After debuting in the pages of the comic books nearly a century ago, Superman has been perhaps the most iconic superhero of all time. With that level of popularity, of course, came movies, with the classic films starring Christopher Reeve right up to the more recent films in the DCEU.
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There is a thrill to seeing a hero like Superman take on the bad guys and save the day. The climaxes of these live-action films have thrilled audiences of all ages while some of them have maybe been a bit disappointing. Looking back on each of the live-action films featuring Superman, here are the climaxes ranked from worst to best.
Superman III is often criticized for being too cartoonish and filled with slapstick humor. When looking at the film's climax, it's hard to argue with that criticism. As an evil corporate villain is trying to use a super-computer to carry out disasters around the world that will benefit him financially, Superman flies in to save the day.
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The sequence is filled with ridiculous moments, like the villain playing a video game that fires rockets at Superman. There is also a moment when the computer inexplicably turns one of the villains into a cyborg which Superman then has to fight. It was a strange way to end an already strange movie.
Christopher Reeve gives his final performance as Superman in this fourth adventure. After giving such an iconic performance in the role, it's a shamehe didn't have a better movie to end on.
Superman IV: The Quest For Peace centers around Superman's attempts to rid the world of nuclear weapons, but Lex Luthor succeeds in creating a new villain named Nuclear Man. The movie is little more than Superman and Nuclear Man chasing each other around the world and getting into dull fights. Even when they take their battle to the moon, it's not very exciting, largely due to the boring villain.
Fans had been waiting for years to see the Justice League team up in a live-action film. Though Justice League has some fun moments in it, the fact that it is overall a rather forgettable film is a massive disappointment for the DCEU.
Even the climactic battle against the villainous Steppenwolf fails to deliver much fun. There are some good character moments and action sequences, and the return of Superman is pretty thrilling. But once Superman shows up, the fight is pretty much over and it makes you wonder why the team was even necessary in the first place.
The long-awaited face-off between Batman and Superman was another big letdown for the DCEU, with many fans put off by the dark and over-plotted story. However, the movie did deliver some exciting action, including the fight between the two heroes and Batman's raid of a criminal warehouse.
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The climactic battle against Doomsday is, sadly, not as thrilling as those other sequences. There is some fun seeing Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman team up, withWonder Woman easily stealing the show. But the last-minute addition of Doomsday feels tacked on as does Superman's death at the end of the fight.
After a long hiatus from any big-screen adventures, Superman Returns sought to, well, return the character to his heroic roots in the continuation of the original Richard Donner films. Some fans found this new entrytoo reliant on nostalgia, but it does effectively show Superman at his most heroic.
After Lex Luthor creates a new island made out of Kryptonite, Superman is weakened. But with the new expanding land threatening others, Superman uses all of his strength to fly the island into space before crashing back down to Earth. It is a moment that reminds everyone of the kind of hero Superman is one who will do whatever it takes to save the day.
Though not all of the Christopher Reeve's sequels were successful, Superman II is considered by many to be an equal or possibly greater film than the original. The film sees Superman meet his match as three Kryptonian criminals, led by General Zod, arrive on Earth, and challenge the son of Jor-El.
After losing his power for a short time, Superman returns, ready to take on the challengers. The exciting fight begins in the skies over Metropolis before heading to the Fortress of Solitude. Though the action might not be as fast-paced as modern superhero movies, it's a fun and clever battle with villains who are Superman's equals.
Superman took on Zod once again in Zack Snyder's Man of Steel. Zod comes to Earth seeking out Superman as an ally. Hehopes to transform the planet into a new Kryptonian home, but it means the death of the human race. Obviously, Superman will not stand for that.
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The massive destruction of the battle drew criticism, but it feels like it carries consequences in the later films. Snyder does shape some pretty thrilling fight sequences and the moment when Superman is forced to kill Zod, while controversial, was as an interesting new path to take the iconic hero.
While there are plenty of fans of Snyder's version of Superman, many feel that this darker version of was missing the fundamental hero component of his character. It is not just that he is a godlike being, he is capable of saving lives and is a beacon of good around the world.
The original Superman movie really embraced this aspect of the character, especially in the climax. After Luthor generates an earthquake that threatens the entire West Coast, Superman flies around saving school buses from bridges and trains filled with passengers. And when he finds the quake killed Lois Lane, he flies around the world as fast as he can and reverses time to save her. It's ridiculous, but it's the kind of feel-good heroics the character has always embodied.
NEXT:Superman: 10 Best TV & Film Costumes, Ranked
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A writer and film fan. I always enjoy keeping up with the latest films in theaters as well as discovering some hidden gems I may have overlooked. Glad to be a part of Screen Rant's positive and fun community and have the opportunity to share my thoughts with you.
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