Pop-Ed: Top 10 Movie Shields

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Blocking. Deflection. Protect. Guard. Whether they are metal, made of energy, or even just plain household items, I love me some shields. Yup, that’s right – we’re talking about shields today. In honor of Captain America: The Winter Soldier opening this weekend, what better time to honor those trusty defense mechanisms, or in Cap’s case, a really cool thing that you throw. In what is probably the stupidest and most ridiculous top ten I’ve ever done, I present to you The Top Ten Greatest Shields Ever Used In a Motion Picture!

10) Dark Helmet’s Helmet (Spaceballs)

-Yeah, I’m cheating a little bit, but come on! While it’s technically a helmet, its best moments come from when it actually acts as a shield. This hunk of metal is even powerful enough to deflect a Schwartz laser sword – that’s pretty impressive. But it’s most iconic moment is when Spaceball 1 comes out of ludicrous speed, and Dark Helmet flies helmet first into a control panel. Sure, the helmet was flattened, but it did save his life. Now that’s a shield!

9) The Patronus Charm (The Harry Potter Franchise)

-Introduced in the third film, the Patronus charm was the first real evidence that Harry Potter was an exceptional wizard. According to Professor Lupin, this was serious advanced magic for a third year Hogwarts student. I don’t know though, it doesn’t seem that hard. All you have to do is shout “Expecto Patronum,” while thinking of a happy memory. That’s pretty easy. I’d just remember the first time I saw Drive. My only criticism of the Patronus charm though is that it’s a defense mechanism against the Dementors, which were basically cops in the Wizarding World. So you’re telling me once you learn how to use the Patronus, you can basically outrun a cop anytime you want? I don’t know, seems like the Wizarding World needs a new security system.

8) The Fungus Mushroom (Super Mario Brothers)

-This is kind of funny, because I just talked about how terrible this movie was a few weeks ago in my video game movie piece, but here it is on a top ten. The reason I had to include the fungus mushroom is just because of how pathetic an attempt it is to emulate the video game. So we all know in the game that a mushroom causes Mario to grow in size. But in the movie, the actual mushroom itself “expands” to deflect a blast from King Koopa’s devolution gun or whatever. Get it? The mushroom gets bigger. I’m sorry, but that cracks me up.

7) Colossus (The X-Men Franchise)

-He’s a living breathing walking metal shield of awesome. Now that’s one bad ass shield.

6) Julie “The Cat” Gaffney (D2: The Mighty Ducks)

-As great as Colossus is, there’s a better human shield out there – Julie “The Cat” Gaffney from Bangor, Maine. Yeah, that’s right. Why can’t a hockey goalie be considered a shield? It’s their job for crying out loud! Now I want everybody to relax, because if you’re a fan of the Mighty Ducks series like I am, I’m about to get controversial. Gordon Bombay is a fantastic coach, there’s no question about that. But I’m sorry, sticking with Goldberg instead of the clear-cut better goaltender through the entirety of the Junior Goodwill Games was totally ridiculous. Goldberg allowed 12 goals against team Iceland. 12 goals! Are you kidding me?! Goldberg’s GAA (Goals Against Average) must have been off the charts. Bombay finally got his head right (albeit at the last possible second) when he puts Julie in to face Gunnar Stahl in the final shootout. And I know people like to dog pile on D3: The Mighty Ducks, but even Coach Orion knew who the better goaltender was. Not only that, but Coach Orion even had the foresight to use Goldberg as a defensive specialist. That’s like having two goalies on the ice – now that’s coaching. Julie “The Cat” Gaffney, I salute you.

5) The Mr. Miyagi Blocking Techniques (The Karate Kid)

-In one of my favorite movie moments of all time, we watch Daniel LaRusso paint the face, wax the car, and sand the floor for hours and hours and hours, wondering what the hell is going on? When it’s finally revealed he was learning blocking techniques all along, it’s simply amazing. I’ll never forget watching that for the first time. Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel LaRusso several different shields, but they were shields from within himself. Oh yeah, we’re getting real deep, folks.

4) The Alien Shields (Independence Day)

-Out of all the shields talked about so far in this countdown, these are the most crucial to the film’s actual plot. After the aliens destroy nearly everything, the United States sends a battalion of their best fighter pilots, and they get absolutely creamed, all because of those damn blue energy shields. They are completely powerless. These things even stop a nuclear missile! If it weren’t for a Jeff Goldblum convoluted computer virus that needs to be loaded up while in space at close proximity to the alien mother ship, these shields would have never have been destroyed.

3) The Death Star II Energy Shield (Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi)

-Much like the alien shields in Independence Day, the Death Star shield was a huge production to disable as well. Not only does Han Solo and company have to use an old Imperial Scout ship to sneak onto Endor, they also have to blow up the shield station, which is guarded by a shitload of AT-ST’s. Even if you get inside the station, there’s a humongous electrical circuit doohickey thing powering the shield generator. Geez, Louise! As long as Ewoks are around though, you’ll be fine.

2) Captain America’s Shield (Marvel Cinematic Universe)

-How about the shield that inspired this countdown? Out of all the shields on here, this one is the most pure. It’s quite simply a round metal shield. While it blocks everything from hydra laser guns to even absorbing the full power of Thor’s hammer, it’s also one hell of an offensive weapon. I love when Captain America flings this thing around as it bounces like a pinball between enemies. It’s certainly a visually pleasing shield to look at, and I’m sure we’ll get more shield goodness in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

1) The Batmobile Shields (The Tim Burton Batman Movies)

-Of course I had to go Batman here. As much as I praise the Christopher Nolan Batman movies, I still love the first two Burton films very much. And while Nolan’s take on the Dark Knight is better in every way, there is still one aspect that Burton did better – the batmobile. This thing is gorgeous, and it’s probably my favorite car ever in a movie. One of the coolest features though happens when it’s not even moving. When Michael Keaton says the magical word (“Shields”), and that razor like metal covers every inch of the car, tell me you don’t squirm every time. Even the wheels were protected! Unfortunately, the toy wasn’t as cool. I remember the shields being this lame plastic cover you put on top of the car. Whatever. I also didn’t appreciate the change to the batmobile in Batman Forever where the car looked like the shields from the first two movies, but inside out. And don’t get me started on the night club batmobile from Batman & Robin (shudder). I’m cool with the tumbler and all, but the definitive batmobile for me is still that first one from 1989. “Shields.”

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Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.