The hype for any superhero film is driven by two aspects; the hero themselves and the antagonist they are to take on. From there, the movie spreads its wings into three acts incorporating the following: hero is introduced to a problem, hero endures problem, and finally the hero (hopefully) resolve the problem.
It is from there that you can how important the villain is to a film. Though some are an obvious joke, well written rogues can be a huge menace to the protagonist. Though we always expect the hero to win in the end against all odds, going the extra mile, certain villains have taken it upon themselves to attempt to physically destroy their nemesis through good old-fashioned fist fighting.
Growing up alongside the industry, many of us have definitely experienced some fantastically choreographed sequences between superheros and supervillains, from the falling heights of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy to the quickly-cut hand to hand quarrels of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Except, how many of those have actually been just brutal thrashings? This article examines the seven most notable ones in the entire superhero genre’s history.
7. Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy series is one the most underrated franchises in the superhero market (though the same could be said for their source material). Combining dark wit and an irresistible sense of fun, the films have been some of the most entertaining movies ever made, especially with star Ron Perlman having a blast in his devilish make-up.
The first one, simply titled Hellboy, showcased the eponymous demon aiding the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, whilst building up a relationship with his fellow employees. The second expanded on the film’s universe by exposing Hellboy to the real world as he attempts to protect it from an ancient army.
The strong stories behind each film aren’t without their well choreographed fight scenes either. In the second film, the red guy finds himself in a brawl with a monstrous creature called Mr. Wink. Aiding the main antagonist, Prince Nuada, Wink possessed not only a ball and chain hand, but equal strength to match his size. He starts the fight by responding to Hellboy’s bullets with a launch of his arm into Red’s nose, breaking it.
Moving quickly to close combat, Mr. Wink proved to be a powerful foe by beating and tossing him around the underworld marketplace easily. Despite this, Hellboy, through the use of his indestructible right hand, beats Wink into submission by the end, though he’s left with a partly shattered ego.
6. Superman Returns
The success of the classics Superman and Superman II were mired by the failures of Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Their disasters ultimately prevented the man of steel from having another film until 2006. Bryan Singer, rather than do a complete reboot, opted to pay homage to the first two films by ignoring the events of the last two sequels, thereby setting up Superman Returns as chronologically taking place after Superman II.
Superman is an all powerful being until exposed to either two things: red solar radiation or kryptonite. The latter, of course, has come into mainstream culture given its widespread use in various Superman-related media. The material’s presence was taken to a whole new level in Superman Returns, where the hero’s archenemy Lex Luthor has an entire landmass built out of it. Obligated by duty to stop Lex, Superman is caught by surprise by the massive, lethal radiation.
The sheer amount of kryptonite weakens Superman to the point where Luthor and his cronies are easily able to batter him. Lex has his go first, kicking him until his pure rage is satisfied, before letting his fellow henchman have their fun as well by beating and dunking Superman’s head into the muddy waters. After a couple of minutes of enjoying his victory, Luthor finishes the battle by stabbing Superman’s back with a shard of kryptonite and letting him fall into the waters below. Definitely not something you’re used to seeing (unless you’re a fan of Smallville).