Top 10 Saddest Death Scenes In Superhero Movies

Written by Johnny Reynolds

It wouldn't be a superhero movie without a tragic death scene, and these are the ones that really choked us up! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Saddest Superhero Death Scenes! But what till take the top spot on our list? Will it be Ben Parker in Spider-Man, Wolverine in Logan, or Bruce Wayne's parents in Batman Begins? Watch to find out!

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Not everyone can make it out of the fight alive. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top Ten Saddest Death Scenes in Superhero movies.

For this list, we’re looking at the most heartbreaking deaths that superhero movies have to offer. To be clear, we’re only looking at the deaths of characters that didn’t come back to life. So, as sad as the “deaths” of Agent Coulson or Bucky Barnes may be, you won’t find them on this list. Also, the characters don’t have to necessarily be superheroes or supervillains. Since we’re dealing with the deaths of some major characters, consider this your spoiler alert.

#10: Yondu Udonta
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (2017)

While he may have only been a supporting character in the first film, Yondu gets a much more fleshed out role in this sequel to the beloved Marvel series. Initially a grumpy ne’er do well who kidnaps a young Peter Quill from his home planet, we learn that the reason behind it is much more touching than you would think. The film reveals that Yondu actually grew to care for the boy and raised him as his own once he learned that Peter’s actual father was not to be trusted. It’s this new bond that makes it all the more touching when he sacrifices his life for Peter’s.

#9: Nina & Magda
“X-Men: Apocalypse” (2016)

During the beginning of the 9th installment of the X-Men film series, we see Erik Lehnsherr living a quiet and normal life in Poland with his wife and daughter. But when local officers find out who he really is and accidentally kill his family, they cause him to reawaken as Magneto. Believing he has no good left in him, Magneto joins Apocalypse in his quest to destroy the world. It’s this tragic event that causes Magneto to fully believe again that humans and mutants can never coexist, a staple of the character. And Michael Fassbender’s grief as the conflicted mutant is absolutely gut-wrenching.

#8: Jonathan Kent
“Man of Steel” (2013)

In the first film of the DC extended universe, we got a much darker origin story for Clark Kent. While in the original 1978 film Jonathan Kent died of a heart attack, this version went the more climactic route, providing a heavier emotional wallop. While helping people escape from a tornado, Jonathan is injured and unable to escape. Growing up, Clark was always taught by his father to hide his abilities from others, afraid of how they might react. It’s these lessons that stop Clark from saving his father even though he easily could have. With one final lesson, Clark is left to watch his father be swept away.

#7: Rachel Dawes
“The Dark Knight” (2008)

Originally played by Katie Holmes in 2005’s Batman Begins, Maggie Gyllenhaal took over the role for this revered superhero sequel. Playing the love interest of both Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent, it would have been easy for this character to be two-dimensional. However, Gyllenhaal brought a fearless ferocity to Rachel that made you truly care about her. She serves as one of the only links Bruce has left to his childhood, and her death by the hands of The Joker nearly mentally breaks Batman. Had Batman not been misdirected by the villain, he may have been able to save her. It’s this “what if” scenario that makes her demise even sadder.

#6: Doctor Octopus
“Spider-Man 2” (2004)

Say what you will about Marvel’s villains, but back in 2004 Alfred Molina gave us an authentic and touching performance as one of Spider-Man’s most notorious baddies. It’s the nature of this villain’s creation that makes him so heart-breaking. Starting off as a kind mentor to young Peter, Otto Octavius loses his mind in an experiment gone wrong when four mechanical arms are bonded to his nervous system. The same experiment takes the life of his wife, all in the pursuit of science. It’s only when he tries to recreate the experiment that he sees the error of his ways and gives his own life to save many.

#5: Steve Trevor
“Wonder Woman” (2017)

Audiences flocked to 2017’s Wonder Woman to watch Gal Gadot kick butt. But they were also surprised to discover Chris Pine’s charismatic and compassionate Steve Trevor. While the two may be from completely different worlds, it’s their shared concern for humanity that makes them such a compelling pairing. Steve proves time and time again that he will do anything it takes to stop this Great War, including giving his own life, which he eventually does as he stops a plane full of deadly toxins from killing innocent people. Only moments before does Steve tell Diana that he loves her, making it truly tragic.

#4: Gwen Stacy
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (2014)

While fans of the comics may have seen this one coming, there’s no denying that Gwen’s death dealt a massive emotional blow to audiences. Emma Stone is completely charming as Peter Parker’s love interest and actually has pretty great chemistry with co-star Andrew Garfield that was built upon over two movies. So when she perishes during the fight with Green Goblin, with Spidey’s web reaching her only just too late, you’re genuinely sad to see her go. While The Amazing Spider-Man 2 may have had its fair share of criticism, this is one thing that it definitely got right.

#3: Thomas & Martha Wayne
“Batman Begins” (2005)

Quite possibly the most famous death on this list, the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents shapes him into the man that he will become. While we may have seen their death before, it’s in Christopher Nolan’s darker reimagining that we get them as more fleshed out characters. Through flashbacks, we see Thomas give Bruce advice on how to deal with fear. It’s this advice paired with the nature of their death that set Bruce on the path of becoming Batman. Not only is it an incredibly important death scene, it is also deeply moving as Thomas’ last words to his son are to not be afraid, setting the tone for the rest of the trilogy.

#2: Ben Parker
“Spider-Man" (2002)

Where Bruce Wayne had the death of his parents, Peter Parker had the death of his Uncle. After getting ripped off at an underground wrestling tournament and refusing to stop a robber as a way of revenge, Peter stumbles upon a crime scene where his Uncle has been shot by the very same robber. Taking his advice about power and responsibility to heart, Peter learns from the traumatizing event of his Uncle dying in his arms and decides to use his abilities for good. A warm and caring presence in his nephew’s life, Peter becomes the Spider-Man as a way to honor all of the qualities that his Uncle stood for.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Tadashi Hamada
“Big Hero 6” (2014)

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015)

“Watchmen” (2009)

#1: James ‘Logan’ Howlett
“Logan” (2017)

Although Hugh Jackman had said that he wanted 2017’s Logan to be his final portrayal of Wolverine, that didn’t stop the character’s death from being shocking. During a fight with his own clone, Logan sacrifices himself so that Laura and the new mutants can escape to safety. What makes this death scene so poignant is the relationship that he and Laura begrudgingly build upon over the course of the film. The two grow to care immensely for one another, bonding over one tragic event after another. While the loss of Professor X is devastating in its own right, it’s the death of the nearly indestructible Wolverine that left audiences sobbing.