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Top 10 Epic Final Battles in Sci-Fi Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Brett Cassano These science fiction movies didn't just end in a bang, but had epic grand-scale battles to conclude their stories! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Final Battles that Concluded Science Fiction Movies! But what will take the top spot on our list? Will it be from "Star Wars", "Aliens", or "Terminator 2: Judgement Day?" Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: Big thanks to mattwatchmojo for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Epic%20Final%20Battles%20in%20Sci-Fi%20Movies

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You can’t beat final battles of this magnitude! Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 epic final battles in science fiction movies.

For this list, we’re looking at the most monumental climactic battles that kept on us on the edge of our seats. Since all of these battles occur in the third act of their respective films, a SPOILER ALERT is now in effect.

#10: Wikus vs. Venter
“District 9” (2009)

When you find yourself mutating into a slimy alien prawn, your friend’s in trouble, and you’ve got the military hunting you down, what else are you gonna do besides strap yourself into an alien battle suit and kick some ass? This scene is the final push for an alien prawn named Christopher Johnson to reach his spaceship and escape the Earth. After learning what it’s like to be in a prawn’s shoes for a day, Wikus van de Merwe comes to the rescue. Since the exosuit wasn’t designed for humans, he winds up discovering its weapons and abilities on the run, meaning surprises are in store for both him and the audience. The result is some awesomely gritty Verhoeven-esque action that also has heart.

#9: Kaiju vs. Jaegers
“Pacific Rim” (2013)

After nearly two hours of gargantuan, Kaiju-killing awesomeness, the heroes of our story venture into the ocean depths, straight toward the lion’s den. Piloting the last two surviving Jaeger machines, Gipsy Danger and Striker Eureka, they fight their way to the inter-dimensional fissure where the Kaiju monsters first emerged. With Striker packing a nuclear bomb hoping to destroy the portal for good, the two are met with heavy resistance from three ravenous, titanic-sized Kaiju. The underwater setting of this battle makes for a much more challenging combat environment, putting the Jaegers to the test. It also provides unique visuals that couldn’t have been imagined with old-fashioned rubber suits. This final battle is just the next step in the evolution of Kaiju films.

#8: Aerial Battle
“Independence Day” (1996)

Not willing to go quietly into the night, humanity ended the infamous War of ’96 by launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. Knowing he belongs in the air, President Thomas Whitmore steps into the cockpit of an F-18 Hornet and fights alongside humanity’s last rag-tag squadron of fighter pilots. When the tide of battle takes a turn for the worse, Whitmore helps plow the road for dopey crop-duster Russell Casse to make the ultimate sacrifice. Casse points the nose of his supersonic fighter jet right up the aliens’ royal ass and bomb-voyage! The stirring musical score by David Arnold complements every moment of suspense and act of bravery in this unforgettable battle.

#7: Neo vs. Smith
“The Matrix Revolutions” (2003)

By the third film in the Matrix trilogy, Neo and Agent Smith are no strangers: they’re each well versed in hand-to-hand combat and well aware of each other’s gravity-defying capabilities. In the first film, Neo’s martial arts skills gave him the edge he needed to fight Smith. But in “Revolutions,” Smith has become so powerful that even the machines controlling the Matrix don’t know what to do with this guy. So Neo is sent back into the Matrix to end Smith for good. Set amidst a thundering rainstorm, this fight is steeped in poetic visuals. Smith doesn’t make use of his clones in this fight, rendering it more personal – especially as the battle concludes with some philosophical pondering and a little assimilation.

#6: Battle for Pandora
“Avatar” (2009)

When an evil mining corporation threatens the survival of their land, the tall and mighty Na’vi tribes mount their mountain banshees and take to the skies. Assisted by Jake Sully and handful of other human allies, this epic battle in the floating mountains of Pandora is an astonishing spectacle. The Na’vi’s spiritual connection to their planet means the local wildlife joins them in protecting their home, helping to even the odds against the attacking RDA warships. Apparently, directing epic sci-fi battles is just like riding a bike for James Cameron; 12 years after “Titanic,” Cameron’s masterful pioneering of motion-capture filmmaking allowed him to craft this wildly imaginative battle, while never forgetting to let the emotions of the characters shine through their animated visages.

#5: Snowy Mountain Battle
“Inception” (2010)

Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” follows Dom Cobb and a team of extractors who are attempting to plant an idea in the subconscious of a wealthy businessman’s heir. Inside a dream three levels deep, the extractors fight off projections that manifest in the form of trigger-happy alpine skiers. Time is of the essence here, as each successive dream level relies on the next for the inception to work. And while taking a bullet in a dream doesn’t normally spell real-world death, the intense sedatives necessary for their multi-level dream mean that dream-dying could trap the victim in an endless state of limbo. The stakes in this battle are only amplified by Hans Zimmer’s pulse-pounding score, which drives viewers through interconnected conflicts occurring in multiple levels of the dream world.

#4: Fury Road Chase
“Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015)

George Miller’s action-packed masterpiece of filmmaking ends with a battle that’s perfect in every way. As Furiosa barrels back down the Fury Road in her monstrous war rig, Max and the Vuvalini must fend off the army of war-vehicles led by the menacing wasteland tyrant, Immortan Joe. Miller skillfully ratchets up the insanity-level throughout this chase, as war boys try every nitro-boosted trick they can muster. Miller wisely chose to keep the effects practical, using real vehicles and stunt performers. Clearly inspired by silent films like Buster Keaton’s “The General,” the action scenes in “Fury Road” were feature undistracted, silky smooth action that actually makes geographical sense. Oh, what a scene! What a lovely scene!

#3: Steel Mill Battle
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)
By the time the T-800, John and Sarah Connor have reached this point in the story, they’ve practically become a family: the T-800 has become a father figure in John’s life, protecting John and learning empathy from him in the process. This makes this final battle all the more heart wrenching when we see the T-800 struggling to fend off the T-1000, a vastly superior killing machine. In 1991, CGI was the greatest thing since sliced bread, astonishing moviegoers with the T-1000’s surreal liquid-metal abilities. But aside from that, this scene is also notable for its heartfelt ending, as the T-800’s farewell ‘thumbs-up’ slowly sinks into a vat of molten lava.

#2: Ripley vs. Alien Queen
“Aliens” (1986)

This battle between two formidable females stands out as exhilarating and genuinely terrifying. The third James Cameron battle to make our list features favorite sci-fi heroine and ultimate badass, Ellen Ripley. After rescuing her adopted daughter from the hellish nightmare of the alien hive, Ripley returns to the Sulaco only to find that a slimy stowaway has snuck onboard. The menacing alien queen threatens Newt, and Ripley’s protective motherly instincts kick into high gear. The added size and strength of her cargo-loader allows her to intimidate the animalistic alien and throw her out the goddamn airlock. Though hardly noticeable even thirty years later, much of this scene was filmed with animatronics and puppets that hold up astonishingly well.

Before we dive into our final pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- J Squad vs. Mimics
“Edge of Tomorrow” (2014)

- USS Enterprise vs. USS Reliant
“Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (1982)

- Godzilla vs. MUTOs
“Godzilla” (2014)

#1: Battle of Endor
“Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi” (1983)

As we’ve seen with the Battle of Pandora: spears, arrows, and tree-dwelling natives are not to be underestimated. While the Battle of Yavin will long be remembered and the end of “Rogue One” is badass, three diverse battlegrounds set the stage for the climactic final chapter of the original “Star Wars” trilogy. While Luke Skywalker clashes lightsaber blades with Darth Vader aboard the dreaded second Death Star, Rebel fighters led by Admiral Ackbar battle a fleet of Star Destroyers and the Death Star itself. Meanwhile, the Imperials’ overconfidence gets the best of them as they get their keisters kicked by a tribe of furry Ewoks. Made in the golden age of ‘80s sci-fi/fantasy, this classic battle packs all manner of practical effects, heroes, villains, and mythical storytelling into a deeply satisfying ending.

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