4. Lois Lane
The movie: Superman (1978)
The death: A pair of nuclear missiles launched by Lex Luthor streak towards each US coast, giving Christopher Reeve’s Man of Steel an almighty problem to solve. He stops the missile bound for New Jersey first, only for the second to decimate California and send Lois Lane plummeting down a crevasse. After losing his home planet and adoptive dad Pa Kent over the course of the film, the death of Lois Lane is too much to take.
Why it’s heartbreaking: That deafening scream from Superman when he realises Lois is gone shows that the Man of Steel can be hurt by more than just Kryptonite.
The movie: Logan (2017)
The death: They can’t, can they? They did! Hugh Jackman has long said Logan would be his last Wolverine outing, but we never really thought it’d end with the death of his X-Men character. Escorting a band of young mutants - including his ‘daughter’, Laura - to the Canadian border, Logan confronts his genetic clone X-24 in a battle that sees him impaled on a tree branch. Laura kills X-24 with an adamantium bullet before watching her father die. “There’s no living with a killing,” she says in a graveside eulogy that turned X-Men fans into blubbering wrecks.
Why it’s heartbreaking: The moment when Laura pushes Logan’s grave marker onto its side to make an ‘X’? Devastating.
2. Agent Coulson
The death: After Loki breaks out of imprisonment aboard the Avengers’ Helicarrier, all hell breaks loose as the God of Mischief seeks to get his hands on the Tesseract. With the Avengers scattered and the craft falling from the sky, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Phil Coulson leaps into action only to meet a tragic end as Loki stabs him through the chest with his sceptre. Coulson still manages a hero’s exit, hitting Loki with a blaster shot while he’s lying mortally wounded on the ground.
Why it’s heartbreaking: With his final breath, Coulson convinces Nick Fury to use his death as a way to motivate the feuding Avengers to unite and stop Loki.
1. Charles Xavier
The movie: Logan (2017)
The death: On the run from the Reavers, Logan, Charles, and Laura find shelter with a local family in the American heartland. A bedridden Charles tells a shadowy figure he thinks is Wolverine about a seizure he suffered that caused the devastating . Bad news: the man he’s talking to isn’t Logan, but instead his twisted clone X-24, who plants his adamantium claws into Charles’s chest. The deathbed confession hurts all the more because the real Logan isn’t around to hear it.
Why it’s heartbreaking: “Our boat… the Sunseeker.” Charles’s last words refer to the yacht he and Logan could have been spending their twilight years on. *Sob*