Super Machines of Superheroes

Super Machines of Superheroes
Celluloid heroes need to get places — and fast. They have bombs to defuse, goons to chase and hapless bystanders whose lives or deaths hang in the balance. But these things rarely happen in the same vicinity, and typically there are only seconds to spare before the bad guys strike. That's why most big-screen protagonists drive high-performance supercars. Another reason: They want to look like badasses. Driving a Honda Civic wouldn't strike fear into the heart of a master criminal, no matter how many missiles it can fire. Here are the 10 toughest rides — both real and invented — from the last decade of superhero cinema.
‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ (2003)

Nemo's Car
Although it was one of the most reviled comic-book adaptations of all time, "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" features one of the most stunning cars in any movie. That it makes zero sense in any way — the six wheels, its presence on the car-free paved streets of Venice and the sheer size of the thing — is beside the point. In this alternative Victorian-era history, Captain Nemo is not only the inventor of the submarine, but a proto-hot-rodder with a knack for Hindu-deity-inspired detail work.

‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ (2011)

Harley-Davidson WLA
In comic books, Cap has a long tradition of riding gaudy, flag-themed bikes that look more parade-worthy than battle-ready. For the new movie, set during the 1940s, filmmakers opted for realism, sticking the super soldier on a replica of a Harley-Davidson WLA, which was produced for the Army during WWII. The WLA was built for reliability and had a gun rack mounted on the front fork, for carrying large weapons — usually tommy guns — in massive holsters. Less period-accurate are those twin machine guns peeking around the headlight.
‘The Green Hornet’ (2011)

Black Beauty
When the original Green Hornet television show debuted in 1966, there was nothing classic about the eponymous hero's heavily armed 1966 Chrysler Imperial Crown. Whether you think the remake's brand of superheroic slapstick is a hit or a miss, one decision seems right: Despite the modern-day setting, the vigilante, now played by Seth Rogen, is still driving a '66 Imperial. Missiles, machine guns and flame throwers supply a paramilitary edge, but it's that distinctive, boxy-sleek design that gives Black Beauty its name.
‘Kick-Ass’ (2010)

Mist Mobile
Special effects are overrated. Everything in wannabe superhero Red Mist's car is real, from the custom mirrorless Lamborghini-style scissor doors to the supercharged, 2-stage, water-to-air-intercooled 550-horsepower engine. Even the front and rear cameras and intentionally silly mist-emitting vents along the hood scoop, fed by a pair of nitrous-oxide tanks in the trunk, are genuine — they're all part of a custom modification of a 2008 Ford Mustang GT by Galpin Auto Sports of Van Nuys, Calif. Like its owner, this muscle car is light on improbable supergadgets, but there's real danger under that preening exterior.
‘The Dark Knight’ (2008)

For such a tortured soul, Batman certainly has a flair for the dramatic. Why install an escape hatch in the Batmobile, when you can jam an entire, ejectable motorcycle into its front end? The Batpod is ready to roll at the push of a button, complete with rocket and grappling-hook launchers. The 20-inch wheels and nearly horizontal frame make steering the Batpod almost impossible. Luckily this two-wheeler rotates on its axis, making up for a poor turning radius.
‘Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer’ (2007)

Dodge Fantasticar
The comic-book version of the Fantasticar was a hovering Jacuzzi whose greatest power was to make flying cars completely undesirable. The movie version, built by Dodge, was something entirely different. Dodge even aired fake television commercials touting its 500-mph top speed and HEMI engine. Brazen marketing campaign notwithstanding, the Dodge-branded Fantasticar was cool, an escape pod with a muscle-car grin. That's before it splits into three dinky aircraft and all hope of redemption is lost.
‘Ghost Rider’ (2007)

Hell Cycle
Don't tell the guy with the flaming skull, but his bike might be upstaging him. Ghost Rider's 12-foot-long chopper has its own demonic skull, plus horns for handlebars, a fork made from chains, and assorted vertebrae and spiny bits throughout its chrome frame. In the movie, the motorcycle is made of hellfire, with flame-spitting wheels that can drive up walls and across the surface of water. In the real world, the custom-built prop was a working bike that topped out at 90 mph, with onboard lighting along the wheels to help insert computer-generated fire in postproduction.
‘Batman Begins’ (2005)

More tank than car, Bruce Wayne's most expensive ride is the epitome of brute force — a prototype of an armored military vehicle called the Tumbler, which he co-opts for deployment in his own personal war. Despite the auto-cannons, rocket launcher and jet engine, the reincarnated Batmobile feels like it could rumble right off the screen, thanks to an emphasis on stunts that were not computer-generated, including a reduced-scale replica of the vehicle that was launched across rooftops using an air cannon.
‘Blade II/ Blade: Trinity’ (2002/2004)

1968 Dodge Charger
Our vampire-hunting hero doesn't drive a 1968 Dodge Charger because he's a half-vampire of a certain age; Blade is actually a Young Turk, slicing and shooting through his 20s during the film trilogy. Maybe he really liked "Bullitt" or "The Dukes of Hazzard," both of which showcased '68 Chargers. Whatever his reasons, Blade drives the same satin-black Mopar throughout the entire trilogy, and modifies it only slightly over the years, installing ultraviolet floodlights behind the front grille and the occasional stake-firing shotgun rack inside.
‘Iron Man 2’ (2010)

2011 Audi R8 5.2 FSI Spyder
Tony Stark's R8 Spyder doesn't play a crucial role in "Iron Man 2." But the 2011 Audi R8 5.2 FSI Spyder's time on-screen indicates that Stark is not only an Audi man — he drove an R8 coupe in the first "Iron Man" — but a lover of style and power in all his machines. The real-life soft-top model was first spied during the filming of "Iron Man 2," generating infinitely more buzz than the extensive promotional tie-ins between Audi and the sequel.