One great thing which emerges from the superhero films which are now incredibly popular is the possibility of superhero vs. superhero showdowns. Now, any superhero films bread and butter is having the hero beat the bad guy. However, for us hardcore comic book fans, nothing gets better than seeing two good guys taking each other on.
We can see from the initial success of the Batman v. Superman film just how popular these films can be. And while the film would eventually tank, that was due to a terrible writing and production team, not because of the films overall scope. Plus, you better believe the iconic fight from the movie earns a spot on our list.
With so many great superhero movies already made, and others on the way, this article will name the 7 Best Superhero Showdowns That We Have Seen in Film and the 8 Superhero Matchups That We Still Need To See.
If nothing else, seeing these super powered fights would at least end some everlasting debates between friends. All facts about the heroes, or their films, are taken from the DC and Marvel Comics web pages, or IMDB.com.
15 Still Need: The Hulk vs. Spiderman
A great thing about this list is that it leads us to compare heroes who are so fundamentally different from each other. The #15 entry on this list is the perfect example of this, as I don’t think there are two heroes more different in their basic makeup than the Hulk and Spiderman. While the Hulk is a barbaric uncontrollable force, Spiderman is largely reliant (even though he has super strength and agility) on the analytical brain of Peter Parker. With the recent infusion of Spiderman into the Avengers franchise, this matchup has become a distinct possibility, as recent blockbusters will likely feature these two iconic heroes side by side. With the Avengers films affinity with having hero v. hero fight scenes, it’s only a matter of time until we see the big green monster take on everyone’s favorite New Yorker.
14 Best: Captain America vs. Spiderman
The #14 entry on our list of superhero matchups that we’ve already seen should have some familiar themes after reading the #15 entry. We already talked about Spiderman’s recent inclusion into the Avengers franchise, and we talked about the willingness of this franchise to have two heroes face off against each other. A perfect example of both these themes was the battle between Spiderman and Captain America in the recent Captain America: Civil War film. A great film all around, many fans were especially delighted with the fight scene (shown above) between these two New York City natives (Spiderman from Queens and Cap from Brooklyn). The similar backstory of these two hugely popular heroes, combined with this films awesome portrayal earns it this spot here on our list.
13 Still Need: Magneto vs. Captain America
We just discussed in the last entry the importance of storylines and character relationships in determining the heroes featured on this list. With that being said, how cool would it be to see Magneto take on Captain America on the big screen? What is the relationship between these two iconic heroes? Nazis. I think everyone knows the Captain America backstory where he was given the super soldier serum in order to join U.S. forces in their fight against the Nazi regime in Germany.
Less people however, know that Magneto’s own back story centers on his powers developing while interned in a Nazi concentration camp. This creates a very interesting storyline between these two characters. Would Magneto idolize Cap for all that he did in fighting the Nazis and the Red Skull, or would he look down on him for needing scientific advancement to give him his abilities. These are the questions that could be answered with an epic duel.
12 Best: Storm vs. Cyclops and Jean Grey
While the recent X-men: Apocalypse film was somewhat mediocre in comparison to other films in the franchise, one thing it did give us was a ton of superhero matchups to think about and debate. My favorite of these was when a young Sue Storm took on the tandem of Jean Grey and Cyclops. We all know these three (together with Wolverine) are part of the Core-4 members of the X-men team. As such, it was kind of cool to see the young versions of these legendary heroes taking each other on. Admittedly anti-climactic (I think these first generation X-men movies all share the problem that you know which characters do and do not have a chance of dying), this was still a really entertaining showdown. Plus, Storms heroic turn at the end was the perfect conclusion to our #12 superhero showdown.
11 Still Need: Winter Soldier vs. the Hulk
Keep an eye out for this fight in upcoming Avengers films. The Winter Soldier has established himself as the prominent bad ass of this franchise, taking on guys like Captain America, Iron Man, and Black Panther with varying levels of success. This puts him on a pretty clear collision course with the true muscle of the Avengers, the Incredible Hulk. To his own credit, Hulk has effectively beat up all the original members of the Avengers and is the unquestioned top dog of the Marvel universe. These two heroes have yet to appear in a film together, but when they do I expect to see them go head to head. There’s simply too much money to be made (go to the store and see how many “Hulkbuster” Iron Man suits they sell) from this type of high profile matchup for Marvel to avoid pulling the trigger on this fight.
10 Best: The Phoenix vs. Wolverine
The #10 superhero showdown on our list is one that really tears on your heartstrings. A central theme of the original X-men Trilogy was Wolverine’s undying love of Jean Grey, played by Famke Janssen. While their romantic intentions never fully culminated, I think everyone expected (especially with the death of Cyclops at the beginning of the third film) that the two would eventually end up together. As such, many fans were devastated when Wolverine was forced to kill Jean at the end of the third film after her alter ego, the Phoenix, had taken over causing widespread destruction.
Knowing what’s going to happen made this scene all that much worse, and the moment where Jean regains control after being stabbed is enough to evoke sympathy in even the most callous of superhero fans.
9 Still Need: The Fantastic 4 vs. the X-men
Up until now, we have seen superhero matchups containing one superhero taking on another individual hero. Here, however, we see a potential showdown between two of the most famous superhero teams of all time. In the comic book world, this kind of team battle is fairly common, and there are a variety of storylines revolving around meetings of these two teams, as well as the Avengers. Despite this, I’m not convinced that we’re going to be seeing this showdown anytime soon. We have seen three Fantastic 4 films in recent years, and none of them have managed to catch on the way other superhero franchises have. Also, despite the success of the X-men films, they seem to be comfortable staying in their own little world apart from other Marvel epics. Despite these potential issues, I hold out the hope of seeing these two super-powered teams go head to head someday.
8 Best: Batman vs. Superman
Before you start ripping me apart in the comments section, just hear me out. Yes, this film was pretty terrible, the writing was bad, the overall theme of the film was disjointed, and the acting was mediocre at best. However, if you look solely at the fight sequence between Superman and Batman, you have to admit that it was pretty good. Going in, one of the biggest question marks of this film was how the writers could possibly make Batman (who doesn’t actually have any superpowers) a match for the vastly overpowered Superman. I think it is impossible to argue that the writers failed to accomplished this goal (especially since Batman actually won the fight). It is clear that they also gave us a pretty entertaining fight scene along the way. That’s good enough for #8 on our list.
7 Still Need: the Hulk vs. Superman
I have attempted not to straddle the comic book worlds in my selections for this list, but I can’t help but discuss the #7 entry on our list. If you were to pick the two strongest superheroes from DC and Marvel comics, respectively, you would likely come up with Superman (for DC) and the Incredible Hulk (for Marvel). As such, there has been a litany of arguments discussing who would win this monumental throw down. I don’t want to make this list about picking winners out of the entries, but I will say that Superman has often taken on guys like the Hulk (unstoppable monsters with immense physical strength), but I don’t know if the Hulk has ever taken on someone like the iconic Man of Steel. Whichever side you’re on, this would surely be a great fight and one that all of us would like to see play out sometime.
6 Best: Daredevil vs. the Punisher
Those of you who have read my other superhero articles know my strong feelings about the Daredevil Netflix series. I don’t know if I’ve seen another superhero program (movie or TV show) that combines quality writing with pandering to superhero fans, so seamlessly. After the success of Season 1, I was curious to see if the writers had any tricks up their sleeve to make Season 2 equally as entertaining and boy did they deliver. One of the greatest parts of Season 2, was the infusion of other famous heroes associated with the Daredevil comic books. The conflict between Daredevil and one of these heroes, the Punisher, makes our list here at #6. The fight scene (included above) sums up everything that’s great about the Daredevil series.
5 Still Need: Wonder Woman vs. Superman
There has been a significant push recently in a lot of industries in regards to gender equality. With that being said, maybe it’s time for superhero films to do their part. One way they could do this, and at the same time make for a pretty awesome scene, would be to have their primary female superhero Wonder Woman take on the epitome of manliness, Superman. I was a big fan of the Justice League animated series (during its short two season run), and even on there you never saw these two titans of DC take each other on. With the prominence of Wonder Woman in the new line of DC films, I this would be a very doable superhero matchup and certainly one that would be worth everyone's time and attention.
4 Best: Iron Man vs. Captain America
I think the cool thing about the Iron Man and Captain America matchup is that it’s not only a battle between two super powered folks but a battle what these two men represented. On one hand, you have the straight line, always do the right thing which is the moniker of Captain America. Then, on the other side, you have the laissez-faire lifestyle of Tony Stark’s Iron Man. As a result, I think one of the best things about the Captain America: Civil War film (and there were many) was not only this battle but that the overarching story of the film was an extension of the ideology conflict between these two men. This is a masterful piece of storytelling, and the final battle featured above was the perfect culmination of this epic confrontation.
3 Still Need: Ghost Rider vs. Daredevil
An underlying theme of this article is some sort of unique connection between the two heroes listed. For the pair of Ghost Rider and Daredevil, that connection is religion. As a prevailing part of our society, I am surprised that religion does not play a more dominant role in the storylines of more comics. What this fact does do, however, is make the pairing of the Ghost Rider and the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen even more significant. Just think how Daredevil would feel if he came across a creature who actually was a demon. Similarly, think about the scorn the Rider would feel to learn that a mask wearing vigilante was calling himself the devil. Throw in the fact that we would get to see two of most badass heroes of all time take each other on, and this is definitely on my bucket list of potential superhero showdowns.
2 Best: Thor vs. the Hulk
I had some reservations about putting the Hulk on this list three separate times (especially since I also included DC’s Superman three times), but to be fair, we are talking about fight scenes which are kind of his specialty. For his final installation on this list, I decided on his fight scene in the first Avengers film with Thor as the top superhero showdown we’ve already witnessed. I don’t know if it was the obvious strength of both competitors or some other factor, but from the moment this fight started to develop it carried with it a big fight feel. We are sure we aren't alone in saying that we could see people sit up a little bit straighter in their theater seat when they realized these two behemoths were going to duke it out. Just the sheer magnitude of this fight forces our hand, leaving us no choice but to crown it the greatest superhero showdown we’ve already seen on film.
1 Still Need: Wolverine vs. Deadpool
While Thor vs. the Hulk may have been the biggest and greatest superhero showdown on film, the #1 entry on our list would surely be the most entertaining. If I was a movie studio, I would spend any amount of money necessary to get Ryan Reynolds Deadpool and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine in a movie together (they were in the Wolverine Origins film together, but that movie was so awful does it really count). The wisecracking Deadpool would be a perfect foil to the dangerous Wolverine, and a potential matchup between the two would be sure to draw in superhero fans and regular movie goers alike. For any producers reading this, feel free to take this article as my official plea to get these two together in a film. Until that happens, they will remain the #1 superhero showdown we still need to see.