OK, so...you want to know what the secret is?
Fight scenes, the good ones, are still all about character. Turns out I have a lot to say about this so I'll be doing this as a multi-part series over the next couple months.
First up, lets look at one of my favorite sword fights of all time...
Will vs. Jack from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
This fight scene is fabulous because it's not just a fight, it's great character introduction. This fight tells us SO MUCH about their respective characters: Will is a fantastic swordsman but he doesn't seem to have much actual combat experience--as evidenced by the fact he tells Jack he's "cheating" when Jack brings other weapons into play. Will has a naive notion that a pirate who's running for his life should still abide by the rules of fair combat. The fight also shows how good Will is, though. He may not have much practical experience, but he knows what he's doing, and he's pretty damn good at improvising (grabbing the hot sword, the bit with the chain, etc).
In this fight, we also learn that although Jack is a pirate, he actually goes out of his way not to kill Will--basically begging Will to move at the end of the scene so he won't have to shoot him. So, though Jack is a pirate, he's still a good man. Which is basically the message of the first film. And we see it acted out in the very first big fight of the movie. Good job, screenwriters. A+
So, to sum up, this scene may be a fight, but it's also all about character. We learn everything we need to know about Jack and Will in this fight, and we manage to do all this while watching a pretty kick ass fight scene. Win win. :)
Next time: Black Widow vs. Hawkeye in Marvel's The Avengers.
Ta for now,