Capes. Powers. Brawls. Everyone has a favorite superhero — maybe even more than one. And while it’s fun when they take down the latest Big Bad, there’s something both hair-raising and sometimes heartbreaking about seeing iconic good guys face off against each other.
Movie studios are making the fans pick a side when DC and Marvel’s heaviest hitters go head to head in two highly anticipated blockbusters, first on March 25 when Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice kicks off the new DC Universe, and then on May 6 with Captain America: Civil War depicting friends turning to foes over the fate of the Winter Soldier.
If the thought of Iron Man threatening to punch Cap’s perfect teeth has you jonesing for more hero-on-hero action, take a look back at some of the most intense superhero fights from the comics, movies, and cartoons. So read on and get your snikt, thwip, and krakaTHOOOM on.
The first Avengers film brought the Marvel Universe’s heaviest hitters together to battle a threat too big to face alone. But before they could get on the same page and stop the bad guys, they had to have one of the ugliest super fights ever depicted in cinema.
While Iron Man, aka Tony Stark (with a nuanced, subdued performance from the inimitable Robert Downey Jr.), ponders the ulterior motives of their not-so-forthcoming benefactor Nick Fury, he opens a can of worms about trust that makes everyone in the room realize they don’t like each other very much.
Chris Evans, well known for such classics as Not Another Teen Movie and Cellular, turns in an impressive physical performance as his Cap goes against Iron Man, boldly proclaiming “The only thing you really fight for is yourself.”
Iron Man quips back, “Everything special about you came out of a bottle.”
Yikes! We’ll see these two go head-to-head again in Captain America: Civil War.
Wonder Woman vs. Batman vs. Superman
Infinite Crisis (2005) #1
By Geoff Johns, Phil Jimenez, Andy Lanning, and Jeremy Cox
In the DC Comic event Infinite Crisis, the most iconic superheroes find themselves at an impasse when they learn Wonder Woman ended the threat of manipulative super villain Maxwell Lord with a fatal solution.
What could be a preview for Batman v. Superman's titular brawl, also featuring Wonder Woman, shows that even the World's Finest have a few kinks to work out. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman convene in the Justice League headquarters for a discussion that quickly turns south. The scene — artfully rendered by artists Phil Jimenez, Andy Lanning, and Jeremy Cox — is both impressive and sad for showing the brutal acrimony between the former Super Friends.
While Superman scolds his friends to find a better way, Bruce Wayne busts out an arsenal so strong that he doesn’t even need Kryptonite. Ooooh, Bat-burn. Maybe he has some ointment in that utility belt for poor Supes.
Daredevil vs. Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Doctor Strange, and Mr. Fantastic
Daredevil (1998) #56
By Brian Bendis, Alex Maleev, and Cory Petit
The lawyer/vigilante known as Daredevil tends to skirt the edge of darkness. And when he deposes Wilson Fisk and declares himself the Kingpin of Hell’s Kitchen, his friends are forced to bring him down.
Writer Brian Bendis is known for many epic comic book fights, but this remains among his all-time best as he put Daredevil through the gauntlet — a four-on-one against New York’s best.
Luke Cage gathers Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and Mister Fantastic in hopes to drill some sense into the Man Without Fear, but ole hornhead won’t have any of it.
Daredevil manages to hold his own against the four heroes and walks away with his head held high. It’s hard to determine who won this super fight, but it is clear what was lost: friendship.
Wolverine vs. Cyclops
X-Men: the Animated Series (1992)
Marvel’s Merry Mutants have seen a few television iterations throughout the years, but not many as memorable as the 1990s animated series that ran for five seasons.
While people tuned in every Saturday morning to see whether the X-Men would be facing Magneto or Apocalypse, no one can deny the tension between Xavier’s star pupils, Cyclops and Wolverine.
Though an initial rivalry was born from their mutual attraction to Jean Grey, these two went out of their way to get at each other’s throats. And it became apparent that sparks were flying. Though the series ended before this particular storyline could see resolution, their fierce friendship has inspired decades of fan art creations dedicated to their unseen love.
Who can forget this tense scene from the pilot when Cyclops orders his team to retreat without rescuing teammate Morph, who was thought to be killed in action. Back at base, Wolverine lets the field leader know how exactly how he feels. It’s not your average super-fight, as this one gets a bit physical, but it deserves inclusion on this list due to an out-of-character moment for Wolverine, who isn’t known to lose his cool.
Batman vs. Robin
Batman and Robin (1997)
The Dynamic Duo at each other’s throats?! Yes, that actually happened.
This fan-favorite scene came courtesy of the final installment of Joel Schumacher’s cult classic, Batman and Robin.
Though Uma Thurman’s portrayal of Poison Ivy might steal most of the scenes, this intense exchange comes courtesy of the contagious chemistry between George Clooney’s Batman and Chris O’Donnell’s Robin.
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Under the influence of the Poison Ivy’s brain-washing "love dust," the Dark Knight and the Boy Wonder get steamed in front of the denizens of a bachelorette auction. The two caped crusaders go tit-for-tat measuring pocket books before Batman drops the mic — as well as a little bit of plastic.
Forgive him, Bruce, for he knows not what he does. Schumacher’s Batman series ended with this installment, leaving fans to their headcanons over whether these frayed ends were mended.
Oh well, there’s always fanfic.