It is well known that the second act of any story is one of the most important parts and one of the hardest to get down right. So to keep everyone enthralled during this period you come up with the Centerpiece Spectacular.

The Centerpiece Spectacular is a point in a story that is certainly not the climax, but it is situated during the middle of the story or sometimes even the beginning to really get their attention. You can usually identify it as being the sequence ''everyone'' is talking about, and that is usually because this sequence is the work's CrowningMomentOfAwesome.

Now, there can often be a downside to this. It isn't a bad thing to make the centerpiece the high point of the story, but if the climax doesn't even come close to approaching it then it can end up being a let down. And if the running time of the story has too great a distance between the centerpiece and the climax, you can run into EndingFatigue.

The placing of the Centerpiece Spectacular can vary wildly, though it is never the climax. If this sequence happens towards the beginning of the story, it can overlap with an EstablishingCharacterMoment. In early Act 2 it is intended to get the plot flowing fast. In late Act 2 it is a set-up for the climax.



[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/MonstersVsAliens'' has the fight with the giant robot at the Golden Gate bridge.
* The Tournament sequence in ''Disney/RobinHood''.
* The escape from Sunnyside Day Care in ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory3''.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'' has the "Hundred Mile Dash" scene.
* "Be our Guest" in Disney's ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast''.
* Similarly, "Under the Sea" in ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid''.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePiratesInAnAdventureWithScientists'' has the bathtub chase through UsefulNotes/CharlesDarwin's house.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan'' has the opening amphibious landing battle. A solid half-hour of relentless combat and no other combat sequence in the film, up to and including the climactic fight, can match it for intensity.
* All of the ''Franchise/IndianaJones'' movies follow this closely:
** ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'' has the truck chase, and like most of the movie has gone on to be legend. And in a rare instance of a movie having two, the opening sequence with the giant stone ball serves a similar purpose.
** ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheTempleOfDoom'' has the mine cart sequence.
** ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade'' has the fight against, around and on top of the tank.
** ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheKingdomOfTheCrystalSkull'' has the chase in the forest with the car boats.
* ''Film/TheDarkKnight'' has the police escort being attacked by the Joker and Batman rushing into the fight. In fact the sequence was so good many people expected it to be the climax.
* Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse:
** ''Film/IronMan'' has the hero going to the middle east and destroying the Stark weaponry that is being used there. The UnflinchingWalk after destroying the tank cements it, and the chase sequence with the American jets brings it home.
** ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk'' has the fight at the college grounds.
** ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'' has Captain America's first mission -- his attack on the HYDRA base, rescuing Bucky and the Howling Commandos and meeting the [[BigBad Red Skull]] for the first time.
** ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'' has the attack on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, featuring Loki and his forces laying waste to it, the Hulk transforming to wreak havoc, and the Avengers working with S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel to weather the attack.
** ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'' has the Hulk go on another rampage, and Iron Man activates his Hulkbuster armor to stop him.
** The scene at Leipzig airport in ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar'' is a battle between two sides featuring many of the superheroes in the franchise. The dynamic choreography and clever interactions between the cast make it ''the'' action scene of the film. In contrast, the climactic fight is much smaller with dirtier combat, being a personal feud between Captain America and Iron Man.
* The pod race in ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'' served this purpose.
* Film/TransformersFilmSeries:
** The first ''Film/{{Transformers}}'' movie had the arrival of the Autobots.
** ''Film/TransformersRevengeOfTheFallen'' has the forest battle with Optimus versus Megatron, Starscream and Grindor.
* The original ''Film/PlanetOfTheApes1968'' had the {{Reveal}} of the apes. They felt they had to do it again (and top themselves) for ''Film/BeneathThePlanetOfTheApes'' so they wrote the part with the reveal of the mutated humans.
* The ChaseFight on the freeway in ''Film/TheMatrixReloaded''.
* Zero hour hits in ''Film/TwoThousandTwelve'', and we follow John Cusack and family drive and fly out of Los Angeles as the ground crumbles and opens up, buildings collapse and debris -- cars, trains, freeways, people -- fly all about them.
* ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'':
** ''The Fellowship of the Ring'' has the fight against the goblins and the cave troll (especially the cave troll) in the ruins of Balin's Tomb.
** ''The Return of the King'' had the Battle of Pelennor Fields, which comes about three-quarters of the way through the film and is easily the biggest and longest fight of the whole trilogy.
* ''[[Film/TheMagnificentSeven1960 The Magnificent Seven]]'' has the first confrontation with Calvera and the bandits, which leads to a round of back-to-back {{Badass Boast}}s.
* In the [[Film/TheMagnificentSeven2016 2016 remake]] the initial gunfight between the Seven and the Blackstone detectives.
* ''Film/PacificRim'' has a fight in Hong Kong between the four remaining [[HumongousMecha Jaegers]] and two of the deadliest {{kaiju}} in the film's universe during the middle of the movie. Although the climax is also a huge spectacle, the Hong Kong fight is the defining action scene of the film and delivers most of the monster vs. robot carnage the film was designed around.
* The Red Circle shootout in ''Film/JohnWick''. Coming almost exactly in the middle of the movie, John tracks down Iosef to a nightclub, and when Iosef tries to escape, John kills off a small army of mooks while chasing after him. John uses a stylized combination of hand-to-hand combat and GunFu to dispatch his opponents incredibly quickly with headshots and double-taps, all while [[WouldNotShootACivilian never hitting a single bystander in the crowded club]], fully cementing his reputation as TheDreaded. It also marks the point where John begins hunting Iosef in earnest, rather than simply preparing to do so.
* The church brawl in ''Film/KingsmanTheSecretService'': It closes the second act and it's the longest fight in the movie, featuring the most complex choreography, the most careful editing work (to make it look like a oner) and it has kickass background music. It's also the most violent scene, being the hardest aversion to BloodlessCarnage in the movie. That [[spoiler:[[MentorOccupationalHazard Galahad]] [[WhamShot dies]]]] right afterwards only cements it.


* The Slave Cage sequence in ''Theatre/{{KA}}'' is an excellent example of a centerpiece spectacular that sets up the climax as the slaves revolt against their captors.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Halfway through ''VideoGame/WonderlandAdventures'', [[spoiler: the Ice Trolls come out of nowhere, steal the Star Key, freeze everyone present except you, and cause you to be trapped inside the Volcano.]]
* ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClankFutureToolsOfDestruction'' begins with the attack on Metropolis, featuring an invading army, meteor-like mortars, an invading army, ominous dropships and collapsing buildings. The trope is invoked as this is the game's high-point and the focus of most of the marketing.