The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the most profitable and largest movie franchises to date, and with that comes an even bigger fanbase. As a Marvel fan, I caught myself wondering: who made the biggest sacrifice in MCU history? Below are my rankings and reasonings — feel free to debate my choices!
This article contains spoilers for several Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and projects. Reader discretion is advised.
In Guardians of the Galaxy, Groot sacrificed his life for Starlord, Gamora, Rocket and Drax from a crashing spaceship, surrounding them with branches that grew from him. Although, it’s a happy ending since Groot is discovered to be alive towards the end of the movie, his willingness to sacrifice himself for his friends places him in tenth place.
- classic Loki
In ninth place is Loki. Not just any Loki, but the “Classic Loki” from the Disney+ series. As he lived on in the Void, he decided to help Tom Hiddleston’s Loki by creating an extremely large illusion of Asgard to distract the monster, Alioth. In the end, he dies for the greater good, and after all these years, it seems as if he finally found his glorious purpose.
- Captain America
I feel as if this one might be controversial. Steve Rogers became the first super-soldier in the original Captain America film. When it came time, Steve had to make the decision to crash Red Skull’s plane into the mountains, knowing full well that he would not survive and get his dance with Peggy Carter. However, he did survive and finally got his dance in Avengers: Endgame, placing him in eighth place.
In Avengers: Age of Ultron, we heartbreakingly saw Pietro Maximoff (aka Quicksilver) use his speed to move a car in front of Hawkeye and a child, shielding them from an array of bullets. Unfortunately, it did not end well for Pietro as the bullets hit him instead. He famously said “You didn’t see that coming,” as we tearfully said goodbye to a character we only just met. The concept of sacrificing himself for Hawkeye and a child places him in seventh.
Heimdall’s sacrifice in the end credit scene of Thor: Ragnorak brought tears to most of our eyes. He attempted to fight off Thanos and the Black Order. Unfortunately, he was unable to overpower Thanos, thus making his last moment extremely important to the development of Avengers: Infinity War. Heimdall knew he was not going to survive the attack, so he summoned the Bifrost with his dying breath and sent Bruce Banner (aka Hulk) back to Earth to warn the others of the incoming threat. Without his sacrifice, the Avengers would not have been able to know or prepare for Thanos. His heroism places him just short of the top five biggest sacrifices.
Starting the top five list is Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, whose recent movie revealed one of the noblest sacrifices in the MCU. Although Spiderman messed up Doctor Strange’s spell at the beginning of Spider-Man: No Way Home, in the end, he sacrificed his entire life as Peter Parker for the survival of the multiverse. Now, we wait to see what the future may have in store for him.
Vision’s sacrifice in Avengers: Infinity War places him in fourth. In Infinity War, the mind stone was embedded into Vision’s forehead, causing Thanos and his army to try to retrieve it in Wakanda. Vision realized that in order to save the universe, the mind-stone would have to be destroyed; however, it would kill him in the process. His sacrifice would not have been possible without number three’s help.
In third place is Wanda Maximoff. Wanda has made multiple sacrifices over the last few years that tore our hearts to pieces each time. First, she had to destroy the mind stone, killing her soulmate in the process. Then, watch him come back to life just to be murdered again. Then, in all her grief, the events of Westview occurred in WandaVision, causing her to create a simulation that brought Vision back to life along with two children; Billy and Tommy. Her next sacrifice occurs when she had to destroy the Hex, thus destroying her entire family along with it. Truly heartbreaking.
- black widow
In second place is Natasha Romanoff and her heroic sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame. As the Avengers went back in time to retrieve all the infinity stones, Natasha went to Vormir with Hawkeye to retrieve the soul stone, which requires a soul for a soul. Natasha decided to sacrifice herself in order to retrieve the stone and bring half of the universe back. Despite everyone’s argument that “It should have been Hawkeye,” Natasha was meant to die, for the sake of her family, including the Avengers and the universe.
- iron man
Finally, the man who made the biggest sacrifice in the MCU is the one and only Tony Stark. In Avengers: Endgame, he heroically took the gauntlet with the infinity stones and snapped his fingers, knowing full well that he would not survive it. Tony originally did not want any part of the Avenger’s plan to bring everyone back as he had a wife and a daughter to love and take care of. This places him in the number one spot. Despite the option to live out his life with his family, he chose to partake in the events of Endgame, saving his friends, family and the universe in the process.
The sacrifices of these amazing people have allowed for the MCU to become what it is today: a cinematic masterpiece. Once again, these are specifically my rankings, however, I hope it makes you think about who would you place in your top ten. May our beautiful heroes rest in peace.