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9. Hulk v Abomination (The Incredible Hulk, 2008)
“HULK...SMASH!” And smash he most certainly does, in this knock-down, drag-out monster vs monster scene from Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk, in which everybody's favourite green giant faces off against mutated foe Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), aka The Abomination. Taking place on a crowded New York street, the highlight comes when the Hulk rips apart a police car and uses both halves as boxing gloves. Awesome.
8. Captain America v Winter Soldier (Captain America: Winter Soldier, 2014)
Essentially the calling card that persuaded Marvel to hand over directorial duties on the Avengers franchise, Joe and Anthony Russo's Captain America sequel features a number of sensational fight sequences. In this beautifully choreographed scene, Captain America (Chris Evans) interrupts an attack by metal-armed, strength-enhanced assassin the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) on a stretch of freeway. The brutal, hand-to-hand combat between Cap and the Soldier is breath-taking, but the kicker comes when the Soldier's mask slips to reveal Cap's old friend Bucky, back from the dead after supposedly dying in WWII.
7. Ant-Man v Yellowjacket (Ant-Man, 2015)
Perhaps the most inventive action sequence the MCU has delivered so far, the central set-piece from Peyton Reed's Ant-Man (2015) is certainly the funniest, delivering several big laughs in amongst all the mayhem. With both Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll) shrunk down to insect size, the fight takes place on a train set in a child's bedroom, giving the impression of a full-size fight on a train. This is punctuated by comedy cutaways to a normal-sized spectator's point-of-view (trains falling over, etc), but the addition of Ant-Man's size-changing discs allows for extra moments of comic brilliance, such a now-train-sized Thomas the Tank Engine being flung out of a window.
6. Avengers v Chitauri / Loki (Avengers Assemble, 2012)
Arguably the moment Marvel fans had been waiting for since the Avengers movie was first announced, Joss Whedon's Avengers Assemble climaxes with the entire team – Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Hulk banding together to take on Loki and his invading alien army of Chitauri. The sequence is cleverly edited to show moments of the characters helping each other during the fights, with nifty combination moves, but there's also a thrill in seeing them all work together under Cap's command. (“And Hulk? Smash!”)
5. Guardians of the Galaxy v Space Prison (Guardians of the Galaxy, 2014)
An unexpected smash hit, James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy is effectively a superhero team-up in space, featuring a rag-tag group of anti-heroes who come together to fight a common cause. The central set-piece involves a brilliantly directed, sound-tracked-to-perfection prison break, during which super-strong Drax (Dave Bautista) knocks out several foes at once and talking raccoon Rocket (Bradley Cooper) cuts loose with a machine gun whilst getting a piggy-back from sentient tree Groot (Vin Diesel).
4. Hulk v Thor (Avengers Assemble, 2012)
Throughout comics history, Marvel have always pitted its strongest heroes against each other, with the result of each fight usually proving inconclusive, so as not to be seen to pick sides. Avengers Assemble pays tribute to that tradition with a fan-pleasing smackdown between an enraged Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and thunder god Thor (Chris Hemsworth) aboard S.H.I.E.L.D's helicarrier, with both heroes landing their share of crowd-pleasing punches (Thor clocking Hulk with his hammer, Hulk smashing Thor through several chunks of scenery) before the Hulk gets distracted by a pesky jumbo jet.
3. Captain America v Lift Full of S.H.I.E.L.D Agents (Captain America: Winter Soldier, 2014)
Sometimes the simplest fight scenes are the most satisfying. An undisputed highlight of Captain America: Winter Soldier occurs when Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) steps into an elevator at SHIELD HQ, which gradually fills with nervous-looking soldiers. Ever the gentleman, Steve offers the men the chance to get off the elevator before things get violent, after which the action explodes in a flurry of punches, kicks, elbow-thrusts and various other forms of close-quarters ass-kicking. Throughout all this, Steve is handicapped by a magnetic handcuff-device, which only makes his eventual victory all the more satisfying. Great shield-related pay-off moment too.
2. Hulk v Iron Man (Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2015)
If Thor's not around, you need some pretty spectacular back-up to be able to take on the Hulk. Fortunately, Tony Stark is the sort of chap to think ahead, so when the Hulk is brainwashed by the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) into attacking his friends, Stark deploys the Hulk-buster armour, nick-named Veronica (a complicated comics in-joke). The resulting fight is the highlight of Avengers: Age of Ultron as both heroes smack the proverbial seven bells out of each other, with Tony constantly wondering if his armour will withstand the assault. Veronica's secret weapon? The suit's pile-driver punch action. (“Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep...”)
1. Avengers v Avengers (Captain America: Civil War, 2016)
The trailer for Captain America: Civil War promises the mouth-watering spectacle of Team Cap and Team Iron Man facing off in an almighty scrap at a deserted airport. Happily, the sequence in question doesn't disappoint, delivering everything you could possibly hope for when it comes to superhero smackdowns. With a dozen-strong line-up that includes new recruits Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and a teenaged Spider-Man (Tom Holland), the scene gives you every possible combination of hero vs hero action, in a magnificent, no-holds-barred punch-up that's destined to spawn a billion gifs once the internet gets a hold of it.
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