightclub bloodbath – Blade (1998)
First up is a scene from Blade – the horror movie featuring Marvel’s half-human, half-vampire, vampire hunter. The scene takes place towards the very beginning of the movie, and acts as the introduction to the eponymous character.
In the sequence, a hapless human has been taken to an underground nightclub, where he believes he’s going to drink, dance, and get lucky with a girl. Unbeknown to him, he has really been lured into a secret vampire nightspot, where he is about to become an appetiser.
As he stands in the middle of a basement, surrounded by other clubbers, the sprinkler system is activated. But instead of water spraying from the ceiling, blood rains down instead.
It is at this point the man realises his fellow clubbers are vampires, and he is in serious trouble. That is, until Blade steps onto the dance floor, ready to take on the vampire hoard.
Without breaking a sweat, Blade gets to work on slaying the crowd using every weapon in his arsenal. A few vamps flee, but most are reduced to dust.
In this short, but incredibly effective introductory scene, Blade makes his mark. He makes it clear to the audience what is job is, and at the same time looks effortlessly cool in the process.
Unmasking – Spider-Man 2 (2004)
After Doctor Octopus destroys the controls of a moving train in Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man is tasked with slowing down the runaway vehicle. Cue multiple attempts to decrease the speed of the train, as Spidey uses both webbing and brute force.
But during the daring rescue, Spider-Man loses his mask, and exhausted from his heroic feat, he passes out just as he manages to stop the train from crashing. Unconscious, his body is passed back through the train carriage and placed on the floor.
When he wakes up, Spider-Man is shocked to discover his mask is missing and multiple people have seen that he is really Peter Parker. However, the group of passengers soon put his fears to rest, by making it clear they are prepared to keep his secret safe.
Knowing that a young man risked his life to save a group of people is more important than revealing the identity of a super hero. Collectively these strangers understand that Spider-Man represents the greater good, so they all agree to turn a blind eye to what they have seen.
Then, to make this scene even more spectacular, when Doctor Octopus reappears to face a now very weary Spidey, the passengers stick up for their rescuer. They are no match for Doc Ock, but the sentiment does not go unnoticed.
Leap of faith – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Sticking with the Spider-Man theme, but moving into animated territory now for a breath-taking sequence from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. In this scene, Miles Morales finally becomes the super hero he is destined to be after he takes a ‘leap of faith’.
In the movie, Miles has struggled with accessing his super powers, which has stopped him from becoming the hero he truly is. That is until a few choice words from his father help Miles to realise he has always been a hero.
Spurred on by what he hears, Miles dons a sleek new costume, takes to the rooftops of the city and makes a ‘leap of faith’ by diving from the tallest building. As he plummets towards the ground, he shoots out a webline which attaches to the building and he is propelled through the air.
No longer held back by any doubt or insecurities, Miles accepts his destiny is to become Spider-Man. He swings, runs, and leaps across the city and a new hero is born.
Attack on the White House – X-Men 2 (2003)
As X-Men 2 gets underway, the film opens to a tour of the White House. A guide is taking visitors around the President’s home, passing comment on key information about the historic building.
But one of the visitors branches away from the tour – a mysterious figure with plans that go far beyond a simple spot of sight-seeing. He is the mutant known as Nightcrawler, and he is in attendance at the White House for one reason only: To get to the President.
As Nightcrawler reveals himself, an exciting action sequence takes place, with the teleporting mutant attacking a succession of White House guards. And as he dispatches armed men in quick succession, he gets ever nearer the Oval Office.
Making light work of every guard who stands in his way, Nightcrawler makes it to the President. He fails to fulfil his objective, an assassination, but manages to deliver a message that (some) mutants are very dangerous.
The man behind the iron mask – Iron Man (2008)
And now onto a rather surprising scene which comes during the very final moments of Iron Man. After spending the majority of the movie maintaining his secret identity as the metal-clad super hero, Tony Stark is faced with the suggestion that he could be leading a double life.
Calling a press conference to disavow accusations that he is Iron Man, Tony begins to tow the standard line of deflecting the speculation. But all of this quickly goes out of the window, when Tony decides that maybe it is best to tell people who Iron Man really is.
He utters the line: “truth is… I am Iron Man”; the press go wild and the movie comes to a close. Tony Stark embraces his role as Iron Man and demonstrates that being a hero doesn’t have to be a secretive calling.
Thunderclap – The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Toward the climax of The Incredible Hulk, the Hulk gets into a tussle with the Abomination – a fellow super being with a dark side. The battle sees the two titans duking it out, while causing various amounts of damage to their surroundings.
Watching the fight take place is Betty Ross – the girlfriend of the Hulk’s alter-ego, Bruce Banner. Betty is in a damaged and grounded helicopter, along with her father and a team of soldiers.
As Betty watches on, a spark ignites an exposed fuel line, instantaneously engulfing the helicopter in flames. With mere seconds before the vehicle explodes, and thus killing everyone inside, the Hulk steps in to help.
Bringing his hands together in quick succession, the Hulk performs a ‘thunderclap’. This clap motion creates enough force to extinguish the flames and save everyone in a fantastic moment.
A team united – The Avengers (2012)
Throughout the course of 2012’s The Avengers, Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, and Hawkeye find it difficult to unite. While each individual is a hero in their own right, and they all share the common goal of defeating evil, they struggle to work together as a team.
However, all that changes when New York comes under attack from alien forces and the six heroes come together to defend both the city and the world from imminent destruction. And it is in this attack that all six stand together, leading to an iconic shot which announces that The Avengers have finally formed.
The Silver Surfer arrives – Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the world is under threat from strange phenomena. This strange phenomena is connected to the arrival of the Silver Surfer – a surfboard-riding extra-terrestrial who has come to Earth ahead of its potential destruction.
As the Surfer makes his arrival known to the Fantastic Four, the Human Torch is tasked with keeping tabs on him, leading to an aerial pursuit. This in turn leads to a memorable scene in which the Surfer demonstrates a portion of his power, by passing through a building without causing any damage to himself or the structure.
This whole scene prompts the Human Torch to utter the line: “Ah, that is cool.” The audience agrees.
Enter: Spider-Man – Captain America: Civil War (2016)
When the Marvel Cinematic Universe got off the ground back in 2008, with the debut of Iron Man, the MCU was missing one of its chief characters: Spider-Man. Due to an ongoing licensing agreement with Sony, Marvel’s iconic wallcrawler was unable to join this shared universe, meaning the MCU was missing one of its biggest players.
But all this changed, when Marvel Studios and Sony came to a mutual agreement. This agreement paved the way for Spidey to step into the MCU, and the character made his debut in Captain America: Civil War – and what a debut it proved to be.
As the Avengers become divided over a new law that is set to be passed, a conflict ensues at an airport in Germany. On one side of the conflict is Iron Man who is in favour of the new law, and on the other side is Captain America who opposes it.
The two heroes stand on opposite sides of an airport runway, flanked by their peers. For fans watching on the big screen, seeing all of these heroes about to do battle with each other couldn’t be any more exciting – or could it?
The excitement level hits a new high, as Spider-Man arrives. He enters the fight and becomes an important ally for Team Iron Man.
The MCU was an incredible place without Spider-Man, but once he made his debut in Captain America: Civil War it reached a whole new level. Marvel and Sony found common ground and the audience got to see their favourite wallcrawler share screen time with Cap and Co.
We are Groot – Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
In Guardians of the Galaxy, a rag-tag group of misfits come together to fight against a common enemy. But as the team face their darkest hour, the tree-like being known as Groot sacrifices himself in order to save his new friends.
Drawing everyone together inside a protective ball, composed of his branches and limbs, Groot saves the team from imminent destruction, as a space craft crashes around them. His only comment as he faces uncertain death is the phrase “we are Groot”, signalling his belief that being part of a team has been so important.
Groot makes a sacrifice to save his friends. The audience weeps.
The coin trick – X-Men: First Class (2014)
As a child, Erik Lehnsherr fell victim to the whims of the evil Sebastian Shaw, while being held captive in a Nazi concentration camp. As an adult, Erik (aka Magneto) sets out to get his revenge.
And he gets his revenge in a particularly gruesome scene in X-Men: First Class, when Erik catches up with Shaw and delivers a fatal blow. He uses his power to manipulate metal to drive a coin straight through Shaw’s brain.
It is a shocking scene, but one of the best in what is a fab X-Men movie. While revenge is never something to be actively encouraged, it somehow seems rather just in this situation, considering what Erik has been put through.
The birth of the Sandman – Spider-Man 3 (2007)
When Spider-Man 3 hit cinemas in 2007, the film was met by a mixed response from critics. The general feeling was that it was not of the same standard of its predecessors, Spider-Man (2002) and Spider-Man 2 (2004).
However, one thing that most people agreed on, was that Spider-Man 3 nailed one of its villains: The Sandman. The character was brought to the screen with a great deal of care and attention, and most of his scenes were a delight to watch, including his origin.
In the scene, two-bit thief Flint Marko, steps into a particle accelerator. This piece of technology transforms all of the molecules in his body into sand, and gives birth to the Sandman.
This entire sequence used cutting edge CGI and was beautifully shot. Say what you want about Spider-Man 3, but there’s no doubting the majesty of this entire scene, which still holds up today!
Just a spoonful of Yondu – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
I’ll keep this one very simple, because the whole thing is simple.
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the Guardians receive some assistance from Yondu – leader of the Ravagers. During one particularly memorable scene, Star-Lord likens Yondu to the beloved children’s character, Mary Poppins.
Unaware of who Star-Lord is talking about, and believing Mary Poppins to be a guy, Yondu asks if “he” is cool. Star-Lord confirms that “he” is cool, to which Yondu excitedly exclaims: “I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!”
Bus brawl – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
The Marvel movies have some fantastic action scenes, but one of the best can be found in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The scene sees the eponymous hero take on a would-be assassin in a relentless fight sequence aboard a bus.
The whole scene is an eye-popping, exhilarating mix of stunts and choreography and is marvellous to watch. Shang-Chi gets an introduction like no other, and it is superb.
A hero rests – Logan (2017)
After appearing in eight X-Men movies, actor Hugh Jackman announced that he would be bowing out from the iconic role of Wolverine to focus on other projects. But before doing so, his ninth and final movie would be Logan – a bleak super hero adventure picture, set in the near future.
The film saw Wolverine and Professor Xavier join together to take care of a young mutant girl who is in trouble. This mutant – who is called Laura – is essentially Wolverine’s daughter, and she is in grave danger.
Although reluctant to get involved with her plight, Wolverine comes to care for Laura, and as such, he fights with every last breath in his body to ensure her safety. But while Wolverine manages to protect Laura, it comes at a cost.
Wolverine is injured in battle, and due to complications brought about by his declining health, he passes away. As the movie ends, Hugh Jackman bows out of the X-Universe in style, leaving an ‘X’ to mark the resting point of a legend.
The kiss – Spider-Man (2002)
There are some scenes that not only become iconic in their own movie, but they also become parodied in other movies too. Step forward the upside-down kiss in 2002’s Spider-Man.
In the scene, Spider-Man rescues Mary Jane Watson from a precarious situation. As the two interact, it becomes clear there is a romantic connection between Spidey and MJ and they share a kiss.
What makes this kiss different to all of the other on-screen kisses is that Spidey is hanging upside down at the time. This brief but very memorable moment became an instant hit with fans and is still recognised today.
The Avengers fail – Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
As with everything in life, and in movies, not all iconic moments are positive ones. And yes, folks, sometimes even heroes fail.
In Avengers: Infinity War, the Avengers are tasked with defeating Thanos – a dastardly villain with a dark plot. Thanos wants to bring together the Infinity Stones in order to harness their power and wipe out half the population of the universe.
Thanos believes his plan will bring balance, whereas the Avengers know this path will only lead to devastation. A battle takes place, with Earth’s mightiest heroes being the best and only line of defence.
Do they succeed? No, they do not.
The Avengers fail to stop Thanos, and with a click of his fingers, the universe is decimated. Heroes fall, innocent lives are wiped out, and the movie draws to a close with the bad guy triumphant.
The Death of Gwen Stacy – The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Sticking with the less than happy vibes (sorry), brings me onto a particularly dark period in the Spider-Man movie series: The Death of Gwen Stacy. This scene takes place towards the climax of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and while it is a fantastic moment on screen, it sure is a sad one.
Spider-Man and the Green Goblin engage in battle, with Gwen Stacy caught in the middle. Gwen falls from a great height, Spidey shoots out a webline to catch her, and while he does manage to attach his web, it all comes a little too late.
Gwen dies and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 draws to a close on a heart-breaking note. It’s a landmark moment for Marvel movies, but also a painful one.
Need a lift? – The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Keeping with Spider-Man, but moving into more positive territory for this next one, which sees a citizen of New York come to Spidey’s aid in his time of need. The scene in question takes place toward the end of 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, when Spider-Man needs to get to Oscorp in order to stop the Lizard from unleashing catastrophe on the city.
Unfortunately, Spidey has been injured and despite his best efforts, he is struggling to get to his destination. But just when it looks like he will run out of time, a citizen steps in to lend a hand.
The citizen is a construction worker, who previously had an encounter with Spider-Man earlier in the movie. Spidey saved the life of the construction worker’s son, and now he wants to repay the good deed.
Using his construction contacts to physically line up every crane in the local area, the man is able to provide Spidey with the perfect web-swinging path to Oscorp. Spidey then uses this pathway to swing his way toward the Lizard.
A breakout – X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
In X-Men: Days of Future Past, the X-Men from two different timelines join forces in order to safeguard the future. But to complete their mission, they need assistance from Magneto.
Problem is, Magneto has been imprisoned and the only way to free him is to perform a well-timed jail break. Step forward Quicksilver – a mutant with super speed abilities who is the only person capable of pulling off such a feat.
What follows is a knock-out sequence in which Quicksilver performs the jail break, while utilising his powers to their fullest. And the whole scene plays out to the tune of ‘Time in a Bottle’ by Jim Croce.
A friend from work – Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor is transported to another planet where he is briefly transformed into a gladiator. As he enters the combat zone, he is understandably hesitant as he is unsure who he will face in combat.
Any hesitancy soon drops as he comes face-to-face with his opponent: the Hulk! Or as Thor calls him “a friend from work.”
The Spider-Men return – Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
In 2021, Spider-Man: No Way Home hit cinema screens to become the third solo Spidey film for actor Tom Holland. But it wasn’t just Holland who was the star of the movie, as the picture also incorporated two past Spider-Man actors: Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.
The inclusion of Maguire and Garfield was kept a secret from the general public (albeit a poorly kept secret), to give the audience not one, but two Spidey surprises. Each returning actor was introduced into the movie separately, and they were kept off screen for quite some time.
Although most fans were expecting to see the two actors back on screen, thanks to some production leaks giving the game away, it was still highly possible that neither would appear in the movie; so, when Garfield stepped onto the screen, audiences went wild. And when Maguire appeared shortly after, the excitement level went through the roof!
Ghost Rider goes vertical – Ghost Rider (2007)
2007’s Ghost Rider is not a good Marvel movie (please don’t think that it is), but it does contain a very good scene. The scene involves the fiery anti-hero fleeing from the police, while riding on his motorcycle.
Although it appears as if Ghost Rider may be running out of options, as the police pursuit appears to be relentless, GR pulls out his trump card by riding his motorcycle up the side of a skyscraper. The sequence is a visual treat and a lot of fun to watch in an oft-forgotten Marvel film.
The Illuminati – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the eponymous hero finds himself travelling through the multiverse to arrive on an Earth that is different from his own. Here he meets a number of familiar faces, as well as some new ones.
Amongst the new faces he meets, Strange is introduced to the Illuminati – a secret cabal of heroes, who oversee the multiverse. This collection of characters includes Captain Marvel, Mordo, Captain Carter, Black Bolt, Mr. Fantastic, and Professor Charles Xavier.
Including all of these characters in one movie is pretty cool by itself, but bringing back actors from previous movies to play them, is the icing on the cake. And the cherry on top of that cake is Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier – a character the actor has previously played seven times in the X-Men movie series.
“Hello, Peter.” – Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
More multiverse shenanigans now, but this time from Spider-Man.
Picture the scene, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man (i.e. the Spidey from the MCU) suddenly finds himself face-to-face with a new enemy he is unfamiliar with: Doctor Otto Octavius, better known as Doctor Octopus. But while Holland’s Spidey has no idea who the doctor is, Octavius is more than familiar with Spidey, having previously fought him in Spider-Man 2 (2004).
So, what gives? Well, the evil doctor is from an alternate universe, where he has already encountered Spider-Man.
And because Doctor Octopus is familiar with Spidey when the two meet, he utters the immortal line: “Hello, Peter.” This tells Spidey his new enemy has a distinct advantage over him, in that he knows Spider-Man’s secret identity!
Wolverine flips the bird – X-Men (2000)
I’ll keep this one simple. Throughout the majority of 2000’s X-Men, Wolverine and Cyclops are shown to dislike each other. This becomes particularly evident during a brief moment when Wolverine sticks his middle claw out at Cyclops, to give the impression that he is ‘flipping him the bird’.
Stan’s cameo – The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
As one of the co-creators of many of the iconic Marvel Comics characters, Stan Lee became a legend in his own life time. And keen to immortalise him on screen, many directors behind the Marvel movies invited Stan onto their set to film a short cameo to be included in their movies.
Over the course of time, these cameos became hugely important. Audiences would look out for Stan in Marvel movies, and would often feel disappointed if he was not included in a film.
Of all the Stan Lee cameos, arguably the best is Stan’s brief role in The Amazing Spider-Man, where he plays a librarian. In the scene, Stan is working away in the library, listening to music, when a fight between Spider-Man and the Lizard spills out into the room.
What makes this scene work so well is that Stan’s character is completely oblivious to the fight that takes place behind him. He has headphones on throughout the battle, so while the audience can see all the action, Stan’s librarian goes about his work unaware of how close he comes to being caught up in the tussle.
An identity revealed – Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
As well as Stan Lee cameos, Marvel movies have become famous for their credit scenes. These are short sequences which add a little something extra to the movie, either at the very end of the credits, or midway through.
There are many great credit scenes, but one of the best is reserved for the Tom Holland-Spidey movie, Spider-Man: Far From Home. In this scene, Spider-Man’s secret identity is revealed to the world by the Daily Bugle’s very own J. Jonah Jameson!
What makes this scene extra special is that Jameson is played by J.K. Simmons – the same actor who played Jameson in the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies. Simmons had agreed to reprise his role for this scene, and the whole thing was kept secret from the audience who had no idea the actor would be returning to the role after a ten-year hiatus.
Wakanda for everyone – Black Panther (2018)
Onto another great credit scene now, and this one crops up mid-way through the end credits for Black Panther. In the scene, King T’Challa addresses the United Nations, to make an important announcement about sharing the secrets of Wakanda (i.e. its technological achievements) with the rest of the world.
In this moment, T’Challa makes a speech about giving up the advantages that Wakanda has, in order to benefit the rest of humanity. It is an inspiring moment and one which highlights the belief that more can be achieved if everyone pulls together.
Avengers Assemble – Avengers: Endgame (2019)
And finally, what list of best Marvel movie moments would be worth anything without an inclusion for a key scene in Avengers: Endgame. The scene is of course, the one in which Captain America gets to speak two very important words.
But before I get to that, I ask you to picture the scene: The world has been left in a dark, depressing state after Thanos managed to wipe 50% of the population out of existence with the click of a finger. The Avengers lost their battle against the mad titan and they lost friends along the way too.
However, through sheer determination, as well as a spot of time-travel, the remaining heroes managed to turn things around. The Hulk has brought everyone back to life, and just as Thanos prepares to mount an attack on the battle-ravaged team, Cap and Co. find themselves surrounded by a legion of heroes, all ready to fight for their lives and the lives of everyone in the universe.
As all of the heroes come together, Captain America says the immortal words: “Avengers… assemble!” Earth’s mightiest heroes charge into battle, fight Thanos for the final time, and the audience goes insane!
Thank you for taking the time to read this post about the best Marvel movie moments. Feel free to share your own favourite moments in the comments section, because I would love to read all about them!
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