[[quoteright:315:[[Film/{{Batman}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/z_2502.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:315:JokerImmunity -- [[Film/LethalWeapon2 it's just been revoked]].]]

->''"Mai never dies in the series, but evil always has to be punished in a movie."''
-->-- ''WebVideo/CinemaSins'' on ''Film/DragonballEvolution''

In the world of comics, [[JokerImmunity no one]] [[DeathIsCheap is really dead]], but in Hollywood, things work differently. In the end, there needs to be a climactic confrontation between hero and villain, and one of them will die. [[TheGoodGuysAlwaysWin Guess who]].

There are several reasons for this. Comic books have to come out on a monthly basis so they can't afford to lose villains, whereas even the fastest movie productions take years, and are usually adapted from material that has an established RoguesGallery; plenty more to choose from for the sequel. Also, the villain's death leaves the story at a natural conclusion. In movies with more than one supervillain, it's usually only the villain that acts as the BigBad that perishes; the lesser ones either are captured or [[HeelFaceTurn reform]]. Usually a case of SelfDisposingVillain when the hero has a strict [[ThouShaltNotKill no-killing policy]].

A SubTrope of DeathByAdaptation. Contrast with JokerImmunity. This is liable to lead to HesJustHiding on the part of comics fans who like the character.

'''This is a DEATH TROPE! Unmarked spoilers ahoy.'''

!!Straight Examples:


[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyondReturnOfTheJoker'', Joker in the past is killed by Tim Drake who had been MindRaped at his hands and in the future Terry destroys the chip brainwashing the adult Tim Drake, thus killing the Joker for good. Harley Quinn also supposedly dies in the same flashback that the Joker was, but a scene at the end of the film reveals that she survived and is now the grandma of the Dee-Dees.
* In the animated ''ComicBook/DoctorStrange'' film, Dormammu and Baron Mordo both die.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanAssaultOnArkham'' [=KGBeast=] is killed within the first ten minutes. Killer Shark and the Black Spider are also killed by the end, and Killer Frost may or may not have died as well. The movie ends with Deadshot aiming at Amanda Waller, but DLC that takes places after the movie in ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamUnderworld'' revealed Batman shoot Lawton before he could kill her.
* In ''WesternAnimation/SupermanBatmanPublicEnemies'' Metallo is killed under Lex Luthor's orders.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheInvincibleIronMan,'' a very InNameOnly version of the Mandarin (here some sort of ancient Chinese ghost-wizard) is effectively "killed" when [[spoiler:his last living descendant rejects him and dies]], meaning that he has no one to summon him forth again.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In the Creator/TimBurton ''Film/{{Batman}}'' movies:
** In the 1989 film, ComicBook/TheJoker himself is killed by [[VisualPun having his leg tied to]] a gargoyle while trying to escape via helicopter, before [[DisneyVillainDeath slowly being dragged off the ladder and falling to his death]].
** Penguin dies of several injuries and being poisoned by the toxic waters of his own base, and is given a funeral by his penguin minions at the end of ''Film/BatmanReturns''. ComicBook/{{Catwoman}} seems to die, but they NeverFoundTheBody (though they found the corpse of the guy she was [[TakingYouWithMe Taking with Her]]), and evidence shown later suggests she's still alive.
* In the Creator/JoelSchumacher movies:
** In ''Film/BatmanForever'', Two-Face is killed. The Riddler survives, but has his brain fried and is interred to Arkham Asylum.
** In ''Film/BatmanAndRobin'', Jason Woodrue dies. Poison Ivy is heavily implied to be set for death (they leave her in the same cell with Mr. Freeze, after having realized that she was the one who attempted to kill his wife). Bane's fate is a little more ambiguous than that (he's alive but severely weakened by venom withdrawal when we last see him, and the building around him is collapsing -- although nothing else is actually shown happening to him afterward, but we see some rubble laying on top of the pool of venom around him when he was devenomized, indicating he was crushed). Mr. Freeze is definitely alive.
* Though the Penguin, the Joker, the Riddler, and the Catwoman are arrested at the end of ''Film/BatmanTheMovie'', it is slightly hinted that they may be executed for attempted world domination based on the Penguin's quote:
-->'''The Penguin:''' We must hang together, or most assuredly we shall hang separately.
* In the Creator/ChristopherNolan Batman (''Film/TheDarkKnightSaga'') movies:
** ''Film/BatmanBegins'': Ra's al Ghul is killed when Batman refuses to save him, letting him crash in the train he's in. Scarecrow survives and cameos in the two other movies. More minor villains like Victor Zsasz and Carmine Falcone are also alive by the end but locked up and driven mad in Arkham.
** The "major villain dies, minor villain lives" sub-clause is inverted in ''Film/TheDarkKnight'' when Batman captures the Joker alive but is unable to prevent Harvey Dent aka Two-Face from falling to his death. Sadly, Nolan did this because he had plans to use Joker in future installments (he thought the original Batman movie should have let Joker live) but Creator/HeathLedger died after the movie was completed, leaving no chance for him to appear in the sequels. [[spoiler: The novelization for ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises'' reveals that the Joker was incarcerated and sentenced to death in the eight years between the films' events.]]
** Both Talia al Ghul and Bane are killed in the course of the final battle in ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises''.
* In the first ''Film/{{Blade}}'' film, Deacon Frost dies. In ''Film/BladeTrinity'', Dracula (aka Drake) dies, although {{Dracula}} is a PublicDomainCharacter. As it is, Drake had little in common with Creator/MarvelComics' [[ComicBook/TheTombOfDracula Dracula]]. The other villains whom Blade killed were created for the films; although there was a team of vampires called the Blood Pack, they had different members from their ''Film/BladeII'' counterparts.
* In ''Film/CaptainAmerica1990'', Cap kills the Red Skull in the climax.
* In ''Film/{{Deadpool}}'' Colossus attempts to talk Deadpool out of killing Ajax. He's having none of it and shoots the villain in the head. Ajax's enforcer Angel Dust is KO'd by Nega Sonic Teenage Warhead but survives.
* In ''Film/FantasticFourRiseOfTheSilverSurfer'', the Surfer nearly sacrifices himself to stop Galactus, completely obliterating him in a cosmic shockwave. Doom is seemingly killed at the end of the first film, but returns alive in this film, only to presumably drown when Ben knocks him into the water with a crane. [[spoiler: A credits scene with the surfboard hinted at the potential survival of the Surfer in a planned third film, but it was never made.]]
* ''Film/FantasticFour2015'' has Doom's death as a plot point, since his death is the only thing that will stop Planet Zero.
* In ''Film/GhostRider'', Blackheart is able to be killed (or given a FateWorseThanDeath) by Ghost Rider's Penance Stare after Blackheart absorbs the souls of San Venganza.
** In ''Film/GhostRiderSpiritOfVengeance'', Blackout dies.
* In ''Film/GreenLantern'', Hector Hammond and Parallax are dead by the end. Sinestro never even becomes a villain until TheStinger.
* In ''Film/{{Hulk}}'', David Banner / Absorbing Man is destroyed in the climax. General Ross survives, but his right-hand man Major Talbot is blown up by his own grenade.
* In the ''Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse'' films:
** ''Film/IronMan1'': Obadiah Stane is killed when Tony gets Pepper to overload the Arc Reactor, blowing Tony aside and frying Stane in his much heavier suit. While Stane also died in the comics after facing Iron Man as Iron Monger, his death was way different (a suicide due to not accepting defeat).
** ''Film/IronMan2'': After being defeated by Tony and [[ComicBook/WarMachine Rhodey]], Vanko self-destructs the Crimson Dynamo/Whiplash armor in an attempted TakingYouWithMe move. Justin Hammer lives but is arrested with his reputation in tatters. According to WordOfGod, Vanko was supposed to explicitly die onscreen, but this was deliberately changed to a NeverFoundTheBody situation in case Marvel ever wanted to bring him back in a future movie.
** ''Film/IronMan3'': Aldrich Killian is killed when Pepper blows him up with with a missile and repulsor blast. His henchmen Eric Savin and Ellen Brandt are killed earlier on by Tony. While Killian died in the comic at the ''beginning'' of the comic book storyline, in the movie he's a CompositeCharacter of Killian and the Mandarin, who wasn't dead.
** ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'': Malekith and his [[TheDragon Dragon]] Kurse. Kurse is killed when Loki sets off Kurse's own Black Hole Grenade on his belt and Malekith is killed by his arms being PortalCut and his ship being dropped on him.
** ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'': the main villain Alexander Pierce is killed after ComicBook/NickFury shoots him twice. The titular [[ComicBook/BuckyBarnes Winter Soldier]] finally regains his senses, if not his memories, and saves Captain America from drowning before leaving. Minor villain Batroc survives but is captured, and Rumlow is alive but horribly burnt after a Helicarrier crashed into him. Dr. Arnim Zola gets blown up (after cheating death through BrainUploading).
** ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'': Ronan the Accuser is spectacularly destroyed by the Guardians of the Galaxy using the Infinity Stone of Power. He also kills Thanos's servant The Other in the middle of the film, and his henchman Korath is killed by Drax.
** ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'' kills off Ultron at the end. While there's always going to be the question of his survival thanks to being a computer consciousness, the movie was thorough in asserting that his internet connection was cut off and that the Avengers destroyed every single host body. Baron Strucker is also killed offscreen at the end of the first act, [[TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodCharacter before he could even get the chance to shine as a main villain]].
** ''Film/AntMan'' has the villain Darren Cross[=/=]Yellowjacket apparently dying at the end of his movie. Like for [[Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger Red Skull]] above, it's left more or less ambiguous, but considering his "death" was [[BodyHorror much more graphic]] and he ended up at the very least in a FateWorseThanDeath (best case scenario, he's shrinking at random rates, uncontrollably and painfully, ''forever''), it's unlikely we'll see more of him.
** Rumlow dies by suicide bombing at the beginning of ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar'' (though his actor has suggested that HesJustHiding). The only other villain to die in the movie is Colonel Karpov, a member of HYDRA, whom BigBad Zemo drowns in a sink.
** Ego is killed in ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxyVol2'', as he's head of a KeystoneArmy of sorts and it was the only way to stop the extensions of himself from consuming other planets.
** ''Film/SpiderManHomecoming'' is the first MCU film to almost completely avert this. The only villain (in fact, the only ''character'') to die in the movie is Jackson Brice, the first Shocker, and even his [[LegacyCharacter replacement]] survives the film.
** In ''Film/ThorRagnarok'', Hela is destroyed along with Asgard by Surtur, who also perishes in the act (making this the second Phase 3 film to kill the BigBad, and the first to not be set in Phase 2's time period). Although, as with Red Skull and Ultron, a possibility of her survival is left open since we don't actually see her die, but for now she is not seen following Asgard's total destruction by one more powerful than her. Skurge is also killed by Hela [[RedemptionEqualsDeath after his]] HeelFaceTurn.
** Ulysses Klaue serves as an antagonist for part of ''Film/BlackPanther2018'', but he is killed by Erik Killmonger so that he can enter Wakanda. Erik himself dies from a wound inflicted by Black Panther, choosing to let himself bleed out rather than face life imprisonment.
* In ''Film/PunisherWarZone'', Jigsaw dies. The villains of the other movies don't count, as they are original characters.
* In the original ''Film/SpiderManTrilogy'' films there are many villain deaths.
** In ''Film/SpiderMan1'', the [[ComicBook/NormanOsborn Green Goblin]] is killed by his glider impaling him. This happened to him in the comic books as well, though he came back from that decades later. The mugger who killed Uncle Ben ([[{{Retcon}} but not really]]) also dies earlier in the film.
** In ''Film/SpiderMan2'', ComicBook/DoctorOctopus is killed by either drowning or the heat when he tears apart the base of the fusion reactor, sending the miniature sun (along with himself) into the river in a RedemptionEqualsDeath moment.
** In ''Film/SpiderMan3'', the post-HeelFaceTurn New Goblin is killed by ComicBook/{{Venom}}, and Eddie Brock and the symbiote both die when Brock tries to get back to the symbiote after Spidey has thrown a Goblin Grenade at it. Sandman survives, however, and Peter is able to forgive him for killing Uncle Ben. It should be noted that Harry, like his father, also died under similar circumstances in the comics and was brought back.
* Electro is seemingly killed in ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan2''. Norman Osborn is presumed dead much earlier, while both the Green Goblin (Harry Osborn) and the Rhino survive as part of a SequelHook for the [[WhatCouldHaveBeen then upcoming]] ''Sinister Six'' spin-off.
* The Bowser equivalent from ''Film/SuperMarioBros'' is [[LaserGuidedKarma reduced to a pile of goo]].
* In the theatrical release of ''Film/SupermanII'', a depowered General Zod and his similarly depowered Kryptonian henchmen are killed by being thrown into a crevice (Zod by Superman, Ursa by Lois, and Non while trying to fly), although a deleted scene reinstated for some versions had them surviving.
** A less definite instance in ''Film/SupermanReturns'', when Lex Luthor is last seen stranded on a desert island, with only six coconuts and a dog to eat; it is presumed that he will die of starvation, or possibly dehydration, after all are gone. He obviously won't return, since the franchise was rebooted for the DC Extended Universe.
* In the ''Franchise/DCExtendedUniverse'' films:
** In ''Film/ManOfSteel'' Superman snaps General Zod's neck in their climactic fight, after [[SuicideByCop Zod puts him in a situation where this is the only way to save innocent lives]].
** In ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'', [=KGBeast=] is killed in the explosion of his flamethrower, Mercy Graves dies in the explosion at the Capitol, and Doomsday is stabbed by a Kryptonite spear.
** In ''Film/{{Suicide Squad|2016}}'' both Enchantress and her brother Incubus are killed by the Squad.
** In ''Film/{{Wonder Woman|2017}}'', General Ludendorff dies impaled by Diana's Godkiller sword (the real life Ludendorff died 19 years after World War I ended) and Ares is vaporized by concentrated/[[HoistByHisOwnPetard reflected]] lightning.
* In the first live action ''{{Film/Transformers}}'' film, all Decepticons in the climatic battle including Megatron die except Starscream and Barricade (the latter probably would have, but they forgot to film the scene). Megatron is brought back to life and survives the sequel, but The Fallen dies. In the third film all major Decepticons and Sentinel Prime are killed. Lockdown is killed at the end of the fourth film, but Megatron, rebuilt as Galvatron, escapes and lives to fight another day. Both Megatron and Quintessa survive the fifth film.
* While ComicBook/{{Magneto}}, Pyro and Mystique have JokerImmunity on full force in the ''Film/XMenFilmSeries'', plenty of bad guys bite the dust.
** ''Film/XMen1'' has Toad fried by lightning. Sabretooth doesn't return except for a prequel, but that is more PutOnABus.
** In ''Film/X2XMenUnited'', Colonel Stryker, Lady Deathstrike, and Jason Stryker are killed.
** In ''Film/XMenTheLastStand'' Jean Grey/Phoenix is killed along with a few Brotherhood members.
*** Although all of these are undone when the timeline is altered; as of ''Apocalypse'', William Stryker is (possibly, the new films have yet to leave the 20th century) currently alive.
** In ''Film/XMenFirstClass'', Sebastian Shaw is killed by Magneto forcing a coin through his brain. Shaw's minions join Magneto, but are [[BusCrash killed offscreen before]] ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast''.
** Silver Samurai and Viper are killed in the climax of ''Film/TheWolverine''. Shingen Yashida is killed by Wolverine in the second act.
** Comicbook/{{Apocalypse}} is disintegrated by Jean at the climax of ''Film/XMenApocalypse''. [[AdaptationalVillainy Angel]] may or may not have been killed.
** ''Film/{{Logan}}'' kills Zander Rice, Donald Pierce and X-24 in succession. Then again, [[AnyoneCanDie most of the good guys also die]].

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In the season 3 finale of ''Series/{{Arrow}}'', Ra's Al Ghul is killed in a fight to the death with Oliver. Due to [[ScrewedByTheLawyers an embargo]] created because of the ''Film/SuicideSquad2016'' film, Deadshot and Amanda Waller were both killed as well.
* In ''Series/TheFlash1990'' with the exception of the Trickster all villains die in the episode they are in. The most notable may be Captain Cold, presented as a cruel hitman who dies when he's frozen ray is reflected by a mirror.
* In ''Series/TheFlash2014'':
** The BigBad of Season 1, the Reverse-Flash, is [[RetGone erased from time]] when his ancestor pulls a HeroicSuicide to ensure he's never born... but thanks to a TimeyWimeyBall his past self is still around to threaten the heroes occasionally. The Season 2 BigBad, Zoom, is dragged off to a FateWorseThanDeath. Both return in ''Series/LegendsOfTomorrow'', where Reverse-Flash's messing with time has begun to catch up with him and he's now being hunted by Zoom, who has been turned into a particularly nasty {{Clock Roach|es}} called the Black Flash. [[spoiler:He fails and the Black Flash does him in.]]
** In Season 3, Savitar fails to close a StableTimeLoop that would ensure his own creation, and is RetGone like the Reverse-Flash was as a result. And he's shot fatally for good measure.
** As of Season 4, [[spoiler:the Reverse-Flash officially has JokerImmunity, having survived his ''second'' erasure and reappeared in another dimension (even ''he's'' not sure how). He blames the TimeyWimeyBall.]]
** Clifford [=DeVoe=]/The Thinker escapes his impending death via ALS by [[BodySurf body surfing]] through the bodies of various metahumans, including Ralph Dibny. Ralph eventually takes his body back, destroying the Thinker's consciousness in the process. The Thinker is able to stave off death a little longer by creating a digital copy of himself on his CoolChair, but Marlize pulls the plug on him to kill him off for good.
* In ''Series/{{Gotham}}'', Sal Maroni dies.
* In ''Series/JessicaJones2015'' Jessica kills Kilgrave via NeckSnap, having decided that letting him live is more dangerous than any safeguards he might have in case of his death. Fortunately it appears that dying cancels his commands.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamSeries'':
** ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'' famously killed the Joker during the climax. Hugo Strange, Ra's Al Ghul, and Talia also die by the end, although DeathIsCheap is a core aspect of the latter two's characters. The DLC missions in ''Arkham Knight'' confirm that Talia was KilledOffForReal, while Ra's was brought back to life, though there are hints Talia may return some day as well.
** ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamKnight'' sees Poison Ivy pull a HeelFaceTurn and eventually going through a HeroicSacrifice.
*** In the "Season of Infamy" DLC, Mr. Freeze decides to die alongside his revived wife and depending on the player's choice, Batman can let Ra's al Ghul die or cure him and let him kill his daughter Nyassa.
* In ''VideoGame/SpiderManWebOfShadows'' Venom dies after either performing a HeroicSacrifice of his own will or getting forced into it by a symbiote-corrupted Spider-Man.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Deadpool}}'' the Merc with a Mouth succeeds in killing Mr. Sinister during the climax, having previously ended up killing his clones instead.
* In the video games based off the ''VideoGame/SpiderManTrilogy'' in addition to featuring the deaths from their film counterparts, the Kingpin also ends up ([[NeverFoundTheBody potentially]]) biting it in the adaptation of ''Spider-Man 3''.
* In ''VideoGame/ThePunisher'', both Bushwacker and Jigsaw are killed by Castle.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'', Malekith, Wonder Man, and Ultron are killed. Enchantress does in the Grey Gargoyle, Chemistro, and possibly Arnim Zola in "Acts of Vengeance." Blizzard, Radioactive Man, and Whirlwind are killed in the episode "Assault on 42" where they fight off the army of Annihilus.
* ''Franchise/DCAnimatedUniverse''
** In ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'', Jax-Ur, who is basically [[CompositeCharacter Zod but with an unrelated character's name]], ends up sucked into a black hole. Bruno Mannheim tried to escape an explosion, but was too late and caught in it.
** ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'', Mr. Freeze, Falseface, Ra's Al Ghul, Talia Al Ghul all die.
** In ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'', many villains are killed, most prominently in the penultimate episode "Alive" where Gorilla Grodd's attempted coup resulted in Lex shooting him out the airlock and Killer Frost [[DroppedABridgeOnHim unceremoniously]] murdering everyone else who sided with Grodd to save herself.
* In ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManTheAnimatedSeries'', Mysterio dies.
* In ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManTheNewAnimatedSeries'', Electro and Lizard die.

!!Subversions, Aversions and Zigzags

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanMaskOfThePhantasm'' has the Joker taken away by the Phantasm presumably to be killed, and that's the last we ever see of him in it. As he later appears in episodes of the animated series and the DCAU it can be presumed that he escaped somehow. One tie-in comic released a few years after the film ultimately confirms it as well as shows how he did it.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Averted in ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderManSeries''. Producer Avi Arad stated flat-out that Peter will not kill his enemies. Setting up for a villain-based ''Script/SinisterSix'' movie was also a factor.
** In ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan'', "The Lizard" Curt Connors is arrested instead of killed, which leads to a post-credits [[TheStinger Stinger]] in his jail cell.
** Harry Osborn/Green Goblin survives ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan2'', as does Rhino, although the latter doesn't show up until the end of the movie. Electro, however, doesn't. [[NeverFoundTheBody Maybe]] since it's shown that he can reform particles and was shown doing it several times beforehand.
* In the Adam West ''[[Film/BatmanTheMovie Batman]]'' movie, JokerImmunity is in full effect, as it was the movie of the series and the villains needed to return.
* In the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' series:
** In ''Film/BatmanReturns'', Catwoman survives with one of her nine lives left, but she is more of an Anti-Villain.
** In ''Film/BatmanForever'', the Riddler is mentally incapacitated and committed to Arkham Asylum, believing himself to be Batman.
** In ''Film/BatmanAndRobin'', Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy are both committed to Arkham Asylum, Mr. Freeze after his HeelFaceTurn which allows him to keep his suit and torment Poison Ivy as her cell mate while continuing his research to find a cure for [=McGregor=] Syndrome.
* In ''Film/{{Daredevil}}'', Bullseye and Kingpin both survive, though in Bullseye's case, you don't know that unless you stayed for the end-credits [[TheStinger stinger]].
* In ''Film/FantasticFour2005'', Doctor Doom isn't killed; rather, he's [[AndIMustScream frozen in place]] after his superheated metal body is quickly chilled. He returns in [[Film/FantasticFourRiseOfTheSilverSurfer the sequel]].
* At the end of ''Film/GIJoeTheRiseOfCobra'', Cobra Commander and Destro are both captured by Duke, but in the sequel ''Film/GIJoeRetaliation'', Cobra Commander escapes on a helicopter at the end of the movie. Destro's fate is unknown. Also in ''The Rise of Cobra'', Storm Shadow seemingly falls to his death after a fight with Snake Eyes, but in ''Retaliation'', Storm Shadow survives and eventually makes a HeelFaceTurn near the end of the movie. The trope is played straight with Firefly and Zartan, though.
* In the ''Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse'':
** Loki in ''Film/{{Thor}}'', ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'', ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'', and ''Film/ThorRagnarok'' lives, though he ''[[DrivenToSuicide attempts]]'' suicide at the end of the former, surrenders after a [[MetronomicManMashing Metronome Beatdown]] from the Hulk in the second, and experiences one DisneyDeath before [[FakingTheDead faking a second death]] in the third.
** ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk'': Blonsky aka The Abomination is spared by Betty stopping Hulk from strangling him. General Ross also survives, with Samuel Stern / The Leader alive for a SequelHook. For someone with a reputation for destruction, the Hulk causes surprisingly few deaths.
** ''Film/IronMan2'': Though Ivan Vanko is killed, the other main villain of the movie, Justin Hammer, is arrested.
** ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'': Red Skull is [[NeverFoundTheBody seemingly killed]] when he tries to use the cosmic cube and gets disintegrated by it. In ''Film/AvengersInfinityWar'', it's revealed that the Tesseract actually teleported the Red Skull to Vormir, where he ended up surviving to the present day and was forced to act as the keeper for the Soul Stone. As for his scientist minion Dr. Arnim Zola, he is captured and trades information for his life.
** ''Film/IronMan3'': The Mandarin is exposed as an actor in Killian's employ and arrested. Having usurped the identity of the real Mandarin identified in a followup short film, Killian serves as the main villain of ''3''. After his death at the hands of Pepper Potts, the true Mandarin intends to have the fake personally brought before him for identity theft, either to kill the fake or do something else. The vice president is also working for Killian and is also arrested.
** ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'': Nebula is last seen hijacking a Ravager ship and flying it away after her near DisneyVillainDeath. She even makes a HeelFaceTurn in the sequel. Yondu does this as well. [[spoiler:Though he's not lucky enough to make it out of 2 alive, he's joined up with the heroes by that point.]]
** ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar'': The main villain, Helmut Zemo, is not only ''not'' killed by the heroes but Black Panther even stops him from committing suicide, insisting that he stand trial for his crimes. (This is a bit of CharacterDevelopment for Panther, who had spent most of the movie willing to kill in revenge.)
** In ''Film/DoctorStrange2016'', Dormammu, who is more menacing and possibly more powerful than Thanos, is forced to leave Earth, and gives Kaecilius a FateWorseThanDeath by trapping him in the Dark Dimension forever. However, Strange kills Kaecilius's henchman Lucian.
** In ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxyVol2'', Ayesha and the Sovereign are able to get away cleanly since they don't dirty their hands with combat personally in the first place.
** In ''Film/SpiderManHomecoming'', Spider-Man saves Adrian Toomes/the Vulture's life and leaves him for the authorities. Herman Schultz/Shocker #2 is similarly defeated and left webbed up for the cops, while Tinkerer and the rest of Toomes' gang are outright {{Karma Houdini}}s. However, Jackson Brice/Shocker #1 is [[BadBoss killed by Toomes after jeopardizing their operation]] (though Toomes [[AccidentalMurder thought he was using a non-lethal weapon at the time]]).
** Grandmaster survives the events of ''Film/ThorRagnarok'', but his planet is still in the middle of a coup, so things aren't looking good for him.
** Comicbook/{{Thanos}} not only manages to survive the events of ''Film/AvengersInfinityWar'' (after previous cameos in ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'', ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'', and ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron''), he actually manages to defeat the heroes, though he pays a heavy price for his victory. Of course, [[SequelHook that's just the first of two movies...]]
* Superman:
** ComicBook/LexLuthor survives ''all'' the ''Film/{{Superman}}'' movies. Killing him would be awkward since Superman is so powerful that he'd have to [[MurderByInaction intentionally refuse to save him]] without a contrived reason why he couldn't. However, it's debatable as to whether he survived being stranded on a desert island in ''Film/SupermanReturns'' with very little food, as this ends the original film series.
** In Richard Donner's cut of ''Film/SupermanII'', Zod, Non and Ursa are locked again in the Phantom Zone. This isn't shown in Richard Lester's original version.
** In SupermanIII all the villains except the [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman super-computer]] make it out alive in the film. Again, just like in Luthor's case, they had no super-powers, which would make their deaths jarring if Superman had left them to their fate.
** Once again in SupermanIVTheQuestForPeace, the normal human villains (Luthor among them) live to see another day. Only Nuclear Man may have perhaps died, although this is not explicit and even if he did, it falls within the WhatMeasureIsANonHuman territory.
* In the original ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' comic The Shredder was killed at the end of the first story. So the trope is subverted as Shredder is a more formidable opponent before his death -- and inverted as he revives in the next movie, ''The Secret of the Ooze''. At the end of that film, after a OneWingedAngel transformation, he is killed off for good.
** In fact, every incarnation of the Shredder is an inversion, as he's a StarterVillain in the comic but the BigBad in every other version ever.
** In ''Film/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2014'', Shredder falls from a great height after being kicked off by April O'Neal, but he is shown taking some of the mutagen as he is being arrested by the police. In the sequel ''Film/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesOutOfTheShadows'', Shredder is frozen and imprisoned by Krang in the Technodrome.
* ''Film/XMenFilmSeries'':
** ComicBook/{{Magneto}}, the X-Men's ArchEnemy, survived all the films, along with Mystique. The villains of individual movies were killed, however with the possible exception of Juggernaut who was rendered unconscious but was on the island when Phoenix started blasting everything into atoms. Since in the second film Magneto is referred to as ''one'' of the mutants captured after the first film, it's probable that at least one of Sabretooth or Toad also survived, but neither was ever seen again.
** Likewise Stryker, Sabertooth and {{Deadpool}} all survived ''Film/XMenOriginsWolverine''. Though that mostly because it was a prequel and Stryker and Sabertooth were already established to have appeared later down the road. Deadpool is only shown to have survived in a {{Stinger}} that only played in certain versions.
** ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'' is a rare inversion where the entire premise of the movie involves the heroes trying to actively ''prevent'' the death of a member of the BigBadEnsemble. As such, Bolivar Trask survives the film, and is sent to jail for his crimes. Professor X also allows Magneto to escape after Magneto tells him that the government will assuredly execute him for his crimes.
* Franchise/DCExtendedUniverse:
** In ''Film/ManOfSteel'', Zod's crew was resealed inside the PhantomZone, though since their ship was breaking apart it's unclear if they could survive in it.
** In ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'', Lex Luthor survives and gets arrested.
** In ''Film/{{Suicide Squad|2016}}'', the Joker survives a helicopter crash. [[JokerImmunity Unsurprisingly]].
** In ''Film/{{Wonder Woman|2017}}'', Doctor Poison seemingly survives.
** In ''Film/{{Justice League|2017}}'', Steppenwolf is swarmed by his own Parademons after getting pummeled by Superman and getting his axe shattered by Wonder Woman, and then gets beamed back on Apokolips through a Boom Tube. He most probably survives.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Completely averted in ''Series/AgentCarter'', where all the major villains have survived. In Season One, Doctor Faustus is captured and a Black Widow agent escapes. In Season Two, Whitney Frost is depowered and committed to an insane asylum, Joseph Manfredi is allowed to go free since he helped the heroes in stopping Whitney, and Black Widow escapes again. Some members of the Council of Nine ''are'' killed ([[EvilerThanThou by Whitney]]); but one, Vernon Masters, is a deliberately ambiguous case of NeverFoundTheBody because the writers thought they might have wanted to use him again.
* In ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'', one-shot villains are a 50-50 tossup whether they survive or not, but for recurring threats:
** The first two seasons generally used the "major villains die, minor villains live" version, with "the Clairvoyant" and Daniel Whitehall being offed while their subordinates such as Raina, Ian Quinn, Deathlok, Ward, Bakshi, Agent 33, and Cal escaped their original story arc and came back later (or in Deathlok's case, he reformed since he was always a good guy TrappedInVillainy).
** The end of season 2 started playing things straight, and from then on nearly all the recurring villains would be killed off eventually. Even if a lesser villain survived the season, they'd likely return next season as a bigger threat only to get killed there. So far, the only recurring bad guys to truly escape this fate include Cal Johnson, who voluntarily submitted to a memory wipe; Carl Creel and James, who only helped their respective {{Big Bad}}s in the first place because they were brainwashed (Carl is rehabilitated and becomes a sometimes-ally to SHIELD though he is ultimately absorbed by another villain, while James returns in a later episode as a ''willing'' bad guy with another group, but gets knocked out and taken in alive). Ian Quinn was ''thought'' to have escaped and gone underground after Season One, but a flashback scene shown years later in Season Five revealed that he too had been killed shortly after his final appearance in Season One.
* ZigZagged in ''Series/{{Arrow}}''.
** In Season 1 when Oliver had no scruples against killing he'd mow down mooks but leave the actual targets alive to send a message.
** Both Deadshot and The Dark Archer came back after being seemingly killed.
** Deathstroke is depowered and imprisoned at the end of Season 2.
* Series/ElChapulinColorado never ever kills, thus all his villains always survive. He even saves one of his enemies, gunslinger Matonsísimo Kid, of hanging (probably a case of AuthorOnBoard as Creator/{{Chespirito}} was a death penalty objector).
* The Trickster (played by Creator/MarkHamill) survives his first appearence in ''Series/TheFlash1990'', unlike other villains, and he's the only one appearing in more than one episode.
* Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse Netflix shows:
** ''Series/{{Daredevil|2015}}''
*** The first season zig-zags it, inverting the "majors die, minors survive" version. ComicBook/TheKingpin survives and is taken into custody after being dealt a NoHoldsBarredBeatdown; but Leland Owlsley, Wesley, Nobu, Vladimir, Anatoly, and a number of others end up dead by the time the first season is finished (However, with the exception of Owlsley all are {{Canon Foreigner}}s). The only main villain other than Fisk to make it out alive is Madame Gao, undoubtedly to be used in ''Iron Fist''; though the second season reveals that Nobu has ResurrectiveImmortality and thus survived as well.
*** Played straight in the second season. The Punisher kills all the bad guys involved in his storyline (he wouldn't be the Punisher otherwise). In the Hand storyline, Nobu is permanently killed via {{Decapitation|Required}}. On the other hand, Fisk and Madame Gao also make appearances and are shown to be alive and well.
** Even though Killgrave is killed by the end of season 1, ''Series/JessicaJones2015'' zig-zags the trope with Will Simpson seemingly surviving.
** Generally averted in ''Series/LukeCage2016''. Cottonmouth is killed by Mariah in her StartOfDarkness from CorruptPolitician into something worse, but Mariah gets herself and Shades [[KarmaHoudini out from facing any consequences for their actions]]. Diamondback is badly beaten, but survives and is taken into custody.
** In ''Series/IronFist2017'', Harold Meachum is killed, and cremated to ensure he can't resurrect as Nobu did (again). Bakuto is also killed, but his body vanishes afterwards and it is presumed that he will resurrect soon (which ''The Defenders'' confirms). Madame Gao gets away scot-free as she did in ''Daredevil''.
** Played straight in ''Series/TheDefenders2017'', where it's a plot point that the Hand have run out of the material needed for resurrection and need to procure more. Three of the five leaders (Alexandra, Sowande, and Bakuto) are decapitated onscreen, ensuring they won't return even with said material. The other two (Murakami and Madame Gao) plus Elektra were implied to have been killed in a building collapse - but then again, Daredevil was caught in the same collapse but survived. (It should be noted that Murakami's chances of survival are lower, since he was critically injured before the collapse.)
** In ''Series/ThePunisher2017'', William Rawlins is killed by the Punisher, while Billy Russo gets a FateWorseThanDeath as an act of CruelMercy.
* In the 1990's ''Series/SwampThing'' Dr. Arcane survives all the seasons (albeit some minor villains and mooks are killed).
* In ''Series/{{Inhumans}}'', Black Bolt lets Maximus live in an act of CruelMercy, sealing him away in a bunker where he will live out the rest of his life abandoned and alone.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/InjusticeGodsAmongUs'', the Injustice universe Joker dies before the start of the story, having successfully managed to drive Superman to murderous rage. However, the main universe Joker remains alive and well. Stranger is ''VideoGame/Injustice2''; despite taking place entirely in the Injustice universe, the Joker is a character in the roster. In Story Mode, he appears only as [[spoiler:a fear gas hallucination]], while in his fight banter in non-story matches, [[MultipleChoicePast he is gleefully inconsistent]] in explaining [[UnexplainedRecovery his return]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Unicron in ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformersTheMovie'' dies, although he later returns in the TV show. However, his powers are rather limited due to being a disembodied head in orbit around Cybertron, and when left alone is considered harmless.
** [[TheStarscream Starscream]] dies in TheMovie as well, but comes back as a ghost in the series thanks to his [[OurSoulsAreDifferent indestructible spark]].