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Dark MCU Moments That Didn't Come From The Comics

List Rules
Vote up the moments where the MCU got extra dark all on its own.

When the Marvel Cinematic Universe began, it was all quips and lighthearted superhero action. Now we've got all kinds of brutal happenings going on in the franchise, which begs the question: Is the MCU getting darker? The Avengers and their cohorts are coming up against universe-ending baddies now, and there have been numerous times in the series where the MCU has gone a bit more serious than its comic book counterparts.

For example, Thanos's Infinity Gauntlet snap in the comics doesn't turn people to ash when they disappear... they just, you know, disappear. And the Starks aren't brutally slain by the Winter Soldier in the middle of the night. And Aunt May isn't killed off by a Green Goblin pumpkin bomb. And don't even get us started on Ego giving Meredith Quill cancer on purpose. The comic books have plenty of dark moments, too, but it seems like they can't hold a candle to what's going on in the MCU.

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  • 1
    708 VOTES

    Wanda Isn't Forced To Kill Vision Against Her Will

    Wanda Isn't Forced To Kill Vision Against Her Will
    Photo: Avengers: Infinity War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    There are plenty of sacrificial moments throughout the MCU. Tony Stark willingly snaps Thanos and his minions away knowing he is going to perish in the act. Natasha Romanoff hurls herself off a cliff so Hawkeye can get his hands on the Soul Stone. Quicksilver throws himself in front of a storm of bullets to save Clint Barton and a young child from their certain demise. But these are all choices our heroes made to sacrifice themselves.

    At the end of Infinity War, Wanda was essentially forced to do away with the man she loves to save the universe. She clearly doesn't want to do it as she pleads with Vision. And, after successfully destroying the Stone in her partner's head, Thanos just reverses time and kills him all over again anyway. Because Wanda is clearly not allowed to be happy in the MCU.

    708 votes
  • Meredith Quill Doesn't Slowly Succumb To A Brain Tumor
    Photo: Guardians of the Galaxy / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    As anyone who has played the shockingly fantastic 2021 Guardians of the Galaxy video game knows, Meredith Quill didn't die from cancer in the comic books. It is a wild world we live in where the video games adhere to comic book canon more closely than the massive blockbuster movies do, but here we are. The Meredith Quill of Marvel Comics was slain by two members of the Badoon alien race who were coming to end the Spartax bloodline. In the comics, Quill's dad is J'son, the emperor of Spartax.

    When James Gunn brought the Guardians to the big screen, bringing them newfound popularity in the process, he changed up Star-Lord's origin a bit. Instead of Badoon doing away with Meredith, it was actually Ego (Peter's dad in the movies) giving her a brain tumor. That reveal in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is about as dark as the MCU has gotten thus far. Purposefully giving someone cancer? That is brutal stuff.

    566 votes
  • The Snap Just Makes People Disappear, Not Turn To Ash In Front Of Their Friends
    Photo: Avengers: Infinity War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    The emotional gut-punch at the end of Avengers: Infinity War was unlike anything the Marvel Cinematic Universe had done up to that point. And though pretty much everyone knew the heroes who turned to ash would come back - um, Spider-Man was never going away for good - it still proved to be an incredible way to end a movie. Thanos using the Infinity Gauntlet to snap away half of all life in the universe is ripped straight from the comics, but the nature of said snap is much more harrowing in the movie.

    During The Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos clicks his fingers much as he does in Infinity War and half of all life goes away. That's it, though... they just disappear from existence. Their friends don't have to watch them wither away before their eyes. There certainly is nothing as devastating as Peter Parker feeling it coming on, pleading with Tony Stark beforehand. Iron Man literally wipes the ash of Spider-Man's former body from his hands.

    531 votes
  • There Is Never A Sacrificial Requirement To Acquire The Soul Gem
    Photo: Avengers: Endgame / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    The acquisition of the Soul Stone provides the MCU with not one, but two tragic scenes: the unwilling demise of Gamora in Infinity War and the self-sacrifice of Black Widow in Endgame. "A soul for a soul," is what the Red Skull says. Requiring a soul in exchange for the vital stone provides the films with much-needed extra stakes and dramatic tension. But there is no such requirement in the comics.

    The Soul Gem (the MCU went with "stones" instead of "gems") is actually the very first Infinity Gem Thanos gets his grubby mitts on in the comic books. He merely rips it from the head of the In-Betweener... and that's it. He doesn't even kill the C-list character! At the end of the day, it's pretty anti-climactic. Requiring a sacrifice makes for a much more interesting story - that's for sure.

    552 votes
  • 5
    415 VOTES

    Loki Dies In The Comics, But Not In Such Eye-Bulging Detail

    Loki Dies In The Comics, But Not In Such Eye-Bulging Detail
    Photo: Avengers: Infinity War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Comic book characters die and come back to life all the time. Like, how many times can Jean Grey perish only to be reborn before everyone just doesn't care anymore? And the Asgardians of Marvel Comics kind of have an endless cycle of death and rebirth they'll never break free of. Taking a page from the Norse mythology it's based on, the Thor comics have a little event called Ragnarök that wipes out the gods only to have them be reborn. This being the case, Loki is no stranger to death.

    Still, Loki has never really had a demise as brutal as the one he suffered at the hands of Thanos in the opening scene of Infinity War. The Mad Titan literally squeezes the life from the Trickster God as blood seeps from his orifices and his eyes nearly pop out of his head. Perhaps little children shouldn't be watching the MCU? When Loki watches this scene play out in his self-titled Disney+ series, he is horrified by it. Which, yeah... that checks out.

    415 votes
  • Howard And Maria Stark Aren't Gunned Down In The Middle Of The Night By The Winter Soldier
    Photo: Captain America: Civil War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Tony Stark's fractured relationship with his parents (especially his father, Howard) has become a defining feature of the character over the years. After all, the Starks perished way back in 1970's Iron Man #28. Think about that for a second. The Starks have been deceased in Marvel Comics for over 50 years at this point! And, much as they do in Captain America: Civil War, the Starks perished in a mysterious car accident.

    But that's kind of all we get. Unlike the explanation from the movies, we've never really found out what happened to them. They perished in a fiery accident and that's it. There was seemingly no Hydra plan to create super soldiers, and Bucky Barnes wasn't involved at all. Of course, Marvel could retcon this tomorrow pretty easily... but hasn't the Winter Soldier been through enough at this point? 

    351 votes