Superman is fortunate. He can fly without the need of any kind of vehicle. Other superheroes aren’t quite as lucky, having spent their childhoods as mere mortals before getting a spider bite or having their parents murdered. Most of them required something a little extra to transport them around the world.
Thankfully the creators were never dull when it came to donating special weapons and forms of transportation to their creations. Over the years, audiences have been wowed with all kinds of gadgets, cannons, flying aircraft, and other vehicles armed to the teeth to protect the superhero in times of great trials. Of course, the technology for heroes that were created back in the early 1900s differed greatly to what those same superheroes have been gifted with in the 21st century.
Where once Bruce Wayne would have to enjoy the charms of 1950s innovations such as a simple helicopter, his Dark Knight friend benefits from all the bells and whistles. So much of this comes down to what is capable of with special effects and all the modern computer magic to be found in Hollywood.
One day somebody will re-read this article and hopefully be inspired to compare the 25th century Bruce Wayne with the simple existence of his 21st century ancestor.
8: Dr Who’s Tardis
Who would Dr Who be if it wasn’t for his Tardis? He definitely would not be able to take himself across aeons of time to have amazing adventures with all kinds of enemies and allies.
On the outside it looks like a british police telephone box from a time long before cellphones, as long as it does not have its chameleon circuit activated to make it blend in with its surroundings. Step in to it and it takes the visitor in to a control room far bigger than the they could imagine would be possible. Under the command of the Time Lord Doctor, the Tardis will take its inhabitants to any point in time and to any place within the universe.
7: The Batmobile
Batman’s Batmobile has gone through many incarnations, from Adam West’s early sleek version through to the big wheeled beast that Christian Bale has spent recent years driving. With the Ben Affleck version still largely top secret, the specs of Bale’s version are the most advanced to date.
Powered by a jet engine, this beast can launch six feet vertically in to the air and 40 feet forward with its “superswamper” wheels spinning to give the car a speed of 220 mph. Technology at batman’s fingertips include radar-evading controls, front firing machine guns, armor plating, and a landing hook. The car is part Lamborghini, part tank, and is dubbed the Tumbler.
6: Optimus Prime
There are superheroes who drive vehicles, and then there are superheroes that are vehicles. You could include any of the Autobots in this line-up, as they all have unique abilities and personalities that allow them to thrive in battle.
As the leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime stands out as a compassionate and righteous warrior in his desire to protect earth from the Decepticons. These are strange qualities for a fuel-powered Peterbilt 379 cab to possess, but as it is pure fiction the writers can give him whatever features they want. The fuel tanks on his back become his renowned ion blasters and he has a shell cannon on his back. And if you are not on his side, stand back, because he will quickly deploy some rather sharp energon blades from his forearms.
5: The Fantasticar
The ever-so-humble Reed Richards is the designer (in later versions of the story) of the flying Fantasticar piloted by the Fantastic 4. As with many of the other superhero vehicles it has gone through a number of different versions, the sleekest of which is the one taking up pixels in the 2007 movie.
The Fantasticar can be summoned with Reed’s palm top computer and will reach supersonic speeds when piloted. You get a feel for its speed when you see that it can fly on autopilot from New York to Siberia, half a world away, in just a few minutes. It is quite a different design from the 1962 version which was oval-shaped and split into four different sections for each member of the team.
4: The X-Men’s Blackbird
Give Charles Xavier an SR-71 Blackbird and you can guarantee that he will make some changes to it. Already a stealthy aircraft, with many reconnaissance features, Xavier had mechanic genius Forge make upgrades to it.
Forge used Shi’ar technology to provide an invisibility cloak to hide the aircraft when needed. Cerebro, Xavier’s toy and the computer used by him to detect mutants around the world, has also been installed on the aircraft.
Though the plane does not show up too often in the films, it does appear in some poignant scenes as it is the main source of long distance transportation for the X-Men. It meets a quick demise at the end of the last movie as it disintegrates when Jean Grey unleashes her power on everyone at Alcatraz.
3: James Bond’s Aston Martin
Next time you find yourself suffering from poisoning, be sure to check around for an Aston Martin before you check in to any hospital. Bonds cars are always getting the most up-to-date technology to give 007 a fighting chance in any situation he finds himself in.
In Casino Royale it provided him with everything he needed to save his life in the rare situation he found himself in after being poisoned by a martini. The event left him shaken and stirred. If you looked around for long enough, you might find the secret compartment with his P99 gun, a defibrillator and the emergency medical communications with HQ.
2: Wonder Woman’s Invisible Plane
It was all well and good that Wonder Woman had an invisible plane, it just seems a little strange that the one design flaw is that she herself would be visible, sitting in midair. She would use the telepathic powers from her tiara to command the aircraft to come to her.
The use of an aircraft did not last forever though, as in later incarnations she was given the ability to fly without the need of any machine. Only recently, in 2011, DC Comics changed everything and made it so that the invisible jet never belonged to Wonder Woman in the first place, but was instead the main source of transportation for the “Justice League Of America”
1: Iron Man’s Suit
Iron Man’s suit is most definitely a vehicle and in the recent film franchise went through a number of different versions before emerging in its Iron Man 3 guise. Throughout the series it changes from its humble beginnings as the contraption that Tony Stark’s character builds whilst held in captivity. By the end of the third movie his suit and the armor it is made of have evolved to something awesome, thanks to some pretty advanced technology.
For defence and attack purposes he has grenades, rockets, lasers, and even anti-tank missiles. Not only that, in the last film we see how Stark is able to pull together various pieces of the suit from around the room, using nothing but hand gestures.