As explained in our recent ranking of 2017’s superhero movies, this year was one of the finest ever for comic book cinematic entertainment. All three major franchises – the MCU, DCEU and Fox’s X-Men universe – produced some of the best entries in the field that, arguably, we’ve ever seen.
And within those amazing movies comes amazing moments and scenes. Every one of the six big superhero releases this year contained a smattering of hilarious, heartbreaking, thrilling, even chilling sequences. There was great action – like Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s ferry scene – great moments of comedy – anything involving Korg in Thor: Ragnarok – and just plain old-fashioned superhero goodness – Justice League‘s Superman vs. Flash race.
But what are the 10 best comic book movie moments of the lot? After much careful consideration, we’ve managed to whittle it down to the very finest superhero scenes of the year. There were a lot of great moments that unfortunately didn’t make it onto our list, but we feel these 10 represent the best that the genre had to offer in 2017.
All The Post-Credits Scenes – Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
2017’s superhero movies produced some amazing post-credits sequences, so we had to include at least one on this list. But which one should make the cut? Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s hilariously meta speech from Captain America about patience? Justice League‘s awesome tease for the Legion of Doom? Thor: Ragnarok‘s Infinity War set-up?
While these were all a lot of fun, nothing can beat Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 when it comes to post-credits scenes. Instead of the usual two, James Gunn decided to make sure people stayed in their seats to the end by littering the credits with a whopping five different sequences. Some were welcome bits of extra comedy (Stan Lee in space) while others were genuinely thrilling to see, such as the introduction of Adam Warlock.
As great as the rest of 2017’s comic book movies’ post-credits scenes were, they do feel a bit disappointing compared to what GotG Vol. 2 offered up. Along with the ridiculously catchy “Guardians Inferno” song from David Hasselhoff, the post-credits sequences accurately summed up the entire film: self-indulgent? Sure. But brilliant? Absolutely!
Hulk Vs. Thor – Thor: Ragnarok
It’s tough to nail down the best moment from Thor: Ragnarok as Taika Waititi’s threequel for the God of Thunder is so entertaining from start to finish. If we really try, though, we can carve it down to the bits on Sakaar, with Chris Hemsworth and green CGI Mark Ruffalo’s terrific old couple chemistry and everything to do with Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster. If we really have to specify it even more, though, we can highlight Hulk and Thor’s gladiatorial battle as a real treat.
It just encapsulates what worked so well about Ragnarok. On the one hand, it was simply a great thrill to have a Thor/Hulk rematch, with their fight being an exhilarating clash of the titans. The scene also found room for Waititi’s trademark witticisms – everybody now: “He’s a friend from work!” And let’s not forget the hilarity happening on the sidelines, as Tom Hiddleston’s Loki grows ever more uncomfortable to be in Hulk’s presence, after their last encounter in The Avengers.
Also, special mention should go to the visuals in the scene. The director was very open about how the colourful, imaginative work of classic Marvel creator Jack Kirby influenced him and that’s no more obvious than in this part of the film.
Steve Stops The War – Wonder Woman
Yes, as has been much discussed by now, Wonder Woman was hampered somewhat by its messy third act, which resorted to that old boring chestnut of the hero(ine) fighting against some dull CGI monstrosity – or, in this case, a God of War with a bizarre and distracting handlebar moustache.
However, let’s not forget that it features a genuinely moving sequence that underpins the emotional arc of the movie – Steve Trevor’s heroic sacrifice as he flies off in a plane full of Dr. Poison’s gas. The farewell scene between Diana and Steve is cleverly played, so we get the silent version first with his dialogue coming to light later on.
Sure, it’s more than a little similar to the climax of Captain America: The First Avenger, but by the looks of things, Steve Trevor – unlike Steve Rogers – actually is dead, so it packs more of a gut punch. Gal Gadot and Chris Pine’s chemistry was through the roof, too, so the heartbreaking, abrupt ending to their romance really hit home.
Yondu’s Sacrifice – Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
Another superhero movie, another gut-wrenching death.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 might have been baggier and less-focused in some ways than its acclaimed predecessor, but it arguably zeroed in on its characters even more. In particular, it did an amazing job of thoroughly humanizing Michael Rooker’s Yondu. Peter’s childhood kidnapper being reinterpreted as his adoptive daddy could have felt cheap, but the actors and Gunn’s writing really sell the dysfunctional father-son dynamic.
It catches you by surprise, then, when you find yourself welling up when Yondu sacrifices his own life to save his “son,” when he gives Star-Lord his air supply – in a neat mirror of Peter’s own heroic act towards Gamora in the first movie. The ensuing funeral scene is also very touching, with Peter’s “Hasselhoff” speech just injecting the right amount of light humour into the moment before it undercuts the emotion.
Once again, the Guardians franchise makes us care about the weirder characters in the MCU more than we do many of the human characters, and for that, we love it.
Professor X Dies – Logan
Boy, there were a lot of deaths in superhero movies this year, weren’t there?
We’d already seen Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier die before, back in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, so when Logan seemed to be setting Professor X up for another death, we thought that it wouldn’t pack much of a punch. Oh, how naive we were.
Midway through, director James Mangold pulls one of the – if not the – biggest surprises in the franchise as the elderly, ailing Charles is seemingly murdered in his own bed by Wolverine! It’s then revealed that this is actually X-24, Logan’s dark clone. By the time Logan can see to his old friend though, it’s too late, and Xavier passes away.
This is a relentlessly bleak scene, and a tragically grim way to go for a character who has survived multiple attempts at world domination and even a dystopian timeline ruled by killer robots. But it works perfectly within Logan‘s tone and Patrick Stewart really seizes the opportunity to bring the full might of his Shakespearean gravitas to the proceedings.
Vulture Threatens Peter – Spider-Man: Homecoming
In any other year, a list of the best superhero movie moments would be filled with scenes from the latest Spider-Man flick. But with all the tough competition in 2017, Spider-Man: Homecoming only manages to snag one place here. It’s a tough call, too, as Jon Watts’ high school adventure features a few gems, but its finest moment comes in this somewhat low-key scene.
When Adrian Toomes works out his daughter’s date is his enemy Spider-Man, he gives him a chilling warning to stay out of his business. Let’s not beat around the bush, though – what makes this scene excel is the incredible performance from Michael Keaton.
The switch from regular dad driving his daughter to the dance to threatening supervillain is completely transformative and his monologue to Peter is simply chilling. The scene really rams home how, while Spider-Man can go toe-to-toe with criminals, Peter Parker is just a kid caught up in a dangerous adult world.
This sequence also clears up a long-running geek debate: Batman would totally intimidate Spider-Man.
Superman Returns – Justice League
We all know that Justice League wasn’t all it could have been. Despite a rushed final edit from a studio allegedly putting its yearly bonuses above the quality of the final product, though, the film has glimmers of greatness and a load of grin-inducing scenes which are fanboy/girl dreams come to life. One such moment is Superman’s return to save the day in the final fight against Steppenwolf.
While some love the more muted take on the Man of Steel in previous movies, Justice League restored Kal-El’s brightness and optimism in a big way. Sure, the way he strolls into the climax and completely owns Steppenwolf basically single-handedly makes him a bit of a deus ex machina, but it also acts as a triumphant comeback for the hero. And, yeah, the whole “I believe in truth, but I’m also a big fan of justice” line is cheesy, but it 100% sounds like something that could have featured in a classic Superman comic.
Henry Cavill clearly has a ball bringing out his inner Christopher Reeve, leaving you feeling like Supes has finally arrived in the DCEU. Even despite his weird upper lip.
Battle Of Asgard – Thor: Ragnarok
As awesome as all of 2017’s superhero movies were, some of them didn’t have the best third acts ever. Most of them weren’t bad, but they lacked a certain spark to make them great. The best of them, though, has to be Thor: Ragnarok‘s major final battle. We’re used to superheroes defeating the villain and saving the world, but this movie has the confidence to have the hero defeat the villain by destroying the world.
It helped that, with all the characters in play, it felt like a mini-Avengers climax, what with the God of Thunder’s Revengers fighting not just Hela and her undead army, but also a giant wolf and an enormous fiery demon. Thanks to the destruction of Asgard, it has real weight, too, and ends the Thor trilogy on a fitting note.
While all the characters claim a piece of the action, importantly it’s still driven by the God of Thunder’s story. We see him knocked down pretty far by his evil sister as she takes out his eye, so it’s all the more epic when he unleashes the full might of his lightning powers (though technically he should have just conjured up a rumbling sound in the sky).
Logan’s Last Stand – Logan
With Hugh Jackman adamant that it would be his final appearance as Wolverine after 17 years, we all knew that Logan was going to kill off the eponymous Adamantium X-Man. Even though we tried to prepare ourselves, the character’s final moments were still utterly gut-wrenching.
Some have criticized X-24, but the final fight is a clever metaphor for Logan’s own internal battles with his savage nature. It’s fitting that it’s this that kills him, but that he dies to protect the good part of him – his “daughter” Laura. Not only that, but “So that’s what it feels like” is the perfect final line for the immortal anti-hero who has finally run out of lives.
Though its moody tone, western influences and R-rated action are often applauded, Logan’s greatest strength is how it prunes away all the excess X-Men trappings to just tell a very human story about two old men and the young girl who brings them new hope. That’s why it’s so affecting when Logan plays hero one last time with, just as was predicted back in The Wolverine, “his heart in his hands”….
No Man’s Land – Wonder Woman
Logan is superb, but of all 2017’s superhero movies, the one that had the biggest impact on the world at large has to be Wonder Woman. The DCEU’s first major success became a calling card for a growing need for more women in front of and behind the camera. And the one scene that defines the film’s impact better than any other is the instantly iconic “No Man’s Land” sequence.
It just works on so many levels. On the surface, it’s our first time that we see Diana in her Wonder Woman outfit and really letting loose with her abilities. It’s also representative of the Amazonian princess finally proving to herself and others what she can do. And that cello theme on the soundtrack just makes the whole thing punch-the-air awesome.
The scene is also exquisitely shot by director Patty Jenkins, with Diana’s bold armour contrasting beautifully with the drab scenes of war around her. It’s exciting, it’s technically-impressive and it’s empowering. In short, the scene symbolizes Wonder Woman herself – she’s a beacon of hope fighting back against the evil and darkness of man.