10 Most Devastating MCU Deaths

What could be worse than losing half of all life in the universe?

Tom Holland Spider Man Infinity War
Marvel Studios

One of the most telling trademarks of any Marvel Cinematic Universe movie is that they are typically family-friendly fun. Even the darker movies like Avengers: Infinity War and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness fall under this banner.

To many, this would be one of the franchise’s criticisms, particularly from those who prefer Zack Snyder’s darker, gritty movies of the DCEU. However, the MCU isn’t all smiles and sunshine. Throughout its 29-movie run, there have been plenty of characters that ultimately met their end.

Death is an inevitable part of comic book movies, the epitome of which in the MCU is the reported 86,000 people to die in Guardians of the Galaxy, and the disintegration of Thanos' immeasurable army in Avengers: Endgame. However, this isn't limited to just nameless cannon fodder.

Whether it is the villain that bites the dust, someone close to the hero to add that emotional punch, or even the hero themselves, there have been plenty of key characters to lose their lives in the franchise, and even though there is something of a stigma attached to death in the comic book world, in that it rarely ever actually sticks, there are some truly devastating deaths within the MCU.

10. Phil Coulson - The Avengers

Tom Holland Spider Man Infinity War

Throughout Phase One, before the coming together of the titular team in The Avengers in 2012, there were two people that showed up across multiple different franchises. One was Nick Fury, who set up the entire Avengers Initiative himself, and the other was Agent Phil Coulson.

He may have been slightly more reserved than his Director, but Coulson was just as important to the Avengers as Fury. He was his boss’ workhorse, was a leader throughout the S.H.I.E.L.D. side of the operation, and made one hell of an impact on the superheroes he surrounded himself with.

So fearless was Coulson, and so determined to do what was right, he stood up to a literal demigod with a weapon he didn’t know the function of. This, of course, was when Loki deceived him and stabbed him in the back, leaving him just long enough to speak once more with Nick Fury before clocking out.

Before Coulson’s death, the Avengers weren’t Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. They were bickering, fighting, and for Tony to say that it took them a little while to gain any traction was a wild understatement. It was Agent Coulson’s death that was able to finally bring the heroes together as one united team to defend the world.


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