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The Dumbest Plot Holes in Movies

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in "The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" | Image: Walt Disney Pictures

These Unexplained Scenes Will Make You Want to Rip Your Hair Out

When it comes to movies, it’s pretty obvious that the events on screen are more often than not fictional (unless stated otherwise). Suspension of disbelief is an important element to think about regarding these films. After all, who would actually believe that a 300-foot reptile named Godzilla would exist? How often is it that humanity can bring back an extinct species as old as the dinosaurs, or perhaps live in a society where they draft minors to compete in a battle royale called The Hunger Games as a form of entertainment? 

Even so, it should be noted that even the line of fictional reality has its limitations and cannot always be used to cover unexplained events, characters, or settings. It’s common for a poorly written film to contain plot holes, and even movies that are considered masterpieces can suffer from a few. With that said, here are the top five dumbest plot holes found in movies. 

5. Doc Brown’s Calculations (‘Back to the Future’) 

Back to the Future is a classic that many would agree is a cinematic masterpiece. The cast, although rather small, is entertaining to watch with its set of eccentric and quirky characters. It is so interesting to see how each of the actors is double cast into different variations of their original roles across all three films. Their flexibility in performing similar but different roles is a testament to their acting skills and proves that not all trilogies require new faces to be interesting. Not only that, but the premise of traveling back and forth through time using a DeLorean is such a fun and adventurous concept that anyone would dream of experiencing in real life. 

Despite these admirable characteristics, the film is no stranger to its fair share of plot holes. Time travel is often considered a complex concept, so it’s only inevitable that the filmmakers would goof it up in some way. In the first film, Doc paints a line on the road to mark exactly when the Delorean should hit the wire so that it gets hit by lightning at the same time. Doc even mentions how he calculated the time, wind resistance, speed, etc. needed for their experiment to work. But what happens when Marty steps on the gas? Nothing. The car is stalled even to the point where his alarm goes off. This implies that Marty is late, yet he is still somehow able to reach the wire on time. But what if he had no problems at all and reached it when he was supposed to? Wouldn’t this imply that he would be too early, miss the lightning bolt, and not be able to return home? Either way, Doc’s calculations have to be off. Otherwise, there is no way any of this could make sense.  

Michael J. Fox as Marty and Christopher Llyod as Doctor Emmet Brown in "Back to the Future." | Image: Universal Studios Michael J. Fox as Marty and Christopher Llyod as Doctor Emmet Brown in “Back to the Future.” | Image: Universal Studios

4. Captain Jack Sparrow’s Compass (‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’) 

The Pirates of the Caribbean series has to be one of Disney’s biggest franchises, mixed with nostalgia and controversy. Based on the popular boat ride in the Disney theme parks, the first three films were a huge hit, incorporating nods from the attraction. It also introduced characters with comical and intimidating personalities that earned a great amount of admiration and respect from the fanbase. Who could ever forget the highly quotable lines from the witty Captain Jack Sparrow? Or how about the impressive CGI that went into making Davy Jones look realistic and sure to send shivers down anyone’s spine? All these aspects and more make these films so enjoyable and timeless. 

But soon after the fourth and fifth films were released, they suffered a wave of backlash and mixed opinions due to poor writing, gimmicky and repetitive plots, and retconned characters. Dead Men Tell no Tales undoubtedly suffered the worst in this regard, trying to fix the problems from the previous film, but ultimately failing and introducing a well of plot holes. One that bothered most fans was the history of Captain Jack Sparrow’s compass. In the previous four films, the compass functioned as one of Sparrow’s key tools that reflected many of the characters’ morals and values. However, in DMTNT, the compass works as the catalyst to set the new big bad free, which ends up happening when Sparrow shamefully tosses it aside. The compass holds a lot of importance and nostalgic value in the series. To treat it like a plot device left a bad taste in fans’ mouths.

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" | Image: Walt Disney Enterprises, Inc. Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” | Image: Walt Disney Enterprises, Inc.

3. Alan Jonah’s Role (‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’) 

Godzilla is another series that sparked a ton of admiration and controversy. From mind-blowing monster designs and terrifying sound effects to the awesome action-packed battle sequences, it is no wonder that this series has lasted well over 50 years. It is clear that Godzilla is in very high demand, and it doesn’t seem like the series will retire any time soon. However, one aspect that many fans seem to haggle over is that the characters in these films are very shallow people (discounting Godzilla Minus One). Most of them tend to have characters who have very delusional reasons for being the antagonist or are just not consistent in their values and goals. While most would argue that the point of these films is not to watch for the characters and only the monsters, there are some plot holes that are too big and plain stupid to ignore. 

In Godzilla: King of the Monsters, for example, most of the film revolves around Dr. Emma Russell and Alan Jonah’s plan to release the titans to bring balance to the world. The whole situation certainly gives a very Thanos-y vibe, where they believe releasing these titans would resolve issues like overpopulation, war, and pollution. But when Emma realizes that their plan is a mistake, she decides to leave Alan and look for her daughter. Alan catches her and tells her that first, “mankind has no control over nature.” Later, he tells his men to “let her go. We have everything we need.” While this seems like a harmless line at first, Alan doesn’t make an appearance for the rest of the film. So why, after devising a plan to set the titans loose, losing control over them, and losing his business partner, would that happen to Alan? Wouldn’t he do everything he can to correct their mistakes? Wouldn’t he try to keep Emma close so they could work out a solution? And what is “everything they need”? It can’t be the ORCA (the device they use to control the titans) because Emma’s daughter has stolen it. There are too many factors that don’t make sense when considering it. 

Charles Dance as Alan Jonah in "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" | Image: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Legendary Pictures Funding, LLC and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment LLC. Charles Dance as Alan Jonah in “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” | Image:
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Legendary Pictures Funding, LLC and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment LLC.

2. Pain and Panic’s Lie (‘Hercules’) 

One of the underrated Disney films, Hercules follows the story of a young demigod hoping to learn more about his roots in his family and earn back his place in Mount Olympus amongst the gods. While not an entirely accurate film, the movie pokes fun at Greek mythology, including figures like the gods and creatures such as centaurs, satyrs, hydras, and more. In this adaptation, Hades seeks to overthrow Zeus’ throne as he has been an outcast and charged with ruling the underworld. At the beginning of the film, he visits the three fates–seers who can see past, present, and future. The fates tell him he will be able to reach his goal except for one minor hiccup, which happens to be Zeus’ son, Hercules.  

If Hades isn’t able to remove Hercules from the equation, then he is doomed to fail. So what does the god of the underworld do? He sends his minions, Pain and Panic, to kill Hercules. With a magical potion that strips gods of their divine nature, Pain and Panic are set, and they are nearly able to kill Hercules. That is, when two humans interfered and prevented Hercules from drinking the last drop. Fearing what Hades might do to them, Pain and Panic lie and say they were able to kill Hercules. And how does Hades respond? He doesn’t suspect a thing until the boy is a teenager! But how could that be? He’s the god of the underworld, isn’t he? Wouldn’t he be able to know if Hercules was dead? Wouldn’t his soul show up in the pool of souls shown at the end of the film? It doesn’t make sense!

Bobcat Goldthwait as Pain and Matt Frewer as Panic in "Hercules" | Image: Walt Disney Pictures Inc. Bobcat Goldthwait as Pain and Matt Frewer as Panic in “Hercules” | Image: Walt Disney Pictures Inc.

1. Saruman’s Defeat at Isengard (‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’) 

This one may not be so much of a plot hole so much as it is lazy writing. But, in The Lord of the Rings movie series, Saruman the White is a major antagonist for the first two-thirds of the trilogy. Known to be the highest-ranking wizard of their order, Saruman has proven himself to be a terrifying and formidable foe. Some of his greatest feats include raising an army of hybrid orcs known as the Urak-hai (who are able to move in sunlight), casting a dangerous storm in the mountains to prevent Gandalf and co from their mission, possessing King Theoden, and even defeating Gandalf the Grey. With this kind of power, it seems like there is no way anyone could ever stand up to Saruman and defeat him. 

However, in The Two Towers, much of this power is ignored and makes his defeat rather underwhelming. In the film, the Ents discover he is responsible for uprooting the trees of the surrounding forest. Enraged by this, they begin to rampage throughout Isengard and go as far as destroying the water dam to flood the fortress. So as a powerful wizard, Saruman would have done something to stop them, right? Wrong! He simply watches in horror as the trees rage through the fortress like a bunch of kids throwing a temper tantrum. To state the obvious, where did all of that so-called power go? 

Christopher as Saruman the White in "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" | Image: New Line Productions Christopher as Saruman the White in “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” | Image: New Line Productions

Official Disney Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Trailer

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Marc Agbayani's favorite genres to write are fantasy, science fiction, horror, action,n and mystery. His inspiration for writing stems from his love of various forms of pop culture, such as the film series Star Wars by George Lucas and the video game series The Legend of Zelda by Shigeru Miyamoto. In his free time, he enjoys writing, reading, listening to music, going to the gym, and hosting game nights with friends

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Elisabeth joined Dead Talk News in 2022 and loves movies and TV! After working for various sites, including Screen Rant and Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Elisabeth joined DTN to critique and review various movies, from horror flicks to Disney live-actions.