10 Great Scenes In Critically Hated Marvel Movies

Ora Sawyers

Summary

  • Sometimes critically-hated Marvel movies boast unforgettable scenes that shine despite the overall reception.
  • The climactic battles in less-appreciated Marvel films often stand out as high points of action and drama.
  • Even in disappointing movies like Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, there are excellent scenes worth noting and enjoying.



Even the critically hated Marvel movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and beyond sometimes boast great and memorable scenes. Since the beginning of the MCU’s movie timeline, Marvel has enjoyed something of a monopoly on the box office, earning a respectable amount of critical appreciation along the way. The history of Marvel movies extends further back and continues to exist outside the MCU, often with mixed results. The reception to Marvel movies both in and out of the MCU simply isn’t always positive, with some movies earning the ire of critics.

However, just because critics dislike a movie, that doesn’t negate any positive points it may possess. Many of the less-appreciated movies of the MCU and films from the wider Marvel movie bracket boast excellent and unforgettable scenes, despite the vitriol the film in question may have faced from critical reviewers. With that in mind, here are 10 great scenes in critically-hated Marvel movies.


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10 Hulk & Abomination’s Harlem Showdown

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

The Incredible Hulk

Director
Louis Leterrier

Release Date
June 13, 2008

Writers
Zak Penn

Runtime
112 minutes


The Incredible Hulk’s early place in the MCU’s timeline is often cited as one of the reasons for its more disappointing elements. The franchise had yet to fully find its feet, and the film’s shortcomings were all issues fixed by subsequent appearances of its titular hero. Even so, considering its lukewarm reception from critics, The Incredible Hulk remains one of the MCU’s least popular movies.

The film’s climactic battle between Hulk and Abomination stands out as a marked high point, though. The two gamma-infused behemoths brawling it out in Harlem paid off the film’s potential in appropriately epic fashion. Seeing Hulk fight on such a spectacularly high-stakes scale remains the best moment of the movie, with the scene offering up plenty of action and drama in turns. Despite many elements of Hulk’s first MCU outing being somewhat disappointing, its final battle was certainly able to deliver.

9 The Human Torch & The Thing Switch Powers

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)


With Marvel set to reboot the Fantastic Four, many fans are ready to forget the heroes’ less popular movie adaptations of the past. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was one such film, failing to earn the respect of critics and many fans alike. A sequel to 2005’s Fantastic Four, the film followed the titular heroes as they encountered the Silver Surfer, and fought to protect the Earth from the approach of the planet-consuming cosmic entity Galactus.


Though the movie failed to impress, it boasted one scene that remains excellent even years later. One of the highlights of the movie is the antagonistic relationship between Chris Evans’ Johnny Storm and Michael Chiklis’ Ben Grimm, with the former teasing the latter about his rock-like appearance. One scene sees them switch powers, briefly inverting their dynamic. It’s one of the movie’s most light-hearted scenes, and it accentuates the chemistry of its cast that was otherwise wasted in the sequel.

8 Construction Site Battle

Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance (2011)

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Director
Neveldine/Taylor

Release Date
February 17, 2012

Studio(s)
Columbia Pictures

Writers
David S. Goyer , Seth Hoffman , Scott M. Gimple

Runtime
95 minutes


2011 sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is widely considered one of the most disappointing superhero sequels of all time. Releasing at a time when the MCU was hitting its stride, Spirit of Vengeance was considered a clichéd, unimaginative follow-up to an underwhelming adaptation. The Nicolas Cage-led film failed to impress critics, despite the inclusion of other respected actors in Idris Elba and Ciaran Hinds.

Halfway through its runtime, however, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance features an excellent action sequence that remains a clear highlight of the movie. Arriving at a construction site, Johnny Blaze encounters Mephisto’s demon forces, and a battle of epic supernatural proportions begins to unfold. During the melee, the hero takes control of a large mining machine, infusing it with his own power to take on Mephisto’s henchmen. It’s every bit as grandiose and utterly ridiculous as it sounds, marking the conflict as a great scene in an otherwise disappointing movie.


7 Reed & Ben’s Backstory

Fantastic Four (2015)

Fantastic Four

Director
Josh Trank

Release Date
August 5, 2015

Runtime
100 minutes

2015’s Fantastic Four was considered by most to be a thoroughly terrible adaptation of the Marvel heroes. The film was critically panned, citing its wooden script, borderline incoherent plot, and overuse of CGI as particular points of offense. The movie tells a revised origin story for the team, rebooting the franchise and recasting the titular roles. It’s often considered one of the worst comic book movies ever made.


For all its shortcomings, Fantastic Four does actually have one great scene at its very beginning that highlights the reboot’s wasted potential. The scene shows a young Reed Richards striking up an unlikely friendship with young Ben Grimm, with the pair endeavoring to become partners in their ambitious scientific dreams. The scene offers an insight into Richards and Grimm’s partnership and lifelong friendship, helping to cement the family dynamic of the titular team.

6 Hulk’s Hospital Transformation

Hulk (2003)

Hulk 2003 Poster

Hulk

Director
Ang Lee

Release Date
June 19, 2003

Studio(s)
Marvel

Writers
James Schamus , John Turman , Michael France

Runtime
138 Minutes


Ang Lee’s 2003 movie Hulk is a Marvel movie that’s been all but forgotten. The ambitious movie failed to impress critics, who dismissed it as a jumbled mess of ideas and an ill-advised take on the iconic hero and his story. Starring Eric Bana as Bruce Banner/the Hulk, the film also featured celebrated actors such as Nick Nolte, Jennifer Connelly, and Sam Elliott. Despite being critically hated, Hulk does have some positive points.

The first time Hulk shows Banner fully transforming into Hulk remains a brilliantly-conceived piece of cinema. Stalking through the halls of a hospital at night, Banner loses control, and the Hulk emerges, destroying the building’s interior as he transforms. The scene is presented like something out of a horror movie, with the Hulk depicted more as a movie monster than a superhero, and when taken on its own merit, the transformation sequence highlights the potential of Lee’s movie.


5 Jean Grey’s Villain Turn

Dark Phoenix (2019)

X-Men Dark Phoenix Poster

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Director
Simon Kinberg

Release Date
June 7, 2019

Studio(s)
20th Century

Writers
Simon Kinberg

Runtime
114 minutes

Dark Phoenix marked the end of Fox’s X-Men movie timeline with an adaptation of the beloved comic book storyline of the same name. Following on from X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix chronicled Jean Grey’s connection to the Phoenix Force and subsequent villain turn. The movie was critically panned, and effectively ended Fox’s long-running franchise with its poor reception.


Despite its failings, Dark Phoenix does boast one truly great scene. The film contains a clear turning point for Jean, when she finally succumbs to the Phoenix Force and turns against her fellow X-Men. Sophie Turner plays the role brilliantly, with genuine emotion being communicated even through the heavy effects required to bring the scene to life. Though Dark Phoenix was critically hated, the scene in which Jean Grey fully loses control remains an excellent piece of cinema.

4 Daredevil’s Bar Fight

Daredevil (2003)

Daredevil 2003 Movie Poster

Daredevil

Director
Mark Steven Johnson

Release Date
February 14, 2003

Studio(s)
Marvel

Writers
Mark Steven Johnson

Runtime
103 Minutes


2003’s Daredevil remains one of Marvel’s most reviled movies ever made, with even its own star deriding the film. An origin story of the Man Without Fear, Daredevil stars Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer who fights crime at night as the titular vigilante. The film was not received well by critics, with a myriad of faults listed as key failings of the movie.

The 2003 movie isn’t entirely without merit, however. There are several scenes that are decidedly well-choreographed, but none stand out quite so much as the bar fight scene. Within the first scene in which Daredevil is shown in action, the vigilante systematically takes out the lights and fights from the shadows of a seedy bar to take revenge on a criminal who was able to evade justice. It’s a well-realized introduction to the hero, and it’s a great scene in an otherwise terrible movie.


3 The Danger Room

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

X-Men the Last Stand movie poster

X-Men: The Last Stand

Director
Brett Ratner

Release Date
May 25, 2006

Studio(s)
20th Century , Marvel Entertainment , The Donner’s Company , Dune Entertainment , Ingenious Film Partners

Writers
Brett Ratner

Runtime
104 Minutes

Often considered the worst of Fox’s X-Men movies, X-Men: The Last Stand rounded off the initial trilogy following the mutant heroes in 2006. The film follows the X-Men as they navigate the complex issues surrounding a supposed cure to their mutations and the inevitable conflict it inspires within the mutant community. Critics largely disliked the movie, citing its overstuffed plot and poor script as two of the stand-out issues.


One early scene is actually far better than The Last Stand gets credit for, though. An early scene shows the X-Men fighting Sentinels, bringing the giant robotic enemies to life in live-action for the first time and showcasing some exciting mutant abilities in the process. It’s then revealed to be a Danger Room simulation, bringing yet another beloved element of the comics to the big screen. Sadly, the Danger Room scene remains one of the highlights of the movie, even coming as it does in the opening 15 minutes.

2 Quicksilver Saves The X-Men

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

X-Men: Apocalypse

Director
Bryan Singer

Release Date
May 18, 2016

Writers
Michael Dougherty , Dan Harris , Simon Kinberg , Bryan Singer

Runtime
136 minutes


Despite the hit-and-miss nature of the X-Men movies, the franchise featured many great scenes. X-Men: Apocalypse came with great potential for an exciting and groundbreaking movie, although it fell short for critics and audiences alike. The film’s generic plot and unimaginative depiction of the titular villain failed to capture the imagination of audiences, and critics largely disliked the movie.

Even so, X-Men: Apocalypse features one of the best scenes in any X-Men movie. Upon arriving at the X Mansion, Quicksilver sees it in the process of exploding. Rushing in at super speed, he saves the occupants, darting through explosions and rescuing the oblivious X-Men. It’s an unforgettable introduction to a brilliant character, and is so well-realized and packed with levity that it’s a marked highlight in the movie. In fact, the scene is often considered one of the best in Fox’s entire franchise, even though X-Men: Apocalypse was otherwise disappointing.


1 Cowboy Ghost Rider

Ghost Rider (2007)

Ghost Rider

Director
Mark Steven Johnson

Release Date
January 15, 2007

Studio(s)
Sony

Writers
Mark Steven Johnson

Runtime
110 minutes

In almost every aspect, 2007’s Ghost Rider was a poor comic book movie. The Marvel antihero was inexplicably brought to life by Nicolas Cage, an actor that many critics felt was wrong for the role. Factor in a generic and incomprehensible plot and a number of less-than-convincing instances of CGI, and it’s clear that critics simply did not like Ghost Rider at all.


However, the film does feature one great scene. Late in the movie, Johnny Blaze meets Carter Slade, an old gravedigger played by Sam Elliott. As Blaze sets off to face Mephisto, Slade hops astride his horse and transforms into the Ghost Rider of yesteryear. Marvel’s fiery biker hero rides through the night beside his cowboy counterpart as a metal cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ghost Riders in the Sky” plays. It’s an unexpectedly triumphant scene in the middle of one of the worst Marvel movies ever to have graced the Marvel Cinematic Universe and beyond.

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