If you had to describe the superhero genre in a single word, chances are “epic” would be high up on the list. These types of movies get our adrenaline pumping with nonstop action, (sometimes) intricate plots, death-defying stunts, and incredible one liners that stick with us long after the credits have rolled. Though it has existed since the blockbuster boom of the ’70s, this genre has ballooned in recent years; since the success of X-Men and Spider-Man in the early 2000s audiences could trust to see at least one or two comic book films a year. Nowadays the sheer number of shared universes based off comic books is enough to make your head explode!
There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the hero finally get their revenge on an enemy, reveal themselves to the public, or show off their true power after holding them back for years. Often, the protagonist of these stories accompanies these actions with a sentence or two that simply cements just how awesome they are.
The qualifications for this list are quite simple: the lines must be uttered by a superhero that was portrayed in a film that appeared in cinemas. As much as we wanted to include things like animated movies or live-action TV shows, the list to become overstuffed.
Here are the 18 Most Epic Superhero Quotes In Movie History!
18. “I am Iron Man.”
Back in 2008 Marvel took a huge gamble when they released Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. Unlike previous superhero movies, these two were the first of a series that shared no actors (outside of cameos) but took place within the same universe. Eventually, all four of the core Avengers would get their own solo film, culminating in the shared sequel The Avengers. It was a risky move at the time, but we all know just how well it played out!
At the end of Tony Stark’s first adventure, he gathers a host of reporters inside his company for a press conference addressing the incident with Iron Monger the night before. Rhodes goes over the story one last time before sending Tony out on the stage. In true Stark fashion, Tony takes a look at the story, tosses it away, and declares “I am Iron Man.”
This was the perfect way for Marvel to distinguish itself from superhero films past where the secret identity story line had been done to death. Not to mention that the line represented everything we loved about Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of the character!
Turtlemania was sweeping the nation in the late ’80s and early ’90s as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise skyrocketed in popularity. With the massive success of the Saturday morning cartoon and action figure/comic book sales high, it was only a matter of time before a big-budget movie was made. In 1990 we were graced with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie. It’s still awesome to this day! However, fans had to sit through the entire the film to hear the Turtle’s catchphrase.
In the end, it was worth it. A running joke throughout the movie was that the four brothers struggled to come up with something cool to say after they had completed a successful adventure. They ran through words like “bossanova!” and “Excellent!” without anything hitting their mark.
At the movie’s end the Turtles defeat the Shredder and his Foot Clan with the help of their Master Splinter. They stand around debating on which catchphrase they should use to celebrate this monumental occasion before Splinter interrupts saying, “I have always liked…Cowabunga.”
16. “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do, that defines me.”
After a painful ten-year hiatus and several failed attempts at relaunching the franchise, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins brought the Dark Knight into the modern age. No longer did Batman use Bat Credit Cards and make snide comments about how Superman worked alone. Now, he was a no-nonsense vigilante that was grounded in reality; he had plausible excuses for every element of his costume and his villains were now mere men rather than superhuman.
One of the things that kept Bruce Wayne grounded in reality was his relationship with Rachel Dawes. Early in the film Rachel witnesses the billionaire playboy at his finest, buying entire hotels and swimming in fountains with models. He tries to tell her that what he’s doing is all an act, to which she retorts that his actions, rather than his motivations, are what define him. At the movie’s climax Batman turns her words around when she asks the Caped Crusader who he really is. “It’s not who I am underneath,” he says sternly, “But what I do, that defines me.” You can’t ask for a more epic way to reveal your identity to your loved ones!
15. “The son becomes the father, and the father the son…”
“You will make my strength you own, and see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father, and the father the son. This is all I can send you, Kal-El.”
Jor-El, the father of Superman, was brought to life for the big screen in Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie, which we have to thank for every superhero movie that came after it. Much like the early days of the MCU, Donner’s film was a risky endeavor; comic books were seen as children’s fodder in the ’70s. To make a big-budget version of something primarily for children was unheard of back then. Thankfully this foray into unknown territory was successful, and the superhero genre of film was born.
This quote from Jor-El isn’t one that you’re going to be able to repeat off the top of your head. However, it gets down to the core of what makes the Kal-El Superman, rather than just any old alien. He is the living embodiment of Kryptonian values and strength. He uses the knowledge bestowed upon him by his father to guide the human race towards a better world. The character of Jor-El and Kal-El are nearly one and the same.
14. “So… This is what it feels like.”
If you still haven’t had a chance to see Logan in theaters, we urge you to run out right now and do so! Not only is it far and away the best film in the Wolverine Trilogy, but it’s a very strong contender for the best X-Men movie ever made.
Logan is a rare breed within the superhero genre because it focused more on character development and issues of existentialism rather than just big explosions and action set pieces. Don’t get us wrong, it had a bunch of cool action sequences as well!
Sadly, the film said goodbye to Hugh Jackman’s version of Logan in the most gut-wrenching way possible: after brutally fighting off his clone X-24 thanks to some regenerative serum and the help of X-23, he is left impaled on a sharp tree branch with his healing factor quickly diminishing. X-23 and the rest of the rescued children gather around their fallen savior as he begins to fade away. And what does the mighty Wolverine say as death embraces him? “So…This is what it feels like.”
13. “You wanna get nuts?! Come on, let’s get nuts!”
Say what you want about Christian Bale and Ben Affleck, but Michael Keaton will always hold a special place in our hearts as the Dark Knight. Featuring the legendary Jack Nicholson as the Clown Prince of Crime and directed by Tim Burton, Batman still holds up as one of the best in the franchise.
At some point during the film’s second act the Joker crashes into Vicki Vale’s apartment while Bruce is trying to muster the courage to reveal his secret identity to her. After stepping away to formulate a plan, Bruce walks back into the room and confronts the Joker face to face, telling him a story about a mean guy he knew that eventually “got sloppy” and started making mistakes. At the climax of the story Bruce uses a fire poker to smash a vase and screams, “Now you wanna get nuts?! Come on. Let’s get nuts!”
12. “Just because someone stumbles and loses their path doesn’t mean they’re lost forever.”
When fans first heard about James McAvoy’s casting as Professor Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class, they were not too pleased. Thankfully, the film was a hit and launched a new X-Men prequel trilogy. The second film, Days of Future Past, is considered by many to be the best of the entire saga, seamlessly blending the original trilogy with the First Class universe.
At one pivotal point in the movie, the past Xavier reads into Wolverine’s mind in the future and encounters his older self (played by Sir Patrick Stewart). Past Xavier remarks that maybe Magneto was right and that humanity needed to be dealt with before they committed genocide on all mutants. The older Xavier tells him there is still hope for humans: “Just because someone stumbles and loses their way, doesn’t mean they’re lost forever.”
This quote doesn’t apply simply for humanity, either. It also explains why Charles is so wrapped up in trying to save Eric from his dark path throughout the series when the other X-Men would rather have him killed or locked away.
11. “You’re Making Me Angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”
So, let’s talk about 2003’s Hulk for a minute. Directed by Oscar-winner Ang Lee, the film didn’t know what it wanted to be; it featured lots of experimental shots that you’d find in an indie arthouse film, but was still plagued with hammy acting and over the top action spectacles like the modern-day blockbuster. It flopped fairly hard.
One of the few shining spots of Hulk was Eric Bana as Bruce Banner. He played the demeanor of the character down to a tee, putting on the calmest of faces whenever put in a stressful situation. But deep down we could all see the rage burning inside him, trying to escape.
The last scene of the film shows Banner in a life of exile as a doctor of a small South American village. A group of armed men arrive and order everyone to hand over their medicines. When Banner objects, the man becomes hostile and tells him that if he doesn’t back off he will be labeled an enemy of the government. The scientist remains unfazed, uttering in Spanish “You’re making me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” before his eyes go green and the movie ends.
10. “I let my father die because I trusted him…”
Say what you will about Man of Steel, but one thing that it got right was the relationship between Clark and Jonathan Kent. Ma and Pa Kent (and later Lois) have always been used as the roots of Superman’s humanity. He may be Kryptonian in a biological sense, but Clark Kent would always identify as just a little farm boy from Kansas.
Even out in the secluded rural lands of the Sunflower State, Kal-El was faced with keeping his powers a secret. The ultimate test of Clark’s will came when Jonathan rushed back to the car to save the family dog during a large twister: Kal-El could have easily rushed over and saved him but his Pa simply shook his head and told him not to reveal himself to the world yet.
Years later, when the day of revelation was at hand, Superman recounts the painful memory to Lois Lane. “I let my father die because I trusted him. Because he was convinced that I had to wait. That the world was not ready. What do you think?”
9. “With great power comes great responsibility.”
The original Spider-Man series was a great piece of superhero cinema. Spider-Man 3 may be considered as one of the genre’s worst films, but the quality of the other two more than balances the scales! The first and second films were praised for their incredible action sequences, corny yet awesome dialogue, and their villains that looked like they were ripped straight from the pages of the comics.
The major theme of Sam Raimi’s trilogy is spelled out by Uncle Ben at the beginning of the first movie: “Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.” In-universe, Ben is giving his nephew a sort of “coming of age” talk. However, we know that the dialogue is really referring to the principle of how Parker should use his new powers.
Sadly, this is one of those quotes that feels like it’s become a cliche in recent years. The Amazing Spider-Man films and Civil War both seemed to go out of their way to avoid reiterating this iconic quote from Ben Parker.
8. “We are Groot.”
Anyone who doubted the longevity of the MCU was silenced with the release of Guardians of the Galaxy. The company took a ragtag group that few people had ever heard of and gave them a movie. The charisma and chemistry of the actors mixed with director James Gunn’s style made Guardians of the Galaxy the biggest sleeper hit of 2014. Now, even the most casual of fans can recognize Rocket Racoon and Groot!
If you want to know how good this movie is, just consider this: it made us feel sad for a talking tree. During the final battle between the Nova Corps, the Ravagers, the Guardians, and Ronan’s forces, the mothership gets taken down with our heroes trapped inside.
As it careens towards the ground and all hope looks lost, Groot begins to spread his limbs around his teammates; soon they are encompassed in a giant protective sphere made from the alien’s own body. Rocket begs him not to sacrifice himself for the sake of the team, but Groot doesn’t listen. Changing his vocabulary for the first time, he proclaims “We are Groot” right before the ship impacts and destroys the shield (and Groot himself).
7. “I’m with you ’til the end of the line.”
A big part of Steve Roger’s story is his relationship with Bucky Barnes. The two soldiers were friends in their early days and served together as part of the Howling Commandos during the Second World War. Bucky was thought to be dead when he plummeted off of a train deep in the mountains and fell into the icy water below. However, it was revealed in The Winter Soldier that Barnes was not dead, but rather had been turned into a brainwashed assassin by Hydra.
As the two duke it out in the movie’s finale, Cap refuses to fight his friend; he drops his shield and Bucky proceeds to beat the snot out of him. As he lays there taking a beating, Steve reiterates what his old friend had told him all those years ago: “I’m with you ’til the end of the line.”
6. “Tell me: Do you bleed? You will.”
Director Zach Snyder is a huge Batman fanboy and it showed greatly in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Despite the fact that he had already directed and helped write a Superman film, it felt like he understood the Dark Knight much more than he did the Man of Steel. The Batman in BvS seemed to be ripped straight out of something like The Dark Knight Returns or Batman: The Animated Series.
To be fair, Bruce Wayne generally has a pretty bad quote to match every awesome one in this film. But nothing is going to top the scene in which the two characters first meet in costume. As Batman rounds a corner in his Batmobile he runs (literally) smack dab into Superman. Kal-El rips the top off the Batmobile and delivers a dire warning to his future ally. He’s not going to allow Batman to be a reckless vigilante anymore.
What does the Dark Knight do when threatened by an alien that could literally punch a hole through his skull if he wanted to? He asks, “Tell me: Do you bleed?” Superman scoffs at the puny human and flies away. Batman watches him go and threatens, “You will.“
5. “Genius, Billionaire, Playboy, Philanthropist.”
Despite his claim in Civil War that the two used to be friends, Tony Stark and Steve Rogers don’t get along very well in the MCU. This major difference of character shows up in their very first meeting during Loki’s attempted takeover in The Avengers: Captain America takes on the Asgardian with his bare hands while making statements about human nature and freedom. Then, Iron Man shows up blaring AC/DC music and blows Loki away with a single blast. Cap and Iron Man are about as stark of a contrast as you can get.
The tension between the two Avengers leaders mounts until it looks like they are going to come to blows. Agitated by Stark’s increasingly snarky comments, Cap poses the question: “Big man in a suit of armor. Take that off, and what are you?” Without missing a single beat Tony replies, “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.”
This quote is the epitome of Tony Stark in the MCU. He is a person who does what he wants, when he wants, and doesn’t give a damn about what anyone else thinks (and is willing to tell them to their face).
4. “I’m Batman.”
The phrase “I’m Batman” has become a joke within modern pop culture; anyone who wants to satirize the Dark Knight will undoubtedly use this quote in a humorous context. But let’s not forget how awesome this quote is when used in the proper context; both Batman ’89 and Batman Begins used it in an incredibly effective manner.
In Tim Burton’s first movie the audience is introduced to the Batman through the eyes of two criminals. After robbing a family in an alleyway they hole up in an abandoned building. As they debate about whether or not the legendary “Bat” exists, they are interrupted by the legend himself. Batman kicks one of the goons through a door and then dangles the other one over the building’s ledge. The criminal begs for his life and asks “What are you!?” in a horrified manner. The Dark Knight pulls him in close and whispers “I’m Batman” before throwing him to safety and jumping off the building.
3. “I could do this all day.”
Steve Rogers hates bullies. Throughout most of his teen and young adult life, the Marvel hero was subject to physical violence and verbal abuse thanks to his horribly frail stature. Early on in Captain America: The First Avenger we see the first signs of Cap’s spunky personality when he gets into an alleyway brawl with an annoying patron at his local cinema. Steve is repeatedly punched and knocked down, but he keeps getting back up and tells the guy, “I could do this all day.” The scene is repeated later in the film when Captain America is captured by the Red Skull.
The best use of this quote, though, comes from Civil War. Though he had helped Cap and Bucky infiltrate Helmut Zemo’s base, Iron Man throws all logic out the window after being shown footage of the Winter Soldier killing his parents. This leads to an epic battle between Stark, Cap, and Bucky in which the Winter Soldier has his arm blown completely off. Stark then uses his armor to create the perfect counter measures to Roger’s fighting style and proceeds to beat the crap out of him. He tells Cap to stay down, to which Steve responds, “I can do this all day.”
2. “Puny God.”
Loki’s cocky personality is often the instrument of his downfall. The Asgardian thinks that he’s much smarter and much more powerful than he really is, which makes it no surprise that he thought he could go toe to toe with the Incredible Hulk in 2012’s The Avengers. Thor had fared pretty well against the beast earlier in the movie, and Loki was more than a match for Thor, so audiences all thought we were getting another awesome fight scene as Hulk approached Loki within Stark Tower.
Instead we got what was one of the greatest belly laughs in superhero history! Loki tries to reason with Hulk, claiming that the monster should bow down to his rightful God as all the other lesser beings do. Midway through his rant the Hulk picks him up and repeatedly smashes him into the floor like a ragdoll. Loki lays there in pain as Hulk sarcastically says, “Puny God.”
1. “I’m not locked in here with you. You’re locked in here with me!”
There’s an animated movie on the way and an HBO series in development, but Watchmen is a comic that is said to be unfilmable. This was somewhat the case with Zach Snyder’s movie but the 2009 film is about as close as we’re ever going to get to an “accurate” live action adaptation of Alan Moore’s masterpiece.
However, there were a handful of scenes in Watchmen that lived up to (and sometimes even topped) their ink-written counterparts. One of these scenes comes when Rorschach (brilliantly played by Jackie Earl Haley) is finally captured and taken to prison. Naturally, all of the criminals that have been put away by the superhero over the years want to make his life a living hell, and now is their chance.
Standing in line at the prison cafeteria, an inmate threatens Rorschach with a shank. The vigilante calmly responds by smashing through the glass counter, grabbing a pot of boiling oil, and throwing it in the guy’s face. He stands over his victim and informs the rest of the prison inmates, “None of you seem to understand. I’m not locked in here with you. You’re locked in here with me!“
You can’t get any more epic than that!
Did we hit all of the greatest superhero quotes in movie history? Was there an epic quote that we missed? Let us know in the comments!