There is no doubt that fight scenes were already present in movies before the superhero franchise began to take on major significance in pop culture. That said, the MCU blockbusters have probably made it something to watch and look forward to when watching a new release. And with each version of the MCU, it seems that each fight scene becomes more impressive than the last.
We absolutely need to give more credit to the combat choreographers who create the complex scenes we all love. Imagine watching the new Spider-Man: No Way Home without any kind of fighting between villains and Spider-Man teams – what a disappointment that would be! To appreciate the importance of excellent fight scenes, let’s take a look at the best one-on-one fight scenes in the MCU.
1. Hulkbuster vs Hulk in Avengers: Age of Ultron
Unfortunately, the majority of the action in Age of Ultron was a kinetic mess. A jumble of CGI thrown around with little story. While this scene was littered with CGI out the ying-yang, seeing Tony battle the Hulk with his Hulkbuster armor was a rare treat of fantastic from this film. While the fight is jarring and incoherent (as are most barroom brawls), we’re reminded that these are two men fighting…well, a man and a Hulk. Tony keeps trying to reach Banner while also keeping in mind the innocent civilians who could become collateral damage. There are even a few moments of levity, especially after Tony wrecks the Hulk with a vicious punch.
2. Scarlet Witch vs. Thanos (Avengers: Endgame)
Watching Scarlet Witch nearly take down Thanos single-handed in Avengers: Endgame, was fun to watch. I always felt that in Infinity War, she was not portrayed that well. In dust-ups against the Black Order and briefly Thanos, she seemed somewhat weak. But she is not weak. In fact, she is one of the most powerful Avengers. Some would say she is.
In the fight, a vengeful Wanda takes on Thanos as he tries to get the Infinity Gauntlet. She’s able to overpower him with her telekinesis and raise him in the air. Right before she can kill him, he orders his ship to fire on the battlefield, which allows him to escape her grips. After the fight, one thing was clear, the Scarlet Witch is a badass.
3. The Avengers fight in Captain America: Civil War
There is no way to discuss great action scenes without mentioning this one. While The Avengers’ Battle for New York pitted our heroes against a CGI army of Chitauri invaders, Civil War pitted our white hats against each other. The seamless transition of our heroes from one to the other was unique, requiring a meticulous approach to the landscape and a compelling story during each character’s on-screen moments. Add to that the dialogue as these (mostly) comrades tried to win without killing each other … It’s a comic fan’s fantasy.
4. The battle to dethrone Hela in Thor: Ragnarok
Thor is left stranded on a mysterious planet throughout the film, while his sister Hela, the Goddess of Death, conquers Asgard with the help of an undead army. Thor and Loki flee the planet, and the Hulk, along with new allies Valkyrie, Korg, and Miek, teams up with Heimdall to take on Hela and her forces in order to save Asgard.
Thor finally realizes his true power, and in a scene that had MCU fans standing and cheering, Thor decimates Hela’s soldiers while Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” narrates the action. Meanwhile, the Hulk is engaged in a battle with Hela’s pet, a giant wolf.
Thor and Loki are forced to literally cause Ragnarok and call forth the giant demon Surtur to destroy Asgard, robbing Hela of her power and saving the day after realizing that even with this new power, he cannot defeat Hela.
5. The Fight for the Infinity Stones in Avengers: Infinity War
In a moment that had Marvel fans freaking out (the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Avengers were finally on the same screen together!), Iron Man attempted to kill Dr. Strange, Spider-Man and the Guardians did their best to get the Infinity Stones, but ultimately failed.
Thanos almost kills Iron Man (giving the audience a heart attack almost everywhere), but only stops when Dr. Strange offers the Time Stone to save Tony’s life.
This fight marks the first time Thanos’ power has been truly demonstrated using the Infinity Stones. If for some reason you thought he wasn’t that powerful, Thanos throws a goddamn moon at Iron Man. Yes, a moon.
6. Everyone vs Thanos in Avengers: Endgame
In a ranking that should come as no surprise, Avengers: Endgame’s final fight, which takes place at the ruined Avengers facility in New York City, firmly holds the top spot and is the best fight in the entire MCU.
It’s all led up to this moment: the Avengers literally travel through time to bring half the universe back to life. As befits Thanos, however, he shows up with all of his armies to decimate Avengers headquarters and secure the Infinity Stones once again. Only this time, he plans to destroy the entire universe and create a new one with him as essentially God.
It is the moment every Marvel fan has been waiting for ten years to see: every single Avenger, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the armies of their allies arrive, via Dr. Strange Portals, to prevent Thanos from reaching his objective. A 40-minute battle ensues, with all these moments:
- Captain America proves he is worthy and raises Mjolnir.
- Ant-Man single-handedly destroys a Leviathan Chitauri
- Spider-Man rides on the back of a pegasus with Valkyrie, with a fully charged Infinity Gauntlet
- Captain Marvel personally destroys Thanos’ mothership
- Finally, Iron Man obtains all six Infinity Stones and destroys Thanos’ army, including the Mad Titan himself, in the end at the cost of his own life (we love you 3000 Tony).
It’s a long-awaited battle we couldn’t wait to see, and it certainly lived up to the hype and was the perfect action-packed ending to the film.