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Ranked: The 25 Most Memorable Moments In Superhero Movies

Ranked: The 25 Most Memorable Moments In Superhero Movies

We may well be struck down by the Indie Gods for this (a lightning bolt shot out from Mjolnir would be appropriate), but being the sunny-side up cinematic omnivores that we are, we’re not quite in tune with the prevailing cinephile idea that superhero movies mark the Death of Cinema. Do we wish there were fewer of them? Yes. Do we wish the ones we got were better? Yup. Do we long for films that are less obviously mass-market fast-food installments in some larger marketing plan? Uh-huh. But if populist cinema does not become good because it’s popular, occasionally it’s popular because it’s good. Or at least it has good bits. And more than most films, the cinema of spectacle that is the summer comic-book/superhero tentpole lives or dies on how many good bits it has, and just how good they are.

It remains to be seen how the release of this week’s superhero movie, Josh Trank‘s “Fantastic Four,” fares on this level — producer Simon Kinberg’s unfortunate soundbite that it’s “not a disaster” doesn’t instill a whole load of confidence— but let’s keep our fingers crossed for the film’s excellent young cast if for nothing else: Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell certainly deserve a good movie. Or, more to the point, they at least deserve a movie with some good bits —moments like the 25 we’ve collected below for your pleasure and/or vehement disagreement.

Observing rules that there’s only one entry per film, that anything with a superhero in it qualifies, and that the “moments” can be anything from memorable action scenes to quirky dialogue to surprising instances of emotional resonance, these are the 25 scenes or sections that best put the lie on the idea of the sheer disposability of the superhero genre. They prove that while the superhero movie’s ubiquity is a little depressing, the genre has given us plenty of valuable moments of filmmaking spectacle, clever plotting or sheer giggly pop-cultural coolness, so there is no real reason to believe the sky is falling just yet. That already happened at the end of “The Avengers” anyway. 

25. The Avengers Initiative – “Iron Man”
“Iron Man” was a strong start for the new age of Marvel movies, but in retrospect, it’s a film with a decent but unexceptional story and surprisingly few iconic moments, because of the central performance by Robert Downey Jr. It does have one scene that changed the shape of the genre, and it’s one that much of the theatrical audience didn’t see at the time. At the very end of the credits, Tony Stark returns to his house and hears a voice familiar to audiences. “Think you’re the only superhero in the world?” says the voiuce, before stepping from the shadows to reveal Samuel L. Jackson, introducing himself as “Nick Fury, director of SHIELD” and saying he wants to talk about “The Avengers Initiative.” At the time, post-credits scenes weren’t expected, and Marvel had kept the secret well hidden (the scene wasn’t included at press screenings, cleverly), but fans who stayed were giddy: an iconic new character brought to life by an iconic actor, and setting up the team-up that they never thought was possible. With that, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was born.

24. Briefcase Fight – “Ant-Man”
Watching Peyton Reed‘s “Ant-Man,” it’s tempting for a devoted Edgar Wright fans to look for traces of the idiosyncratic British director’s DNA in the end result of the project he was regrettably forced to abandon. And one section in which Reed’s film does Wright’s particular brand of pop-culture-infused, turbo-charged nuttiness proud is in the thrilling, hilarious sequence where Scott Lang’s Ant-Man battles his foe the Yellowjacket in a suitcase falling from the sky, all to the tune of The Cure’s hit “Disintegration.” The scene has a juiced-up rock ‘n’ roll energy and a winking attitude that makes it play like a cut scene from “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” and it’s a third-act highlight in a movie that’s already dizzy with visual invention. The climactic Thomas the Tank Engine train battle is deliriously fun too, and it’s moments like these where “Ant-Man” resembles less the increasingly formulaic output of the Marvel brand and more a kind of playful, crazy-weird pop art. (No video available yet, so here’s a trailer instead).

23. Superman Turns Back Time – “Superman”
It’s overshadowed by now by more recent, flashier fare, but Richard Donner’s “Superman” essentially invented the superhero movie as we understand it now, and still has a kind of charm that few of its CGI-drenched modern counterparts can match (even when they’re directly riffing on them, as with Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns”). The film’s biggest, most superheroic trump card comes near the end, as our hero (Christopher Reeve) finds the body of his love Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) killed by the Lex Luthor-triggered earthquake. With a howl that’s a reminder of the range that Reeve could bring to the role, the Last Son of Krypton takes to the sky, and ignoring his father’s one-time warnings, flies around the Earth so fast that he makes it spin backwards, turning back time. It bears little-to-no relation to actual physics and feels like an easy screenwriting get-out (cue a generation of baffled, slightly cheated kids), and yet it’s delightfully absurd in a sort of Golden Age of comics way. The Cinema Sins idiots would have an aneurysm about its placement here, but that’s all the more reason to love it.

22. Wolverine Cameo – “X-Men: First Class
For those who don’t buy into his work, Matthew Vaughn’s regressive, naughty-boy-at-the-back-of-class vibe wasn’t a huge boon to the “X-Men” franchise, and we love ‘First Class’ less than many as a result. But there’s one point where Vaughn’s attitude pays off (two if you count the admittedly good Nazi-hunting sequence), and that’s in the cameo by the series’ most recognizable face. Looking to recruit a team to take on the evil Sebastian Shaw, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) go on a whirlwind montage tour, finding Havok, Darwin, Banshee and Tempest, who each dutifully join up. The only refusal? A sideburned, cigar-smoking man in a bar who, after the pair introduce themselves, doesn’t skip a beat in telling them “Go fuck yourself.” A cameo from Hugh Jackman’s immortal Wolverine was surely inevitable at some point in the semi-reboot of the series, but doing it in as irreverent and crowd-pleasing (and dismissive) a way as this is sort of brilliant, and gets the biggest laugh in the film.

21. Bruce Wayne Faces The Joker – “Batman
Now overshadowed by the Christopher Nolan movies, Tim Burton’s “Batman” and its follow-ups were at the time enormous, in part thanks to the extraordinary production design, and in part thanks to Jack Nicholson’s demented turn in the first instalment as adversary The Joker  —he actually threatens to overshadow the title character for much of the film. Nicholson, as befitting his A-list status and substantial paycheck, gets most of the most quotable lines and memorable moments, but probably our favorite is one where he and Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne come face-to-face. The Joker and his goons (one of whom is carrying a boombox) burst into the apartment of reporter Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger), only to find Wayne there too. Without his batsuit, Wayne tries to intimidate the Joker, letting the character’s crazy side out, but he reacts calmly. Revealing a secret about his identity, he asks “you ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?” in a lovely sing-song voice, before shooting Wayne. Burton’s movie doesn’t always work, but it certainly does in this deeply odd sequence.

20. Ice Skating Uphill – “Blade”
What was the first truly successful Marvel movie? “Iron Man”? “Spider-Man”? “X-Men”? Wrong, wrong and wrong: It was “Blade,” Steven Norrington’s flashy take on an obscure ’70s vampire-slaying comics character starring Wesley Snipes. It’s a fun film even seventeen years on (Guillermo Del Toro’s sequel is pretty good too), and though it features a great nightclub opening sequence, it’s the way that Blade despatches the villain, Stephen Dorff’s LOLtastically named Deacon Frost, that’s the most memorable. The final fight isn’t that spectacular, but as it concludes, Snipes fills Dorff with vials of an anti-vampire serum, leading to the most amazingly baffling kiss-off line to a villain ever-delivered: “Some motherfuckers are always trying to ice skate uphill.” Some. Motherfuckers. Are. Always. Trying. To. Ice. Skate. Uphill. And then Frost swells into a giant blood bubble and gruesomely explodes. It’s nutty stuff, but in context, it’s glorious —the kind of flat-out weirdness more recent superhero films could do with more of.

19. The Troll Market – “Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Overall, “Hellboy II” turned out to be too much of a good thing. Guillermo Del Toro is, as always, punch-drunk on the cauldron of Gothic horror that infuses every one of his films, but it’s overstuffed with creepy-crawlies this time out. There are goblins, truth fairies, rock-men and an ectoplasmic German scientist who is inexplicably voiced by Seth MacFarlane. And yet even if we weren’t crazy about the finished product, the staggering imagination and visual majesty of the film’s troll market sequence is impossible to deny. Watching this scene on a frame-by-frame basis must be a real treat: Del Toro has inscribed his love for every conceivable type of ghoulish movie monster in huge, bold-red letters on every freakin’ frame of this thing. The allusion to the great Cantina Market sequence from “Star Wars: A New Hope” has been made more than a few times, yet Del Toro’s loving homage is in a way even more wondrously inventive. The movie itself has its ups and downs, but this brief, mid-movie stretch stands as one of the more indelible moments in any of the director’s films.

18. Airplane Rescue – “Superman Returns”
Bryan Singer’s defection to the “Superman” series is regarded as something of a wash by most: it failed to inspire sequels and is seen by most critics to be overly in thrall to the Richard Donner movies to the extent that it felt like a cover version rather than its own beast. Those critics are right on many counts, but there’s at least one sequence that works better than anything in “Man Of Steel,” and even rivals some of the great scenes in the Christopher Reeve movies. Early on, the launching of a space shuttle from the back of an airplane (an airplane that naturally has Kate Bosworth’s Lois Lane on board) goes wrong, bringing Superman out of hiding. The result is an incredibly thrilling action sequence, mostly in free-fall and with effects that hold up even nine years on, and one that’s far truer to the values of the character than most of his films (or indeed, the rest of the movie).

17. The Penguin Origin Story – “Batman Returns
There was a slight sense with the first “Batman,” as enjoyable as it was, that Tim Burton was left on the chain a bit, with only Jack Nicholson really allowed to let his freak flag fly. That isn’t a problem with the beginning of its 1992 follow-up, “Batman Returns,” which comes across as something closer to an all-out Gothic horror novel than a superhero picture. “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” duo Paul Reubens and Diane Salinger are reunited as the Cobblepots, an aristocratic Gotham couple who have a deformed child who’ll grow up to be Danny DeVito’s Penguin, watch him kill their cat, and then out the child in a basket and throw it in a river. Unsurprisingly, Warner Bros. weren’t thrilled that their big movie of the year began with animal death and attempted infanticide, but with gorgeous production design, Danny Elfman’s decidedly Elfmanish score, and the sheer weirdness of it all, the rest of us were thrilled, particularly as it signified the strange, S&M-ish, penguins-with-jetpacks movie to come.

16. Nick Fury SUV Chase – “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
Among its virtues, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” boasts probably the best, bone-cracking-est action in the MCU, and though virtually every one of its action sequences is well choreographed, shot and cut, the highlight must be the main action showcase for everyone’s favorite shouty cyclops, Nick Fury. Beginning to suspect a conspiracy, Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is suddenly ambushed by faux cops with machine guns and battering rams, who seemingly corner him. Fortunately, his bulletproof SUV is tricked out, leading to a high-speed chase through traffic-packed streets (as well as, most entertainingly,  Jackson bantering with his glorified satnav). As with much of the film in general, there’s a crunchy, practical feel to the way that the Russos shoot and cut action, and the for-real feel and the chance to see Fury finally do his thing make this more engaging than any number of CGI heroes punching CGI robots.

15. Batmobile Chase – “Batman Begins”
Back when “Batman Begins” hit a decade ago, Christopher Nolan was relatively inexperienced as an action director, but there are still moments in this film that work like gangbusters, in particular the scene that gave the new Batmobile its first run. Racing to save a fear-toxined Rachel (Katie Holmes), Christian Bale’s Batman puts her in his ride, a Bat-vehicle unlike any seen on screen before (“it’s a black… tank,” as one baffled cop says). It’s more a demonstration of the hardware than a true car chase, but it’s still thrilling, with a surprising sense of speed given the heft of the car and the way it crashes through pretty much everything in its path. And true to the rest of the series, including the climactic, also very memorable train sequence, much of it was done practically, either with a real vehicle or with old-school model work. By the end, you’re left agreeing with Gary Oldman’s James Gordon: “I gotta get me one of those.”

14. The Twist – “Unbreakable”
The first twist in “Unbreakable,” M. Night Shyamalan’s secretive follow-up to megahit “The Sixth Sense,” was that the film, sold as a somber thriller, was a stealth superhero movie. The second comes right at the end. Over the course of the film, after surviving a train crash, Bruce Willis’ security guard has discovered he’s immune from harm, has amazing strength (in other words: He’s alive dammit! Bruce Willis is strong as hell!), and is in fact a real-life superhero. But by the end, he comes to his semi-mentor, Samuel L. Jackson’s Mr. Glass, only to realize that he was behind not only the train wreck, but several other atrocities designed to find a hero for whom he could be the nemesis. It’s not perfectly executed (there’s an awful freeze frame in there), but it packs an emotional punch, and for all the subsequent jokes about Shyamalan and surprise endings, damned if we saw this one coming.

13. The Star-Spangled Man – “Captain America: The First Avenger”
Given that it’s a big-budget superhero blockbuster, it perhaps wasn’t the desired effect for the best bit of “Captain America: The First Avenger” to be a musical number. But Joe Johnston’s film is at its best when playing up the retro charm, and never more so than during this sequence. Scored to an original song by Disney vet Alan Menken, it sees Cap, too valuable for the frontlines, put to work on a USO tour to sell war bonds, punching out an actor dressed as Hitler every night (in a cunning nod to the classic 1940 cover of Captain America no. 1). Taking in faux serials footage, marching bands and autograph-signing, it’s unlike anything else in Marvel’s movies, an oddly joyous interlude as such, and if nothing else, a reminder of how perfect Chris Evans is in the role. The film becomes more conventional in its semi-dull second-half, but that a mainstream superhero movie like this could include a scene like this is something to celebrate.

12. Going Flying – “Chronicle
Whether or not his “Fantastic Four” movie pays off, Josh Trank has already made one damn good superhero movie, even if it was one that was somewhat disguised, and unusually enough, not based on pre-existing properties. “Chronicle” brought found-footage form to the genre, focusing on three teens who accidentally end up with superpowers, and the film reaches its peak when the central triptych (Alex Russell, Dane DeHaan and Michael B. Jordan) find out they can fly. Even on a relatively meagre budget, the effects are remarkable, convincingly imparting the sensation of people soaring above the clouds better than most superhero fare, but it’s the way that the characters react that makes it truly work: these are three teenage boys acting with superpowers exactly as you might imagine, by dicking around and throwing a football. Gritty modern-day superhero movies often focus on extraordinary powers as a curse, but “Chronicle” excels when it demonstrates how thrilling it would be.

11. The Mandarin Revealed – “Iron Man 3”
You don’t go to superhero movies to be surprised for the most part: good guy becomes hero, fights bad guy, roll credits. But the finest part of “Iron Man III” (unless you’re one of the hardcore fans who threw their toys out of the pram about it) was a true shocker, running rough-shod over the comic book canon in a particularly inspired and hilarious way. Ben Kingsley had been announced and sold as Tony Stark’s greatest nemesis The Mandarin, but when the villain is tracked down, Stark discovers that the Bin Laden-esque figure is actually a sozzled, out-of-work English idiot actor called Trevor Slattery, who had been given a “lovely speedboat” in exchange for posing as the world’s greatest terrorist. Marvel somehow managed to keep the surprise under wraps until release, but it’s less the twist that’s memorable (though it’s brilliant) than Kingsley’s hilarious, totally-against-type performance. Would that more Marvel movies took risks like this.

10. Bane in the Plane – “The Dark Knight Rises”
If the film eventually loses itself a little in plot complications, goofy accents and hand-to-hand combat sequences —man, that opening! The gravity-defying physics of “Inception” carry over to this thrilling prologue, wherein masked terrorist Bane and his goon squad commandeer a jet plane by taking it apart piece by piece. It’s a scene that benefits from Nolan’s preference for puzzle-piece narratives and crackerjack, large-scale action set pieces, and if the whole movie had maintained this dizzying level of intensity, it could have been even better than “The Dark Knight”. It’s also a terrific introduction to Tom Hardy’s crazed, ballistic villain, although it could be argued that this opening segment sets an absurdly high bar that the rest of the film never really clears. Nolan’s brooding third entry in his beloved “Bat” franchise definitely has its fervent advocates, but whether or not you’re among them, this glorious piece of physics-bending mayhem is a hell of a way to start a movie.  

9. White House Attack/Coming Out To The Parents – “X2: X-Men United
The first truly great superhero movie of the modern era has a wealth of moments to choose from, the most obvious being that spectacular opening set-piece as Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) storms the Oval Office, a mix of impressive acrobatics, cunningly-designed effects and some very strong filmmaking. But there’s a much quieter moment that’s just as memorable, the scene when Wolverine and some of his students are on the run and hide out at the parents of Bobby Drake (Shawn Ashmore), forcing him to reveal his mutant-hood to his parents. It’s an obvious allegory for coming out of the closet to your family, which was raw and admittedly personal for director Bryan Singer (“Have you tried… not being a mutant?” Bobby’s mother asks), yet any potential heavy-handedness is leavened by humor. The soulfulness and metaphorical power of the series hasn’t always carried through in more recent installments, but it’s out in force in the franchise’s best entry.

8. Opening Credits – “Watchmen”
It might be an over-literal, tin-eared and depressingly unimaginative adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ graphic novel classic, but Zack Snyder’s “Watchmen” has at least one thing going for it: a stunning opening credits sequence. That might sound like faint praise, but only if you haven’t seen it, as it tells the story of four decades of superheroics in a series of gorgeous tableaux inserting the Minutemen, Dr. Manhattan and even a young Rorschach into history. From a gay spin on the famous Times Square WW2 celebration photo, to the revelation that Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Comedian was the second shooter in the Dallas slaying of JFK, to cameos from Andy Warhol and Truman Capote —it may suffer under the slightly heavy-handed choice of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A’Changin,” but it felt, at least for a couple of minutes, like Snyder might actually have pulled off the near-impossible. A shame about the entire film thereafter.

7. We Are Groot – “Guardians Of The Galaxy
Even if you’re a die-hard superhero partisan with Blu-ray copies of “The Spirit” and “Jonah Hex” on your shelf, you’d probably have to concede that most superhero movies certainly can’t make you cry. But then came “Guardians Of The Galaxy,” James Gunn’s space adventure and maybe the best Marvel movies. Half-dead and stranded on a crashing spaceship after seemingly vanquishing the villain, our heroes seem to be doomed, and then tree-man Groot (Vin Diesel) forms a wooden cocoon around our heroes to protect them. “You’ll die!,” his comrade Rocket exclaims with tears in his eyes, but his pal, in a slight variation on his only line in the movie, replies “We Are Groot.” It echoes Diesel’s other taciturn vocal performance in “The Iron Giant,” sacrificing himself as he cries “Superman,” and as often happens when watching Brad Bird’s film, you may find something in your eye.

6. The Inadvisability Of Capes – “The Incredibles
Does it say something that maybe the best superhero movie ever made isn’t based on a comic book? Brad Bird and Pixar’s “The Incredibles” gets to draw on (and make fun of) the grand history of the superhero story, borrowing a little from everything (most notably, the Fantastic Four), and then adding a little more on the top. Perhaps the finest addition this film made to the genre was Edna Mode (voice by Bird himself), the tiny, Edith Head-ish designer of superhero costumes, who has hulking titans with uncanny abilities wrapped around her little finger. Every moment we get with Edna is gold, but particularly her speech inveighing against extraneous capes, complete with a gut-busting montage of various heroes meeting sticky ends, is tops. It’s wonderful stuff, and doubly so once it pays off later, as villain Syndrome experiences his own fateful cape-related snafu.

5. Time In A Bottle – “X-Men: Days Of Future Past” 
With an increasingly tired franchise, a bajillion characters and a time-travel plot, there’s almost no way that “Days Of Future Past” should have worked, but Bryan Singer’s return to the X-franchise turned out to be a surprisingly good time, in large part thanks to its signature set-piece. A relatively late addition to the movie sees Wolverine (Jackman) and the younger Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) enlisting the help of semi-irritating speedster Quicksilver (Evan Peters) to bust Magneto (Michael Fassbender) out of a deep-underground cell. The quartet are ambushed by guards in a kitchen, but Quicksilver turns on his powers, leading to the freshest use of bullet-time since “The Matrix,” as he darts around creating a sort of prankster tableau that leaves the guards sprawling on the floor, all scored to the incongruous choice of Jim Croce’s “Time In A Bottle.” It’s clearly the sole reason the character was included, and proved a difficult act to follow for Marvel’s version of Quicksilver in “Age Of Ultron” (Ezra Miller has his work cut out in “The Flash” too). A special mention also in this film to the surprisingly inventive and brutal battles in the future, as our heroes get horribly murdered not once but twice by the unstoppable Sentinels. 

4. Puny God – “The Avengers”
At his best, Joss Whedon understands that what makes an action sequence memorable isn’t how much you blow up, but the individual beats and gags within all the explodey. It’s what makes the extended third-act battle in “The Avengers” work (in a way that the floating-city set-piece in “Age Of Ultron,” for example, doesn’t), and culminates in the biggest laugh of the movie. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is blown across the skies of New York and ends up back in Tony Stark’s penthouse apartment, where the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) jumps up to confront him. “I am a God,” an indignant Loki begins to monologue, but he’s interrupted in mid-stream when our not-so-jolly green giant grabs him by the leg and bashes him around like a ragdoll. It’s completely unexpected and uproariously funny, so much so that the Hulk roaring “Puny God!” and Hiddleston’s amusingly winded wheeze were often drowned out by laughter in theaters.

3. Kneel Before Zod – “Superman II”
That “X2” Nightcrawler sequence? As with much of Bryan Singer’s superhero output, it’s a direct homage to the original “Superman” movies, including this scene in “Superman II,” the superior (though messy) sequel taken over by Richard Lester after Richard Donner fell out with the film’s producers. Here, General Zod (Terence Stamp) and his Kryptonian cronies announce their intentions, storm the White House and force the President to, famously, “kneel before Zod.” The action as they arrive is a lot of fun, but it’s Stamp who makes the scene; he may be dressed like a coke dealer in Studio 54, but his calm, unflappable arrogance makes him infinitely more intimidating and fun than Michael Shannon’s dour take on the same character thirty-odd years later. The film doesn’t always serve Zod well (his final vanquishing is kind of disappointing, basically amounting to a Chinese burn), but as the leader of the free world bows to him, it’s instantly clear what kind of a threat he is.

2. The Disappearing Pencil – “The Dark Knight”
It’s not surprising that most of the memorable moments from “The Dark Knight” come from Heath Ledger’s Joker, the only actor to win a Best Actor Oscar for a superhero movie —his staggering, unpredictable performance has become the definitive movie villain of the last decade, thanks in part to the devilishly clever writing he intoned. He’s got a number of near-classic scenes in the film (the interrogation, the hospital), but his most iconic is probably the first time we meet him properly (he features in the opening heist sequence, but he’s mostly masked), as he shows up a meeting of Gotham’s mob families. Michael Jai White’s criminal sends a henchman over to “pull his head off,” but the Joker offers to show them a “magic trick,” saying he’ll make a pencil he’s put upright on the table disappear. He promptly does it: by bashing the hoodlum’s head down on the table, an impaling by pencil. True to the spirit of Ledger’s interpretation, it’s shocking rather than funny, happens so fast, and is so surprisingly brutal that you’re left discombobulated. Which is The Joker all over, really.  

1. The Train – “Spider-Man II”
Sam Raimi’s first and third “Spider-Man” movies don’t always work, but his second stands among the very best films in this genre and five movies in, no sequence has ever captured the web-slinger better than this action sequence in which our hero (Tobey Maguire) battles Doctor Octopus (a terrific Alfred Molina) on the roof (and side, and interior, and even underneath) of an elevated train. It’s inventive stuff that’s clearly the work of the “Evil Dead” mastermind. But there’s also a “French Connection” nod as Spidey’s dragged by the train, some great beats as an all-time great villain begins flinging civilians from the train, and a impressive sense of the sheer force of strength and will required to save the day. Best of all, though, is the climax, which pays off all the visceral thrills with real emotion. The train is saved, but Spider-Man, broken, exhausted and without his mask, collapses. However, the people he’s just saved catch him, carry him and though they see who he is (“He’s just a kid”), promise to keep his secret, and stand up for him when Doc Ock returns. It’s like a page from a Stan Lee/Steve Ditko classic come to life, and a rare lump-in-the-throat moment of communal, ordinary-people heroism amid so much individualist superheroics.

It’s wildly unlikely, given the loose definition of a “moment” and the immense subjectivity of the word “memorable” that you wholeheartedly agree with the above, so feel free to throw tomatoes, shade or frozen lakes (srs, where is “Superman III”‘s finest moment?), at us and each other, in the comments.

— Oliver Lyttelton with Jessica Kiang & Nicholas Laskin

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