Top 5: Superhero Moments

My buddy and fellow Big Hollywooder Christian Toto penned a “Top 5 Superhero Moments” over at his blog which has inspired my own.

I only steal the best. Ask my wife’s first husband.

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1. Superman (1978) – Superman Saves Lois and Catches the Helicopter: “You’ve got me? Who’s got you?” The genius of this moment is that director Richard Donner makes you wait for it. There’s forty minutes of mythology and story and teases until finally, finally he hits you with the awesome. The special effects still convince, the score still makes you want to tie a bath towel around your neck and “fly” through the house (Right? Don’t leave me hanging), and in the ensuing decades this moment’s only gotten better because of my growing appreciation for just how fabulous Christopher Reeve is in the title role and in knowing that Margot Kidder as Lois Lane was one of the most perfect pieces of casting ever.

2. Iron Man (2008) – Iron Man Kills Him Some Terrorists: How great was it to watch Iron Man fly into a sovereign nation and unilaterally dispatch evil? Iron Man could’ve rationalized that killing terrorists only creates terrorists, wrung his hands over the reaction of the “Arab Street,” waited for a United Nations resolution, argued for more diplomacy, or blamed Israel . Yep, he had all kinds of all-too familiar reasons to let innocent people die in the furtherance of “peace.” Thank heaven someone with the power to get a film made understands that real heroes don’t practice depraved indifference.

3. Spider-Man 2 (2004) – Spider-Man Stops the Subway Car: It’s not just watching a terrified superhero using everything he can think of to save others, it’s afterwards. The gratitude and decency of the people on that subway car is a rarity in Hollywood these days – a generous look at the simple humanity of everyday people.

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4. The Dark Knight (2008) – Joker Blows Up Gotham Hospital: As incredible an achievement as Christopher Nolan’s examination of heroism is, nothing sticks in the mind like Heath Ledger’s Joker, dressed as a female nurse, nonchalantly walking away from a large city hospital as it explodes into pieces. This moment might be the purest expression of anarchy we’ll ever see. Normally, I’m not a big fan of DVD extras, but if Nolan explains how the scene was shot, it’s worth the extra bucks.

5. Unbreakable (2000) – A Boy Learns His Father is a Superhero: The scene at the kitchen table when Bruce Willis confirms with a simple nod that in fact he is everything his young son wanted him to be is the best moment of M. Night Shyamalan’s best film.

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