Not all Marvel and DC superhero movies have happy endings. While superhero movies are typically known for their heroes saving the day, some movies end on sad or bittersweet notes with sacrifices and defeats. Examples of such movies include “Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Logan,” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
“Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe by introducing the Quantum Realm and its ruthless overlord Kang the Conqueror. While the heroes manage to stop Kang, it is implied that there are bigger threats to come. “Captain America: Civil War” sees the Avengers torn apart by ideological differences, with their conflict being set in motion by Helmut Zemo. The arrival of Thanos eventually unites them again.
In “Captain America: The First Avenger,” Captain America sacrifices himself by crashing a HYDRA aircraft into the Arctic to stop it from reaching New York. He awakens decades later in 21st-century New York, having missed out on a life with his love Peggy Carter. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is a horror movie where Scarlet Witch becomes a murderous villain under the influence of the Dark Hold. While Doctor Strange manages to stop her, the movie’s cliffhanger suggests that not everything has been resolved.
“Watchmen” follows Rorschach’s investigation into the murder of former hero The Comedian and the unveiling of Ozymandias’s plan. The movie ends with a hint that the plan might not have been foolproof. “X-Men: First Class” tells the origin of the X-Men, with Professor Xavier and Erik Lensherr’s conflicting ideologies leading to their falling out, paralysis, and the transformation of Erik into Magneto.
“Avengers: Infinity War” sees Thanos overcoming the Avengers’ efforts to stop him and committing “The Snap,” disintegrating many of the heroes. In “The Dark Knight,” Batman takes the fall for Harvey Dent’s murders in order to preserve the good Dent has done. Wolverine sacrifices his life to save the young mutants in “Logan,” with Laura tearfully burying him. In “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” Superman sacrifices himself to stop Doomsday, but ultimately returns to help the DC superheroes in “Justice League.”
Not all superhero movies have happy endings, and these examples show the sacrifices and defeats that some heroes face.