Hollywood has come a long way since Adam West’s Batman was the standard-bearer of superhero smackdown-ery. Now the only thing holding good guys and bad guys back is the imagination of the people behind the camera. But no matter how many cities Superman demolishes, no matter how many moons Thanos tosses, one thing that remains fairly consistent is how these action sequences fit into the structure of their respective films, pushing the narrative along and looking damn good while they do it.
As Super Movie Madness continues here at IGN, where you the IGN audience can vote to help determine the best superhero movie ever, we’re going to break down how these action scenes, large and small, fit into the superhero stories these movies celebrate. Every superhero movie isn’t created equal, so some movies may handle their spectacle a little differently, but when you’re a studio pumping $100 million into a blockbuster, generally you’re comforted by sticking to a tried and true formula.
With that, let’s talk about how superhero movies handle action scenes, act by act.