After its release into theaters last summer, Man of Steel shocked viewers nationwide with its final act, during which Superman and Zod lay complete waste to the city of Metropolis. The two fight with the power of the gods, crashing into buildings and destroying skyscrapers with reckless abandon, racking up an astounding $750 billion in physical damages. (Don’t even get me started on human casualties – that alone deserves its own article.)
While Mark Waid termed this “disaster porn,” Man of Steel was not the first movie to shock viewers with scenes of wanton destruction. The previous summer’s 2012 release of The Avengers (the third-highest-grossing film at $1.51 billion worldwide) caused a similar reaction, with many speculating the cost of the damage to New York City during the final battle between gods, aliens and superhumans (about $160 billion, according to disaster analysts). I love pointless explosions as much as the next guy; but at times, the level of destruction is just ridiculous. Here are five other recent movies with ridiculous amounts of property damage. Warning: The following may contain spoilers.
5. FAST & FURIOUS 6
Watch any film in this lucrative franchise and you’ll soon come to expect the demolition of cars and various other expensive pieces of property; however, the sixth installment may have taken it to a new level of extreme. The most memorable moment of destruction may be the iconic scene from the trailer, in which an Antonov AN-225 aircraft (price starting at $250 million) is brought crashing down on the runway in its attempt to take off. Vying for second place of massive destruction is the attack near the NATO Spanish military base, where a tank is busy shredding cars on the highway (causing considerable damage to the highway itself). Aside from cars, planes and tanks, Shaw’s hideout is destroyed early on in the film, the parking garage collapsing in on itself as he flees the scene.
4. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
In this super-charged sequel, the villain Electro – who suffers from a severe case of paranoid personality disorder – wreaks havoc on New York. Electro has mutated due to an unfortunate accident: while trying to fix a power line in OsCorp, he falls into a tank of electric eels and is electrocuted, transforming into an electric generator in the process. After the accident, Max finds himself in Times Square and causes a blackout (which may not appear to be so damaging to property, but can still be pretty costly – the 2003 NYC blackout cost the city $1 billion). Spider-Man tries to talk to Max, but the police begin to fire, sending Max into a fit of anger. Max attacks, shooting bolts of electricity at random, sending cop cars flying and flashing TV screens crashing to the ground.
Among other forms of wreckage, we see: a private jet crash in the opening scene; a truck full of plutonium plowing through cars; a clock tower destroyed during a fight between Spider-Man and a transformed Harry (a.k.a. the Green Goblin); as well as the Rhino going on another exhilarating rampage through the streets.
3. IRON MAN 3
Within the first few seconds of the movie we are treated to a striking visual of three of Tony Stark’s Iron Man suits exploding. This is from a scene later in the movie – after Stark makes a very public threat against the Mandarin – during which his souped-up cliff-top mansion (priced at an estimated $117.2 million) is destroyed. In addition to other disaster scenes, we have the myriad terrorist attacks by the Mandarin: the destruction of an air base in Kuwait; the Extremis explosion at the Chinese theater. Oh, and let’s not forget the Extremis misfire in Tennessee. The decimation culminates in the final battle scene, set at an abandoned oil tanker, where forty and some-odd Iron Man suits provide air support in the effort to stop the villain Aldrich Killian. To top it all off, Stark orders Jarvis to activate the clean slate protocol, during which every Iron Man suit (each individually priced at around $100 million) is destroyed.
2. PACIFIC RIM
Seeing as the plot line of Pacific Rim is veritably post-apocalyptic, this film has a high amount of property damage on principle. Several cities – San Francisco, Manila, Cabo, Sydney, Tokyo – have already come under attack, and the war against the Kaiju has been raging for twelve years. Already the cost of reparations would be too high to measure (although the Kaiju attacks do cause the value of coastal property to plummet). During the film itself, we see further destruction coming to the remaining cities, including ones that have already undergone reparations. Hong Kong, which suffered a Kaiju attack in 2016, is caught in a second battle in 2025, where two Category IV Kaiju – Leatherback and Otachi – invade the city. The Jaegers Crimson Typhoon, Cherno Alpha, and Striker Eureka are deployed to fight against the Kaiju, but they are unsuccessful. Gipsy Danger arrives on the scene, duking it out with the Kaiju. While the Kaiju are eventually defeated, the battle is a long one, and Hong Kong takes considerable damage during the fight. Not to mention the destruction and immobilization of three Jaegers would already cost billions; Hong Kong has a long road to recovery. But with the Kaiju gone, at least they will be able to recover.
1. GODZILLA (2014)
Any movie that has shots of giant monsters doing something as simple as walking through a highly populated area is obviously going to incur lots of damage. Lots of destruction occurs in this 2014 remake. A female M.U.T.O. (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) comes out of hibernation, destroying Las Vegas in her attempts to locate the whereabouts of her baby daddy. Said baby daddy is busy feeding on nuclear reactors somewhere deep in a Hawaiian forest. Its mating calls attract Godzilla, who arrives and causes an accidental tsunami that devastates Waikiki. A couple of bridges are destroyed, including one meant to get some nuclear cargo to the coast, and another carrying the protagonist and a small child to the airport. The Golden Gate Bridge – a $1.55 billion architectural masterpiece – is also ruined as Godzilla makes his way to California. All three monsters rendezvous in San Francisco, which has been turned into a war zone as the male and female M.U.T.O.s try desperately to hatch their babies. Dr. Serizawa encourages everyone to let them duke it out just as nature would have it. Never mind that the city is destroyed in the process; in one scene, Godzilla takes a skyscraper (priced at $111 million) and uses it as a weapon to kill the male MUTO. (Although as long as the terrifying monster is killed, one really shouldn’t complain, right?)