For years, people who wanted to see 007 in action had to put up with plots that hinged on ridiculous things like invisible cars, laser beam satellites, and Madonna still being considered a sex symbol. This installment expunged the implausibility that plagued previous Bond films, establishing Bond as a grounded, conflicted character who just so happens to be hired by the government to play a friendly game of cards with terrorist masterminds instead of, you know, killing them.
So What's the Problem?
Bond has never been the most inconspicuous spy, but we don't think that he's ever wantonly killed innocent bystanders before. During the opening chase scene, the villain that Bond chases carefully flips and pivots to avoid civilians, while Bond rams into them, knocking one off of a tall girder, presumably to his death. (This also results in a huge explosion. Why? Because it's a Bond movie, that's why.)
The terrorist takes refuge in a foreign embassy, so Bond is forced by international law to allow him to temporarily escape and attempt to negotiate his transfer into British custody.
Nah, we're just kidding. Bond storms in, fires on a group of foreign soldiers, and kills the guy he was ordered to capture alive. He then shoots one of the stray gas canisters that the embassy just happened to have lying around, sparking an explosion two feet away from some poor soldiers.
All of this innocent loss of life makes even less sense when you realize it's all so that the British government doesn't have to worry about bailing Bond out of a foreign jail, like they effortlessly do later on in the film. Interestingly enough, Bond's superiors seem more concerned about him killing a suspected terrorist than about nearly starting World War III.
Just as in the superhero movies, we knew who to root for before we walked into the theater. Autobots good, Decepticons bad. Besides, we probably would have rooted for the freaking Go-Bots if their appearance saved us from having to watch Shia Labeouf stutter for two and a half hours.
So What's the Problem?
The Autobots, in an attempt to prevent the evil Decepticons from obtaining an artifact that will grant them unlimited power, decide to take it away from a well-guarded military base and bring it somewhere safer, namely the center of a crowded city.
While the resulting robot brawl is pure awesome to watch, the enjoyment factor would be significantly less for the people in the city, suffering devastation on a scale larger than most natural disasters. There are few situations more emotionally conflicted and wrenching than seeing a super awesome giant robot knock a building over on top of your mom.
To make matters worse, the decision to bring the Deus Ex Machina cube into the city causes a group of machines to come alive and attack their human masters.
Mountain Dew paid several thousand dollars so that their product could be shown eviscerating a woman.
Since their fate was never addressed in the film, we have to assume that these killer robots decided to wait for the perfect moment to strike while disguising themselves as blenders, or toasters, or THE VERY COMPUTER THAT YOU'RE USING TO READ THIS RIGHT NOW.
Perhaps most disturbing, the other characters act as though none of this genocide ever occurred. They pause for a moment to mourn one robot with three lines, two of which are incredibly racist, but the hundreds of humans who were trampled beneath their feet don't even get a mention.
For comparison's sake, the film spends about 10 minutes focusing on the destruction of Shia's mother's lawn.
In this adaptation of Alan Moore's classic graphic novel, the filmmakers chose to portray the villains in an even more negative light, removing all of that pesky "moral ambiguity" business that made the comic V so hard to root for. The film is pure freedom vs. fascism, dagger-throwing fun, right?
So What's the Problem?
Yes, for the second time we demonstrate that there is no profession more dangerous than being a background character in a Wachowski brothers movie. There's a real good chance that not only will you be killed to serve the hero's purpose, but your death will go pretty much unacknowledged.
In the film, the anarchist revolutionary V incites the population of Britain to don his mask and rise up against the government, because nothing captures the spirit of anarchy better than a mob of people in identical uniforms unquestioningly obeying one man.
Eventually V destroys parliament, and the people of Britain celebrate their freedom. It's all extremely inspiring, which distracts from the fact that V didn't actually have a plan for dealing with the power struggle that will invariably occur from the vacuum that the government left behind. But that's OK too, because as we all know, insurgent uprisings that occur in the aftermath of the collapse of a dictatorship have a habit of just sorting themselves out.
Again, you can maybe justify the widespread rioting and violence based on the premise that, like in The Matrix, it's all for the greater good.
What cannot be explained is how V, when it comes time to convert a young girl to his way of thinking, kidnaps and tortures her to make his point. For the greater good, of course.
You know, we have to wonder if a government with V in charge wouldn't be every bit as shitty as the one he was trying to overthrow. From the citizen's perspective, it'd probably be a matter of choosing whether you wanted to get shot for the greater good, or stabbed with a throwing knife.
If you liked that, check out Rick's look at 5 Awesome Movies Ruined by Last Minute Changes. And be sure to check out our inside look at the video game developers conference that came up with all those insane early video game ideas.