Sometimes a weapon in the hands of a movie’s hero or villain can be as iconic as the characters themselves, leaving an equally long-lasting impression upon viewers and gaining an iconic status of their own. Can you imagine Star Wars without lightsabers, Men in Black without crazy energy guns, or Freddy Krueger without his clawed glove? I sure can’t. With that in mind, these are my favorite and most memorable blasters, blades, and tools of destruction in film.
Lightsabers (Star Wars)
Lightsabers are probably the most iconic fictional weapons ever, and it’s not hard to see why. The design that combines old fashioned, samurai-like elegance with the everlasting popularity of high-tech science fiction weapons (and lasers) is an ingenious one, and the wide spectrum of blade colors allow them to look stylish with characters of any species or wearing any outfit. They’re not just the perfect tool for the Jedi Knights and Sith Lords, but also for the wide, diverse universe of Star Wars.
Ripley’s M41A Pulse Rifle (Aliens)
Ellen Ripley going momma bear to save Newt from the clutches of the Xenomorphs and their queen is one of my favorite parts of the Alien franchise, mostly because it shows the heroine’s resolve, tenacity, and resourcefulness all in one masterful sequence. The latter of those qualities is on display when Ripley decks out a futuristic assault rifle (which was already pretty badass on its own) with a flamethrower and some duct tape, creating a weapon that is positively devastating to the alien menace, and one I’ll never forget.
Zorg ZF-1 Pod Weapon System (The Fifth Element)
The ZF-1 is the one of the most versatile guns I’ve seen in any medium. It’s unique design contains a rocket launcher, flamethrower, close-range freeze ray, nets, two kinds of arrows, and regular bullets that can be set to follow the initial shot. That last trait alone was what earned another firearm a place among my most memorable weapons in gaming, so the ZF-1 obviously belongs among my favorite film weapons.
Arc Gun (District 9)
The arc gun discharges a bolt of electricity that surges towards any target in range, and blows it up in a gruesome fashion. It’s effective, messy results shocked Wikus van de Merwe, District 9’s protagonist when he was forced to use it in self defense, and myself as well. I vividly remember shouting “OH DAMN” the first time I saw it turn someone into gory confetti.
Jaegers (Pacific Rim)
Two words: Giant robots.
Big Baby (Hellboy II: The Golden Army)
As long as I’ve loved movies and video games, I’ve always been drawn towards revolvers. They hold fewer bullets than other handguns, but do way more damage in most first-person shooters, and make any action hero who uses them instantly cooler (I doubt Dirty Harry would be quite as awesome if he didn’t have his .357 Magnum). Hellboy, who’s already super cool considering he’s a big, red demon that kills other supernatural entities, has two revolvers. The one that made it on my list, Big Baby, lives up to its name because it’s the biggest single-handed firearm I’ve seen in a movie, and packs a punch closer to a grenade or rocket than a pistol.
Fusion Swords (Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children)
You know what’s cooler than a ridiculously huge sword? A ridiculously huge sword that’s made by combining six smaller swords. Video game protagonist Cloud Strife’s iconic Buster Sword (which earned itself a place on another of my lists) is replaced by the Fusion Swords in the Final Fantasy VII film sequel, Advent Children, a bold move considering how beloved the original weapon is. Luckily, it pays off as each blade is used separately in the finale of my one of my favorite sword fights in film.
Lawgiver Mk. II (Dredd)
In the dark future of the 2000 AD comics and films, Judges (law enforcement officers that are permitted to act as judge, jury, and executioner) are forced to deal with insanely violent criminals on a daily basis in Mega-City One. To help them stay alive, Judges carry Lawgivers, guns that can change between many different kinds of ammunition, either manually or by spoken commands from their users. With standard and rubber bullets, armor-piercing rounds, grenades, high-explosive rounds, and even heatseekers, Judges are equipped to battle the criminal element in almost any form it can take thanks to their trusty sidearms.
Noisy Cricket (Men in Black)
Things in the world of the Men In Black films usually aren’t what they appear to be. For example, the Noisy Cricket is an energy blaster that’s about the size of a dollar store water gun, but creates a blast strong enough to punch through metal and knock its user several feet backwards. It’s not only a great gag, but also a lesson that teaches Agent J, and the audience, to always expect the unexpected.
Clawed Glove (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Few weapons are as famous in the world of horror as the serial killer/dream demon Freddy Krueger’s preferred tool of choice. It’s a simple, yet terrifying design, and I can’t imagine the legendary slasher villain without some form of his gruesome glove. His burned skin and ugly-ass sweater may be off-putting, but in my opinion it’s those bladed fingers that are the most fear-inducing, and memorable part of Freddy’s appearance.
It was tough to choose just one weapon from the Predator’s arsenal, but I eventually decided on the plasmacaster because it’s the first, deadliest (other than the self-destruct bracelet), and coolest one we see in the original film. Jesse Ventura’s Blain Cooper may not have had time to bleed, but that clearly wasn’t an issue for this shoulder-mounted blaster. Seeing it easily dispatch multiple gun-toting badasses throughout the classic action flick clearly demonstrates how advanced the Jungle Hunter’s tech is, and earns the plasmacaster its place on my list.
Combat Jackets (Edge of Tomorrow)
How do you fight aliens with superior strength and speed on the battlefield? The answer to that question in the sci-fi action flick Edge of Tomorrow is by wearing an exo-suit that gives human soldiers more durability and allows them to carry big guns or a gigantic sword. Tom Cruise’s coward-turned-badass character William Cage eventually masters his combat jacket thanks to a Groundhog Day-like conundrum, and the results lead to one of the coolest action sequences I’ve seen in years.
Infinity Gauntlet (Avengers: Infinity War)
If you’ve seen Avengers: Infinity War or read the comic arc it’s based on, you’ll understand why this golden glove of godlike power is on my list.
Watching Thanos use the completed Infinity Gauntlet to kill off half of all life in the universe was jaw-dropping no matter where you saw it first (or second for that matter), and is one of the most legendary, heartbreaking moments in Marvel comics and the MCU.
SPOILERS END HERE
Quantum Eigenstate Device (Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths)
Although the Infinity Gauntlet is capable of universal destruction, it has nothing on the QED. Created by Owlman (an alternate, darker version of Batman who is way cooler than his supername implies), the QED doesn’t just annihilate one universe, but all existence in the multiverse if used in the right place and time. Instead of devoting himself to a war on crime like the Dark Knight, Owlman decided that the only true way to obtain peace was by ending everyone and everything before it ever began, and this weapon of mass destruction can do just that.