Superheroes have always been astounding individuals. Whether their stories consist of saving a neighborhood, a family, or the entire universe, their efforts and charisma always make for awesome moments.
But there's one thing in particular that can make a cool character that much cooler: an expertly chosen backing track.
Whether it's perfectly timed to fit the scene or it's thematically resonant with the film's story, a singular song can elevate a movie to heights that would not have been reached otherwise.
Here are my picks for the best music choices for scenes in superhero movies and why they stand out.
6. X Gon' Give It to Ya (Deadpool)
Deadpool (2016) was a fun film for many reasons, including Ryan Reynolds's hilarious performance, the great writing, and the well-shot action sequences
But one thing stood out beyond all else in this film: the music. And, of course, this scene had to be included on our list.
When Wade Wilson has finally tracked down his arch-nemesis, DMX's famous track booms in the background. The following montage is inexcusably cool.
Some might argue that the impact of the music is diminished by the constant fourth wall breaks, but that's just who Deadpool is. The moment remains awesome, elevated by DMX's badass track.
5. The 900 Number (Hancock)
While Hancock is far from the best superhero movie, Will Smith's performance and the somber tone of the piece made it good enough to have a number of memorable moments.
And none of those moments were more memorable than the opening itself, in which we're introduced to Hancock: misanthropic, hungover, and passed out on a street bench.
After he's made aware of criminals on the escape, he reluctantly flies off, causing a bunch of property damage in the process.
He tries negotiating with the criminals, who end up trying to shoot him dead. This only serves to annoy Hancock, who shakes his head in anger as "The 900 Number" by The 45 King starts playing.
This song was the perfect choice for introducing Hancock as a character. He isn't here to mess around and he isn't a morally upstanding citizen. He's gritty, grimy, and raw—just like the song.
4. Come and Get Your Love (Guardians of the Galaxy)
Atmospheric music plays as a strange man lands on a barren planet. The scene is tense, mysterious, as he walks into a hidden cave and surveys the area. His hand lowers... He presses a button... A Walkman?
"Come and Get Your Love" by Redbone starts playing, immediately shifting the tone of what appeared to be a serious opening and turning it into something undeniably groovy.
As it turns out, this guy isn't a stone-cold space-man but a fun-loving misfit with great taste in music. This is how audiences around the world were first introduced to Peter Quill.
This scene also represents a splendid musical moment in superhero cinema, as we're given a taste of what Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and its sequels had in store for us.
3. Shoot to Thrill (Iron Man 2)
Everybody loves Tony Stark, right? Well, except for his long list of enemies. But in the opening scene of Iron Man 2 (2010), we get a glimpse into why Tony Stark is such a beloved character.
Angus Young's guitar riff from AC/DC's "Shoot to Thrill" opens the scene, with Stark clad in his famous red-and-gold armor suit on the back of a carrier jet. The back opens and he runs straight out, flying through the air and landing right into his own party.
In this moment, he's on top of the world: genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. Add narcissistic thrill-seeker on top of all that.
While the opening to Iron Man (2008) was equally memorable, the choice had to be Iron Man 2. Charismatic to a fault, RDJ's performance and AC/DC's music help open up the sequel in an important way.
2. Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)
Here's an example of a film and song that go together almost too well. The urban setting and colorful visual style of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse seem tailor-made for Post Malone's unique form of hip-hop.
Both the vibrancy of the film and the variegated vocals of Swae Lee and Post Malone make for a one-of-a-kind experience, truly unique compared to every superhero film that preceded it.
The song's tone matches the story of this young boy, Miles Morales, as he tries to control his powers and become the man his father expects him to be. It's no wonder why this movie was so popular when it came out!
1. Immigrant Song (Thor: Ragnarok)
Taika Waititi revitalized the MCU's Thor with Thor: Ragnarok (2017), and part of that was due to his brilliant inclusion of this song.
As Thor finds his power, he begins to unleash hell on the horde of attacking enemies, set to "Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin.
It's one of the most exhilarating rock-and-roll pieces of all time, with near-inaudible lyrics that actually resonate quite well with the themes of Thor: Ragnarok and its source material:
"The hammer of the gods /
Will drive our ships to new lands /
To fight the horde, sing and cry /
Valhalla, I am coming."
Now that's a fitting song choice for this scene!
By paying respect to the mythology behind Thor and making this moment one of the most badass scenes in the entire Marvel franchise, it tops our list as the best musical moment in any superhero movie of all time.