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The Most Epic Superhero Entrances In Movies

If a superhero movie doesn't have an epic entrance, is it even a superhero movie? After all, there are certain tropes we expect to see in superhero flicks. The evil villain bent on world domination, the damsel (or dude) in distress, and the shameless marketing tie-ins. All of them are so common, they border on cliche. Yet as expected as it is, the one trope that never fails to get an audience excited is the epic superhero entrance. Yes, even if Deadpool mocks it, the epic superhero entrance is exactly what we want from our comic book flicks. 

Seriously, how much of a let down would it be if Batman just opened a door, sitcom-dad style? Or if Superman phoned first before arriving to save the day? Or Iron Man snuck in with a group of friends so as not to draw attention to himself? See, superheroes can't enter a scene like the rest of us because they aren't like the rest of us. That would simply spoil the awesomeness. When the situation seems dire and the music starts to swell, that's when the superhero has to save the day. Cue goosebumps. Of course, while the formula is familiar, not all epic superhero entrances are created equal. Some are simply more awesome than others. From the Man of Steel to Earth's Mightiest Heroes, here are the most epic superhero entrances in movies.

Superman: The Movie makes you believe a man can fly

The promotion for Superman: The Movie promised that we'd "believe a man can fly." It was a bold claim, and one the movie had to back up. Richard Donner and company weren't going for childish glee, like all previous live-action Superman incarnations. Nor were they shooting for kitschy fun, like the 1960s Batman TV show starring Adam West. No, they truly wanted you to believe, and every frame was directed toward that end. John Williams' swashbuckling score over the spacey credits kicks things off masterfully. The jarring juxtaposition of Marlon Brando's Jor-El spewing philosophical precepts on the pristine planet Krypton against the scenic plains of Smallville, Kansas, continues the momentum. Yet none of it would mattered if you didn't believe a man could fly. 

Casting Christopher Reeve, who could make a Bud Light commercial feel heroic, was critical. Equally critical were the special effects. If we saw just one wire carrying the Man of Steel like a marionette, it would all be ruined. Thankfully, none of that happened. Clark Kent arrives at his Fortress of Solitude and takes on the mantle of Kal-El, the Last Son of Krypton. Brando intones that his only son will be the light to show the humanity the way. Cue Williams' orchestral march as Christopher Reeve flies in costume and into legend, ready to deliver a five-finger patriotic punch of truth, justice, and the American Way.

Superman will always show up to save the day

After Superman: The Movie ruled the box office in 1978, a sequel was a foregone conclusion. Actually, it was happening regardless of the money, because both movies were filmed at the same time. Despite a lot of behind-the-scenes drama with directors, Superman II eventually took flight, and the plot finds our fair planet in peril as three Kryptonians escape their floating mirror prison and seek vengeance on the son of the man who put them there. Powered by our solar system's yellow sun, this trio of space meanies imprisons humanity, even forcing the President of the United States to kneel before Zod. Meanwhile, talk about bad timing, Superman has given up his powers so he can be with his love, Lois Lane, which seems remarkably shortsighted given the circumstances. All hope seems lost when the three Kryptonians take Lois hostage, hoping to lure the Man of Tomorrow out for a round of fisticuffs. But as they say, be careful what you wish for. A remarkable gust of wind sweeps through the now morbid streets of Metropolis. It's a bird. It's a plane. Nope, it's the red and blue Boy Scout coming to kick Zod's butt.

Batman crashes the party

Tim Burton is mostly known for his incredibly eccentric style, but the dude clearly has sharp box office sensibilities. Take Batman, for instance. The movie's success — arguably the most influential flick in the superhero genre and one of the biggest hits of the 1980s — is directly attributable to this one fact: Fanboys dug it. And they were especially crazy about Batman's entrances.

This film features two iconic entrances, which fans are still quoting (and filmmakers are still copying) 30 years later. Batman's first appearance comes in the beginning of the film and features Michael Keaton taking out two hoodlums who've just mugged a family. Terrified, one of the crooks asks, "What are you?" And Keaton dismisses them with the simple but sublime, "I'm Batman." It was such an effective line that it's become the actor's personal catchphrase

Arguably even more awesome was Batman's entrance later in the flick, after Jack Nicholson's Joker has just murdered hundreds of museum-goers, destroyed priceless artwork, and boogied the best dad dance to Prince's "Party Man." But after the Clown Prince of Crime kidnaps innocent reporter Vicki Vale, that's when Batman's like, "Enough of this." Suddenly, the Caped Crusader bursts through the glass ceiling with perfect timing. After all, timing is everything, in show business and superheroics.

Batman Begins borrows from the best

Remember what we said about filmmakers copying the "I'm Batman" moment? Well, that line was so memorable it was repeated 16 years later in the Warner Brothers' reboot, Batman Begins. You know your scene is special when even uber-original director Christopher Nolan feels the need to borrow it. The setup, however, is much different. This isn't our first encounter with Bruce Wayne by this point. We've been with Wayne on his journey from disenchanted youth to prison baddie to ninja warrior. And after an hour of buildup, we see him for the first time as the man in black. Vicious mob boss Carmine Falcone is making a deal on the docks, like he has safely done a million times before. But this is Batman's town now. With the pacing of a horror movie, a shadowy figure takes out the hoods one by one. Falcone attempts to escape in his limo, but Batman's all like, "No sir." Once again, when the villain asks "what the h*** are you," he's met with a guttural "I'm Batman," followed by a vicious Bat-headbutt to the skull. Hey, just because a moment is an homage doesn't make it any less epic.

Superman returns with a truly heroic entrance

Superman Returns was not a great movie. Not bad, just ... meh. So meh in fact, that Warner Brothers abandoned this $200 million franchise restart, only returning to the character after another seven years hiatus. However, given the fanfare for Brandon Routh's return to the role, clearly the movie did something right. And maybe that has something to do with the fact that Routh knows how to make an epic entrance as the Man of Steel.

So here's the setup for the scene. Superman has been gone for five years. Lois Lane is on a commercial jet being carried by a NASA space shuttle, and a villainous Lex Luthor has just set off a global electromagnetic shock. And of course, that's when you-know-who returns to Earth. Through the windows of the jet we see something red and blue streak by, faster than a speeding bullet, as the opening strings of John Williams score tease Superman's arrival. Long story short, Superman saves the day. Nothing fancy, but bear in mind, this was the first time we got to see a live-action Superman with modern CGI special effects. The scene was the highlight of the film, proving that even a mediocre movie can have an epic entrance. And after the depressing darkness of the Snyderverse, maybe we should have appreciated Superman Returns more.

The Avengers assemble for the first time

With six different characters with six different skill sets, The Avengers has more than its share of epic entrances. There's Iron Man rescuing Cap from Loki, and Thor riding a wave of lightning to capture his imprisoned brother, just for starters. But the most memorable of the bunch comes in the film's final act, during the battle of New York. A giant evil space slug is attacking New York City. Mild-mannered Bruce Banner arrives on a scooter, ready to take it out. Captain America says, "Dr. Banner, now might be a really good time for you to get angry." Banner smirks and utters the line that launched a million memes: "That's my secret, Cap. I'm always angry." This moment is actually two entrances for the price of one, as it immediately leads into the now-classic Avengers wraparound scene. Originally, they were six individuals. Now, they're a team. Avengers assemble!

Batman lights up the screen

Batman just seems to naturally lend himself to awesome entrances, and for proof, look no further than The Dark Knight Rises. The final entry in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogymay not have quite lived up to its sky-high expectations, but it wasn't for of a lack of awesome entrances. The first sees Batman returning after eight years, after the League of Shadows has just invaded Gotham's equivalent of Wall Street. As night falls on the city, the police are in hot pursuit of the villains. Suddenly, several overhead lights go out. An older cop knows what's about to happen and tells his rookie, "You are in for a show tonight, son." As Hans Zimmer's score reaches its crescendo, we realize the old-timer is right — Batman is back. But then he gets his back broken by Bane, winds up imprisoned underground in an undisclosed desert, and watches helplessly and hopelessly as Gotham City is held hostage by terrorists. Boy, that sucks. However, you can't keep a good bat down, and the Caped Crusader rises from his subterranean prison and returns home. Of course, he can't just sneak up on the unsuspecting Bane. No, that would be too simple (and not cinematic). He has to make a statement. So he sets a bridge on fire with his symbol. Like you do. Maybe it's not practical, but who cares? It's totally awesome.

A terrible movie with a wonderful entrance

While there have been a bazillion attempts to bring Wonder Woman to the big screen, the Amazonian warrior princess hadn't been seen in live action since Linda Carter. However, that changed in the most unlikely of places: the first on-screen pairing of Batman and Superman. Despite the disappointment that followed in its wake, it's hard to overstate just how monumental Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was for fanboy culture. This was the first time Batman and Superman would share the screen in a live-action film. Plus, Wonder Woman was going to show up too. The holy trinity of DC characters, and three-fourths of the Mount Rushmore of Comic Book Heroes, were all going to be in a movie at the same time. It should've been great. 

It was not. 

However, while the movie was nightmare-inducing, Wonder Woman's entrance was a dream come true for millions of fans worldwide. While Diana Prince had been a principal character in the film, she didn't appear in the red, white, blue and gold until the final battle. Doomsday is about to blast Batman into oblivion when — with her now iconic, Led Zeppelin-like theme wailing in the background — Wonder Woman appears to save the day. If your movie is only going to have one good moment, make it a great one.

Here comes the Spider-Man

Spider-Man is Marvel's most famous character and one of the most popular heroes in comic book history. By the time Captain America: Civil War arrived in 2016, the character had been on the screen five times, breaking several box office records along the way. Even so, after the dreadful Amazing Spider-Man films, web-heads worldwide had grown weary of what they were getting, and they wanted to see their favorite friendly neighborhood superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

And sure, Spider-Man's entry in the MCU wasn't exactly heroic. There was no fanfare, orchestral score, or saving of innocents. He simply swung into the middle of a tense confrontation between Iron Man and Captain America. He wasn't even really the focus of the scene. However, that was the point. Here was a fresh, unexpected vision of a character we'd grown accustomed to. Marvel's franchise star was taking a backseat to two characters who only in the last 15 years had become mainstream blockbuster stars in their own right. It reflected the character perfectly. Here he was, a literal kid learning the ropes of how to be a hero. In other words, this was the essence of Spider-Man. Sometimes epic doesn't have to be "epic."

Wonder Woman goes to war

Directed by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman features an entrance unlike any other. Taking place in the grisly pits of World War I trench warfare, the setting is more reminiscent of Band of Brothers than of a superhero movie. After witnessing the suffering of innocent villagers and the madness of the war raging around her, Wonder Woman is moved to action. She bravely marches into No Man's Land, taking fire from thousands of German soldiers. Upon arriving in the imprisoned village of Veld, the Amazonian warrior princess pretty much single-handedly wins the battle like the demi-god she is. Once again, her theme is the soundtrack, and the screaming electric guitar totally works in the early 20th-century setting. In an era dominated MCU's effective, well-honed storytelling style and the DCEU's dark and dour films, there was something fresh and invigorating about good, old fashioned adventure storytelling. It was like Indiana Jones, only with two XX chromosomes and a lasso of truth. While the DCEU has had its ups and downs, Wonder Woman's entrance is definitely a high point.

Thor's epic superhero entrance is absolutely marvel-ous

In Avengers: Infinity War, Chris Hemsworth makes the kind of entrance that inspires actors to sign up for superhero movies. Of course, poor Thor has to go through quite a lot before he shows up to save the day. After getting smoked by Thanos in the first five minutes of the movie and watching both his best friend and brother die along the way, the god of thunder is in a very bad place. This dude wants revenge. But without his trusty hammer Mjolnir (destroyed by his wicked sister in Thor: Ragnorak), Thor needs a new weapon to take down the Mad Titan. Given he's a Norse god, he can't just pick up a rifle off the gun rack at his local Bass Pro. No, he needs something with a bit more bite. So he travels to the distant reaches of the galaxy to have a battle ax born from the heart of a star. 

Meanwhile, back on Earth, the battle of Wakanda is not going well for the Avengers. Thanos' armies have breached the force field, and they're on the verge of decimating the country. All hope seems lost when a beam of light rains down from the heavens. Thor's spinning ax, Stormbreaker, takes out the alien army like a fidget-spinner from hell. The Avengers theme blares, and Thor is back. Bruce Banner shouts, "You guys are so screwed now," and Thor demands his enemies bring him Thanos. It's hilarious and awesome all at once. Moments like this are why Marvel is so unstoppable. 

The game ends for Thanos

We all know that, despite their best efforts, the Avengers couldn't stop Thanos in Infinity War. The Mad Titan snaps his fingers, half the universe turns to dust, and the Avengers have to cook up a complicated time heist to right the wrongs of the past. And as we come to the end of Avengers: Endgame's gargantuan three-hour runtime, that's when we get one of the most epic entrances in all of cinema.

While Hulk successfully snaps the Infinity Stones and brings everybody back to life, Thanos now has the upper hand in the climactic battle. His million-monster army has caught the Avengers by surprise, and he seems poised to destroy what's left of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, reclaim the Infinity Stones, and destroy all life as we know it. The heroes once again find themselves in peril, when suddenly, Dr. Strange's familiar glowing orange disc appears. From the otherworldly body, out walks King T'Challa, the Black Panther. The last we saw him, he had dissipated into dust following Thanos' snap. He's soon joined by Dr. Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, and the remainder of our once-fallen heroes. Thanos' victory in Infinity War has been reversed. We're in the endgame now. The screen is soon populated by thousands of Wakandans, Asgardians, and other warriors, ready to wreak vengeance upon the wicked Thanos. Only one word can describe such an entrance: epic.