Top 10 Movie Moments of 2012

Published 2 years ago by , Updated January 9th, 2013 at 7:50 am, This is a list post.

Top 10 Movie Moments of 2012

Top Movie Moments 2012 As 2012 comes to a close, it's once again time for us to look back over the year of movies and pick our 10 favorite cinematic moments; a hard task in a year that was rich with both cinematic milestones (The Avengers, Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit) and some unexpected (but welcome) surprises (Ted, The Raid: Redemption). From iconic imagery to things that either deeply amused or horrified us, these are the scenes and sequences from 2012 that we will never forget. Did your favorite moment make the list? Read on to find out.


Doorframe Slam - 'The Raid: Redemption'

The Raid Redemption Door Slam Kill The brainchild of writer/director Gareth Evans (Merantau), the Indonesian martial arts action/thriller The Raid: Redemption was undoubtedly the most pleasant surprise of 2012. Of the many threats that super-cop Rama (Iko Uwais) faces in notorious Boss Tama's criminal stronghold, none were more menacing than a group of butchers known as 'the machete gang,' who roamed the halls of the building hacking up anything in their path. Rama battling a half-dozen machete-waving maniacs was awesome enough - but when he grabbed one killer by the head, jumped backwards, and slammed the man's face down on the shards of a door he had just kicked a different gang member through, the whole audience erupted. In that moment, the Indonesian martial arts style "Pencak Silat" gained worldwide attention.

The Zec's Meal Plan - 'Jack Reacher'

Jack Reacher The Zec (Werner Herzog) We all know the type of scene in which a henchman fails in his appointed task and must be punished by the big boss; however, we doubt you've seen it the way that Jack Reacher presents it. When Pittsburgh thug Linsky (Michael Raymond-James) fails to halt the investigation of Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise), he must answer to the shadowy mastermind known as "The Zec" (Werner Herzog). In a monologue that only Herzog could deliver, the Zec (translation: "prisoner") gives Linsky two options: take a bullet to the head, or prove his dedication to the cause by eating his own fingers - just as the Zec had once been forced to consume his own. If you've seen the film, you know what choice Linsky ultimately makes, but writer/director Christopher McQuarrie (Usual Suspects) managed to milk sweet, cringe-inducing angst out of the audience for the entire span of seconds that poor Linsky must ponder an unfathomable decision.

Motel Brawl - 'Ted'

Ted Movie (2012) Ted vs. John Hotel Fight Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane's first live-action film, Ted, was another pleasant surprise of 2012, mixing the comedian's raunchy, pop-culture-laced humor with a genuine and heartfelt story about growing up and maturing. When the titular CGI teddy bear (voiced by MacFarlane) causes ruin in his friend John's (Mark Wahlberg) life, the two have an all-out brawl in a motel room, after John drops a particularly hurtful remark about wishing that he had received a Teddy Ruxpin (instead of Ted) on that fateful childhood Christmas day. Seeing a cinematic tough-guy like Wahlberg battle a CGI teddy bear was hilarious; seeing Ted's dirty fighting tactics was more hilarious; and there was even a level of meta-humor to be found in the realization that we were, in fact, watching Wahlberg throw himself around a motel room. Talk about commitment to a role...

Django Gets Unchained - 'Django Unchained'

Django Unchained Opening Scence Dr. King Schultz vs Speck Brothers There's a long-standing tradition of Quentin Tarantino opening his films with a scene that firmly establishes the witty, outrageous and often violent nature of his cinematic stories - and Django Unchained is no exception. After a montage of a slave chain-gang being taken on a brutal march across harsh terrains, we are introduced to the charismatic Dr. King Schultz (Christop Waltz). Schultz tries to acquire his query, Django (Jamie Foxx), in well-mannered fashion, but when the finicky Speck Brothers choose the route of violence, Schultz reveals to them (and the audience) his own violent nature. In a monologue that is pure Tarantino, Dr. King (get it?) leaves the remaining slaves with "two options": help the surviving Speck brother reach the nearest doctor, or free themselves from bondage, kill their cruel master and follow the North Star to a more "enlightened area of the country." After that introduction, we were saddled up for the entire bloody ride.

Self-Caesarean - 'Prometheus'

Prometheus Surgery Pod Scene Shaw Operation The Alien franchise has always offered a horrific vision of birthing gone terribly wrong, but Ridley Scott's Alien quasi-prequel film, Prometheus, pushed that metaphor to a more literal extreme. You may need a chart to explain how it actually happened, but the short version is that after some sexually-transmitted exposure to alien bacteria, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) becomes "impregnated" with an alien organism. In an act of masochistic bravery, Shaw climbs inside the ship's "surgery pod" for an impromptu C-section to remove the grotesque squid-like baby inside of her. Several viewers made a swift exit from the theater during my viewing of Prometheus, and those of us who remained were writhing in our seats. Ridley Scott is a master at reflecting the horrors of biology, and we're pretty sure that men everywhere gained new respect for the pains of motherhood after viewing this sequence.

Bioluminescent Sea - 'Life of Pi'

Life of Pi Biolumenscent Sea Scene Life of Pi was a whimsical and beautiful tale of spirituality and survival - and nowhere was this better demonstrated than in a sequence in which the titular character, Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma), spends a night at sea marveling at the bioluminescent lights of the sea organisms below. In keeping with his own unique spiritual sensibilities, Pi closes his eyes to better feel the connection between himself and all living things, and director Ang Lee uses that moment to treat audiences to one of the most gorgeous (and psychedelic) sequences ever filmed in 3D. 3D still gets a bad rap, but in the hands of filmmakers like Ang Lee, one can quickly see how the format can potentially add new dimensions to the movie-viewing experience.

Airport Escape - 'Argo'

Argo Airport Escape Scene With Argo, director Ben Affleck turned a slice of history into an intense drama/thriller movie experience - and that edge-of-your-seat tension reached a fever pitch when the six Americans hiding out in Iran attempted their bold airport escape under the wing of CIA exfiltration guru, Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck). In addition to seeing "The Six" have to sell Iranian guards on their fake identities and faux sci-fi film production, we got a delicious and humorous moment of stress watching Alan Arkin and John Goodman's Hollywood power-players stranded on a movie set, while the most important phone call in the world was ringing away in their faux studio office. Down to the last second of escape, the tension (and ultimate catharsis) of this exodus to freedom made for one of the most enjoyable movie experiences of the year.

Game of Riddles - 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey Gollum and Bilbo For fans of J.R..R. Tolkien's novel, The Hobbit, this scene represented one of the most standout chapters of the book; for fans of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, it was a re-introduction to fan-favorite motion-capture character, Gollum. Time has vastly improved technology; and apparently the skills of iconic (and undervalued) motion-capture actor Andy Serkis, as well. Gollum was back and looking better than ever, and Serkis managed to once again give the character a balance of charm and fright that most live-action actors would struggle to maintain. Aided by the wit and timing of Hobbit star Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, the game of riddles sequence in An Unexpected Journey is arguably the best character cameo of any prequel film ever made. Fans will be missing ol' Gollum during the rest of this Hobbit Trilogy.

Breaking the Bat - 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Bane vs Breaks Batman Dark Knight Rises For comic book geeks, it was about seeing one of the most famous moments of '90s-era Batman finally play out on the silver screen. For fans of Chris Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy, it was a moment that trailers and posters had already promised would be one of Batman's darkest hours: his first confrontation with the terrorist brute known as Bane. Unlike so many modern fight sequences - with their martial arts choreography set to thumping techno music - this duel was as much a mental and verbal sparring as it was a physical contest. Batman had underestimated Bane at every step - and he paid dearly for it. In relative quiet and darkness (both literal and metaphoric) two titans brawled for control of a city, and a hero fell. The Dark Knight Rises would live up to its title by the end, but in this moment, the world cringed as The Batman was truly broken.

Avengers Assembled - 'The Avengers'

The Avengers Team Fight Scene Sequence Millions of people crowded movie theaters for weeks on end just to see it. Then re-see it. Then re-see it again. After half a decade of waiting, anticipating and hoping, Marvel's The Avengers finally assembled to kick some alien ass. This is what a superhero team-up film is all about: seeing your superheroes actually team up to fight some baddies - and we truly believe that it took an insightful comic book geek like Avengers director Joss Whedon to make a sequence like this work for both casual viewers and fanboys alike. But oh man, did it ever work! The collective heart swell in the theater during that Avengers vs. Chitauri tracking shot officially set a new benchmark in blockbuster epicness. Best of all, that 'Hulk punches Thor' finale ended the sequence with the perfect lighthearted touch.

Honorable Mentions

We can't highlight every great moment at the movies - and we're sure you have some great ones to share with us in the comments. In the meantime, here are a few moments that, while not epic enough for our Top 10, still left a pretty strong impression on us: Amazing Spider-Man - "High School Rumble" - It was a battle sequence that truly captured the mechanics of Spider-Man's powers, and it looked pretty spectacular, to boot. It also contained the best Marvel movie cameo by Stan Lee, ever. We can't praise the entire film, but this particular sequence is what Marvel Movie magic is made of. Magic Mike - "The Tao of Dallas" - Matthew McConaughey had a fairly strong comeback year, highlighted by his role as a low-rent strip club manager in Magic Mike. His character Dallas' speech to new recruit "The Kid" (Alex Pettyer) - about the strategy of male stripping - sits right up there on the shelf with David Wooderson's breakdown of high school girls in Dazed and Confused. Classic McConaughey. Moonrise Kingdom - "What Kind of Bird Are YOU?" - The film had so many great moments, but this scene in which young Sam (Jared Gilman) first meets young Suzy (Kara Hayward) stands out. Everyone dreams of that moment when they'll lock eyes with their one true love (the one who stands apart), and Wes Anderson captures that sentiment both beautifully and humorously. Sinister - "Lawnmower Facial" - You just knew it was coming, but when it happened it was still pretty horrific - even without you actually seeing it. Lawnmower POV cam? Yeah, that could only end badly. Skyfall - "The Shanghai Job" - Director Sam Mendes thoroughly impressed in this noir sequence of James Bond tracking a deadly assassin into a Shanghai skyscraper. From the cinematography to the gorgeous use of lights, reflections and shadow during that climatic battle to the death, Mendes turned a Bond action set piece into a work of cinematic art. What were your favorite movie moments of 2012? Let us know in the comments.
TAGS: argo, django unchained, Jack Reacher, life of pi, Magic Mike, moonrise kingdom, prometheus, sinister, skyfall, ted, the amazing spider-man, the avengers, the dark knight rises, the hobbit, the raid redemption


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  1. From the Raid Redemption, I think the moment should have been either the dude whose face he slammed into the tiles, breaking them as he was repeatedly slammed to the ground, or the climatic scene where the brothers finally break MadDog’s back & then kill him. THe synch with the music at that moment makes it impossible not to cheer.

    • @R.I.G.

      That’s what I’m talking about man. Martial Arts at it’s finest! Movies like that would definitely bring back that genre to prominence. Also, if you like that film you’re going to LOVE “Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior & Ong Bak 2: The Beggining(unrelated to the first).” Plus IP Man, IP Man 2, & Blood n’ Bone.

        • @R.I.G.

          I saw what you were referring to. It is called Dragon(2011). I’m gonna check that out for sure. Donnie Yen will always be one of the “KINGS OF MARTIAL ARTS”.

          • I own every film u both have named, great collection

            • @Trey

              I don’t think that genre has ever had(excluding any classic film’s from the 80’s)a collection of “true” Martial Arts action films like that line up. Don’t you agree?

          • Dragon 2011 (also known as Swordsmen or Wu Xia 2011) is not very good. It’s more of a mystery than a straight-up Martial Arts film like Ip Man.

            I guess Raid didn’t really impress me. I actually liked the Ong Bak series better but I saw those a long time ago. The Protector (Tom Yum Goong) is a good Tony Jaa movie… a sequel will be out soon.

        • Hey Internetguy,if you want some good martial arts films you should defintely check out Chocolate and Raging Phoenix. They both star Thai actress Jeeja Yanin who, in my opinion, could be bigger than Jackie Chan or Jet Li if she came to America. The stunts in Chocolate are absolutely sick, it’s definitely in my top five favorite martial arts movies

      • What if I hated Ong Bak, would I still like Raid:Redemption?

        • I think the more poignant comparison would be Ip Man I. I haven’t seen Ong Bak, but I loved Ip man 1.
          Raid is similar, but actually more “quick paced” than IP man, and somewhat more violent, though not as brutal \ gore-filled as other films. I’d say check out the trailer on itunes or any of the sites, check out some of the fight scenes [there are 2 long ones on youtube] and then decide.

          • I do like Ip Man 1. You’re suggestions are noted. I’d rather avoid watching the fight scenes, if they are as good as you say they are, unless of course I do decide not to watch the film.

            • @MonkeyFace

              Oh would you just go & watch a darn movie already!!! Should I watch this one, should I watch that one? What if I don’t watch this one or that one, will I still like the other one?! For goodness sakes you’re gonna give me a splitting headache! Just choose one already!!!

              • Right. Ok.

                  • I say it again, dumbass.

                  • Still a dumbass. I suppose that’s not going to change about you.

  2. As far as the Self-Csection, I hated that, but just covered my face until it was over. I still think though that [and I believe I saw it in another poll as well] the scene that should be mentioned is the awakening of the Engineer. How could you not agree with this scene?

  3. In all seriousness, I’m kind of pissed that Coriolanus didn’t make this list! The scene where he fights in the end against all those guys is cool, especially with what happens between him & GB; the mutual respect. I’m not going to read anymore screenrant articles until they recognize Coriolanus for the greatness that it was.

  4. for me the best 2012 movie moment is when Hulk slam Loki.

  5. drum stick scene in killer joe, should be on this list, Matthew McConaughey
    should be nominated for an Oscar

  6. The few pages I could read were fantastic Kofi. Great article man!

    There are still so many movies on this list I still haven’t seen though (Argo, Django Unchained, Life Of Pi and Jack Reacher), so I didn’t want to be spoiled by reading the descriptions of those scenes.

    As for the rest, I couldn’t agree more.
    The Avengers FINALLY assembling had me screaming like a teenage girl who’s just been introduced to Justin the Beaver.
    Bane breaking the Bat was so spine chillingly awesome that at times I felt I was being beaten up.
    The game of riddles in the Hobbit… well what can be said, it was pure entertainment – Tolkien would be proud, I’m sure.
    That gruesome self-surgery scene in Prometheus made me wish I didn’t eat anything during the movie.
    And the hotel brawl with Ted and John was so unbelievably funny I couldn’t stop laughing even after it was done.

    I also loved that Shanghai skyscraper scene in Skyfall and in TASM there were actually quite a few memorable scenes as well (especially the scene where all the cranes lined up for him to get to Oscorp tower)

  7. this is a late entry, but I’d like to nominate the interception scene that Tony Romo threw late in the game last night. Not as good as his earlier work, where he collapses and cries with his head in his hands ala Rick Grimes, but Romo is fast accumulating enough scenes for a #fail highlight reel.

    • HAHAHA!! Silly Romo, playoffs are for winners. I do feel bad for him though. As much as I would love to cheer for him I simply can’t because of the team he plays for. Luckily that will all change in the not so distant future.

  8. There’s quite a few scenes I’d like to add to this list from “Cloud Atlas”.

  9. Happy new year y’all.. Most likely my last post in year 2012..

    I just want to point out that Batman resurgent scene with batpod after 8 years of self imposed exile was more exciting than Bane breaking Batman’s back.. Still brings the chill in my body of blasting of DKR score which brings us the first glimpse of dark knight himself to big screen.

    • Reading your posts makes me want to puke. Get a life.

      • Huh? Try harder. lol, kids these days.

      • @The Truth

        No personal attacks please

        • @Ezra
          “the truth” is a troll in case you haven’t noticed. He is just attacked you and DKR to get attention and piss you off. I do it myself sometimes too but don’t take it personally. He is just bored as I am sometimes. Maybe I will troll on the next screenrant forum… lol

          • *He is just attacking

    • @jvmxtra

      Good call. I loved that scene as well.

  10. Disagree with number 1. dark night was way better than avengers.

    • For me to poop on.

  11. Yup, this thread is totally screwed. What happened to the “No personal attacks?” thing? lets assume someone goes into this thread to actually post a meaningful comment, it’s be difficult for them to differentiate between the trolls and the guys who [sadly] don’t realize they’re being trolled. let’s do ourselves a favor and unsubscribe to comments in this thread. It’s filled with nothing but negative energy.

    • Apparently either nothing can be done about it or they really don’t care.

      • Yeah, I guess the entire editorial crew is on vacation for New Year’s. It would be nice if they could try to enforce the second rule. I go on Screen Rant not only to get my movie news, but to have insightful, honest, and mature debates about movies. One of the best things about Screen Rant is the strict moderation in the comment section, to ensure the conversation goes smoothly. But it has been anything but on this thread.

        • I don’t even know what’s got into this guy’s head. He’s even attacking people who he has no reason to attack. For example, in the thread someone mentioned Ong Bak in comparison to Raid, and someone else asked about if the didn’t like one would they like another. That basically got him all bent out of shape. I mean, it was an honest query. Is that really something to get all worked up about?

  12. Django scenes were awesome best of 2012. I freaking loved that movie

  13. The defining moment has to be when the main character teamed up with his estranged brother to kick MadDog’s A$$. BEST scene in the movie. Extremely gratifying.

  14. Another moment from TDKR that I really liked was during the final battle when Batman just went berserk on Bane and opened his mask. “WHERE’S THE TRIGGER?!! WHERE IS IT!!??” It reminded me a little of Luke attacking Vader at the end of ROTJ.

  15. no way