- Warner Bros.
Superheroes are supposed to save us.
But they seem to tear into their cities more and more, especially in the movies. Whatever happened to that Spider-Man aphorism, “With great power comes great responsibility?”
Of course, epic battles mean there will be epic destruction. Marvel Comics went meta with its series “Damage Control,” which focuses on a company that cleans up the property damage caused by super-fights.
The latest comic-book movie, “Suicide Squad,” didn’t even wreak that much havoc compared to its peers.
These 13 superhero movies couldn’t contain themselves and were the worst offenders of city destruction.
“Man of Steel”
The worst offender. Zack Snyder’s first installment in the DC Extended Universe demolished a city like no other film. Not only does Superman uncharacteristically kill in this movie, but he also never attempts to take the fight out of Metropolis. He first turned his attention to the terraform that was in the middle of nowhere, rather than try to handle the one in the center of the city. And then even when his and Zod’s fight went into space, they still crashed back into Metropolis.
It’s what spurred the action of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” but the damage overall was estimated to cost about $700 billion (in a fictional world, of course), according to Buzzfeed.
Apocalypse uses Magneto’s powers to manipulate the earth’s magnetic poles and cause worldwide destruction, such as crushing the Sydney Opera House. The climactic battle between the X-Men and Apocalypse’s Four Horsemen takes place in Cairo, a city not often featured in superhero movies. Unfortunately, its first appearance is also its last because the Egyptian city is turned to rubble.
“Apocalypse” also sees the destruction of the X-Mansion – though everyone is saved in another great Quicksilver montage – and, at the hands of Magneto, also the destruction of Auschwitz, an unnecessary emotional and shocking moment.
“Avengers: Age of Ultron”
“Ultron” features the worst destruction in a Marvel film. There’s the obvious destruction from when Ultron raises most of Sokovia so that its fall would wipe out civilization. Another city is turned to rubble.
There’s also the unnecessary fight between Iron Man and Hulk. Hulk goes on a rampage and terrorizes a city, and Iron Man has no choice but to match his terror and wreck a market area, high-rises, and the streets to try to get him to stop.
“The Dark Knight Rises”
Christopher Nolan’s conclusion to his Batman trilogy tore into Gotham like no other. Bane expropriates the wealthy’s property and releases prisoners, causing mayhem. On a much larger scale, he collapses the tunnel system throughout the area, isolates the city by blowing up its bridges, and destroys a football field, with only one player (go Hines Ward!) outrunning the explosions.
If Joss Whedon’s superhero masterpiece had been real, the damage to New York would have cost$160 billion– less than the expense of “Man of Steel” but still more than the cost of 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina, according to The Hollywood Reporter. While immense damage was done, the Avengers’ priority was containment, which Captain America said mid-battle. So even though Cap ordered Hulk to “smash” and ultimately add even more damage to an already bruised city, they were at least aware of the possibility of casualties and tried to stop them, which helps to cushion the blow a little.
Zack Snyder liked to destory cities even before “Man of Steel.” “Watchmen”came before the DC Extended Universe and is Snyder’s first superhero film. The fighting is contained between characters until the end when the revealed villain detonates a nuclear bomb to take out New York City and frame superhero Dr. Manhattan so that the United States and the Soviet Union will have a common enemy and stop fighting the Cold War.
Peace is achieved but at the cost of the biggest city being demolished within seconds.
“Captain America: Civil War”
Destruction is the very reason the plot of “Civil War” unfolds. Wanda mistakenly destroys a building and kills several people in Lagos, Nigeria. It’s the first time we actually see a superhero be remorseful for the damage they have caused. Beyond the initial destruction, there’s also the explosion that occurs during the conference in Vienna thatkillsKing T’Chaka of Wakanda. Now it seems the superhero films are acknowledging that they’re trigger-happy and are trying to correct their repetitiveness.
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”
Zack Snyder just can’t help himself; he’s three out of three for massive city destruction in superhero films. The total destruction in “Man of Steel” is the reason for the plot of “BvS,” but it doesn’t mean history doesn’t repeat itself. The ultimate battle at the end of “Man of Steel” is viewed from Bruce Wayne’s perspective as he watches Wayne Tower crumble.
Thankfully, this time Snyder has the city mostly evacuated by the time the final fight happens, but there was still a lot of damage caused to those uninhabited buildings, and “BvS” also shockingly blew up the Capitol Building.
“X-Men: The Last Stand”
“X-Men: The Last Stand” is the worst of the early-2000s “X-Men” trilogy and it also features the worst damage. Before the final battle begins, Magneto moves the Golden Gate Bridge and makes it a pathway to Alcatraz so that the Brotherhood can attack Worthington Labs. In most X-Men movies, the battles are contained between mutants, as their fights are more personal – until the government started trying to undo their mutant genes. Then the fight expanded to the city.
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”
Spider-Man’s worst fights always seem to happen in Times Square – even when Tobey Maguire was Spidey. But while Maguire’s Spider-Man saw a decent amount of decay in Times Sqaure in 2002, Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker had a worse case to deal with in 2014. Recently transformed into Electro, Max Dillon initially causes damage to the city center accidentally, but once he is angered by Spider-Man forgetting his identity, he starts to destroy with a purpose. He causes a major blackout that results in the giant electronic billboards crashing to the ground.
“Thor: The Dark World”
“Thor: The Dark World” doesn’t have much going for it until it starts to destroy Greenwich, London, in an inventive portal-jumping battle. Old Royal Naval College really takes a beating.
“X-Men: Days of Future Past”
Magneto really knows how to do some damage and likes to move large landmarks. The climactic battle in “Days of Future Past” is actually contained because of the damage Magneto causes. He moves the entire RFK Stadium to block anyone from entering or exiting the White House.
“The Dark Knight”
Heath Ledger’s Joker caused more mental damage than he did physical and structural. He gets inside Batman’s head and forever changes Harvey Dent. Although of course, along the way, he does detonate some major bombs. Most notably, he forces the entire city to evacuate all of its hospitals after threatening to blow up one of them. Ultimately, he does, though fortunately no one is left inside, minimizing the damage done.