There are a few things in movies that we totally get: gratuitous violence, unwarranted nudity and scientifically impossible explosions -- we understand why all of that happens.
What we don't get is when a movie decides that a character is going to die but then has to jump through mind-boggling hoops to make it happen, against all logic and common sense. Here are some prime examples.
P.S.: Don't you dare read this article and then complain about spoilers.
#5. Darth Maul - The Phantom Menace
As we neared the end of The Phantom Menace, we all knew what was coming: the inevitable drawn-out lightsaber battle involving Qui-Gon Jinn, his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Maul, aka the one guy who almost made this big bucket of CGI turd worthwhile.
What evolutionary purpose do those horns serve?
Three Force practitioners battled around the palace on Naboo at a furious pace until Maul managed to get Jinn by himself and kill his ass. Then, Maul fights Obi-Wan until he has him dangling over an abyss, unarmed, clinging by his fingertips.
Which goes to show just what being a Jedi "Master" is really worth.
But before Maul can kill him, Obi-Wan pulls some elaborate Jedi shit and cuts the Sith Lord in two as he, not Obi, falls into the pit.
Why it's baffling:
It's like at the last minute Maul completely lost his mind, or maybe had some kind of seizure. After managing to handle both Jedi at the same time without even a scratch, and getting Obi-Wan into that precarious position over the pit, what does he do?
He stands at the edge and starts mindlessly slashing his blade at the floor, like a kid who just got his first lightsaber. We're not kidding. This happens. He seriously just starts slapping the floor with it, to make sparks shoot up.
So he winds up standing there on the lip of the chasm for a long time. This whole time, he has Obi-Wan at his mercy. He knows Obi-Wan is a Jedi and thus can do some superhuman somersaulting tricks, and to do him in all he needs to do is lean down and knock Obi-Wan off his perch with his lightsaber. Really, just kind of reach down and poke his hands with it. Or just pick up something nearby and drop it on his fingers.
Come on, guy.
Instead, he just stands up there while Obi-Wan sloooowly looks over and notices Jinn's lightsaber lying on the floor, then slooooooowly figures out what he's going to do. Then he ponders it for a few seconds more. Then, finally, when Obi-Wan begins to make his move, this confused looked glazes over Maul's face. What did he think was going to happen?
Obi-Wan somersaults over Maul's head, retrieves the lightsaber and then lands behind the Sith. Maul has time to turn and look, standing perfectly still for a full second ...
... before Obi-Wan finishes him off for good.
Honestly, now. The guy had been flipping around like he was on fast-forward the whole fight, and he just freezes up when the fight is basically over? Was he coming down off his meth high?
It's a hell of a crash.
Still, in terms of "standing still and waiting for death to arrive," he doesn't hold a candle to...
#4. The Witch-king of Angmar - The Return of the King
It's the last movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and features the last stand of Men and their allies against the forces of the Dark Lord Sauron. Nazgul soaring, elves killing elephants, dwarfs axing orcs, ghosts flying around being all green and shit. Everything you'd ever want in a Middle-earth battle is right there. On top of all that, the witch-king fights Eowyn, although we use "fight" liberally here, as he sort of just pirouettes around with a mace while she clumsily side-steps.
As the witch-king is about to strike the final blow, he commits the cardinal movie villain sin and decides to open his gaping hole for one last "You're so dead" line. Enter the hobbit Merry from left field to stab the bad guy in the leg, all but sealing his fate to take a sword to whatever it is he has under that hood.
Seriously, man, what do you even need those eyeholes for?
Why it's baffling:
The witch-king had so much time to do Eowyn in. And he just didn't bother.
Even after he's been Tonya Harding-ed by Merry, why does he just sit there and wait for his comeuppance? In the 10-plus seconds it took for Eowyn to remove her helmet, deliver her obligatory "Hear me roar, bitch" line and then stab him, why didn't he just cut her in half instead of waiting on his knees and watching as the sword entered his head?
Good strategy there, King of Evil.
And we can already hear you hollering from the comment section: "You fools! In the book, Merry was using an enchanted sword made by the Dunedain of Arnor specifically to slay a Nazgul!" That's great knowledge to have ... for anyone who has read the books.
Unfortunately, there is no point where Peter Jackson includes this tidbit in the movie. Merry's just using a laughable little midget-sword. Maybe he could have included a short exchange between Merry and whoever gave him the sword along the lines of: "Here you go, hobbit. This sword will really ruin a Nazgul's day," but then you'd have to ask why they couldn't get some of those swords for other people getting slaughtered by the Nazgul on the same battlefield.
"I would use it myself, but I figured, meh, might as well give it to someone who'll be totally useless on the field of battle."
Instead, we have a villain built up to be the most second-most-badass being in Middle-earth who is inexplicably paralyzed by a cut to the back of the leg.
#3. Wicked Witch of the West - The Wizard of Oz
Dorothy's quest to get home takes her all over the Land of Oz, leading her and her crew of freaks to the Emerald City to meet the actual Wizard of Oz. He offers to return her to Kansas if she can get him the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West -- the same vengeful witch whose sister was killed by Dorothy at the beginning of the film. The same one the party has spent the better part of the film trying to escape from.
Dorothy and her friends find their way to the witch's castle, and the malevolent woman sets the most flammable guy in the room, Scarecrow, on fire.
In an attempt to save her friend, Dorothy grabs a nearby bucket of water and throws it on him. Unfortunately for the witch, she was standing right behind Scarecrow as he was splashed, taking on some water herself. In a twist that would be stolen and subsequently ruined by M. Night Shyamalan, the witch melts in her clothes -- much to everyone's astonishment.
Why it's baffling:
No one foresaw the witch's weakness being water. Except, you know, perhaps the witch herself. She had to know, right? Having lived with that weakness her whole life?
So why exactly does she have random buckets of it lying around her castle?
A little clean-up saves a lot of trouble.
It'd be like you keeping big, open buckets of hydrochloric acid sitting around your living room. Yes, there are uses for a bucket of water around a castle, true, but how clean do one's floors need to be when one is a) a witch, and b) deathly allergic to water?
And even if she absolutely had to have water in the building somewhere for whatever reason, why did she decide to fight Dorothy and company in the presence of it -- especially when her plan involves setting fire to a walking sack of straw?
The woman has the mentality of a video game level boss, leaving a bunch of ammo and power-ups lying around her fortress, right in the path of the hero. Is it all just an elaborate way to commit suicide?
"Sweet, sweet death."