Zack Snyder’s fight scenes are often considered the highlight of his films for many. Often fast-paced without being overwhelming and frantic without being choppy, these sequences display a deep appreciation for action as a clear, flowing spectacle, typically unhindered by pauses for dialogue to allow the battles to play out freely.
For the time being, Snyder’s tenure in the DC universe is over, but with three films, he has had every opportunity to blow the minds of viewers with his visual forte. Well over a dozen great action scenes can be viewed thanks to Good Samaritans on YouTube, and the director’s upcoming science fiction Netflix movie Rebel Moon is sure to wow fans further.
10 Steppenwolf vs Amazons
Fans were beyond excited to see Steppenwolf’s restored design throw down in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. His introduction on the mystical island on Themyscira, come to claim the Amazonian Mother Box, depicted him as an unstoppable, relentless beast. Meaner, scarier, and more violent, no Amazon’s survival is certain.
But the Amazons also got to show their mettle, slowing down the New God in a lethal game of “Pass The Mother Box” as they sacrificed their lives to keep the ancient doomsday weapon out of his hands. Although fans were disappointed with Steppenwolf’s triumph, they were certainly entertained by the sequence unfolding as it established him as the big threat of Snyder’s magnum opus.
9 Batmobile Chase
Batman’s brutal streak in Batman v Superman hits its highest point when he employs the Batmobile and its myriad of weapons to pursue the Kryptonite being transported through the Gotham Sea Port. The chase tears up the streets of Gotham, ripping through buildings and oil tankers as Batman unleashes unstoppable vehicular carnage.
The fight is concluded by the sudden intervention of Superman, preventing him from catching up to his coveted Kryptonite goal. From start to finish, the scene shows the power of Batman’s destructive arsenal and the overwhelming strength of Superman in comparison – ultimately showing fans how great the epic battle between them will be.
8 Superman vs The World Engine
In Man of Steel, with the fate of the world in the balance, Superman did battle with the mechanical monstrosity in the Indian Ocean, threatening to literally flatten the planet. The machine was defended by tendrils of liquid geometry distinct to Kryptonian technology, attacking the flying superhero with pincers chasing him through the air.
Added tension comes from the Daily Planet staff on the opposite side of the planet, struggling not to get crushed by the widening gravity wave from Zod’s ship. It is such a uniquely comic book sequence, filled with all the unique sci-fi qualities that denote Superman’s classic adventures fighting gigantic enemies.
7 Justice League vs Superman
The execution of Superman’s resurrection made a powerful moment for those eager to see the return of the Man of Steel after his untimely demise. When things go South and the viewers learn his memories are missing, hearts drop at the possibility that the League made a terrible mistake in reviving him. Fortunately, Batman’s intense faith proves well-placed when Lois Lane saves the day.
But what makes the scene stand out in Zack Snyder’s Justice League is the moment Superman turns his gaze towards the Flash in slow-motion – a heart-stopping highlight of the sequence that shows just how powerful he is (particularly since he can keep up with the speedster). When he can take on the entire Justice League by himself, the audience is glad he is ultimately on humanity’s side. For now.
6 Batman vs Superman
“Men like that, words don’t stop him. You know what stops him? A fist.” Superman takes these words to heart and soon gives up on reasoning with the hateful Batman, only for a fist to prove useless when the Dark Knight turns the tables with a Kryptonite gas grenade, evening the odds. The increasingly villainous vigilante unleashes the peak of his cruelty and brutality upon the man onto whom he projects his insecurities.
It is perhaps the slowest of Snyder’s fight scenes throughout the three movies. Clocking in at seven minutes and forty seconds, it is a brutal and painful back-and-forth crafted to feel weighty and heavy. At the same time, the ticking clock of Martha’s fate gives the scene added tension. The foolish conflict between the two characters makes them their own worst enemies in this Arthurian showdown.
5 Trinity vs Doomsday
Wonder Woman’s debut is often considered to be the coolest moment of Batman v Superman, showing up to save the Dark Knight from Doomsday’s heat vision at the last second. Then Superman joined the fight, officially completing DC’s iconic “Trinity” to take the monster on together. Then it concludes with Superman’s sacrifice, ultimately showing why he is the bravest character in the DCEU.
For those who felt Superman was wronged beneath Batman’s boot, the Caped Crusader finds himself on the ropes the instant Doomsday sets his sights on him, gleaning karmic satisfaction from seeing him outgunned by the true monster of the movie. Plus, while the heroes battle (or flee from) Doomsday, Lois is drowning under a slab of debris, giving the battle yet more tension.
4 Superman vs Zod
Hans Zimmer’s score for Man of Steel amplifies the tragedy of seeing the last two Kryptonians alive, locked in mortal combat for the fate of humanity while the world crumbles beneath their clash. The intensity of the battle also escalates as Zod masters his powers over time, eventually taking them into space, going all-in on the immense scale of a fight between two god-like beings.
Boasting perhaps the best CGI of the series due to the film’s focus on realism, it is a sight to behold. Fans could also see every ounce of pain and fatigue Superman was enduring, with their hearts breaking for the Kryptonian when he screamed in frustration after killing Zod.
3 Justice League vs Steppenwolf
Inside Steppenwolf’s fortress, Cyborg, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman battled the armored villain swinging his electro-axe in a stunning three-on-one exchange, where the film’s fantasy-esque visuals work their best. The kicker came when Superman joined the fight, filling the moment with a sense of triumph, heralded by the fanfare version of his “Flight” theme from Man of Steel.
The sequence flowed beautifully from awesome, to desperate, to glorious. At the same time, every hero had a fulfilling role to contribute – Cyborg went for the Unity, Aquaman and Wonder Woman kept Steppenwolf busy long enough for Superman to show up, Batman finished off the Parademons, and Flash built a charge circling the city at lightspeed.
2 Smallville Fight
The intense, fast-paced, destructive nature of Kryptonian-versus-Kryptonian combat seen here was a wonder to behold, the first time action in a Superman film had been elevated to a modern standard. In the Kansas town, Superman tussled with two trained Kryptonian warriors while the US Military bombarded the streets with fire in an attempt to kill the three aliens.
Broken up by Superman doing his best to save the hapless soldiers without dying himself, it remains one of the best DCEU superhero fight scenes of all time for its sheer brutal intensity and a first great look at a Superman comic fight come to life. Not to mention, despite being merely a minion for General Zod, the scene elevated Faora into an incredible antagonist in her own right.
1 Warehouse Fight
Often considered the best Batman fight scene ever, this is the moment Batman fully embodied the monstrous martial capabilities of his comic book counterpart, unleashing all his skills and gadgets to defeat two dozen bad guys. The choreography is flawless, our hero flowing smoothly from one thug to the next in a style many have compared to the Arkham series of video games.
There is a satisfaction to be found in seeing the Dark Knight finally on the right track again, trying to save Martha Kent after spending most of the film pursuing the death of Superman. It is a cathartic moment that unleashes the fury of a Batman who has everything to lose, fighting by the very core of what the character stands for: saving others from the tragedy he suffered as a child.
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