Regardless of whether it’s a comical skewering of opening credits sequences, a violent look into the deteriorated psyche of a lead character, or a pulsating attack on an enemy compound by our favorite gang of superheroes, the opening scene of a movie has to do plenty of heavy lifting. It needs to grab the audience’s attention, introduce the tone of the story, and showcase the lead character(s) in a way that makes us care about them.

RELATED: The Best Superhero Movies of 2022, Ranked

Given the saturated and highly competitive market of superhero films, making a memorable first impression is more essential than it ever has been before. Whether these films did it by making us laugh out loud, forging a deep connection between character and audience, or simply overwhelming us with a visual spectacle right off the bat, these opening scenes stand among the best the superhero genre has ever produced.

Updated on December 28th, 2022, by Hannah Saab:

Some of the best opening scenes in movies continue to come from the superhero genre, with notable standouts from 2022 including The Batman and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. With Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe about to begin through the highly-anticipated Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (set to be released on February 17, 2023), fans will certainly be getting more intriguing, creative and unforgettable intros from superhero movies for years to come.


‘Batman’ (1989)

Available to stream on HBO Max.

Michael Keaton as Batman at night

For decades, Batman has been the most cinematic superhero there is, arguably surpassing the likes of Superman and The Avengers. While there have been plenty of takes on the Caped Crusader in recent times, none have introduced him with quite the same impact as Tim Burton did in 1989’s Batman.

Amid this extremely gothic yet delightfully campy version of Gotham City, two thugs hold up a woman in an alley and make away with her purse. As they try to divvy up their loot, Batman (Michael Keaton) descends in the background behind them. It’s not an exaggeration to say the tone of superhero films forever changed when he held the criminal over the side of the building. And who could forget the perfect delivery of that now famous line, “I’m Batman”?

‘The Incredibles’ (2004)

Available to stream on Disney+.

While plenty of superhero films glamorize their crime fighters and bring glory to their achievements in the opening scene, The Incredibles did something different. Instead of wowing us with their awe-inspiring abilities, director Brad Bird opted to humanize them by showcasing just how normal they are.

Shown in a documentary style, the opening features clips from interviews with the superheroes 15 years prior when they were in their prime. From Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) fiddling with his microphone, to Elastigirl’s (Holly Hunter) staunch defiance towards settling down, it gives us characters who we can relate to instantly, and makes it all the more impactful when we see what they’ve become soon after.

‘Blade’ (1998)

Available to stream on Hulu.

Blade surrounded by people in covered in red blood

For younger audiences, it may be impossible to fathom, but there was a time when superheroes and Marvel characters were shunned by audiences. For a while, Blade was the only entity from Marvel Comics to have any kind of success in its live-action adaptation, and it owes a lot to its phenomenal opening scene.

Pulling no punches, a man is lured into a vampire nightclub where the entrancing horror begins. Sprinklers start spurting blood, the vamps bare their fangs, and all hope looks lost for the sorry chump until Blade (Wesley Snipes) arrives in the nick of time. Disposing of every vampire in sight in the coolest ways possible, the film’s opening still offers an exciting change of pace for the superhero genre.

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ (2017)

Available to stream on Disney+.

Thor Ragnarok

There’s always a risk attached to shaking up established characters, and turning the God of Thunder into a comical presence in a campy action movie takes some serious guts. Director Taika Waititi pulls it off though, with the gloriously fun opening completely re-imaging Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in a way that was both refreshing and exciting.

Waititi’s trademark quirkiness matched with the titular character flawlessly, giving him an instant awkwardness that made him appeal to fans in a way other MCU heroes can’t. The fact that he was tied up and at the mercy of an enormous, fiery bad guy gave the scene an energy that helped a potentially jarring shift. It was the perfect opening to a new style in the MCU.

‘The Batman’ (2022)

Available to stream on HBO Max.

Image via Warner Bros

With the weight of expectation heavy upon him, director Matt Reeves handled the opening scene of The Batman with composed confidence in the strength of his vision. Going against what most other Batman movies have done, it starts with an eerie build-up which, like much of the film itself, feels more like a crime thriller than a superhero action flick.

A technical masterclass from the second it transports us inside the mayor’s house, the Riddler’s (Paul Dano) first assassination informed us that this would be a superhero movie unlike any other. The tension rises as Reeves expertly navigates us through the slow, heart-pounding tempo of those opening minutes, boldly showcasing what this Batman tale looks like.

‘Deadpool’ (2016)

Available to stream on Disney+.


Self-referential, self-deprecating, goofy, crude and poking fun at other superhero films and, indeed, film in general, the very first scene of Deadpool delivered exactly what eager fans were hoping for. We glide through the scene of a car mid-crash, which bombards the audience with visual gags, from delightful jabs at Ryan Reynolds a fan-casting dream come true — to the hilarity of the credits themselves.

Above all else though, it showed fans that the ‘Merc with a Mouth’ was finally going to be done right, from the crude comedy to the obscene violence. Juice Newton’s “Angel of the Morning” playing throughout was the perfect icing on the cake.

‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ (2014)

Available to stream on Disney+.

Hulk, Iron Man, Captian America, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Thor in fighting pose mid air heading right

While Avengers: Age of Ultron may be regarded as the least spectacular entry of all the Avengers cross-over movies, but it features one of the scariest moments from the MCU, and its opening scene still stands among the best the franchise has to offer. The pulsating attack on Strucker’s (Thomas Kretschmann) base had audiences glued to their seats as the action extravaganza saw the much-anticipated sequel get off to a frenetic start.

The opening scene gives all six members of the squad ample time to shine and flourishes as a strong creative vision, with a nice balance between awe-inspiring action and good-hearted humor. And, of course, that glorious running take that gets it started still stands as one of the coolest things the MCU has ever done.

‘Logan’ (2017)

Available to stream on Disney+.


The art of a great opening scene not only lies in snatching the attention of viewers but also in introducing them to the sort of story they’ll see throughout the rest of the film. That is difficult at the best of times, but when the story is both a complete re-imagination of tone and the final act in a character’s story, that becomes one gargantuan task.

James Mangold had no problems pulling it off with Logan though, immersing audiences into a world that was significantly harsher and more violent than what they’d seen in other X-Men movies. As shocking as it was, it remains a perfect opening, which is a big reason why Logan is considered the best ­X-Men movie.

‘Watchmen’ (2009)

Available to stream on HBO Max.

Zack Snyder’s adaptation of the acclaimed Watchmen graphic novel has its share of critics, but few would deny the opening scene grabs your attention with everything it’s got. A violent and ambitious introduction in the R-rated superhero film, it sees retired superhero The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) attacked in his house by an unknown assailant while Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable” plays in the background.

A stunning mixture of style and brutality, the scene also needs to bring audiences up to speed on a lot of alternate world history that is essential to the story, and does so with remarkable efficiency. All of this then effortlessly bleeds into what is one of the best opening credits sequences in film history to make for a truly exceptional opening.

‘The Dark Knight’ (2008)

Available to stream on Hulu.

Few filmmakers can pull off an enticing, meaningful cold open quite like Christopher Nolan, and his opening scene to The Dark Knight is among his very best work. Enrapturing the audience from the first few moments, the heist shows off a Gotham City that has lost none of its ruthlessness since Batman Begins, while also giving Heath Ledger’s Joker a bone-chilling unveiling.

Violent and filled with intrigue as to who exactly this villain is, it allowed the rest of Nolan’s superhero masterpiece to flow flawlessly. It also served as a landmark achievement for big-budget movie-making due to its experimentation with IMAX technology, the success of which has paved the way for how modern blockbusters have been filmed ever since.

‘Dredd’ (2012)

Available to stream on Peacock Premium.


Based on the 2000 AD comic strip Judge Dredd, director Pete TravisDredd takes place on the east coast of a dystopian world devastated by nuclear war, where a superstructure known as Mega-City One becomes the site of a violent battle. The film follows the eponymous character and the rookie he’s training as they explore the building after a string of horrible deaths lead to the cruel Ma-Ma as the primary suspect.

The Judges have encountered the worst that humanity has to offer as a result of their responsibilities as judge, jury, and executioner – the film’s absorbing opening scene hints at the weight of this role. The camera pans to show an overview of a chaotic city full of derelict buildings, then gives a closer look at the news reports capturing the daily violence its inhabitants have to endure. It’s an effective introduction that sets the tone for the whole movie.

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (2018)


In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos is getting ever closer to obtaining all six Infinity Stones, which would allow him to achieve his twisted goal of eradicating half of all life in the cosmos. It’s up to the Avengers to band together and figure out how to defeat him, but things are getting worse by the minute.

Even before the amazing combat scenes in Infinity War, Thanos makes a striking first impression in the movie’s opening scene, which shows him on board the ship transporting Asgardian survivors. The villainous introduction shows Thanos’ brutal interactions with beloved characters Thor, Hulk, Loki and Heimdall. The entire sequence manages to stand out despite the MCU’s long history of giving viewers powerful intro scenes, as it highlights Thanos’ undeniable strength as an antagonist as well as fan-favorite heroes’ vulnerable positions.

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