Best/Worst: Use of Superpowers
So you’re a mutant, or you’re the last survivor of a dead planet, or you’ve gone and gotten yourself bitten by a radioactive spider, chihuahua or mongoose. Whatever. Point is, you’ve got superpowers. What do you do with them?
We know Superman is strong, we know Magneto can control metal, but it’s how they put those powers to use that can be either jaw-droppingly awesome or butt-clenchingly silly. Sure, that’s a word.
Here are some of the best, and worst, examples of them super-folks using their powers in all manner of ways, some better than others.
Worst Use of Superpowers:
5. Mr. Fantastic Busts a Move, F4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
That’s a pretty shitty image, but that’s fine. We’re pretty sure if you see it in HD, the douche-chills would put you into cardiac arrest. In a film so completely forgettable, this one scene stands out. Mr. Reed Richards, smartest man in the world, decides to use his powers…..to get jiggy with it. You know, being the level-headed genius of the group. Though, in his defense, ‘Mr. Fantastic’ does make him sound more like the leader of a dance troupe than a superhero team.
4. Cyclops’ Wishy-Washy Powers, X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Bear with me, I’m about to go all ‘angry nerd’ on your asses.
Cyclops’ powers are the ability to shoot beams of pure concussive force from his eyes. That means those red beams are kinetic force; like a punch. But, for some reason, X-Men Origins: Wolverine turns them into beams of heat, much like Superman’s heat vision. Now, this wouldn’t be a problem, artistic license and all that, except the very same movie then contradicts it later on. Cyclops is one of the mutants whose powers get put into Deadpool (Don’t even…) at the end of the film. When he uses the eye-beams, they’re concussive force again, much like in every other X-Men movie.
To me, a nit-picking geek, it’s kind of like Spider-Man shooting web like he always does, except for one scene where semen dribbles out of his wrist. How’s that for a mental image.
3. Green Lantern Makes No Sense, Green Lantern
Man, I really wanted to like this movie.
Although it got a rough ride from reviewers, including our very own, Green Lantern did some things right. One of those things being the constructs created by the titular hero. The whole point of the Lantern ring is its power to create anything the wearer can imagine. And, throughout the film, we get to see some pretty spectacular stuff, which is fine and dandy….as long as it makes at least some kind of sense. When a helicopter crashes into the middle of a party, the safest way to handle the situation is not to create a racetrack and drive the exploding wreck haphazardly through the entire area. I’m pretty sure more people were in danger after Green Lantern showed up.
But then, Hal Jordan was kind of a dick.
2. Peter Parker: Alien Douchebag, Spider-Man 3
I know, I know, we were going to pretend like this movie never happened, but I can’t do it anymore.
After being exposed to an alien symbiote, mild-mannered Peter Parker starts to become…well, a douche. Which is a-okay, since the point of the symbiote, which would later become Venom, was that it gave the wearer increased powers but slowly corrupted them. And the best way, the writers felt, to show this corruption was….this sequence.
Instead of getting to see creepy, subtle shifts in Peter’s persona, we get to see him strut down the street, thrusting his spider-crotch in the direction of any woman unfortunate enough to pass by him. It is a baffling scene. First off, it thinks it is much funnier than it actually is. Second, it’s played as this hilarious “Look how silly Peter is!”-moment, but ends in him actually hitting Mary Jane.
It is just way off.
1. Superman Turns Back Time, Superman
Okay, wait, let’s just go through this.
A missile hits, causing a massive earthquake, and Superman flies around saving a bunch of people. Cool, I’ll buy that. While he’s saving all these other people, however, Lois Lane dies. Superman sees her body and goes into a fit of rage. Awesome, a little weird that they would kill Lois Lane in the first movie, but whatever. Superman then flies around the globe a bunch of times, fast enough to reverse it’s spin and go back in time, so he can save Lois.
Listen, I’ll be the first to slap someone for saying “That could never happen” during a sci-fi movie, but for the love of…This is cheating! That’s what this is! “Yep, he can travel back in time like that. But it’s super serious business so he can only do it the one time.”
But thankfully, now it’s time for the
Best Use of Superpowers:
5. Dash Messes With his Teacher, The Incredibles
Sure, if you had superpowers you’d save the world and all that good stuff. But don’t even pretend you wouldn’t also be a jackass when the mood struck you.
Dashiell ‘Dash’ Parr is a young kid with super-speed. He’s not allowed use his powers to do…anything, really, so he does what any kid would do. He makes his teacher’s life a living hell. I mean, we only ever get to see him put tacks on his teacher’s chair, and I think we should be thankful. Who knows, if he had never gotten to put his powers to good use, he may have graduated from using tacks to dead animals. Kids, seriously.
4. Iron Man Takes on an Army, Iron Man
When Tony Stark realizes he actually has a conscience, terrorists beware. Using his newly-minted Iron Man Mark III armor, Tony swoops into the Middle East to deliver some much-needed justice/revenge to the terrorists who have, until now, had free reign.
Up ’til now we’ve seen Tony construct a makeshift armor for escape, which was pretty impressive, but quick to fall apart. Next, we see him take his new armor out for a joy-ride. But in this sequence we finally get to see the absolute weapon of mass destruction Tony has created. He takes on a veritable army without so much as denting his armor to any real extent. He completely demolishes the terrorists, and blows up their tank for good measure. When this happens? He is Iron Man.
3. Magneto Extracts Iron from Blood, X2
Man, Ian McKellen is badass.
Trapped in a plastic prison, Magneto has his trusty right-hand Smurfette, Mystique, seduce the guard and, once he’s out cold, inject him with a solution with high iron content. This leads to Magneto being able to manipulate the metal in said guard’s bloodstream, which allows for an escape.
Let me just get this out of the way: I know it doesn’t make any sense.
But seriously, what a fantastic scene. In the first X-Men movie, seeing Magneto manipulate the guns of every policeman who had arrived to stop him showed the scope of his powers. But seeing him reach into the bloodstream of a person and extract the iron from it, shows us the finesse and expertise with which he wields them. He truly is the master of magnetism, and at this point you’re just glad he’s (temporarily) fighting with the good guys.
2. Batman Debuts at the Docks, Batman Begins
How’s this for making an entrance?
What really sells this whole sequence is showing us something we’ve never gotten to see before: Batman taking down a bunch of thugs from the thugs’ perspective. The scene plays like something out of a horror movie, with some dark monstrosity picking them off one by one. There is no fear like fear of the unknown. These crooks have no idea what the hell is going on. A scream here, a gun on the ground there…For all they know, there could actually be a monster in the shadows.
This scene is not only the first time Batman takes to the streets. You are witnessing the birth of the legend of Batman. Imagine what the hell these guys will think when they wake up in jail, the stories they’ll tell whoever will listen. That the shadows came alive and ate them up. That’s Batman, right there.
1. Azazel kicks ass, X-Men: First Class
I may catch some heat for this, but hear me out!
When I first set out to do this list, I never doubted what was going to be the #1 scene. The opening scene of X2, where Nightcrawler completely dismantles the President’s guard detail in a blur of smoke and tail-whipping. But then I remembered Azazel.
Watching the Nightcrawler sequence from X2, I saw that ol’ Kurt Wagner doesn’t kill anyone. He throws the guards around like ragdolls, but there are no actual casualties, because mind-control or not, he is a good guy. Azazel has no such reservations. This scene from X-Men: First Class shows us what a teleporter with a taste for blood can do. He snaps necks using his tail, he appears behind a guard, impales him and disappear in a cloud of smoke. Hell, during a particularly unsettling moment in the fight he starts grabbing guys, teleporting them up into mid-air and letting them fall to their deaths.
Regardless of how he eventually gets taken out a little too easily, Azazel completely steals the scene. He exudes menace and, during this scene, he uses his powers like a professional hitman.
Honorable Mention: Xavier puts Magneto in drag, X-Men: First Class
As you may remember from watching the movie, Charles and Erik go globe-trotting to recruit young mutants to their cause. In a deleted scene, to convince a young mutant to join them, Charles…..well….I’ll just let you see for yourself.