The best MCU fight scenes are examples of Marvel's deft balancing act between emotion, comedy, and rich interconnected stories... and seeing our favorite heroes and villains beat the everliving hell out of one another.
The best Marvel movies (opens in new tab) has given us some of the most spectacular action scenes to ever grace the big screen, from the Avengers' iconic battle for New York City to more intimate fights that pit the likes of Black Panther and Captain America against their greatest rivals.
While we patiently for Black Widow (opens in new tab) here's a look back at the best fight scenes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
15. Black Widow Chair Escape (The Avengers)
It's easy to underestimate Natasha Romanov, and most of her opponents do. Tied to a chair in an abandoned warehouse, the Black Widow has lured bad guys into a trap of her own making — but they don't know it. The question for the audience becomes: how is Widow going to get out of that chair?
The answer? A seated somersault that smashes the ribs of aforementioned bad guys with the tinder of aforementioned chair. The scene establishes the Widow's signature fight style: always the underdog, but always more skilled, more stealthy and more cunning.
14. Yondu Whistle Scene (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2)
In the most inventive jail break since Shawshank Redemption, Yondu demonstrates the full potential of his whistle-controlled Yaka arrow.
Sure, we could talk about how Yondu uses the arrow on Ego's planet, but this scene has it outperforming all of our expectations. When was the last time you saw an arrow tear through walls, free a baby tree-person, and take care of an entire ship's crew with all the flourishes of fine calligraphy?
13. Iron Man vs. Whiplash at Monaco (Iron Man 2)
A good battle needs a good battleground. Iron Man 2’s opening slugfest uses the Monaco Grand Prix as the backdrop for a meet-ugly between Tony Stark and Whiplash. Mickey Rourke spent months in a Russian prison to research his character.
So when ‘Lash shows up in the middle of the racetrack, slicing up million-dollar Formula 1 racing cars with his electrified whips, the actor's tough-guy routine really dials up the danger, especially for an un-armored Tony Stark. The fight scene's big thrill comes when a mobile Iron Man suit-case (get it?) evens the playing field and gives our vulnerable hero a fighting chance.
12. Thor vs. Hela's Army (Thor: Rangarok)
When the end of Asgard is at hand, it's time to call out the big guns. As Hela sends her army of bloodthirsty Berserkers to overtake Heimdall and the evacuating Asgardians, Thor and the Revengers jump into the frey. Drawing her strength from Asgard, Hela is mopping the floor with Thor, putting out on of his eyes in the process.
Meanwhile, the Hulk takes on the fearsome wolf Fenris while Valkyrie and Loki hold off the Berserkers to buy the Asgardians some time. The battle culminates in Loki freeing the massive fire demon Surtur, bringing about the prophesied Ragnarok. The last thing we see before the fall of Asgard is Surtur driving his sword into the center of the kingdom, incinerating the goddess of death.
It's one of the best sibling fights the MCU has to offer, made even better by the fact that it's all set to Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song."
11. Seoul Casino Showdown (Black Panther)
What happens when a James Bond-esque casino scene comes to the MCU? You get the absolutely mind-blowing Seoul Nightclub showdown in Black Panther.
The devil is truly in the details, as director Ryan Coogler carefully mapped out every aspect of the scene, including dressing Okoye, T'Challa, and Namia in the red, black and green of the Pan-African flag.
But more important than the colors is the focus on the different fighting styles. Where Okoye stays true to the traditional Wakandan style, going so far as to call guns primitive, Nakia's style is more modern and open to adaptation.
10. Nick Fury vs. Hydra (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
The problem with learning state secrets is that you gain a mighty large target on your head. Such is the case when HYDRA learns that Nick Fury is on to them. The evil organization sends a fleet of cars to crash into Fury's SUV, his only protection as he attempts to reach Maria Hill to spread this major revelation.
Unfortunately, HYDRA's got an epic array of nasty toys, including an electronic battering ram that nearly caves in the side of Fury's car. And while the then-Director Fury had his own ace-in-the-hole (the gun turret inside of his SUV), HYDRA's most-secret weapon, the Winter Soldier, is a trump card that cannot be beaten, but merely evaded.
9. Iron Man vs. Hulk (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Avengers: Age of Ultron might not be the most beloved MCU movie out there, but it did give us a spectacular showdown between Iron Man and a raging Hulk stuck under Scarlet Witch's spell.
Seeing Tony Stark rock his iconic Hulkbuster armor was a treat in itself; seeing him use it to smash the Hulk through a bunch of buildings was even better. There's a long legacy of Hulk fighting his fellow Avengers in MCU films, but this bout with Iron Man remains one of his best.
Who can forget Tony Stark begging his buddy to go to sleep as he lovingly bashes him in the face?
8. Ant-Man vs. Yellowjacket (Ant-Man)
Ant-Man has the power to shrink to the size of an ant while punching with increased power. Sure, the physics there make no sense, but the fight choreography is amazing.
All the shrink-fighting comes to a head when Ant-Man struggles to stop Yellowjacket, a villain with the same bug-size powers (but a deadlier arsenal). What better arena for two mini-heroes to collide in than the Thomas the Tank Engine playset in a child's bedroom? It sounds cheesy, but give the creative team credit. They made space for big laughs in a silly premise—and they managed to create an Ant-Man boss fight with emotional stakes in the process.
7. Thor vs. Hulk (Thor: Ragnarok)
It ends up that maybe the Hulk wasn't, at the time, Thor’s friend from work.
Thor and Hulk's battle on Sakaar starts funnily enough, with the Norse god's attempt to be jovial, but the cheering crowds are too much for Hulk, and we get to see the two heroes in a knock-down, drag-out brawl with massive weapons and hits that really look like they could hurt a monster or a god.
The Hulk is as furious as we've ever seen him, and the God of Thunder's powers finally get put to good use. Who won? Well, that still depends on which combatant you ask.
6. T'Challa vs. Killmonger (Black Panther)
Not only does this fight produce one of Black Panther's most quotable lines with Killmonger taunting "Is this your king?" but the grizzly, visceral combat helps give the movie a sense of danger and risk, despite the fact that we all knew Chadwick Boseman was coming back for Avengers: Infinity War.
Also, this fight for control of Wakanda feels even grander, as T'Challa's become more relatable and human, having handed over the powers of the Black Panther by drinking the potion of the heart-shaped herb.
5. Captain America and Bucky vs. Iron Man (Captain America: Civil War)
A two-on-one fight isn't fair, but nothing is when Earth's mightiest heroes throw down at the climax of their biggest adventure to date.
Sure, the combined forces of Cap and Bucky can take down most opponents (such as Baron Zemo, the troll who brewed up this brouhaha), but Steve Rogers has always had a problem fighting his friends.
Also, the Iron Man armor packs as much brains as both of his opponents, and can divert power and resources accordingly. In the end, Stark's arrogance proves his undoing, the truest end for the emotionally wounded genius.
4. The Elevator Fight (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Cap's elevator fight in The Winter Soldier was the scene that cemented Steve Rogers as both a fierce warrior and strategic mastermind who is not to be messed with.
Pitting Cap against Brock Rumlow (later Crossbones) and his S.T.R.I.K.E. team in an enclosed glass space raised the stakes, forcing Cap to use his mind and brawn and deliver one of his best lines in the MCU: "Before we get started, does anyone wanna get out?"
Toss in some magnets that restrict Cap's movement, and we had something exciting, especially compared to all of the sprawling battles we had seen beforehand.
3. The Battle of New York (The Avengers)
The Avengers, finally assembled, managed to pull off a miracle by making this brawl with the Chitauri worth watching and getting choked up over.
From Cap's work protecting the bank customers to Tony's act of sacrifice, this centerpiece of The Avengers shows why this team of superheroes is truly Earth's mightiest. Also, with a single line of dialogue — "That's my secret, Cap. I'm always angry" — Mark Ruffalo cements himself as the best Bruce Banner of all time.
And if you count the epilogue of the fight, Hulk throwing Loki around like a toddler pitching a fit is a fitting final moment.
2. The Airport Battle (Captain America: Civil War)
Captain America: Civil War's climactic airport battle is superhero spectacle at its very finest, pitting Team Cap against Team Iron Man in a slugfest that felt lifted right out of some of our favorite comics.
Despite having only a fraction of the characters to play with as the Civil War comic book did, the Russo brothers still managed to make this battle feel huge— thanks in no small part to Scott Lang's showstopping Giant-Man transformation.
But what really makes the Civil War fight stand out are the smaller character moments amid the chaos, such as Cap and Spidey quipping about their New York hometowns, or Tony Stark's emotional reaction to almost losing his best friend. We're glad the Avengers are all back on the same side now, but watching them beat the snot out of each other made for the single best action scene to ever grace a Marvel Studios movie.
1. The Battle of Wakanda (Avengers: Infinity War)
The promise of Avengers: Infinity War hinged on the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and most of Marvel's other heroes all converging to fight Thanos - and the film's climactic moment, the battle of Wakanda - definitely delivered.
Featuring dozens of heroes, hordes of villains, most of the Black Order, and of course Captain America going toe-to-toe with Thanos himself, wielding the power of the Infinity Gauntlet against the Avengers.
Best of all, Infinity War's Battle of Wakanda doesn't skimp on big moments - from Okoye and Black Widow fighting side-by-side, to Captain America and Black Panther kicking ass, to the final, heartbreaking moment when Thanos seizes the Mind Gem. This battle is the definition of epic superhero action.