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The Top Five Greatest Comics-To-Movie Scenes

Join for us a countdown of movie moments that made you say, "Hey! I know what exact issue that's from!"

It’s probably more accurate to call most superhero movies “cumulative” adaptations. That is, they aren’t based a finite series like WATCHMEN, nor on specific story arcs like "Days of Future Past" - - they’re cherry picked from hundreds of issues spread out over several decades. Sure, the typical flick cobbles its first half from the various retellings of the origin story but, most often, the rest of its plot goes in its own direction that adheres to the comics mostly in the broad strokes.

As such, the times when you can recognize which specific issue a scene was taken are a little unusual - - remarkable, even. So, we figured we’d have some fun and think of the most memorable occurrences of this. As always, we claim no academic objectivity here. Is your favorite moment not on this list? Sweet. Go on and share it in the talkback.

== TEASER ==

5. Jor-El banishes Zod’s gang to the Phantom Zone in Superman

No matter how many times the DCU gets rebooted, Zod will probably always a convoluted backstory. That likely has much to do with how the character popularized in the Superman movies was actually a reworked version of an obscure villain, U-Ban. In the one-off issue he starred in, U-Ban was simply one of three Kryptonians who’d been cast in a rocket ship for attempting to rebel against. Neither that - - nor the hokey Phantom Zone projector - - carries as much grandeur as this near-Biblical opening, though. [SUPERMAN #65]

4. Wolverine kills Phoenix out of love in X-Men: the Last Stand

The flick meshed the “Gifted” arc (or the X-Men animated series episode, “the Cure”) with “the Dark Phoenix Saga,” giving Jean Grey her fearsome Omega-level powers through evolution/mutation instead of an extraterrestrial Phoenix Force and putting her (briefly) under the control of Magneto’s Brotherhood instead of the Hellfire Club. Since she murdered Cyclops at the movie’s start, it's actually Wolverine standing in for Cyke, putting their long-unrequited romance to the forefront. And this time, it's not Jean getting killed through some contrivance of outer-space laser cannons; it's Logan making the heartbreaking decision to kill her since she's too far gone to be allowed to live. [X-MEN #137]

3. Spider-Man no more in Spider-Man 2

It's basically a trope, now - - the superhero's always going to renounce his secret identity in at least one of the sequels. It was revolutionary when Spidey first did it in the 70's, however; so much so that the scene of Peter Parker walking away from his trashed suit has remained utterly unforgettably. Raimi and his crew would've been remiss, then, not to include the iconic image in a flick where Spidey's doubts about his double life are wrapped up into something of an existential crisis. Seriously, you don't need to know about the psychosomatic, malfunctioning web-shooters. The images above say it all - - in both cases! [AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #50]

2. Cap crashes into the ice in Captain America: the First Avenger

This is effectively the “origin” of Cap’s modern incarnation; the tragic turning point that brought him into the present and centered his life on a horrible tragedy. In the comics, Cap winds up in the ice after he and a doomed Bucky Barnes stop an experimental, explosive drone plane devised by Baron Zemo. The movie splits the scene in half, with Bucky’s apparent demise occurring earlier. Now, Cap consciously sacrifices himself by crashing the Red Skull's automated plane before it can drop its nigh-atomic payload on New York. Add his awkward, teary final dialog with Peggy Carter on the radio and you've got a turning point with even more emotional oomph to it . [AVENGERS #56]

1. The Joker cracks Harvey Dent in the Dark Knight

This flick wears its debt to THE LONG HALLOWEEN (and Heat) more on its sleeve, but many fans don’t realize that it incorporates a lot of THE KILLING JOKE's plot, as well. Swap Jim Gordon for Harvey Dent, and you’ll see that the Joker’s plan to turn a sane man insane through “one bad day” (chaos with another name) by harming his loved one (Barbara Gordon or Rachel Dawes) and subsequently crawling into his head is about the same. That Joker actually succeeds in proving his point in the film when he fails to do so in the comic actually makes both works chilling complementary pieces. [THE KILLING JOKE]

63 Comments
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Posted by Inverno

Well that is awesome

Posted by Rowen545

Always thought that Aaron Eckhart's performance should have gotten an oscar nomination

Posted by the_fallen11

Cool article.

Posted by kennybaese

@Rowen545 said:

Always thought that Aaron Eckhart's performance should have gotten an oscar nomination

I always thought that they shouldn't have wrapped but Dent's character arc in The Dark Knight, but should've focussed on him for the third film. Don't get me wrong, The Dark Knight Rises looks great, but Harvey Dent was completely underutilized in The Dark Knight and he deserved a bigger story. But then, he's been one of my favorite characters since I was a kid, so I'm a little biased.

Posted by Gambit1024

Nice list. I'd've added Tony Stark's escape from the terrorists from the first Iron Man, though.

Posted by -The Renegade-

Great list guys. Another great moment is from Batman begins/ Batman Year one, when the army of bats came to ''help'' Batman escape from the police.

Posted by The Stegman
Great list, I would have added Tony Stark building  the Iron Man armor and escaping from terrorists
Posted by KidSupreme

Good Picks!

Edited by Sammo21

Good list...but number 4 strikes me as odd. I would have figured something from Watchmen would have been a better choice or even something from Batman Begins.

Posted by Doctor!!!!!

I absolutly loved this especially Harvey Dent scene, i loved the detail into his burns.

Posted by Video_Martian

@Gambit1024 said:

Nice list. I'd've added Tony Stark's escape from the terrorists from the first Iron Man, though.

Yes!!! That scene was awesome!!! :D

Posted by ReVamp

@The Stegman said:

Great list, I would have added Tony Stark building the Iron Man armor and escaping from terrorists
Posted by BatClaw89

@-The Renegade-

Ditto

Posted by WildStyle

No complaints here

Posted by Transmetal

Nice

Online
Posted by Hot_Karl

Nuh, uh, no way. I will not stand for such a list without the Dr. Manhattan origin story segment from Watchmen on it. Even if you weren't a fan of the film overall, that scene is absolutely, 100% perfect in every single way. It literally gave me chills throughout. To this day, I find it one of the most memorable sequences in cinema.

Posted by Dedpool

Great list. I call them "Loose Adaptation" or "General adaptations" as they take the general ideas from several stories and make their own. Definitely woulda put Iron Man building armor, Bullseye "kills" Elektra from "Daredevil," and "Hulk Smash" from "Incredible Hulk" in there too.

Posted by GothamRed

I'm a fan of the explosion that caused tony's heart problems in Iron Man and Thor being banished from asgard in Thor

Posted by DarthShap

1. The Joker cracks Harvey Dent in the Dark Knight

This one I disagree with. To me, Nolan's Joker only has superficial similarities to Moore's. Ironically, Moore's is not about chaos and anarchy. He is not a terrorist either, just a creepy egocentric and psychotic clown who believes that because he went crazy after a bad day, so should anyone.

Obviously, Nolan was inspired by The Killing Joke and The Long Halloween but in the end, he actually did something completely different with the characters. His Joker (who only makes one joke during the entire movie) is a post-9/11 terrorist to whom you just cannot relate, the exact opposite of who he is in The Killing Joke.

Posted by Kairan1979

@VinceNotVance said:

Nuh, uh, no way. I will not stand for such a list without the Dr. Manhattan origin story segment from Watchmen on it. Even if you weren't a fan of the film overall, that scene is absolutely, 100% perfect in every single way. It literally gave me chills throughout. To this day, I find it one of the most memorable sequences in cinema.
Posted by The Jeff

This was a horrible article. Full of errors

Posted by BlackArmor

@Gambit1024 said:

Nice list. I'd've added Tony Stark's escape from the terrorists from the first Iron Man, though.

Would have replaced number 4 with this

Posted by buttersdaman000

Umm....not even one scene from watchmen? That movie is almost directly lifted from the pages of the comics lol

Posted by BlackArmor

@VinceNotVance said:

Nuh, uh, no way. I will not stand for such a list without the Dr. Manhattan origin story segment from Watchmen on it. Even if you weren't a fan of the film overall, that scene is absolutely, 100% perfect in every single way. It literally gave me chills throughout. To this day, I find it one of the most memorable sequences in cinema.

Agreed

Posted by The Impersonator

@the_fallen11 said:

Cool article.
Posted by redhood21

dont forget spiderman doing jazz hands up and down New York in spiderman 3. oh wait :( ....

Posted by BiteMe-Fanboy

Final showdown with Shredder in the TMNT movie should be number 1. I still think thats the best comic book movie.

Posted by MinkoAk

@buttersdaman000 said:

Umm....not even one scene from watchmen? That movie is almost directly lifted from the pages of the comics lol

That's the point, or rather the problem, the article was about Super-Hero movies, using general elements and the article pinpoints scenes which make us think and are direct references to very precise moments in the comics. Watchment is out of the article because there is only 12 issues and the movies, like you said, is similar to the comics.

What might be interesting would be the opposite article "Where the hell did that come from ?"

And I agree with the general consensus, the beginning of the first Iron Man movie needed to be in that list, I would have put it in the first position, it was very well done and thought.

Posted by Apothecary2

Where is the hulk being dropped from the air in the ultimates?

Posted by ApatheticAvenger

Number 4 was awful, that entire movie makes me ill.

Posted by Rowen545

@walkingcarpet said:

@Rowen545 said:

Always thought that Aaron Eckhart's performance should have gotten an oscar nomination

I always thought that they shouldn't have wrapped but Dent's character arc in The Dark Knight, but should've focussed on him for the third film. Don't get me wrong, The Dark Knight Rises looks great, but Harvey Dent was completely underutilized in The Dark Knight and he deserved a bigger story. But then, he's been one of my favorite characters since I was a kid, so I'm a little biased.

I agree. In some old Christopher Nolan interviews he mentions that all of the events in TDK were supposed to take place over two movies. Then he decided he didn't know if he would get a chance to make a third movie (reasonable thought process but man was he wrong). So he decided to condense it all into one movie. TDK was supposed to end at the scene with the flipping semi-truck. Then the thrid movie was going to be the trial of the Joker that would be derailed by the rise of Two Face.

Loved the TDK, looking forward to TDKR but that would have been an awesome movie to watch as well.

Posted by musim

X3? Really? Really? Ugh.

Edited by feargalr

Maybe I'm completely mad but.. blowing up parliament, despite the obvious differences to the comic carried some real weight for me.

Posted by mattwing87

@musim: I thought X3 was a great movie. Lots of mutants and I thought it had a great plot with a cure and a battle between mutants, other mutants and humans. I was disappointed that they killed off Cyclops, Jean and Xavier and that Rogue lost her powers but I don't care that it doesn't follow the comics. Nothing wrong with seeing a different telling of stories. It's kind of why I really like the Ultimate Marvel universe!

Posted by Deranged Midget

The scene between Steve and Peggy in First Avenger was very touching.

Moderator
Posted by TheMinister707

Bruce Wayne training with the League of Shadows and Ra's al Ghul in"Batman Begins"?

Posted by TheMinister707
Posted by jeanroygrant

@CaioTrubat said:

Well that is awesome

Posted by RedOwl_1

This just has happened to me once, and was on "Under The Red Hood" (yeah I'm sure that doesn't count)

@Deranged Midget said:

The scene between Steve and Peggy in First Avenger was very touching.

Yeah I cried badly :'( a-and then when Fury ask he if he'll be alright and he answers: Yeah, I just had a date D': HUGE CRY

Posted by Skajaquada

I still have yet to watch the Superman movies...

Posted by Deadcool

I liked more Thor and Loki's relationship, it felt like Loki vol 1... It was awesome:

Also THIS scene, THIS DAMN SCENE:

Posted by CrimsonTempest

I am completely surprised that Daredevil's fight with Elektra, and Elektra's death at the hands of Bullseye isn't mentioned here. The scene practically breathed life into Frank Miller's work!

Posted by soccersss

Take out number 4 and put in Tony's escape from the terrorists from Iron Man and you have a great list

Posted by Shadowsnake89

Cool list. Cap's was one of the best to me.

Posted by CATPANEXE

Not the most applauded film, but I would put the part of Superman Returns where they created a scene to turn into the cover of Action Comics #1 high on my own list. I thought that was really well played.

Posted by BlackArmor

@ApatheticAvenger said:

Number 4 was awful, that entire movie makes me ill.

Agreed

Posted by GREGalicious

@musim: I completely agree with this.

They could have at least chosen JEANs death near the end of X2. That I would understand.

Edited by cmaprice

As for Cap, this is wrong. The ending to the film was nonsensical, and his supposed sacrifice was meaningless.
 
It is established nowhere that the "bombs" were on a timer -- in fact, they were more fighter jets that had to themselves be piloted to do damage. There were no active enemies left to do so.
 
He was in control of the vehicle. He was piloting, and if he wasn't in control, he would have had to have done more than gently guide the plane into the water.
 
It didn't say he was out of fuel.  Even if he had been, this wouldn't be a heroic sacrifice, merely unfortunate happenstance.
 
He didn't infer that he had to destroy the technology, out of fear of even his own government getting a hold of it.
 
... 

 There was absolutely no reason for him to try to kill himself. His sacrifice was utterly meaningless, at least as it's framed by the theatrical cut of the film. All it came down to was "Hey, guys? Doesn't Cap have to get frozen at the end?" ... "Oh. Right."
 
Unless his motivation was to not go on a date with the gorgeous Hayley Atwell.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Joker cracking Dent? Nah, I disagree. If anything, the top spot should belong to a Batman movie...but not DK, but this scene...

Posted by zackattack529

hahah number 4 looks like wolverine and jean are gettin it onnnn XD

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