Thanksgiving is here, and with it will probably come some fights around the table once Cousin Jason has a few beers on him and starts talking about how we should secure the border. If he’s looking for a distraction, I suggest he check out some much more entertaining fights than spooning mashed potatoes at the resident racist. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has brought some of the best fight scenes in American cinema. Today, we are going to look at the top ten.
Note: I’m using “Marvel Cinematic Universe” very broadly here. For the past year and a half, I’ve been watching literally every Marvel movie and TV show released since 1986 to try to establish what is and isn’t canon. It’s a work in progress, but that’s why several fights appear outside of Marvel’s official “phases.”
Honorable Mention: Howard the Duck vs. goons
Yes, howard the duck it’s rightfully vilified as a terrible movie, but it’s far from the worst Marvel has ever produced on screen. It also has one of the most comically accurate fight scenes for any Marvel character period. When musician Beverly Switzler is accosted by the most 1980s criminals on the planet, Howard steps in with some of his patented charlatans and annihilates them completely. It’s cheesy as hell, but it perfectly depicts Howard from the comics exactly how he’s often portrayed.
10. Vision vs Vision
Not all fights are fought with punches and lasers. In this surprising ending to Wanda Vision, the magically constructed version of Vision faces off against his counterpart built by the US government from his remains. Instead of trading blows, they engage in a tense discussion about identity that is as calculated as any boxing match. Using the thought experiment known as Theseus’ Ship, Vision masters his own programming to cause an existential crisis. It’s an amazing piece of writing that shows why Wanda Vision It’s still the best show Marvel has ever produced.
9. Shang-Chi vs. Razor Fist
It’s no surprise that Marvel’s preeminent kung fu master has some killer fight scenes in his movie. The bus fight is the first time we’ve really seen what Shang-Chi can do, and it’s absolutely fascinating. Once Razor Fist gets involved, he turns into a combination of Speed and a Jackie Chan movie, plus viewer commentary that adds an amusing level of hilarity.
8. Iron Man vs. Hulk
Most The Avengers: Age of Ultron is when Tony Stark uses his Hulkbuster armor to combat an out-of-control Hulk. Driven mad by the Scarlet Witch, the Hulk gets lost in a busy city center and Iron Man has to take him down. The two have a fight that literally hits so hard that the sound waves shatter the windows. Tony slowly learns just how effective he is and not the prototype over the course of the fight is a really fun bonus.
7. Daredevil vs. thugs
Often referred to simply as “The Fight in the Hallway,” this one-shot fight scene of Matt Murdoch facing off against a kidnapping ring has become one of the most influential action sequences of the past decade. A brutal, claustrophobic fight that seems to hurt Daredevil just as much as the thugs he subdues, it’s now a template for creating an impactful battle without CGI or major effects. Expect to see iterations on this fight for years to come.
6. Dominoes vs. Bullies
It’s always nice to see an unconventional power set portrayed perfectly on screen. I almost gave this space to Karnak’s fight scene from Inhumans, partly just so that the stinker of a series could win, but the hijacking of a Domino truck is objectively better. His powers of luck lead to a Rube Goldberg of ridiculous coincidences which is a joy to watch, especially since Deadpool is narrating how it might not work every time. Here he is waiting for another round of lucky nonsense in Deadpool III.
5. Captain America vs. The Winter Soldier
This entire list could have been Captain America fights since he is Marvel’s greatest melee warrior and his battle scenes always reflect that. If we have to limit it to a single encounter, his fight on the road with The Winter Soldier stands out above the rest. It’s a high-octane round-trip that only gets better with repeat viewings. What it lacks in the innovative staging of the elevator fight or the sheer triumphant fun of Cap wielding Mjolnir against Thanos, it makes up for in being such a precise dance of violence.
4. Cloak and Dagger Against Bullies
Cloak and dagger It’s the best Marvel show anyone ever watched, and that’s a shame. This fight scene from season two still gives me the creeps. After temporarily losing her light powers and falling into despair, Dagger becomes trapped in a sex trafficking ring thinking that Cloak has abandoned her. Just when things get really bleak, he crashes a truck into the motel she’s being held at when her powers return. What follows is an astonishing sequence in which the two take down the company with righteous fury, including some fantastic use of Cloak’s teleportation powers. It’s not as flashy as other fights, but its emotional impact is gigantic.
3. Mercury vs. Bullies
Calling this a fight scene probably isn’t technically accurate, but there’s no arguing that it’s now one of the most famous power-using scenes in superhero movie history. During a breakout, Quicksilver activates his super speed and calmly saves Professor X, Wolverine, and Magneto from a gang of trigger-happy guards. Set to Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle,” it’s both whimsical and engaging to watch Quicksilver casually move up walls and brush bullets out of the way with a smile on his face. This scene has several imitators in X Men sequels, but none did quite as well as the first time around.
2. Legion vs. Shadow King
Legion it was a show with amazing presentation and very poor plot aka Bryan Fuller Syndrome. By the third season, this meant that half of the show was more of a music video than an ongoing narrative. That being said, a psychic battle has never been done better than when Legion finally faced off against Shadow King on the Astral Plane. Backed by a murderous version of “Behind Blue Eyes”, the two engage in a symbolism duel enacted by animated combatants in the gloomy sky above them. Flashy and psychedelic, it was the highlight of the entire show and an unforgettable battle.
1. Thor and the children against Gorr the butcher of God
I would be the first to say that Thor: Love and Thunder It wasn’t as good as I expected, but the final fight scene made me cry. With the fate of the universe at stake, Thor lends some of his divine power to a group of kidnapped children, turning the room’s random junk into cosmic weapons. With the finale of “November Rain” blaring, the kids are faced with a room full of monsters, including a girl wrestling with a glowing stuffed rabbit. It’s chaotic, beautiful, and one of the most hopeful moments in the entire MCU. The combination of pure comic book action and high-stakes combat with traumatized kids fighting back makes for the best fight scene Marvel has ever done.