Surprisingly Grim MCU Moments That Came Out Of Nowhere

List Rules
Vote up the dark MCU moments that caught you off guard.

The MCU is best known for its bright colors and fast quips, but the darkest MCU moments rival the darkness of just about any other PG-13 film out there. Something about the levity of the Avengers and Guardians makes the grim moments that much harder to handle. Seeing these characters at their best, happy with their friends and family, makes it hurt so much more to watch it all get ripped away from them. 

Marvel heroes' films can sort of feel like emotional whiplash. One moment, Peter Quill is watching his mom perish from cancer, and the very next, he's dancing and singing into a space rat's face. Or, for example, when Civil War goes from Spider-Man talking too much during a fight to a blast of friendly fire paralyzing Rhodey. For all of the light in the MCU, there sure is a lot of dark. You have to remember: This is a franchise where half the universe was wiped out.


  • 1
    914 VOTES

    Thanos Squeezing The Life Out Of Loki In 'Infinity War'

    Loki has one of the most complete character arcs in the entire Infinity Saga. He begins as a villain to Thor, then graduates to become the big-bad of the first Avengers movie before finally beginning to see the error in his ways and helping Thor defeat Hela in Thor: Ragnarok. Then, the Asgardian ship is attacked by Thanos. 

    At first, it seems like Loki might have gone back to his own ways when he begs Thanos to spare his life so he can help him in his search for the Stones. Always the trickster, Loki s really planning to stab Thanos and finish him right there. Thanos uses his Stones to stop Loki's attack and lifts Loki by his neck. Loki struggles and gasps for breath, clearly in great pain, as Thanos squeezes the life out of him. Audiences get to watch a close-up of Loki's lifeless face in Thanos's hand before he drops him to the ground. To assure audiences that any hope they have is misplaced, Thanos says, "There will be no resurrections this time."

  • 2
    747 VOTES

    The Winter Soldier Coldly Taking Out Tony Stark's Parents In 'Captain America: Civil War'

    Captain America: Civil War was a dark point in the MCU. It may not have had the galactic ramifications of Infinity War or Endgame, but the interpersonal ramifications it had on the Avengers' relationships lasted for years. 

    The movie features Steve Rogers and Tony Starks at odds with each other for most of the film, over both how to handle the brainwashed assassin Bucky Barnes and ideological differences spurred by the Sokovia Accords. Their conflict comes to a head after Baron Zemo shows Stark an old security tape in a deliberate attempt to push him even further. The tape shows Bucky crashing the car of Stark's parents and then casually taking them both out. Tony Stark has to watch as Bucky drags his father across the ground and then snuffs out his mother with his own hand.

  • 3
    604 VOTES

    Baron Mordo Taking Away The Magic That Allowed A Man To Walk In 'Doctor Strange'

    Baron Mordo is on the side of the angels for most of Doctor Strange, but the Ancient One's use of magic from the dark dimension causes him to feel scorned and disenfranchised. 

    When Mordo returns in Doctor Strange's post-credits scene, he has an entirely new, much more sinister mission. He visits a sorcerer named Jonathan Pangborn and outlines his new outlook on magic in the world. Mordo says that he now sees magic as a perversion of life's natural order and that sorcerers "steal power" and "twist things out of shape." Jonathan Pangborn uses his magic to allow himself to walk, which Mordo now views as wrong. So, Mordo reaches out and seems to literally rip the magic from Pangborn's hip. This leaves Mordo standing over Pangborn as he writhes in pain on the floor.

  • 4
    816 VOTES

    Spider-Man Begging For His Life In 'Infinity War'

    Spider-Man is everyone's favorite hero, and Tom Holland's portrayal of the character is the youngest and most charming onscreen version audiences have ever gotten. And in Infinity War, audiences have to watch this very young and charming Spider-Man turn to dust as he begs for his life

    In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos achieves his goal of collecting the Infinity Stones and snaps his fingers, eradicating half of all life in the galaxy. It's already an incredibly sad moment watching so many heroes and characters perish, but no one's end hits harder than Peter Parker's. 

    Really take that in for a moment: Kids going to the theater had to watch Spider-Man perish. He doesn't go out stoically accepting his fate either. He's frightened, hammering home the bleak reality of the scene. He pleads with "Mr. Stark" over and over as he clutches onto his hero, hoping that if anyone can save him, it's him. But Stark can't, and Peter Parker turns to dust before the audience's very eyes.