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Villains who died with honor

"I will not die a monster"

-Doctor Octopus, Spider-Man 2

Not every villain who dies dies an ignominious death. Some villains get to have their last moments be better than what most of their lives were, and end their stories in an at least somewhat respectable manner. Note that this doesn't necessarily have to entail redemption, but it usually does. It's also nowhere near as common as it's counterpart "Died in Disgrace", as the difference in size between these lists should clearly show.

List items

  • The female DCAU version

  • After snapping out of her villain phase, she then appears to sacrifice herself to stop the Manhunters she had come to control.

  • In "Superman: Red Son"

  • Perhaps the most well known example of this.

  • DCAU version. As John Stewart puts it: "He finally saw the light"

  • In Spider-Man 2. Source of page quote.

  • Kind of sort of in the 1990s movie adaptation.

  • In Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, if you let him.

  • In Wolverine and the X-Men, if you consider that version of her to be a villain (myself, I'd challenge it). Nevertheless, she definitely dies with honor there.

  • Was redeemed at the time of his sacrifice.

  • I figured that he counted for this, since he is sometimes a villain and he has died in some of his films, so...

  • In 616 and Spider-Man 3.

  • Possibly, depending on what dialogue options Shepard chooses come the climax.

  • Possibly dies heroically during the Suicide Mission

  • In the climax of X-Men 3, where she allows Wolverine to kill her for the greater good.

  • Well, in fairness by the time of his death he was no longer a villain.

  • In Crisis on Two Earths

  • Seemingly in the Days of Future Past reality, where he appears to sacrifice himself by staying behind to stop the Sentinels and thus give the other Mutants time to escape. He was also about to suffer this fate in the Days of Future Past movie before the timeline is altered.

  • One could maybe argue for this in the 2002 Spider-Man movie, given that his last words are a plea to Peter to not tell his son the truth about his villainy.

  • Performed a heroic sacrifice, if memory serves me right.

  • Possibly. It's kind of unclear if he actually died or not, and I'd imagine it varies a bit between versions.

  • Dark Phoenix's original death in the Dark Phoenix saga had her sacrificing herself to stop herself, and in so doing saving the universe and the X-Men she'd come to care about while in the guise of Jean Grey.

  • In "Batman: Arkham Knight"

  • Marvel Cinematic Universe version, who dies heroically after reforming.

  • While the Nolanverse version does not redeem himself, he does nevertheless face his death with dignity. The same holds true of his Arrow version, and both stand in contrast to the more ignominious death suffered by his DCAU counterpart.

  • In Young Justice

  • In Young Justice

  • In "Spider-Man: Reign". Also seemingly in Spectacular Spider-Man, but subverted there since he's shown to still be alive.

  • Can be persuaded to kill himself so as to free himself from Sovereign's control. He even thanks Shepard if he chooses this path.

  • Gives his life to save Mariko in The Wolverine movie. He's not actually Silver Samurai there, but we'll ignore that.

  • His second of three deaths in the DCAU. And given that he later allows Hawkgirl to kill him so he can be at peace again, a case could be made that his third death is also this.

  • Accepted his death and took it with dignity, probably because he knew he deserved it. Still, at least he allowed himself some small measure of honor before the end.

  • Not in 616 (at least not to my knowledge), but in one of the better What If...? stories he actually does manage to redeem himself and dies stopping Apocalypse.

  • Like Darth Vader, he achieves redemption mere moments before his death.

  • Kind of sort of in Crisis on Infinite Earths

  • Presumably in the DCAU, given that at the end of his last appearance he seems to fade out of existence, and right before he dies he says: "Thank you, my friend."

  • Arguably the Eva Green version.

  • Dies saving the man who spared his life earlier

  • Possibly dies during either the Suicide Mission or during his side-quest in Mass Effect 3.