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[[caption-width-right:315:JokerImmunity - [[Film/LethalWeapon it's just been revoked]].]]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

[[DiscussedTrope Discussed]] in [[http://m.mtv.com/geek/article.rbml?id=2013%2F06%2F14%2Fop-ed-superheroes-kill%2F&weburl=http%3A%2F%2Fgeek-news.mtv.com%2F2013%2F06%2F14%2Fop-ed-superheroes-kill%2F&alt=http%3A%2F%2Fm.mtv.com%2Fgeek%2Fblog.rbml&cid=300 this MTV Geek article]] by Alex Zalben.

'''This is a DEATH TROPE! Unmarked spoilers ahoy.'''
!!Straight Examples
* 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 and [[DisneyVillainDeath falling to his death]].
** Penguin dies 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.
** In ''Film/BatmanAndRobin'', Jason Woodrue dies, but Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy both survive. Bane's fate is ambiguous (he's alive, but severely weakened when we last see him, and the building around him is collapsing).
* 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 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.
* In the Animated Batman Movies:
** 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 ''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.
** ''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 comicbook storyline, in the movie he's a CompositeCharacter of Killian and the Mandarin, who wasn't dead.
* ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'': RedSkull 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.
** Likewise in ''CaptainAmerica1990'', Cap kills the Red Skull in the climax.
** In ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'', the main villain Alexander Pierce is killed after NickFury shoots him twice. The titular [[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 Crossbones is alive but horribly burnt after a Helicarrier crashed into him. Arnim Zola gets blown up (after cheating death through BrainUploading).
* 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 ''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 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'', Doctor Octopus 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 upcoming ''Sinister Six'' spin-off.
* 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/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 DoctorDoom who is alive, but defeated, by the end of both films.
* In ''Film/GreenLantern'', Hector Hammond and Parallax are dead by the end. {{Sinestro}} never even becomes a villain until the stinger.
* In ''Film/PunisherWarZone'', Jigsaw dies. The villains of the other movies don't count, as they are original characters.
* While {{Magneto}}, Pyro and Mystique have a 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.
* 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 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 the animated ''ComicBook/DoctorStrange'' film, Dormammu and Baron Mordo both die.
* In the first ''Film/TheCrow'' movie, Eric Draven kills all of the gang members responsible for his and his girlfriend's deaths. This is actually in keeping with the original comic. Later movies were original stories, not based on any comics.
* The Bowser equivalent from ''Film/SuperMarioBros'' is [[LaserGuidedKarma reduced to a pile of goo]].
* 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 and Harold Attinger are both killed at the end of the fourth film, but Galvatron escapes and lives to fight another day.
* 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.
* Although ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'' is an original superhero movie, Syndrome dying at the end is likely a nod to this trope.

!!Subversions, Aversions and Zigzags
* SelfDemonstrating/LexLuthor survives all the ''Film/{{Superman}}'' movies. Killing him would be awkward since Superman is so powerful that he'd either have to [[MurderByInaction intentionally refuse to save him]] or there's need to be some [[DisneyVillainDeath contrived reason why he couldn't]].
* Unicron in the ''WesternAnimation/TransformersTheMovie'' dies, although he later returns in the TV show.
* {{SelfDemonstrating/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.
* {{SelfDemonstrating/Loki}} in ''Film/{{Thor}}'', ''Film/TheAvengers'' 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.
* 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 [[spoiler: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.]]
* In ''Film/FantasticFour'', SelfDemonstrating/DoctorDoom 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.
* 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 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 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 example, 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.
* Averted in ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan'', where "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.
** [[spoiler:Electro]], however, doesn't. [[NeverFoundTheBody Maybe]] since [[spoiler: it's shown that he can reform particles and was shown doing it several times beforehand.]]
* ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' is zigzagging all around this; Graviton, Blizzard, Lorelei, and Deathlok all survived season 1 (though Graviton and Blizzard haven't taken their supervillain identities yet) whereas Scorch and the Clairvoyant were killed. The agents ''tried'' to take Blackout in alive but he overpowered their weapons, forcing Coulson to ShootTheDog to keep him from killing an innocent.
* 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.