- Shepard gets a brilliant moment with his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Miranda and Jacob in chapter three of Razor's Edge, where he flat out states that the Normandy SR-2 is his ship, his mission, and that if either of them tries to undermine his authority, he'll "Throw them in the airlock and see if The Illusive Man has enough bugs and failsafes to save them before he hits 'cycle'". Bonus points for delivering this speech in a calm, cool and collected manner.
- Shepard's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the Quarian admiralty board but especially this bit:
Shepard: "In the end, it's your decision. But know this. Exile her if you want, but she will always have a home on my ship as long as she wants it. If anyone has a problem with that, then you'll find out just why I can walk into a ship full of geth that chewed up an entire platoon of your marines."
- Shepard calms Grunt down from his blood rage by standing his ground when Grunt charges him, flipping Grunt over and slamming him into the floor. Shepard then jams a pistol into Grunt's neck and stares him down until Grunt cools off.
- Shepard fights Weyrloc Guld in a one-on-one match while Kasumi, Thane, and Mordin are busy dealing with his lackeys. Shepard wins with the help of his still-untrained biotic powers. After seeing their boss die, the rest of the krogan pause and figure it's probably best to let the guy who killed their leader take his friends with him and go.
- Grunt diving into the mouth of the Thresher Maw during his loyalty mission and shotgunning his way out.
Grunt: "I. AM. KROGAN!
- Shepard's escape from the derelict Reaper. Garrus said it best:
"Just have to show me up, don't you? Grab the girl, spinning, fire assisted weightless jump across a bottomless chasm? You saw that in a vid, didn't you," the turian accused.
- During the suicide mission Shepard is pinned behind enemy lines with Tali, Samara and Jack, making his last stand.
Then Shepard heard what was possibly the second most beautiful sound in the universe. A roar of defiance. "I. Am. KROGAN!"
- Shepard kills the Reaper larva with a single shot from the Cain.
- Shepard takes out a team of assassins without armor, shields, or firearms. All he needs is his knife, his biotics, and his close-combat skills.
- Shepard and his team hurry to Matriarch Aethyta's bar to intercept one of the Shadow Broker's teams of soldiers. By the time they arrive, Aethyta's already taken out all four of her opponents.
- After Tali has a grenade explode in front of her face, Shepard goes into Tranquil Fury mode and completely kicks the Shadow Broker's ass without weapons. Better Than Canon indeed.
What she'd been watching wasn't a fight. It was an execution. It had been a forgone conclusion from the second it began, the only question was how long it would take for Shepard to finish it once and for all.
- And while Shepard is beating up the Shadow Broker, Liara calls Garrus:
- Kal'Reegar's line during Shepard's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of Han'Gerrel
Daro'Xen: "Should you not be defending your Admiral, marine?"Kal'Reegar: "I only see four Admirals in this room. And one stupid gen'ro'sa that pissed off the only non-quarian that's given a damn about us in the last three hundred years," the marine responded coolly. "Ma'am."
- After meeting the Rachni Queen on Utukku, Shepard must make the choice of whether to spare her or kill her. However, the Queen has prepared for both eventualities, and offers Shepard her own choice: let her live and she will stand with the combined galactic forces and unleash the full might of the Rachni against the Reapers... or kill her, and set in motion a massive Thanatos Gambit that will guarantee the Reapers' destruction in the next cycle.
Queen: If you consign our songs to silence in this place instead, then we cannot awaken our children to fight for you. But we can offer songs of long promised vengeance. Our daughters were sung to sleep with memories of the dark-song destroyers. They will sleep for thousands of years. Time enough for the destroyers to disappear into the void beyond once more. When they awake they will know a singular purpose. They will sing retribution-songs. They will find the Citadel. They will build and they will swarm. And when the dark-song destroyers return once more it will be to find that it is our numbers that darken the skies of every world.Queen: We cannot see future-songs, only prepare for them as best we know. Our children sleep with dream-songs of war. This is our last promise if we must go into the silence: the children of the Singing planet will send the dark-song destroyers into the silence as well.
- Legion's rescue of Shepard while in the Geth collective.
Reaper: "You cannot stop us, small machine. Your attacks cannot harm us. You are merely an anomaly."Legion: "We are not an anomaly."*Summons every single one of its programs...*
- The epic conclusion of the Battle in the Center of the Mind against Ghost!Saren. Saren is Driven to Suicide. Again. It's not every day you see a hallucination do that.
Saren: "How? Tell me how! I tried, Shepard! I fought with everything I had! All my anger, all my hate!"Shepard: "Because I remembered that I had something worth fighting for. Not just hate. Love. Sacrifice. Friends. People that had faith in me even when I didn't. All you did was try to save yourself."Saren: "It wasn't just for me. I thought I could save the galaxy."Shepard: "You can't save something that you don't have a stake in. All you ever saw was your own hate. But it's over now. Do it... but I hope whatever is left of you goes back to the Reapers and tell them that I never stopped fighting. Show them that one person, one human can defy them."Saren: "Maybe one human can. Goodbye, Shepard."Saren turns the gun upwards, places it under his own chin, and pulls the trigger.
- The Rachni arriving at the battle of the Citadel and turning a slow loss into a Curb-Stomp Battle.
- Just as Kai Leng is about to finish off Thane, in full view of the Council and most of the Normandy crew, Shepard makes his triumphant return from the dead by disarming Leng, shattering his wrist, then using his fist and stabbing Kai Leng with an unheard of biotic power!
Kai Leng: You're dead, Shepard! I saw the reports! From your own crew...you were dead!Shepard: Death and I have established an equitable working relationship. (creates arm-length BIOTIC BLADE) Why don't I introduce you.
- After the Cerberus siege of the Citadel has been repelled, Garrus goes frantically searching for Kasumi, who was badly injured by a bomb. Once he tracks her down to the hospital she was taken to, he identifies the Turian doctor who was operating on her and asks how she's doing. Said doctor assumes her injuries are the result of rough sex and has a less than approving opinion of Interspecies Romance. Garrus puts him in his place:
Doctor: "I see. I didn't realize you were... one of those. Spectre or not I resent patching up bedroom accidents in the middle of a crisis. Whatever perver-"Any offensive diatribe the doctor had been going to continue with was cut off when Garrus whirled on him with amazing speed, wrapped a hand around the older turian's cowl, and slammed him into the nearest wall with a deep throated snarl.Garrus: "I do not give a damn about your opinions on anything, you backwater colonial fuck, other than on the current medical status of the woman you operated on! Do I make myself clear? If not, I have plenty more petty abuses of power I can get into starting with removing your face-plates with my talons!"
- Shepard's speech to the Citadel after his return from the dead, especially the last bit:
"My name is Johnathan Shepard. Twice the galaxy has declared me dead, but I still endure. I fight for the future of not just the Council or the Alliance, but for all sapient life in this galaxy. The Reapers think of themselves as gods. They would have us submit to slaughter because they demand it. But I stand before you now to deliver a single message."
- The fight against the Reaper on Rannoch is just one awesome moment after another.
- One standout that does not appear in canon is Shepard and crew being saved from a Zerg Rush of Geth by Kal'Reegar and a squad of Quarians at the last possible moment. Reegar crashes his transport into a Geth dropship for added awesome. Even better, a scene very similar to this was actually found in the November 2011 Mass Effect 3 script leak but it never made it into the game.
- After being ignored by the other admirals, nearly killed on Rannoch, forced to abandon his men, and then faced with Han'Gerrel's stubborn refusal to back down in the face of death, Zaal'Koris has had enough.
Zaal'Koris: "If (Shepard won't destroy you,) then I will, Gerrel! You have called me a coward, a suit-wetter, a sympathizer! But I am Admiral and I have not forgotten that our first duty is to our people! With that power and responsibility I am ordering you to stand down or by the Ancestors I will be the one that orders your ship turned to scrap! This war is over!"
- Chapter 33 is filled with these:
Zaeed Massani: "Fuck retirement. And fuck you."
- Javik takes on a wave of Adjutants on Omega with a Revenant machine gun. No wait, with two of them. Then after their barrels have melted from the sustained fire, he goes back to his Particle Rifle while declaring the Revenants were "sufficient."
- Zaeed pulls off a big time Dying Moment of Awesome when he volunteers to be a sacrifice to clear out the hundreds-strong horde of Adjutants blocking the way to Afterlife by detonating an explosive that ruptures a plasma conduit and floods the whole area with superheated plasma. After, of course, making sure to down almost a dozen of them with pinpoint shot from a pair of pistols. Even better is that this explosion kills all the Adjutants that were the cause of Nyreen's death in the game, so she survives the assault.
- When they finally make it into Afterlife, General Petrovsky unleashes an experimental, hulking beast of an Adjutant that is far stronger and faster than the hordes they've been battling. Gunfire tickles it. Biotics don't even make it flinch. It's unstoppable... except that Miranda knows the best weapon to use is physics. Specifically, reinforced alloy rods a quarter-inch thick, with biotically reduced mass traveling at a thousand meters/second, and said biotic field removed at the last moment = dead Adjutant.
- The raid on Cronos Station. Kai Leng tries to demoralize Shepard and his team by playing the video of how Cerberus found his body in the state it was in after the SR-1 destruction and the usage of Reaper technology to resurrect him. Shepard isn't fazed at all by it.
Shepard: "Maybe I'm not the same man that died over Alchera. Maybe he died and I'm what they pieced back together. A VI that just thinks it's Commander Shepard or nothing more than a clone. But whatever I am... is going to enjoy snapping your neck, Leng."
- Kai Leng's death is even better than it was in the game. Off with His Head!
- The final battle on Earth plays out rather differently than in the game, mostly due to the fact that the rachni and geth play a much bigger role in it. Perhaps the most impressive moment is the reworked scene from the Extended Cut when the Normandy comes to save Garrus and Tali from the rush to the Conduit: Harbinger is about to blow everyone away, but the rachni queen's hiveship shows up and hits Harbinger with a biotic blast so powerful it momentarily knocks it offline, and eventually smashes into Harbinger full force, permanently putting the Reaper out of commission at the cost of the queen's life.