Joker’s death in Batman
Though this technically isn’t the final scene of the film, it is the ending of the third act, and it is utterly splendid. After Batman defeats him in the pale moonlight and he falls from Gotham’s clocktower, we see Jack Nicholson’s iconic villain dead on the concrete, his body almost a part of the ground below him. As the camera moves towards the Joker we hear his iconic laugh and it’s a chilling end to the classic Batman rogue.
Batman Returns‘ Christmas cat
Batman Returns is a gothic masterpiece overall, but this heartfelt ending is a highlight. After he is unable to save Selina Kyle from dying, Keaton’s caped crusader finds a stray cat and decides to take it home. As he takes his seat in the back of the car, Alfred wishes him a Merry Christmas in a perfectly bittersweet moment.
Mary Jane leaving John Jameson at the altar in Spider-Man 2
There have been almost as many Spider-Men as there have been Batmen at this point, but the first man to bring him to the big screen was Toby Maguire, and his second film as Spidey has one of the most fun and romantic endings of recent years. After Peter Parker and Mary Jane split, MJ gets engaged to J. Jonah Jameson’s son, but winds up leaving him at the altar and running through NYC back Peter—whom she accepts, alter-ego and all.
Batman Begins‘ Joker tease
Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy introduced a dark and realistic side to Gotham, but still managed to excite fans of the classic comic. The end of the first film is a perfect example of the balance as, after the doom and gloom of Bruce’s origin story, he puts on the cowl and meets James Gordon on a roof where the Lieutenant shows him the literal calling card of a new criminal. An ultimate fan service moment that doesn’t take away from the atmosphere and sets up a legend.
Magneto playing chess in X-Men: The Last Stand
Look. This movie is really really bad. It misunderstands everything that makes the X-Men special whilst massacring two of the most moving and important X-Stories ever told. But the ending is just completely badass. During the film’s finale, Magneto loses his powers due to the mutant cure—it’s a horrible moment that is one of many bad decisions Ratner and co. made. But in a final sequence we see Erik playing chess in a park, and before the scene ends he moves a metal chess piece with his mind, proving his powers are back. It’s a subtle but hair-raising moment.
“I am Iron Man” in (of course) Iron Man
The film that sparked the biggest franchise of this century. Robert Downey Jr. was inspired casting, lending gravity to the comedic and sarcastic nature of Tony Stark. The final though is the one that cemented Downey and Stark as legends, as during a press conference to deny his knowledge of the mysterious metal man, he decides to reveal that he is Iron Man.
The Incredible Hulk‘s Tony Stark tease
While Iron Man established the first hero of the MCU, The Incredible Hulk, which debuted literal months later, introduced something even more important. Though we’d already met Nick Fury at the end of Iron Man, Hulk was the first of the MCU movies that confirmed that the heroes themselves would be crossing over. This teaser laid the foundations for Marvel’s shared universe as we know it.
Nightwing/Robin in The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight Rises‘ third act tease of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Robin taking over as a sort of Nightwing-eque hero is still one of the best teasers to a movie we’ll never get. Raised in one of the Wayne family orphanages, Robin becomes a moral guide to Bruce in his weakest hour. After our hero “dies” saving Gotham, he leaves the Batcave to the caring cop who shares a moniker with Batman’s comic book sidekick, whilst we “see” Bruce and Selina letting Alfred know they’re living happily.
The Sinister Six in The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Another lesser loved superhero movie deserves an entry here just because of how fun the finale is. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 decided to recreate the death of Gwen Stacy, which left both fans and Peter very sad, but after his grieving period Peter is inspired to become Spider-Man once again when Paul Giamatti’s Rhino ravages NYC. The moment we really love though is the young boy who, in his Spidey costume, tries to save the day before Peter arrives. A truly heartwarming moment.
Logan sending the young mutants to Eden
James Mangold’s sophomore attempt at making a Wolverine movie gifted us with one of the best X-Men movies of all time, and a beautiful sendoff to Hugh Jackman’s tenure as Logan. The ending is a gorgeous one, with a finally dead Logan being buried by the young mutants he saved as they venture to the mutant safe haven of Eden. Not only is it moving and sweet, but it gives us hope for the future of the X-Men franchise, though sadly it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing Laura and her friends again.
Cute chats and meme jokes in Into the Spider-Verse
On top of being a beautifully animated, magical romp through everything that’s amazing about comics and superheroes, Into the Spider-Verse also has a super cute final scene where Miles and Gwen enjoy an interdimensional skyping session before bed. Spider-Verse gets a second nod too for having an awesome post-credits scene that introduces Oscar Isaac’s Spider-Man 2099 and pokes fun at everyone’s favorite meme.
Aquaman‘s anime-inspired ending
James Wan’s technicolor underwater epic is a total joy on many levels, but we’re specifically here to talk about the eccentric wonder of the final scene. After Arthur’s parents reunite, we follow the camera under the sea. It reunites us with the king of the oceans as he swims through Atlantis and up towards the surface before breaking out and jumping into the sky in a pose that looks straight out of a shoujo anime. It’s nothing less than majestic!
Image: Warner Bros.