There's a short scene in the original Star Wars that's always been one of my favorites. Ben (a.k.a. Obi-Wan) Kenobi has just died by Darth Vader's light saber, essentially sacrificing himself so Luke would escape. Now Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie are escaping in the Millennium Falcon. Luke is crushed by Ben's death, but with a squadron of tie fighters approaching Han needs his help.
After Han and Luke have mounted the Falcon's two gun turrets and are shooting away, Luke exclaims excitedly, "I got one!" And Han, ever my hero, says, "Great, kid. Don't get cocky." (Which is particularly appropriate considering how phallic the whole scene is.) Much as I love the action in the scene, it's that little moment in between gunfire blasts that I respond to even more. I also like the exchange a few moments prior, when Han tells a mourning Luke, "Come on, kid, I'm gonna need your help. We're not out of this yet."
This is a long-established storytelling formula that I actually learning well by watching Bugs Bunny cartoons. Bugs was always minding his own business when Elmer Fudd or another nemesis started trying to kill him. But as soon as they did, Bugs would say something like, "Of course you realize this means war."
I guess what I'm saying is I love that moment when the hero-to-be is dealt a blow, dust themselves off, and come up battling.
Incidentally, for all its well-deserved criticisms, there's a similar moment in The Phantom Menace that I've always thought was one of the best in any Star Wars movie. It comes when Darth Maul has just killed Qui-Gon Jinn while Obi-Wan Kenobi (aka Ben) is stuck between two forcefields. There's a moment of near silence as Darth Maul paces and Kenobi steels himself for the duel that remains. Without saying a word, Ewan McGregor's face transforms from shock and sadness to anger and determination. He's ready to get it on.
What I love even more than the battles in these scenes are their occasional little pauses, the small moments where people catch their breath before taking on more. There's an unexpected sense of calm amid the chaos that reinforces the frenetic battles all the more.
I once saw at the PDX Fest an experimental short film by Melody Own called "Waiting With Guns", in which she spliced together a series of seconds-long moments from old cowboy movies in which groups of men are about to fire -- not the moment when they lock their triggers, but just before, as they crouch around a corner, or peer over a cliff, guns in hand. Owen always moved on to the next scene before anyone fired, so it was like she was sampling and repeating that tiny idiosyncratic visual fragment like a DJ would do musically with samples. Maybe that's when I first began to think of the "Don't get cocky" pause as not just a narrative conjunction, but a moment of its own.