#3. Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Star Trek Movies)
We're not disputing that the Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation was anything but an accomplished diplomat who made intelligent decisions. But as others have pointed out, the bald-headed dude from the movies was a big dumb action hero who liked shouting lines and shooting things.
The problem is, of course, he winds up as an old guy whose greatest talents are drinking tea and giving scathing rebukes who insists on fighting the bad guys by himself anyway. This results in Picard getting his ass handed to him by an even older scientist in Generations, surrendering to the Borg at the end of First Contact and completely failing to stop the superweapon in Nemesis. The strategy of, "I'll just teleport over there myself and punch the bad guy!" should not be the go-to strategy for the captain of a large military vessel.
"I've got a plan!"
The only time Piccard gets the upper hand is at the finale of Insurrection, where he straight-up murders the defenseless villain who didn't kill him when he had the chance. Look, when you've got a gigantic muscular guy like Worf aboard who's already said that he would prefer to die in battle, there's really no excuse for risking your life, your ship and the entire goddamn universe because you want to be the hero.
The movie Picard also has a habit of criminally underthinking situations. The plot of Insurrection is that they discover a planet where there is this radiation that can cure blindness and let people live forever. Picard refuses to share this with the rest of the universe, because it would disrupt the lives of a few natives, completely ignoring that whole "needs of the many" thing Spock kept blabbering about.
"Let's go kill these assholes for fucking with this planet's shit."
Then there's the way in First Contact he brings down his entire crew to mid-21st century Earth and tells everyone who they are and what the future will hold, ruining everything Kirk tried to do in Star Trek IV. You have to like how the response to this was to reboot the franchise with a Captain Kirk whose entire personality revolves around poor decisions. That's right, just establish it right out of the box, guys.
#2. Professor X (X-Men Series)
Patrick Stewart shows up again, this time with the exact opposite problem: He doesn't actually do anything.
This is about as active as he gets.
Here it's an issue of comparing the abilities the film insists he has (that is, that he's a powerful telepath who can read pretty much anyone's mind) with what he actually does. For instance, how the hell does Mystique keep infiltrating his school? For that matter, he's also captured in the middle of X2, which means he didn't bother reading the minds of anyone at the complex at all because otherwise they wouldn't have been able to catch him by surprise.
Look, rummaging around in people's brains may be an invasion of privacy and all and we're sure he gets tired of finding out that half the school wants to bone Halle Berry, but it's a necessary evil when you're trying to protect the very existence of your people (reading minds, that is--Halle is strictly extra credit.)
The Professor is also way too trusting: In X2 again, he tells us he can't read Wolverine's mind because of some bullshit about amnesia. So basically, in the first movie he let an indestructible cold-blooded killer wander around his students without having any idea who the guy was. Worse, in the third movie he finds Jean Grey miraculously alive and Cyclops missing; instead of reading her mind while unconscious and finding out that A) she killed Cyclops and B) the mental blocks that held Phoenix in check are now gone, he does absolutely nothing and gets shredded to pieces.
As an extra kicker, in the post-credits scene we see that he transferred his mind into a comatose guy's body proving that he only compromises his ethics when doing so is completely useless for everyone else.
Finally, the Prof never uses the Cerebro machine for anything useful. It can pinpoint the location of any mutant in the world with the crucial exception of Magneto because of his helmet. But all Xavier had to do was find out where, say, Sabretooth or Toad were hanging out and he would know where Magneto was.
"Right now he's thinking of Alpo, and- Wait, they're in the Statue of Liberty!"
Not to mention that (in X2 once again) it's revealed that he can incapacitate and/or kill people anywhere on the planet using Cerebro; if he bothered doing this at any point, he could have resolved the plots of all the movies in five seconds, tops. Juggernaut's being rowdy again? Just send an aneurysm his way. Mystique's sexing it up too much? Give her a quick three-week nap. Will Stryker's hatching evil schemes? Headsplosion. You get the drill.
X-Men 4: Xavier's Revenge.
#1. John Connor (Terminator 2)
Just to clarify, we're talking about the adult John Connor here, not the kid.
Now, you can justify the plot of the first Terminator film by saying that Connor had to send his dad back in time to impregnate his mom to conceive himself; while that's undeniably weird and gross, it was probably necessary to avoid a whole bunch of ugly time paradoxes that would have made the robot uprising look like a walk in the park.
The point is, Connor had to send the guy at the exact right time, under the exact right conditions so the space-time continuum didn't flip its shit. So why in the holy hell did he not take advantage of the whole time travel thing the second time around?
Wait, what now?
Look, this is simple enough.
In T2, all John would have had to do was send Ahnold back about five years before the events of the movie, to a time when Sarah Connor was still a free woman (rather than being locked up in a mental institution, as she was when the film began). After gaining her trust, he could mention that in a few years there's going to be another less-friendly Terminator coming her way and get her and the kid out of the country, or at least get them plastic surgery.
"Make me look like the gay kid from Heroes."
Then all he would have to do would be get his hands on a nice military-grade flamethrower and melt the T-1000 as soon as it unfurled itself from its crotch-hiding crouch. Alternatively, Connor could have just sent the Terminator to take down Cyberdyne itself; killing Miles Dyson would be easy for a muscular murderbot, and it basically blew up the HQ and lab all by itself in the movie anyway.
Getting shit done.
Or, even better, he could have made it appear in the factory just after the events of the first movie and destroy the remains of the old Terminator, preventing the rise of Skynet and Cyberdyne altogether. Or if you're in the mood for a more nonviolent solution, Connor could have just had the Terminator reveal himself as a robot on national television and then tell everyone the truth about Skynet. The ensuing public outrage would make sure that the government pulled the plug on the program.
What we're saying is that there were literally endless possibilities here, and John Connor chose the one that put himself, his mother and the fate of the entire goddamn human race in the most danger.
Wanting to see a Terminator in sunglasses is not a valid excuse.
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