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Why Do Comic Book Movies Kill Their Villains?

Comic books are notorious for never truly killing off any major characters, even the villains. Yet for many years, the exact opposite has been true of comic book films, wherein villains display a remarkable tendency to die off at the end of their debut movie. Is this simply the result of the films not needing the villain for future entries in the franchise, or is there a more fundamental difference between mediums at work here? What are some of the advantages of removing a villain completely from play? What are some of the disadvantages? And for that matter, why are comics so often willing to resurrect a deceased foe, while films almost never do it?

  • We have to consider that a film may very well end up being stand alone. It could flop. And if it does, it' better to have a more open-close storyline than an open-ended something that may never truly end. An exception is the Amazing Spiderman where the Green Goblin is still kicking. – SpectreWriter 6 years ago
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  • Man of Steel is a great movie to look at. Superman doesn't kill, so by having him forced to kill General Zod brought a whole new dynamic to Superman that we don't normally see and helped set the stage for what the new DC Cinematic Universe will be. – tdrumm7 6 years ago
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  • You also must remember the business side of making a Comic Book Film. Some studios may be wary of signing on villains for multiple films in case the fans do not approve of the portrayal. In addition, fans typically want to see new and exciting stories. After a while, fans become bored with the same villain appearing over and over. – cdenomme96 6 years ago
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  • ^^Actually Man of Steel is a poor movie to look at. In John Byrne's run, Superman executed a depowered Zod (and Faora and Quex-Ul) with Kryptonite. In the theatrical cut of Superman II, Superman threw a depowered Zod into a chasm under the Fortress of Solitude from which he was never seen to emerge again. Superman killing Zod is well established in both previous comics and films. Superman has also used lethal force against the Antimonitor, Darkseid, Brainiac, and Doomsday in both comics and various adaptations. – Winter 6 years ago
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