Superheroes are the good guys, and good guys don’t generally take lives, right? It’s just not the style of a defender of justice. However, this isn’t actually a hard-pressed rule, and plenty of superheroes do whatever it takes to see that the world is a safer place, and sometimes mistakes are made.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is surprisingly lax about superheroes killing, as they’ve been show to do so throughout the many films of the franchise. In fact, despite the wholesome, family-friendly image the MCU projects, more superheroes that you’d expect have taken lives.
Even if it was some no-name alien, some MCU heroes have taken the life of another alien. We’re not just talking about assumed past deaths either, we’re looking at all the times when a MCU hero has killed someone or something on screen. This includes times where an enemy takes a hit that would kill them or other visually clear implications of death, meaning some collateral deaths are applicable. We’re also going to exclude any artificial life forms, like Ultron’s drones.
With those rules set here are 15 MCU Heroes Who Have Actually Taken Lives.
15. WINTER SOLDIER
Now this one is kind of a fun, if obvious entry. Well, killing isn’t fun and nor is death, but the fact that The Winter Solder was used to assassinate people throughout history by Hydra makes for an interesting kill list. The Winter Soldier was used by Hydra to take out threats, including various political figures, that were never shown on screen.
However, we did witness the brainwashed Bucky Barnes kill quite a few people in The Winter Soldier, though a much more famous killing happens in Civil War. In the third Captain America film, we learn that Howard and Maria Stark didn’t actually die in an “accident” – rather, they were killed by The Winter Soldier.” This is just one of Bucky’s many kills see on screen, but it is definitely the most heartbreaking.
14. JESSICA JONES
When you’re dealing with someone named “Kilgrave,” you know some bodies are gonna drop, and Jessica Jones’ case, this happened twice. The first was under the influence of Kilgrave’s power and was perhaps Jessica’s worst experience. Jessica was told by Kilgrave to kill Reva Conners and she obeyed, throwing a bus at her to stop any information of Kilgrave’s origins from getting out.
The second time that Jessica killed using her massive strength was to make sure that no one was ever controlled by Kilgrave again. Jessica snapped the mind-controlling baddie’s neck to stop him once and for all; a murder that seems to have been covered up pretty well in the MCU. This is one that we can’t blame Jessica for, since Kilgrave could have become unstoppable if he were allowed to continue his ways.
13. CAPTAIN AMERICA
Captain America has a lot of implied kills, partially because he was in WWII and went on a long list of missions that most likely required killing, but there are also plenty of confirmed, on-screen deaths. He killed plenty on screen in WWII by throwing a bomb into a tank, throwing a lot people off of (or over) things, and of course, the deaths of various Chitauri soldiers.
It doesn’t stop there, as Cap’s kill count flies off the charts when you count one major incident in The Winter Soldier. Cap was responsible for the helicarriers crashing into each other, which had to have caused at least a thousand, if not more, deaths in a very short amount of time.
12. IRON MAN
Iron Man changed the way that superhero movies worked, and it also committed a few superhero taboos, like revealing a secret identity and, of course, having its hero take lives. Tony Stark killed plenty of people with the weapons he sold, but he also killed a few terrorists with his own hands in Afghanistan while escaping and later when saving a village from said weapons.
That extreme situation wasn’t the only time Tony Stark took lives, however. Iron Man hasn’t killed many with his own hands aside from these terrorists and some Chitauri soldiers, but he did have a hand in killing Obadiah Stane and Ivan Vanko. With Stane, Tony lured him into getting hit by the arc reactor that Pepper Potts set off, and with Whiplash, he worked together with Rhodey to stop Vanko.
As a member of the Ravagers, we’re sure that Star-Lord was brought up with some form of ruthless determination that made mercy a secondary concern. Peter Quill likely killed plenty of aliens before he met the other Guardians, but we’re not looking at past implied kills. There are a few on-screen deaths that Star-Lord committed, even if they were anonymous aliens.
Star-Lord killed plenty of aliens in the first Guardians film – in the prison, in the mining ship battle, and on Ronan’s ship. Most of these were faceless soldiers and the like; aliens that were merely obstacles for what Star-Lord and the Guardians needed to do, but they still count. And, of course, who could forget that he killed Ronan by releasing the Infinity stone’s power on him.
Hawkeye is more of a S.H.I.E.L.D. operative than a superhero in the MCU, so he most likely has the same kill count as any other agent, maybe even a higher one. Then again, he does use a bow and arrow, so how deadly could he really be? All joking aside, Hawkeye hasn’t killed anybody important onscreen, but he does get quite a few kills in during the battle for New York.
Hawkeye takes out a few Chitauri on screen in The Avengers, be it through his crazy precision with his bow and/or with some nifty gadget arrows. He tried to take out Loki with said arrows, but he caught the projectile, and though it did explode in his face, it wasn’t enough to take out the villainous god.
Gamora isn’t exactly what you’d call a superhero – in fact, she’s more of an assassin, which is something she’s happy to tell people as a threat. Leading up to her appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy, it is implied that Thanos trained Gamora to be a skilled killer, and we know she’s killed a lot of people before we meet her in the film.
However, in terms of on-screen kills, Gamora doesn’t get that many. Sure, she kills a few alien soldiers/enemies here and there, but she lacks any high-profile kills. Gamora takes out some faceless bad guys in both Gaurdians films, but we’ve yet to see her really exhibit her skills as an assassin by taking out a high-profile target with precision and stealth.
8. PEPPER POTTS
Pepper Potts might not actually be a superhero, but she’s definitely heroic. Not to mention, she is actually responsible for two major villain deaths. In both Iron Man and Iron Man 3, Pepper kills the bad guy at the end. That’s right: the supporting character killed the villains in two Iron Man movies.
In the first Iron Man, Tony might have been the one to lead Stane to the right spot on the roof, but it was Pepper who pulled the metaphorical trigger by causing the arc reactor to shoot a blast of energy up at Stane, killing him nearly instantly. It was also Pepper who killed Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3 when she was all hopped up on Extremis.
With Yondu’s awesome whistling arrow trick, he’s got one of the highest body counts in the Guardians films. In the comics, he could only change the direction of his arrow after he fired it himself, but in the MCU he could shoot it any direction and speed he wanted by changing the way he whistled. This ended up being an awesomely deadly power, as he could take out a lot of people in a very short timespan.
The first time we see Yondu kill a lot of people is when he takes out the Sakaarans on Xandar, an attack that he executes with relative ease, even after his ship crashes. Then in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Yondu has his greatest scene ever when he takes out his entire Ravenger ship after a mutiny, killing the crew with a cocky expression.
6. BLACK WIDOW
Like Hawkeye, Black Widow was an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. before she was an Avenger. She was also a trained Russian spy who most likely has the highest body count of any other non-powered Avenger. But, that’s all off-screen. On screen, Natasha Rominoff has killed quite a few people, both alien and human.
Her first kill counts were in The Avengers, where she took out a ton of Chitauri soldiers, some being killed or attacked with her apparent go-to move of grappling with her legs. But it doesn’t stop there, as Black Widow took out plenty of people in The Winter Soldier, especially in that awesome opening sequence. With how skillfully Natasha Romanoff takes out enemies, she could easily be considered the best trained killer in all of the MCU.
5. THE HULK
This is another one that can sort of go without saying, since The Hulk is a destructive force that leaves death and collateral damage in his wake. That said, most of the deaths that he’s caused by way of collateral damage are not always shown, and though we are counting implied kills, with someone like The Hulk we should probably only refer to clear, on-screen deaths.
The Hulk killed quite a few people in The Incredible Hulk, a lot of them being soldiers that attacked him. He killed ton of Chitauri forces, including the leviathan with a single punch. The Chitauri that faced The Hulk didn’t stand a chance against him, since he destroyed half of them by simply brushing against them mid-jump, barely flinching at the impact.
4. NICK FURY
Nick Fury might not exactly be considered a superhero, since he’s more of an agent than anything, but we’ll count him since he killed one of the biggest villains in the MCU. Well, “biggest” might not be the right word, but Alexander Pierce did have a big role in the twist of The Winter Soldier. Alexander Pierce was one of the Hydra commanders within S.H.I.E.L.D. and a high-ranking leader of the government organization.
Nick Fury killed Pierce in The Winter Soldier, but that wasn’t his only kill. Fury also took out a ton of operatives, agents and other baddies in the film – half of them during a car chase. There’s no denying how awesome Fury is, and he’s clearly willing to do what it takes to protect his people.
You don’t get a title like “The Destroyer” without taking a few lives. As with a lot of the other entries on this list, the victims that added to Drax’s title are mostly unseen. When we first meet Drax, he’s in jail for his crimes, but what about his on-screen kills? Like most of the other Guardians of the Galaxy, Drax took out aliens, soldiers, and guards left and right in both Guardians films.
When the Guardians escape from jail, Drax joins in on the carnage and takes out a few guards during the chaos, and it doesn’t stop there. He also killed some of Ronan’s soldiers during the battle of Xander.
2. SCARLET WITCH
Scarlet Witch’s kill count was not on purpose and is easily the biggest mistake of her life, with the event serving as the catalyst for the events of Captain America: Civil War. We can also assume that Scarlet Witch killed a few people with her insane powers while under the influence of Hydra and/or Ultron, but none of those were on screen.
Wanda Maximoff accidentally killed the occupants of a building in Nigeria while on a mission with the Avengers. She was trying to redirect an explosion but couldn’t do control it properly, causing the blast to spread to the nearby building, destroying it and killing those within. Because of these deaths, the Sokovia Accords were put into action and the Avengers were pushed to sign them.
1. THE PUNISHER
Do we even need to list this one? It’s quite obvious that The Punisher kills; it’s his whole shtick after all. Frank Castle was first introduced into the MCU in the second season of Netflix’s Daredevil, where he was put on trial for murder, already racking up a high kill count right off the bat. In Daredevil alone, we see Punisher kill over 50 people, including members of The Hand.
But the carnage didn’t stop there – and who would expect it to with Frank Castle? The Punisher eventually got his own Netflix series, and in it, the killing comes almost non-stop. Frank Castle kills over 80 people, nearly all of whom are taken out on screen.
What other MCU heroes have crossed the deadly line? Let us know in the comments.
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