2016 has been at once remarkable, and brutal. But now that the year is (finally) over, we can look back on some of the most triumphant, and sometimes controversial, moments in movies and TV shows based on our favorite Marvel and DC characters.
AGENT CARTER SEASON 2 – OPENING FIGHT SCENE
The year started with the second season of Marvel’s Agent Carter, a show that not only continues the adventure of Captain America’s paramour in the 1940’s, but also works as a prequel for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In the very first episode, we find ourselves immediately rooting for Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) as she kicks ass against Soviet spy Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan) and stands on her own in a man’s world.
DEADPOOL – HIGHWAY FIGHT
The February surprise hit that proved you can break all the rules with traditional superhero telling, like raunchy humor and over the top violence, this is the scene that is based on the leaked footage that rallied the internet to convince Fox to fund a movie about everybody’s favorite Merc with a Mouth. Boy, did it pay off. Thank you, Ryan Reynolds.
LEGENDS OF TOMORROW SEASON 1 – 2046 STAR CITY
While Legends of Tomorrow already had a strong start in January, it was this episode in February that truly stood out. In large post-apocalyptic sets, we see the Legends in their full costumed glory battling alongside a Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) with a lost limb like in The Dark Knight Returns and a beard straight from the classic comics. Finally, like in the pages, Oliver Queen hands off his legacy to Connor Hawke (Joseph David-Jones).
DAREDEVIL SEASON 2 – ROOFTOP ARGUMENT SCENE
Following the critically acclaimed first season of Daredevil was no easy task, but it would be very hard to argue against the second season not reaching that same level. Thus, it was very difficult to decide just one moment, but this moment stands out as not only establishing the crux for most of the season, it also is a great moral and philosophical argument between two vigilantes. Played brilliantly by Charlie Cox and Jon Bernthal, who ended up with his own spinoff as the Punisher, due to the overwhelmingly positive response to his acting.
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE – WONDER WOMAN APPEARS
Though the main bulk of the movie focused on the conflict between Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill), it was the first appearance of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) that steals the show. From the first moment we see the beautiful Amazon, a guitar riff lets us know this warrior princess is ready to rumble against Doomsday.
SUPERGIRL SEASON 1 – FLASH CROSSOVER
A common theme of 2016 superhero productions has been hero vs hero. Supergirl subverted that by having her and the Flash becoming allies and eventually friends. The bubbly personalities of both Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin led to great chemistry between their characters, to the delight of fans everywhere.
ARROW SEASON 4 – BLACK CANARY MURDERED BY DAMIEN DARHK
The fourth season of Arrow took a tragic, and controversial, turn when the season’s villain Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) murdered the Black Canary (Katie Cassidy) with one of Green Arrow’s own arrows. While McDonough clearly enjoyed chewing the scenery, this scene made him go down as just as deadly for Team Arrow as Merlyn (John Barrowman) and Deathstroke (Manu Bennett) before him. The ending scene with Captain Lance (Paul Blackthorne) losing one of his daughters all over again is heartbreaking. No wonder he relapsed into alcoholism the next season.
X-MEN: APOCALYPSE – QUICKSILVER RESCUE
In a movie that embraced the comics more so than any other prior in the franchise, this scene tops the previously praised Quicksilver scene from the prior film, X-Men: Days of Future Past. Here’s hoping we’ll see even more of Quicksilver (Evan Peters) in the sequel.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR – AIRPORT BATTLE
The first appearance of Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) scratching Captain America’s shield. The face-off between Team Cap and Team Iron Man. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) riding Hawkeye’s arrow. Ant-Man turning into Giant-Man. There’s just too many moments in this triumphant scene with the most superheroes on screen ever.
THE FLASH SEASON 2 – THE RUNAWAY DINOSAUR
Not every moment on this list is about the action. This scene from an episode directed by Kevin Smith, is emotionally powerful as Barry Allen bonds with a living memory of his mother in the Speed Force, and is brought home by his love for his friends and Iris West.
GOTHAM SEASON 2 – THE RETURN OF FISH MOONEY
Seemingly killed by the Penguin last season, insane Professor Hugo Strange (B.D. Wong) brought Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) back to life in a secret underground experiment beneath Arkham Asylum. Most of his test subjects came back to life as superpowered monsters, but Fish not only retained her memory, but proved why no one else will ever be the boss of her.
SUICIDE SQUAD – HARLEY QUINN CHEMICAL BATH
This is the scene that changed fan favorite Harleen Quinzel’s life forever. Already brainwashed into falling into an abusive relationship with the Joker (Jared Leto), she proves her undying loyalty by throwing herself into the same vat where Mister J was tragically born. From this moment, Harleen is no more, replaced by Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie).
LUKE CAGE SEASON 1 – POWER MAN COSTUME
There were many powerful scenes in this great show that explored racial justice in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but this moment stands out as a loving homage to the silver tiara and puffy yellow shirt worn by Luke Cage (Mike Colter) in the 1970’s comics.
SUPERGIRL SEASON 2 – SUPERMAN
Teased multiple times during the last season, we finally get to see the Man of Steel in all his Silver Age inspired glory alongside his cousin Supergirl. Charming and nerdy, audiences were won over by the TV version of Superman (Tyler Hoechlin), which many claim feels more like the hero they know from the comics.
ARROW SEASON 5 – PREMIERE FIGHT SCENE
The first two seasons of Arrow won over fans with its brutal and well-choreographed fight scenes. Unfortunately, many fans felt that the fight scenes, and overall quality, of Arrow had gone down in seasons three and four. This intense and perhaps even jaw-dropping scene from the premiere of season 5 showed that they were aiming higher to bring back Arrow in a big way.
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. SEASON 4 – GHOST RIDER
Making his fiery demonic appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this fiery moment won over just about everybody who was concerned if Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could actually pull off Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna). After this, the Ghost Rider would make his presence known many more times this season.
DOCTOR STRANGE – BARGAINING WITH DORMAMMU
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), alongside the Punisher, Elektra (Elodie Yung), Spider-Man, Black Panther, Luke Cage and Ghost Rider, made their first official appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2016. This moment in particular proved why Stephen Strange is deserving of the title of Sorcerer Supreme, by tricking one of the most powerful inter-dimensional demons, Dormammu, into a time trap and sacrificing himself over and over, in a bargain to save the universe.
LEGENDS OF TOMORROW SEASON 2 – INVASION
The CW has done something that no other network has, in successfully establishing and crossing over a TV universe based on DC Comics superheroes. In a major crossover event based on the comic book event Invasion, it finally concluded on Legends of Tomorrow, where heroes from all four shows united to stop an alien invasion, in a scene that potentially rivals that in the movies.
After such an exciting 2016 on screen, 2017 is sure to have many great surprises in store for fans of comic book characters in the cinema and on their televisions.
We can hardly wait.
Nick Corbin is a filmmaker and writer who hails from Boise, Idaho. When he isn’t busy acting, or writing a screenplay for his own production company, Nick can be found consuming any geek media he can get his hands on. To start a conversation, ask him about the latest cosplay he is working on.