Marvel climaxes have become an entity by themselves. Several tracks of the film culminating into one massive VFX orgy, where reality and green screen become one. They’re long and (sometimes) laborious, and take an awfully long time to tell us that good prevails over bad. That’s the normal course, something that has been fiddled with by the recent Marvel films.
Here’s a definitive ranking (worst to best) of all climaxes within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU):
#8 Iron Man 2
The one that drones on and on. The one that takes the collective talents of Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke and Robert Downey Jr, and then just… exists. Hoping the state-of-the-art action set pieces will take care of themselves. A bland ending to a bland film.
#7 Spider-Man: Homecoming
For a film as fresh and subverting expectation as often as Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming, the climax was pretty substandard. Spidey and Vulture fighting around and inside a plane carrying the latest equipment from Stark Industries, that crashes on Coney Island. The screenwriters could have surely done better.
#6 Captain Marvel
An earnest origin film for one of the strongest superheroes in the MCU, Captain Marvel had a pretty underwhelming climax. After the BIG twist in the film, it all comes down to our Captain beating the villain to pulp with her bare hands. High stakes, where art thou?
#5 Thor: Ragnarok
Taika Waititi’s 2-hour long comedy sketch parading as a superhero film, had one of the most agonising climax sequences in an MCU movie. Only partly salvaged by Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, the climax for Ragnarok took up too much time to show Thor’s rebirth and even shortchanged Hela’s seemingly invincible powers.
#4 Black Panther
Ryan Coogler’s film surely had something Shakespearean about it, as two cousins duel to prevail as the true heir. In spite of the VFX-heavy action sequence towards the end, the film hits a high note when Killmonger gazes into Wakanda’s sunset with tears in his eyes. Coupled with Ludwig Goransson’s stunning score, the climax was obviously overwhelming.
#3 Marvel’s The Avengers
One of the most sleekly cut climaxes in all of MCU, Joss Whedon moves from one narrative thread to the other like a seasoned conductor. In spite of all the chaos taking place all over New York city, the payoff moment when the camera circles the Avengers with their backs to one another is huge. The climax for Marvels’s The Avengers became a benchmark of sorts, that Whedon himself couldn’t match in Age of Ultron.
#2 Avengers: Infinity War
Being the most expensive movie of the franchise, the choice made by the Russo brothers to eliminate half of our favourite superheroes was a bold one. And yet, how many of us expected to be moved to tears by MCU’s primary antagonist? The way the director-duo managed to wrap up Infinity War, will be taught in film schools.
#1 Captain America: Civil War
The Russo brothers again! Many braced themselves for a war to break out between Iron Man & Captain America. And yet, it is the beauty with which we’re made privy to the main conflict, is how blockbuster conflicts should be written. The unending circle of violence, the clash of two ideologies, Civil War is the finest climax out there in the MCU.
Can Endgame‘s climax trump any/all the films in this list? We’ll have to wait and find out.