The boring problem with almost every superhero is that if they existed in real life they would just win all the time. This is why we have super villains, of course, and this is why those super villains tend to get the upper hand at some point in the film. After all, what’s a good third act without some kind of obstacle to overcome?
If your character can shoot fire from his or her nipples then the baddies better have some kind of ray gun that shoots ice pasties.
Point is, we need a point where the hero gets their ass handed to them – something that some movies handle better than others. Here are eight of the darker moments where the hero hits rock bottom (usually in a pool of their own blood).
8. Lady Deathstrike Bleeds Out Wolverine in X2
This isn’t so much of a fight scene as it is a collage of Hugh Jackman hurt faces and manly cries. Deathstrike has almost twice the cutting power as Wolverine with 90% less hair and noise. That’s seriously one thing she must have over Weapon X, who screams like a lumberjack whenever he lurches at something. Not to mention that she probably also smells considerably better. I don’t want to be mean or anything, but Wolverine strikes me as a funk factory.
It’s only luck that Wolvie is able to subdue his attacker as he stumbles upon an entire vat of adamantium by his side. Had they been fighting in a Pottery Barn (which would have been awesome to watch) it probably wouldn’t have turned out as well for our Canadian friend.
7. Raphael Is Put In A Coma in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Out of all the Ninja Turtles who can and probably should undergo a gang beating, Raphael is it. Don’t get me wrong, I love Raphael, I think he is cool – but as the tale tells, we mustn’t forget he is also rude. But cool.
Then again, Raphael is also a teenage kid who has been indoctrinated by an old man with a grudge and taught how to kill on instinct – so in a way his rebellion is the healthiest of all of the turtles. Now look at Michelangelo, who kills with absolutely no conflict to be found therein – to the point of jubilance even. That’s the motherfucker you have to watch out for.
6. Tony Stark Is Nearly Drowned in Iron Man 3
Honestly it’s kind of the reason this list exists. Long time writer and pretty new director Shane Black simply knows – in his heart – why we watch movies. He knows how to make them interesting and fun. You put that kind of mind in charge of anything with Robert Downey Jr. and you’re cooking with some serious gas right there.
I’ll try not to spoil anything – but I will say that, from everything from the funny-talking villain to the damsel in distress, he managed to take every superhero film trope and breathe new life into them. Probably the most striking observation for this film is that, unlike most superhero films, this one actually passed the Bechdel Test. In fact – it does much more than that at one point as well, but I don’t want to give anything away.
5. Peter Parker Gets Torn Up in Spider-Man
The supposed rule of the sequel is that with every new confrontation we get an even worst outcome. The ante – in theory – should be upped considerably with each film, right? What’s interesting to me about the Spider-Man series is that while that may be true – no ass kicking has really compared to that first one against the Green Goblin.
While it only lasts 2 minutes tops – the scene plays out silent as the Goblin just beats the web out of Mr. Parker, who has already been quite bloodied by the initial bomb that tears his suit up. It’s a great low point that ends with a Looney Tunes-like wall crushing and even more Looney Tunes-like Wile E. Coyote style self-demise.