[Extreme spoilers for Avengers: Endgame — turn back now, or else]
After Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War came out last year, I ranked every death in the movie from least to most tragic. I won’t be doing that again, because 1) there’s another least-to-most ranking you should check out instead, and 2) Endgame is lacking in the death department. Relatively speaking. Thousands die, but that’s less than the trillions in Infinity War and, as I’ll get to, most of them are faceless CGI blobs. That being said! There was still plenty of fatalities that will have a major impact on the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward. We’ll get to those folks. But let’s begin with some of the less impactful deaths.
Little is known about Akihiko, other than he’s a Yakuza operative who gets killed by Ronin in Japan. But what an arc! He lived, he got wet in the rain, he died. We should all be so lucky. (He’s also played by Hiroyuki Sanada, who’s been in a million things, but his most important credit is “rumored” in John Wick 3.) Shoutout to the other members of the Yakuza who got pwned (to use the vocabulary of Thor’s video game rival, nudemaster69) by the worst Avenger.
Black Widow’s sandwich
No offense to everyone (everything) else on this list, but no one (nothing) got murdered as hard as Black Widow’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s a three-person killing, too, with Black Widow taking the first bites, then Captain America, then Ant-Man, who hadn’t eaten anything in five years. Even if it only felt like five hours to him, that’s still a long time without food. R.I.P. sandwich.
Thor’s beer kegs
I wrote down “Thor’s gut” in my death notes (totally normal), expecting it to go away by the end of the movie. But nope, still there. It’s low-key (not Loki) incredible that Marvel hid Fat Hemsworth away from the world. No one knew! His beer belly led to some of the funniest moments in the movie, including when he’s hanging out with Korg and Miek. It was so good to see those pizza freaks safe and sound. I would sacrifice Iron Man a million times over to save them.
Goose (I assume)
To quote Marge Simpson, “Determined or not, that cat must be long dead. That’s kind of a downer.” No kidding. Captain Marvel and Nick Fury are both at a certain character’s funeral (we’ll get to that), but where’s Goose? Maybe flerkens have crazy long lifespans, but considering Captain Marvel takes place in 1995 and Endgame is set in 2023, the outlook is not so good.
Ebony Maw, like countless other members of Thanos’ army, was killed in the battle at the Avengers compound (that needs a snappier title, no pun intended). Do I care about Ebony Maw? Not really. Now, had Thanos spent time with a different member of the Black Order, then things might be different. Proxima Midnight wasn’t the most well-rounded character in Infinity War — and I genuinely couldn’t tell if she was in Endgame — but she was voiced by the great Carrie Coon. Her MCU wiki page doesn’t mention The Leftovers, only one of the best shows of the 2010s, but it does note that she “worked with Josh Brolin in The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter.” Nearly as impressive.
I’m sorry for your loss, families of random Asgardians/Wakandans/sorcerers.
Still dead (too busy DJ’ing).
Also dead. But look forward to WandaVision!
Alive? What a trickster.
Thanos, the first time
One of the major Marvel talking points in the weeks between Captain Marvel and Endgame was: can’t Captain Marvel just, like, instantly kill Thanos? To quote Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige, she is “as powerful a character as we’ve ever put in a movie.” But screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely found a way around this by letting another superhero do the deed. In a fit of grief-filled rage, Thor chops the purple guy’s head off. The end…
Thanos, the second time
… Not quite.
This is when things get tricky. OK. Through a connection between present-day Nebula and 2014 Nebula (henceforth referred to as Good Nebula and Bad Nebula), 2014 Thanos learns what will happen (already happened?) to present-day Thanos and he goes to the future (oh god) to attack the Avengers compound. But he does so after the Hulk performs a Snap of his own, bringing back the dusted characters from Infinity War. They, with some major help from Captain Marvel, overpower Thanos’ army and Iron Man uses the Infinity Gauntlet to disintegrate Thanos once and for all. Did any of that make sense? I hope so. Time heists are confusing. Let’s call it all Jeremy Bearimy.
Good Nebula is still among the Guardians of the Galaxy (unlike Gamora, who’s out there… somewhere), but Bad Nebula is dead-bula. On a semi-related note: I need someone to do one of these screen time posts for Endgame. Nebula has to be in the top-five, right? There was so much Nebula! That, and not the deaths we’re about to get to, was the most shocking thing about Endgame.
Black Widow and Hawkeye travel to Vormir, where they learn that the only way to retrieve the Soul Stone is to sacrifice something they love, or someone. Hawkeye volunteers, but Black Widow refuses to let him take the fall; she plunges to her death so he can be reunited with his family. Soul Stone deaths are permanent (Gamora is still around, because time travel — I’m not going through that again), so it’s unlikely we’ll see Black Widow in the present again. But she will appear in the past in her solo movie, a prequel to The Avengers.
The original six is now down two members (three, if you include Old Man Steve Rogers passing the torch, er, shield to Falcon): Black Widow and Iron Man. Tony Stark defeats Thanos and his army by activating the Infinity Stones, but this improvised snap sends a wave of radiation coursing through his body; he succumbs to his injuries soon after. His final words: “I am Iron Man.” There was audible sniffling and sobbing in my theater when Tony died (especially during the funeral scene; I could spend five hours analyzing that slow pan of the mourners). But not from me, of course. I was too busy playing a thousand guitars at once in honor of the man who went out with a Black Sabbath quote.
Iron Man: 2008-2019.