10 Most Tragic Deaths In The History Of Comic Book Movies

Not EVERYONE who dies in a comic-book movies comes back to life...

Kick-Ass Big Daddy Death
Lionsgate

Comic-book movies are commonly dismissed for their apparent inability to fully kill anyone off. It's not an issue that lacks evidence either - over the years we've seen Loki, Nick Fury, Phil Coulson, Charles Xavier and even Batman (at the end of The Dark Knight Rises) evade almost certain death, and you'd be forgiven if you weren't entirely convinced that a character is truly gone. There's a chance they'll be back again later, right?

And yet - because the movies are so popular and these characters attract millions and millions of fans - when there is a death in a comic-book movie, it hurts, whether it's retconned further down the line or not.

And there's retconning aplenty too - the writers of these movies have dozens of narrative tricks at their disposal that they can use to resurrect a long-dead hero or villain, from time travel to alternate timelines and even parallel universes, but often - like in the following ten cases - that doesn't undermine the emotional impact of the scenes in which they perished.

And, because death in comic-book movies is so rare (at least for the bigger, more prominent characters), the resulting scenes are usually rather memorable, heartfelt and... well... downright tragic. Tissues at the ready!

10. General Zod (Man Of Steel)

Kick-Ass Big Daddy Death
Warner Bros.

Arguably the single most controversial death scene in superhero movie history, General Zod's surprisingly violent demise helped Man Of Steel pack an emotional third-act punch that many other, more breezy comic-book adaptations just plain lack. Of course, he's a villain, so his death was to be expected to a certain degree, but the ramifications this scene has not just for one man, but for an entire species, help elevate it above most.

After destroying the Kryptonian's terraforming world engine, Superman and Zod end up fighting in a downtrodden subway station. Superman quickly grabs Zod in a chokehold, and before the villain's laser-eyes can incinerate an unfortunate trio of innocent civilians, Supes snaps his neck, saving the humans but murdering the only other surviving member of his race. And you thought you'd had some bad days at the office.

Superman knows he has to stop Zod, but deep down, he doesn't want to - would you kill the last human on Earth to save a couple of innocent animals? As a result, we feel his internal struggle; we know that if Zod dies, Krypton is essentially lost, but at the same time, we don't want to see any innocent bystanders get blown away. This scene personified the largely divisive reaction to Zack Snyder's superhero reboot, and whether you enjoyed the movie or hated it, the fact that Zod's death caused such a stir means that it did something right.

And there's another, slightly more meta reason why this death is tragic too - Zod's corpse led to the creation of the widely-panned, ninja-turtle-lookalike Doomsday in Batman v Superman's third-act. Thanks, Superman.

Contributor
Contributor

Video editor and writer WhatCulture/WhoCulture. Bought a 4K copy of The Martian in 2016 and still haven't watched it.