6 Extremely Popular Pop Culture Rivalries, Officially Ranked

There are plenty of examples of arch enemies in films and comic books, and their rivalry and distrust for each other has often spilled into actual fights. Some of these are easily contained, while some have become the stuff of legends. In any case, this antagonism is interesting to watch for the fans. We rank here the most legendary rivalries we have seen on screen taken from popular franchises like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe.

1. Batman v/s Bane

This was depicted on screen in the final instalment of the Christopher Nolan trilogy of the Dark Knight. Bane and Batman are not very apart in what they stand for, with Bane describing it as the fact while Batman uses fear and darkness, Bane was born in it. Their two fights during the movie show that Bane was absolutely unafraid of who Batman was. His idea to give Gotham back to the people who live in it may have sounded shallow but it made for great theatrics when Batman comes back from the dead and actually saves the city from itself, as well as Bane.

2. Agent Smith v/s Neo

The first Matrix movie was a landmark film not just because of the use of cinematic and special effects techniques but also the philosophical undercurrent it had. The final fight sequence between Agent Smith who keeps multiplying and Neo is supposed to stand for the men and their fight to break free from the plaguing confines of reality and social norms. The Daoist ideology of facing these bonds with elegance as well as patience are well represented in the final fight sequence. The subsequent movies moved away from these principles to a more palatable description.

3. Batman v/s Superman

This is one of the hottest rivalries from the comics, as the two superheroes have never been great fans of each other. In the Dawn of Justice, fans finally got to see a fight between the Bat and the Superman on screen. The fight was precipitated by Lex Luthor who convinced Batman that Superman’s existence could one day wipe out humanity. The Batman’s vigilante status was also irksome to Superman. The fight at the end between the two was unique in its adherence to a graphic novel-type narration. It also led to the death of Superman which made the formation of a Justice League possible.

4. Iron Man v/s Captain America

In the Civil War movie, we see the two most iconic heroes of the MCU go up against each other. The pretext is the Sokovia accords that would have put the Avengers under the oversight of the United Nations and outlawed most vigilante work. On one side is Tony Stark, guilty after the events of the Ultron, batting for restrictions and on the other side is Chris Evans who would rather fight than see unimaginable strength go to people who play politics. The rivalry is also representative of how the two leaders of the Avengers are poles apart in the way they think and strategise. They make up by the next movie and the Infinity Wars has a touching scene sealing their friendship but for the future their opposing personalities are bound to lead to more clashes.

5. Batman v/s The Joker

In Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight, the clash between the two arch enemies from DC comics was the central drama. Batman and Joker are in many ways the exact opposite of each other. While Batman believes in reason and order and employs darkness and fear to get what he wants, the Joker is a literal embodiment of chaos and loves the limelight. The Joker possesses no physical strength over the Batman and yet in all the three movies, it is against the Joker’s schemes that he loses. It should also be noted that the performances in the movie are extraordinary – Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker will be remembered for its disturbing ferociousness.

6. Anakin v/s Obi Wan

This was one of the most tense moments of the prequel trilogy. In the dying scenes of the Revenge of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker, soon to be Darth
Vader, faces off against his mentor Obi Wan Kenobi on Mustafar. The prequel trilogy came under heavy criticism but there is no doubt that this final duel was a good one, a peak for emotions for both characters. Obi Wan and Anakin had a special relationship, closer than most Jedi masters have with their padawans. In fact, Obi Wan had tried to help his mentee when he had found out that he was going to have a child but the friendship was always doomed. In this final sword battle, Anakin is
gutted and thrown into a pool of flowing lava by Obi Wan and so is born the Darth Vader.
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