Deaths of your favourite Superheroes from Movies You Can't Forget

It's no secret that superhero movies are no longer made strictly for kids, like the comics they're based on. For better or worse, in today's superhero movies, that means death shows up a lot more than it did when Superman and Lois Lane were played by Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder.

The final gasps of a character in a superhero movie can stay with us, like death scenes in any other form of film, particularly when it comes to films that are extensive narratives such as those of the MCU or DCEU are part of. Often in those movies, when a character dies, we're not only losing someone who's been with us for a single movie, we're losing several movies that span several years or more. For starters, by the time the Infinity Saga of the MCU ended with 2019's Avengers: Endgame, we had lost heroes and villains who for a decade had made us laugh, cheer, and all in between.

And for whatever reason, what follows are some of the most unforgettable superhero movie deaths ever to darken the big screen, whether the characters are superheroes, supervillains, or perfectly average individuals caught in the crossfire.

Loki's death was brutal

One of the MCU's unquestionable achievements is Tom Hiddleston's depiction of Thor's adoptive brother, Loki. Loki has proved to be one of the most famous characters in the MCU, whether he works for or against Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the other protagonists, as the trickster god whose allegiances seem to shift from film to film. That's part of why his death proved not only unforgettable but surprising in the opening scene of 2018's Avengers: Infinity War.

The manner of his death is what really makes Loki's death so shocking. It's one of the most violent moments in the Infinity Saga when Thanos (Josh Brolin) literally chokes the life out of his former herald. Twice before in the movies, we saw him "die" but none of those fake-outs came close to the ugliness of watching the Insane Titan peacefully and effortlessly wring the god of mischief's last breaths.

There were several different hypotheses as to how Loki was not "really" dead. It was a comprehensible reaction between the announcement that he would get his own Disney+ miniseries and the character's history of fooling his brother into believing he was dead, but by the end of Avengers: Endgame, the reality was obvious. Although we would finally become acquainted with a character version from a parallel timeline, there was little that Loki had escaped.

To become a team, Agent Coulson had to die for the Avengers 

One of the first aspects that made the MCU more than just a series of diverse superhero movies was Clark Gregg's depiction of Phil Coulson, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. In the beginning, he was there trying to get an appointment with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in Iron Man, 2008. He was there to make sure that in the 2010 follow-up, Iron Man 2, Stark didn't leave his house and he mistook the Destroyer for one of Stark's Thor inventions.

That's why when Loki runs through him in The Avengers of 2012, it's such a blow. Coulson was a huge part of the glue that held the Phase 1 movie's together, and the friendly, level-headed agent won over the hearts of fans during his appearances. No one wanted to see him as one of the victims of Loki, which unfortunately made him the perfect choice as the sacrificial lamb that eventually forced the team to begin behaving like a team.

Of course, for Coulson, The Avengers wasn't the end. It wasn't even the last death from which he would come back. Coulson returned to Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the land of the dead, and he also suffered death and further rebirth on that show. Even, such resurrections do not make his death any less effective at Loki's hands. In a way, when you eventually hear about S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents, it makes it much more tragic how traumatic his revival proves to be.

The Waynes' deaths are how Batman begins

The murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne has become one of the popular culture's darkest moments. It's a scene that's as important as it is heartbreaking, whether it's from 1989's Batman, 2005's Batman Begins, 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, or 2019's Joker.

The specifics aren't necessarily similar. They come from a viewing of The Mask of Zorro in Batman, for instance, when they leave an opera early in Batman Begins because young Bruce Wayne freaks out overcast members dressed as monstrous bats. In Batman, the Waynes are assassinated by a younger Jack Napier, while in other versions, they are either Joe Chill or nameless suspects, like a clown-masked killer at the end of the Joker.

But the specifics that are relevant are still the same. The scene often ends with the parents of Bruce Wayne being taken from him, and with a little boy at the beginning of a journey that ends up becoming one of the most popular superheroes of any medium. Batman is born in Crime Alley, regardless of the movie or who pulls the trigger.

It didn't make Peter Parker feel so good

One death strikes harder than any in a film packed with superheroes biting the dust. Half of the universe's living beings perish, including a lot of costumed heroes, after Thanos eventually assembles all six Infinity Stones and makes his fateful snap. Thanos 'snap destroys all the Guardians of the Galaxy, except Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Nebula, along with wiping out a large chunk of the Avengers (Karen Gillan).  But the haunting words of Tony Stark from Peter Parker (Tom Holland) "Mr Stark, I don't feel so good" remain among the most obvious after so much lost, is painful for us to hear.

Most audience members undoubtedly understood that there was no way that the death of Parker would not be reversed, not to mention the deaths of most of the other heroes. Avengers: Infinity War was the third appearance of Holland as Spider-Man, and this iteration of the Webslinger was loved by the consensus of fans. Marvel had no way of ending Holland's tenure as Spidey so suddenly.

However, you still hear the terror in Parker's voice when you look at the scene, and you sense the helpless despair in Stark, along with his remorse for bringing such In this dangerous interstellar madman universe a young boy. You can revive Parker a dozen more times, and his sad death on Titan will not make him any less heartbreaking.

The Starks' deaths are hard to watch

It is shocking how unforgettable the deaths of Howard and Maria Stark in Captain America: Civil War 2016 (John Slattery and Hope Davis) was. After all, at the beginning of the very first MCU film, Iron Man, they were dead. But it is the manner of their death that makes the scene so strong, as well as the identity of the murderer.

We discover in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier that the deaths of the parents of Tony Stark were Hydra-ordered assassinations, though officially considered the result of a car accident. The visibility comes courtesy of the A.I. Arnim Zola (Toby Jones), and before the sequel, we don't get any information. In the Civil War, while delivering new batches of the super-soldier formula to S.H.I.E.L.D., we discover that the Starks were murdered. The brainwashed Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) pushed them off the road with his bare hands and finished them both off.

Watching the scene and seeing the cold violence of the Winter Soldier, it's not really shocking that Zemo (Daniel Brühl) correctly guesses that Iron Man would do all he could to kill Bucky, whether he was reformed or not, upon seeing the footage.

The Ancient One isn't ready to go

The titular hero's mentor, the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), in 2016's Doctor Strange, proves to be far more profoundly flawed than she initially appears. Eventually, despite the devotion she inspires to the Kamar-Taj practitioners, we discover that the Supreme Sorcerer has been violating her own laws in order to fight against the forces of darkness. To prolong her life and help keep supernatural threats at bay, she's been tapping into the Dark Dimension's strength. It's a betrayal that motivates Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and his followers to wage war on Kamar-Taj, and ultimately to convince Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) to take a different direction.

The death of the Ancient One is no less influenced by these discoveries. As Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) assumes his astral shape to pursue the spirit of the Ancient One to the outside of the hospital, she tells her student the reasons for her dishonesty and reveals that in dreams she has seen her death. It's a moment of quiet control. The Ancient One uses her last words to confess to Strange, despite mystically extending her own life, that she is not prepared for death. "You'd think after all this time, I'd be ready," she says to Odd. "But look at me. Stretching one moment out into a thousand, just so that I can watch the snow." And then she's gone.

Ultimately, Tony Stark should relax

Thanos means to destroy the whole world and all in it in the final cataclysmic war of Avengers: Endgame, all in favour of a new existence filled with servile beings thankful for the "vision." of Thanos. But instead of the Insane Giant snapping his fingers, it is Tony Stark who delivers the decisive blow to Thanos and his armies. Tony grapples with Thanos during their battle, and he lets the villain think that he's beaten him when, in fact, Stark steals back the Infinity Stones. So when Thanos announces, "I am inevitable," triumphantly, and snaps his fingers, nothing happens.

Tony replies, "I am Iron Man." These are the words 2008's Iron Man ends with, and they're the last words of Tony Stark. He clicks his fingers and lives long enough to see Thanos transform to dust with his alien armies. Sadly, Tony realises the last thing he'll ever do is use the Stones. The Stones can be used and survive only by someone with immense physical strength. Peter Parker and Rhodey (Don Cheadle) say their tearful farewells to Tony, and his wife, Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow), tells him, "You can rest now."

Robert Downey Jr.'s amazing depiction of Tony Stark was the heart and soul of the MCU for the first decade of its existence. Anything but tragic could never be his final scene.

Death to Vanessa is Poison to Deadpool

When the would-be target of Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) Sergei (Thayr Harris) turns up at the mercenary's apartment in Deadpool 2 in 2018, he seems mainly to want to kill Deadpool, but instead, his bullets strike and kill Vanessaa's key squeeze of Wade (Morena Baccarin). Especially because Vanessa is the same woman Wade pines over and sacrifices everything to save in the first movie, it's a hard death to handle so early in the film. The death of Vanessa sends Wade spiralling to self-destruction, self-destruction that would be even more literal if he did not recover himself from anything, including blowing parts of his own body.

It also contributes to one of the most brilliant moments in Deadpool 2. Wade welcomes him after meeting up with Vanessa's murderer, fooling us into thinking that he is going to be saved by Wilson. That is, before Wade steps into traffic, killing Sergei and making his first in a series of futile attempts at guilt-ridden suicide while still hugging his victim. This is the most humourless moment in the movie, and it's totally perfect.

Fortunately, Vanessa is one of the lucky individuals Wade saves in a mid-credits scene with Cable's (Josh Brolin) time-travel system, which he balances by killing a different version of himself-the Deadpool of 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine as well as Ryan Reynolds, whom he kills before he can film the Green Lantern of 2011.

The death of Rachel was one of the cruellest Joker cuts

One of the deepest wounds Joker (Heath Ledger) makes in 2008's The Dark Knight is the assassination of Bruce Wayne's (Christian Bale) old friend Rachel (Christian Bale) (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Convinced Batman and the police are not going to have enough time to rescue them all, Joker shows the different places where Rachel and Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) are being held hostage in the middle of fuel drums set to explode. But he's not totally frank with the Clown Prince of Crime. He lies about which hostage is at which place, correctly predicting Batman would give priority to saving Rachel. Batman discovers Harvey Dent instead of Rachel, and, in the meantime, the Gotham PD isn't quick enough to get to Rachel. The bomb then explodes, killing Rachel. 

The timing is one tiny yet desperately important detail of the scene that helps make it so effective. We typically expect their deaths to be depicted as something of great pomp and sentimentality when it comes to our heroes if they're going to die. The good guys always have enough time to say their final, noble words to us. But in the case of Rachel, her death cuts her off in the middle of the sentence. "Harvey, listen, "Harvey, listen, "someone, "someone. It is unforgiving and leaves us shaken.

X-Force had to die in order for us to laugh.

The deaths of most of Deadpool 2's newly formed X-Force are some of the few superhero film deaths that are unforgettable not because of emotional weight or controversy, but because... Ah, well... well... Because funny, they were.

It was no secret that the X-Men spinoff squad, X-Force, would be brought to the widescreen by Deadpool 2. What was kept secret was that before they had anything to do, almost the whole team would be killed and that most of them would be killed in disgusting and funny ways. Shatterstar (Lewis Tan) and Bedlam (Terry Crews) shots battling bad guys were used in trailers and TV commercials to help keep the secret, even though none of them lives long enough to get in a single fight.

X-Force goes ahead with their airdrop to avoid Cable, despite strong wind advisories. As a result, Bedlam flies headfirst into a city bus, Shatterstar slides into helicopter blades and bursts into green goo, Zeitgeist (Bill Skarsgård) ends up in a wood chipper, and while attempting to save his colleague from the wood chipper, Peter (Rob Delaney) is killed by the acidic vomit of Zeitgeist. Yeah, and the Vanisher, of course, reveals that Brad Pitt played him just in time to have him electrocuted on the power lines.

In his mid-credit jaunt through time, Wade is kind enough to save Peter from his fate, but that's it. It leaves the remaining X-Force to rot, puddle, sizzle, etc.

The death of Zod is still controversial

You can't deny many of his narrative choices have created major divisions among fans, regardless of how you feel about Zack Snyder's work with the DCEU films. One of the main disagreements is about how in 2013's Man of Steel the battle between Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod (Michael Shannon) ends. Zod refuses to give in and aims his hot vision at a neighbouring family at the end of a historic clash in Metropolis. Superman, having no other option, breaks Zod's leg... Murdering him. Kal-El cries in horror afterwards at what he's done.

To not only fans but writers, the decision to make Superman destroy Zod in this way was surprising. "That's it, you lost me, I'm out!"That's it, you lost me, I'm out!

So whether it's because of the emotional strength of the scene or because you hate that it happened at all, for a while, Zod's death is likely to remain one of the most unforgettable demises of superhero movies.

A hero died in Logan

In 2017's Logan, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is not the only mutant hero we say goodbye to. His clone murders Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Logan's old friend and mentor, and Caliban (Stephen Merchant) sacrifices himself to help stop the Reavers. But what inspires the most tears is the memory of Logan's death at the end of the movie, after he helps save Laura (Dafne Keen) and her friends from the Reavers.

Logan eventually succumbs to his injuries after an unnaturally long and rough life. He has been poisoned by the adamantium in his blood, killing his mutant capacity to recover himself from the horrific wounds inflicted upon him by his clone. Logan seems almost happy as he's dying to actually feel what it's like to die. He uses his last words to alert Laura, when he tells her, "Don't be what they made you." not to go down the same road that he did.

You might argue back and forth on what Logan means to the continuity of the X-Men film, but its sad ending feels like the only way to conclude the tale of the hardened, grizzled Marvel warrior. Logan is as grim and majestic as any Western, and the noble death of his hero gives him a well-deserved rest after centuries of war, literally.

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