[[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[[caption-width-right:315:JokerImmunity - [[Film/LethalWeapon2 it's just been revoked]].]]

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

* ''Film/AntMan'' has the villain Darren Cross[=/=]Yellowjacket apparently dying at the end of his movie. Like for [[Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger Red Skull]] below, 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, it's unlikely we'll see more of him.
* ''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.
* In the Creator/TimBurton ''Film/{{Batman}}'' movies:
** In the 1989 film, SelfDemonstrating/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 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 realised 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.) and Mr. Freeze is definitely alive.
* 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.
** Both Talia al Ghul and Bane are killed in the course of the final battle in ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises''. Catwoman joins the fight against the League of Shadows and is seen with Bruce in a romantic relationship in the end. Granted, Catwoman is more of an AntiVillain than a straight-up villain.
* 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 the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse ''Captain America'' films:
** ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'': Red Skull is [[NeverFoundTheBody seemingly killed]] when he tries to use the cosmic cube and gets disintegrated by it. HYDRA seemingly falls with him, but turns out to have survived in secret in the sequel. As for his scientist Dr. Zola, he is captured and trades information for his life.
** In ''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. Arnim Zola gets blown up (after cheating death through BrainUploading).
** Rumlow dies at the beginning of ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar'', but the main villain, Helmut Zemo, survives and is incarcerated in the end.
* 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/FantasticFour Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer]]'', the Surfer nearly sacrifices himself to stop Galactus. It's uncertain whether that ended the planet-eater for good, but chances are that it stalled him. Both versions avert this when it comes to Doctor Doom who is alive, but defeated, by the end of both films.
* ''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/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'', Ronan the Accuser is disintegrated by one of the Infinity Stones, while Korath the Pursuer is seemingly killed after Drax rips out one of his cybernetic implants. Nebula manages to survive by killing a ComicBook/{{Nova}} Corps pilot and hijacking his ship.
* 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 ''Film/IronMan'' 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.
* 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 had 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, although a deleted scene reinstated for some versions had them surviving.
** 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]]. The other Kryptonians, though, were resealed inside the Phantom Zone, though since their ship was breaking apart it's unclear if they could survive once they reach the other side.
** In ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'', [=KGBeast=] is burnt to death, Mercy Graves seemingly blows up, and Doomsday is stabbed by a Kryptonian speat. Luthor however manages to survive.
* Malekith and his [[TheDragon Dragon]] Kurse are killed in ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld''. 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.
* 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 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.
* While SelfDemonstrating/{{Magneto}}, Pyro and Mystique have JokerImmunity on full force in the ''Film/XMen'' movies, 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.
** In ''Film/XMenFirstClass'', Sebastian Shaw is killed by Magneto forcing a coin through his brain. Shaw's minions join Magneto, but are killed offscreen between First Class and Days of Future Past.
** Silver Samurai and Viper are killed in the climax of ''Film/TheWolverine''. Shingen Yashida is killed by Wolverine in the second act.
** Apocalypse is disintegrated by Jean at the climax of Film/XMenApocalypse. AdaptationalVillainy/Angel may or may not have been killed.

[[AC: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. The post credits scene reveals that Harley survived her fall and went on to have a family.
* 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 and Amanda Waller may or may not have died as well.
* In ''WesternAnimation/SupermanBatmanPublicEnemies'' Metallo is killed under Lex Luthor's orders.


Although this trope is more common in movies, it happens in television shows as they are more self contained than comics

* In ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'', Malekith, Wonder Man, and Ultron are killed. Blizzard, Radioactive Man, and Whirlwind,are killed in the episode "Assault on 42" where they fight off the army of Annihilus.
* 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/SuicideSquad'' film, Deadshot and Amanda Waller were both killed as well.
* In ''Series/TheFlash2014'' many villains are killed in the episode they are introduced. However the majority of them are {{Rogues Gallery Transplant}}s from lesser known heroes while the actual Rogue's Gallery live and most of the time get away. 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. In Season 2, Zoom is dragged off to a FateWorseThanDeath (but then Barry messes with time even more, so who knows how the TimeyWimeyBall will affect things).
* 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.
* 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.
* In ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'', Bruno Mannheim is killed by Darkseid [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness after outliving his usefulness]]. Jax-Ur, who is basically [[CompositeCharacter Zod but with an unrelated character's name]], ends up sucked into an black hole.

[[AC:Video Games]]

While rarer than films or television, some video games based on comic books have started featuring their own continuity and stories that allow them to follow this trope.

* ''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.

!!Subversions, Aversions and Zigzags

* Averted in ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderManSeries''. Producer Avi Arad stated flat-out that Peter will not kill his enemies. Setting up for a villain-based ''Film/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 ''Film/{{Daredevil}}'', Bullseye and Kingpin both survive, though in Bullseye's case, you don't know that unless you stayed for the in-credits [[TheStinger stinger]].
* In ''Film/FantasticFour'', Doctor Doom isn't killed; rather, he's [[AndIMustScream frozen in place]] after his superheated metal body is quickly chilled. He returns in (and survives) 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.
* Blonsky aka The Abomination is spared by Betty stopping Hulk from strangling him in ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk''. 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.
* In ''Film/IronMan3'', the Mandarin is exposed as an actor in Killian's employ and arrested. A followup short film reveals that a real Mandarin in fact exists and intends to kill the fake personally for identity theft.
* 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.
* 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.
* Loki in ''Film/{{Thor}}'', ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'' and ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'' 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.
* ComicBook/{{Magneto}}, the Film/{{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.
* ''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.

[[AC: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 wiped out nearly all the recurring villains, leaving only Ward remaining as an active threat (of other survivors, Quinn is an ''in''active threat, not having been seen since Season One; and Cal voluntarily submits to mindwiping). Season Three similarly kills off its villains (including Ward) and leaves only one or two survivors, neither of which are likely to remain bad guys: Radcliffe was more amoral and in over his head, and was perfectly happy to side with SHIELD when given the chance; while James, ([[WhatHappenedToTheMouse if he did in fact survive]]) had been brainwashed into helping the BigBad.
* ''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 the upcoming ''Iron Fist'' show; though the second season reveals that Nobu is immortal and he 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 decapitated with the implication that his death is permanent this time. On the other hand, Fisk and Madame Gao also make appearances and are shown to be alive and well.
* 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.

[[AC:Western Animation]]
* Unicron in the ''WesternAnimation/TransformersTheMovie'' dies, although he later returns in the TV show.