We live in the superhero era of film. But that doesn’t mean we’re in the midst of a golden age of action movies. The best action tends to fall outside of the superhero genre. Especially among today’s biggest directors, driven by a handful of action auteurs, of which Matthew Vaughn.

With that being mentioned, we can say that we’re ranking Matthew Vaughn’s top action moments of all time. That too, in honor of The King’s Man’s recent streaming premiere on HBO Max and Hulu.

Where do you think your favorite belongs on our list?

X MEN: the first-class finale

Matthew Vaughn film’s thrilling closing action sequence:

Magneto’s betrayal of his fellow mutants is essentially a foreseeable conclusion.  Nonetheless, there is a nihilistic whiff of tragedy and doom. And that is when Erik chooses to damn his soul and puts on his helmet for the first time to execute Sebastian Shaw, the man who murdered his mother. 

Moreover, there’s a sickening degree of simultaneous delight and anguish. As we trace the victim’s silent pain through Charles’ mental link to the man, Vaughn’s.

His camera mirroring a pan across Charles’ screaming face with the route the coin travels in Shaw’s old noodle.

Furthermore, the subsequent battle between Charles and Erik on a Cuban beach with no less than the combined naval superpowers of the United States and the Soviet Union bearing down on them is phenomenal. And that is not because of the CGI spectacle, but because of the heightened emotional anguis. Vaughn can elicit from his two leading men, as well as the horrified and elated onlookers.

Harry teaches a lesson in The Kingsman

Anyone who has watched Kingsman: The Secret Service knows that it contains some of the most exciting action sequences in recent film history. While much of this can be attributed to Vaughn’s direction, the script’s clever use of the repeating theme of the underdog cannot be overlooked. a

In the film’s first act, we witness Harry in action for the first time, calmly requesting Eggsy’s neighborhood bullies to leave them alone before unleashing the full, savage force of his Kingsman training on them. 

Manners maketh man, indeed.

Hit-Girl saves Big Daddy and Kick-Ass 

It’s a comedy called “Kick-Ass.” It isn’t either. That contradiction was difficult for fans to swallow in 2010. But, just a few years before Deadpool, who was similarly self-deprecating yet simultaneously gooey, executed the same act to a more lucrative effect.

Likewise, the scenario alternates. And that happened between a sophisticated use of video game-like first-person POV photography by slaughtering gangsters with her night-vision goggles. And moving ahead ramps it up a level by having the area lighted by the glow of Big Daddy’s burning, screaming flesh.

Matthew Vaughn in The Kingsman

If you have seen this movie, then you wouldn’t wait to talk about this particular scene. Late in the film’s second act, Samuel L. Jackson’s Richmond Valentine puts his murder-inducing SIM cards to the test on a Kentucky church of homophobic, bigoted evangelicals.

And just then, Matthew Vaughn breaks up the brutality with reaction shots of Eggsy, Valentine, Sofia Boutella’s Gazelle, and Mark Strong’s Merlin, watching (or attempting not to see) the event unfold.

Thus, Vaughn is known as an action filmmaker for not automatically resorting to gratuitous brutality in action scenes.

But, as the church slaughter in Kingsman: The Secret Service showed, Vaughn can ramp up the savagery when the story demands it.

These are some of the best action scenes by Vaughn. Which one are your favorite and share with us your experiences?

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