When a character fails, emphasize it. Magnify it in the game world. Demonstrate that the character is having an impact, even if it’s not the impact they wanted. A missed energy blast doesn’t just vanish, it stitches a line across the building down the street, shattering windows and sending clouds of pulverized masonry into the air. The pirate doesn’t just jump and miss the rope, the entire boom snaps, sending rigging and sails cascading down on the deck of the ship and sending people running.
Big failure can leave a character more disadvantaged than a “let’s just pretend that didn’t happen” failure, but it puts the focus of the game on that character, which is what most players really want. Yes it’s a setback, yes the character is in a really bad jam, but the character gets the spotlight. Forget about hit points or equipment: the only resource that matters in a game is play time.
The same applies to bad events the players have no control over like taking damage. When a character takes a critical hit don’t say “ooh, crit, 26 more damage, sorry dude” say “the wolf savagely rips into your arm, tearing at you with big sharp pointy teeth — take 26 damage” Part of that is just interesting description vs no-description, but part of it is emphasizing the bad instead of trying to gloss over it. Don’t apologize. The bad is the challenge. The heroes have to step up and deal with the bad. That wolf is going to freaking eat you man! You better do something!