The MCU’s saddest endings, ranked

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[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers]Every story deserves a happy ending, but we all know that’s not the way life works. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is known for its vibrant, cheerful stories and characters. You’d expect to leave an MCU property with a smile on your face and a leap in your step. While many MCU movies and shows like the guardians of the galaxy cinema and Thor: Ragnarok to name a few, capture that tone, on occasion the franchise is known to turn things around a bit.

At the risk of being depressing, let’s take a look at the franchise’s saddest endings, across movies and shows. These are heartbreaking and melancholy moments that continue to haunt us throughout the end credits. Rating is based on final scenes, not mid / post-credit scenes, as these scenes are often linked to other properties. Prepare your handkerchiefs.

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7. Thor


Thor standing in a dump on the trash planet Sakaar

Thor was a Shakespearean take on a superhero origin story, and it included all of the tragicomedy that goes with the bard’s style of storytelling. In the third act of the film, Thor (Chris hemsworth) confronts his brother Loki (Tom hiddleston) which ends with the latter’s death. On top of that, Thor’s access to Earth – the Bifrost – was destroyed in battle, cutting him off from his new love Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Although Thor and his family attend a festive meal at the end of the film, the scene is tinged with a sense of melancholy. Nothing will be the same for Thor. He went from an impulsive young warrior at the start of the film to a gentle, responsible prince. He’s learned some hard truths about his family along the way, and over the course of Thor’s solo trilogy, he’ll face these revelations and more. The film still ends on a note of hope. Thor’s family may be irreparably shattered, but his return to Earth will not be. The Bifrost slowly repairs itself, and Jane, an astrophysicist, is on the hunt for the God of Thunder. There is hope in despair for Thor.

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6. Agents of SHIELD


Image via ABC

It is still difficult to understand how Agents of SHIELD has a happy ending and still feels like a downer. Throughout the final season of the spinoff show, the team are made aware of a baffling prophecy that this will be their last mission together. They have remained united through thick and thin, through betrayals and resurrections, through journeys to the past and the future. The agents do very well and in the end, they survive and save the chronology of the Chronicles. Each of the agents gets an individual happy ending — Alphonso ‘Mack’ Mackenzie (Henri simmons) remains director of SHIELD with his partner Elena ‘Yo-Yo’ Rodriguez (Natalia Cordova-Buckley), his best agent; Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth henstridge) and Léo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) to retire to raise their daughter; Daisy Johnson / Quake (Chloe Bennet) becomes a space traveler alongside her long-missing sister and boyfriend; Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) becomes an academy instructor, while Phil Coulson (Clark gregg) embraces his new life as a life model decoy and gets an upgraded version of his beloved car Lola. And yet, when they meet – via VR – the old professional families are uncomfortable with each other; disconnected and uncomfortable. The final reunion plays out like the worst school reunion you have ever attended: These people were part of each other’s lives for a long time, but now they’ve moved on. It was a surprisingly depressing way of saying goodbye to a group that was once so tight. Saddest happy ending ever.


5. Jessica Jones


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Image via Netflix

Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) deserved a happy ending. In the show, she goes through hell and comes back and struggles because of it. Whenever Jessica seems to take charge of her life, something – or someone – happens that derails her plans. In the final season, serial killer Gregory Salinger (Jeremy bobb) continues to try to vilify Jessica’s heroism, but the real villain turns out to be Jessica’s adopted sister, Trish (Rachel taylor). Trish, who coveted superpowers after seeing how Jessica became a heroine, epitomizes the phrase “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” She turns into a violent vigilante after the murder of her mother and Jessica must stop Trish herself. Jessica must then watch her best friend imprisoned in the underwater prison, the Raft. This leads Jessica to give up being a superhero and a private investigator. Worse yet, in the show’s final moments, Jessica hears the voice of the mind-controlling villain, supposedly dead, Kilgrave (David tennant). Even supporting characters like Jeri Hogarth (Carrie Ann Moss) and Malcolm Ducasse (Eka Darville) face hard truths about themselves. Jessica jones has always been a daring show, and it failed to end on a memorable, albeit extremely low note.


4. Spider-Man: No Path Home


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Image via Sony

Few people have had a sad end in Spider-Man: No Path Home on their bingo cards. After battling villains from across the multiverse, one would have expected Peter Parker / Spider-Man (Tom holland) to come home triumphant. But it was not. Despite the MCU Spider Man The upbeat tone of the trilogy, the trio takes a darker turn. Peter, in an effort to undo the damage done after all his interruptions with Dr.Steven Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) comes out, ask Strange to make everyone forget that Peter ever existed. In the final scene of No way home, Peter is looking for his best friend Ned (Jacob Battalion) and his girlfriend MJ (Zendaya) to keep his promise and remind them who he is. Instead, Peter sees that they are both incredibly happy and on the verge of fulfilling their dream of going to MIT. Peter therefore abandons the idea. Peter is a teenager and his entire solo arc revolves around how his life ties in with that of his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) and his friends. For someone like Peter, being completely alone in a different city and far from its beloved ecosystem, on the heels of losing May, is a blow to the character and the audience who loved the effervescent optimism. by Peter.


3. WandaVision


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Image via Disney

One of the Avengers who really struggled is Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth olsen). Wanda loses her parents in childhood, then her brother Pietro (Aaron Taylor Johnson) and her boyfriend Vision (Paul bettany) are both killed in different battles. The woman deserves a break and gives one in WandaVision. Whether one knows the character’s recent history in the MCU or her long-running comic book arc, it’s obvious from the start of the series that Wanda’s idyllic life in Westview is doomed to disaster. But it still hurts to see her lose everything again. In the final moments of the Disney + show, Wanda must take into account that, in her grief, she mentally controlled all of the residents of Westview and effectively held them hostage. Wanda has become a villain, someone she herself would have hated. And her confrontation with the people of Westview comes after Wanda removed her spell and erased her version of Vision and their twin children, the last piece of a family she had. The farewells of Wanda and Vision are moving and effective but tinged with a little hope. The two have indeed said goodbye to each other before, so hopefully another hello is on the horizon.


2. Captain America: The First Avenger


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Image via Marvel Studios

Set during WWII, the public watches Captain America: The First Avenger knew that Steve Rogers / Captain America (Chris evans) would be brought back to the present day somehow, but we didn’t expect it to be so heartbreaking. After receiving the Supersoldier Serum, Steve spent two years fighting alongside the Howling Commandos and Peggy Carter (Hayley atwell), all the while Steve and Peggy silently develop a crush on each other. Just when Peggy makes her feelings for Steve clear, he must sacrifice himself to save the world. The final scene of Peggy and Steve together echoes how brave the two are as they come to terms with Steve’s decision. Their mutual respect is as obvious as the promise of their future which could never be (at least we thought at the time!). The film’s heart-wrenching finale is twofold: Peggy shows courage at the end of the war and wistfully gazes at a photo of “Skinny Steve,” and later when Steve wakes up in the present and realizes he has lost Peggy, and her friends forever. We can all agree that unrequited love stories are fantastic tears and that Peggy and Steve yearn for each other during a movie is a tragic way to wrap up Steve’s MCU introduction.


1. Avengers: Infinity War


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The end of Avengers: Infinity War was a shock. Who in the audience hasn’t wondered, “Did Marvel just do this?” Have half of the MCU, including the majority of the Avengers, been dusted off by Thanos? Yes they have. The preparation for the final moments is agonizing and brilliantly reflects the desperation that enveloped fans throughout the end credits. Each character’s death is overwhelming in their own way. Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier (Sebastien stan) crackle of the voice because it is the first to be dusted; Sam Wilson / Falcon (Anthony mackie) disappearing alone just like James Rhodes / War Machine (Don cheadle) come and get it; T’Challa / Black Panther (Chadwick boseman) disappearing in front of a shocked Okoye (Danai Gurira); Wanda Maximoff looks almost relieved as she rejoins her beloved recently deceased Vision; even the usually bubbly Guardians of the Galaxy seem disheartened to die, especially Groot (Diesel wine) which ultimately calls Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) ‘dad’. Of course, the horror is brought home by the agonizing death scene of young Peter Parker, brilliantly played by Tom Holland. The remaining Avengers, along with the audience, realize that for the first time, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have lost, and the consequences are devastating. The end of Infinity war was a punch that few MCU fans saw coming.


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