With its laundry list of movies currently at 27 and counting, the MCU has seen a huge amount of characters come and go through the years, some more violently than others. Whether it be a heroic sacrifice to save their friends or being turned to dust by a snap from Thanos, a whole host of characters have met their demise one way or another.
Even though most of the action in the MCU is restrained enough to be suitable for most audiences, several minor characters have been offended in some shockingly brutal ways.
Jack Taggart, Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 was a very polarizing film among fans, but it certainly has its merits and drawbacks. An early scene also features a surprisingly violent moment seemingly out of the blue.
Throughout the film, antagonist Aldrich Killian is searching for worthy candidates for super serum Extremis. It is known that the serum has some side effects, but little could have prepared audiences for what those side effects were. Told that the serum is a new drug, the first unlucky victim quickly injects himself. All seems well at first, until the man begins glowing and screaming in pain before erupting into a ball of flame. Ouch.
The First Librarian, Doctor Strange
Not even surviving past the first few minutes of the film, Kamar-Taj’s librarian’s demise sets the tone for a much darker movie than the rest of the film ended up being. As villain Kaecilius infiltrates the library to steal a book of spells, the librarian quickly falls into the crosshairs. While simply trying to tend to the shelves, the unwitting sorcerer is lassoed by Kaecilius’ henchmen and pulled into the air by each limb before Kaecilius himself emerges and swiftly decapitates him.
Although the moment occurs off-screen, the shadow of the librarian’s head can clearly be seen falling to the floor. It was a violent beginning to an otherwise much tamer movie.
Hydra Soldier, Captain America
It is hard to feel very sorry for any of the Hydra soldiers in Captain America given all of the crimes the organization is responsible for, but one in particular suffered a particularly horrific demise. After infiltrating Hydra’s warplane, Captain America finds himself grappling with a Hydra soldier as they hold on to a small fighter.
It would be reasonable to expect the soldier to just be knocked off the plane by Cap, but instead, he takes the much more dramatic approach of falling headfirst into the plane’s massive exposed propeller. While death is mercifully brief, the accompanying grinding noise and the fact that it happens entirely on screen makes for a stomach-churning moment.
Carina, Guardians of the Galaxy
Since it’s one of the Infinity Stones, it was important to set up Guardians of the Galaxy Power Stone as something that was not to be trifled with. Unfortunately, the first example of the stone’s power comes at the expense of a very undeserving character. As the guardians are discussing selling the stone to the Collector, his assistant decides to steal it for herself to escape from his harsh employment.
She soon discovers that the Collector’s warnings about the stone are true, however, and begins to crumble to dust before exploding from the stone’s energy. It’s a harsh end and one of the MCU’s most unnecessary deaths.
Heinrich Schäfer, The Avengers
Most fans will probably not remember the name Heinrich Schäfer, but they will undoubtedly remember his unpleasant death scene from the first Avengers movie. Loki infiltrates a party that Schäfer is attending, and upon learning that he needs to pass a retinal scan, Loki decides to extract a sample for the scan himself.
Throwing Schäfer down on a decorative table, Loki proceeds to plunge a strange device into the man’s face, constructing a digital recreation of his eyeball for the scanner. While most of the action occurs just offscreen, the sounds and Loki’s cold smile leave little to the imagination.
Carlo, Thor: Ragnarok
Cousin and the first victim of the Grandmaster, Carlo has a short but memorable turn in Thor’s third film. Held prisoner alongside Thor as the Grandmaster tells them about the world of Sakaar, Thor quickly learns that Carlo is next on the Grandmaster’s execution list. He tries to plead for his life as Thor watches on, and it seems like the Grandmaster is actually going to forgive him and let him go.
Unfortunately, it ends up being a trick, and the Grandmaster kills him anyway, melting him into a foul-smelling puddle of goo. At least he got to meet Jeff Goldblum.
Xandarian Prisoner, Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy villain Ronan the Accuser wastes no time letting audiences know the kind of person they’re dealing with. His opening scene features him interrogating a prisoner from Xandar, a planet Ronan quickly reveals he hates.
The prisoner manages to stay brave as Ronan dons his iconic villain costume, telling Ronan that he will never rule Xandar. Ronan responds quickly and violently by smashing the prisoner’s head with his giant hammer. While a quick camera cut saves the audience from seeing the moment of impact, the blood flowing across the floor paints a grisly picture.
All of the Failed Iron Men, Iron Man 2
An underrated moment in an otherwise forgotten MCU film shows Tony Stark in court against the United States Government as they try to force him to hand over his Iron Man armors.
One of the centerpieces of the trial is a video montage of many other failed attempts to create an armor that can rival the Iron Man suit. All of them end with horrifying results, including exploding with the pilots still inside and twisting one unlucky man around 180 degrees inside the suit. While some of them supposedly survive, they still meet with some shockingly gruesome fates.
Frank may be the most undeserving character to get such a disgusting death in the entire series. An executive at Pym Technologies, Frank is the only one to question whether using shrinking technology for espionage is safe. He is later confronted by villain Darren Cross in the bathroom, who is not happy with Frank’s opinions on the project.
Cross shoots Frank with the unperfected shrinking technology, reducing him to a tiny splotch of goo on the floor, which Cross wipes up and flushes down the toilet. In terms of sheer gross factor, Frank’s death is one of the MCU’s worst.
Nico, Falcon and the Winter Soldier
A member of the villainous Flag Smashers, Nico’s death is as iconic as it is brutal. During a huge fight involving Sam, Bucky, and the Flag Smashers, the new Captain America John Walker’s partner Lemar Hoskins is killed by the Flag Smashers. Nico is the unlucky recipient of Walker’s wrath as the new Cap incapacitates him on a crowded street.
In a sickeningly well-shot sequence, Walker brings the shield down on Nico again and again. While it is never shown exactly what happens, it is heavily implied that Nico is decapitated. It is an affectingly violent scene, and the image of the Captain America shield spattered with blood will stick with viewers long after the credits roll.
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