If you're the type of person who enjoys picking apart movies, by far the easiest (and most amusing) starting point is to simply rewatch the movie from the villain's perspective. What does the villain actually want? Does the way he's going about it make sense at all? The answers are usually ridiculous.
That's because most movies aren't written that way; the bad guy is just there to create conflict and cool scenes for the hero, regardless of whether there is any logic to it from his own point of view. We've already gone over some villains who accidentally saved the day with their own actions. But at least those bad guys screwed up without realizing it. Here are the ones who seem to go out of their way to sabotage their own plans ...
When an accident turns Professor Otto Octavius into a supervillain (as if he wasn't always destined for that career with a name like that), he starts dressing like a subway pervert and adopts the identity of Doctor Octopus, but still intends to continue his experiments in nuclear fusion ... only in an EVIL way. Doc Ock needs some tritium to finish his reactor, so he makes a deal with Harry "Green Goblin Jr." Osborn, who will give him as much tritium as he wants if Ock brings Spider-Man to him.
"I'm in a position to negotiate, apparently."
Problem is, Spidey has been sort of MIA lately. Since it's common knowledge that the only one who can get a hold of him is Peter Parker, Doc Ock needs Peter to lure Spider-Man into a trap, which he forces him to do by kidnapping Peter's love interest, Mary Jane Watson. Very simple.
How He Tried to Screw It Up:
Doc Ock needs both Peter and Mary Jane to be alive for his plan to work ... and yet, when he finds them sitting in a cafe, literally the first thing he does is launch a friggin' car directly at them.
"Hey, Peter! PETER! Over here!"
There's no way two normal people would have survived that -- the only reason Peter was able to duck out of the way is because of his spider-sense and Neo-like reflexes, which Doc Ock obviously doesn't know he has. Otherwise, both he and Mary Jane would have been squashed by a flying vehicle, rendering Doc Ock's entire plan pointless. No Peter, no one to find Spider-Man, no tritium.
Was the whole point of the car-throwing stunt to get Peter and Mary Jane's attention (by decapitating them)? Or was that just his way to say "hi"? Maybe Doc Ock was trying to open the window and there were no trash cans around. Of course, the more likely explanation is that they just needed an excuse to shoot a scene with Peter ducking out of the way of a flying vehicle so they could put that in the teaser trailer.
If you look closely, you can see the dollar signs reflecting off Sam Raimi's eyes.
Also, killing Harry's two friends would have only pissed him off (he specifically says, "Don't hurt Peter"), and then he'd never give the tritium to Ock. Why the guy with the huge metal arms didn't just take the tritium in the first place, we'll never know.
After losing $100 million to James Bond in a high-stakes poker tournament, terrorist banker Le Chiffre plans to kidnap Bond and torture him until he gives up the password to the Swiss bank account where all the money has been deposited. To accomplish this, he takes advantage of Bond's only weakness: his penis. Le Chiffre kidnaps Bond's love interest, Vesper Lynd, in order to lure 007 into a trap.
How He Tried to Screw It Up:
Like Doc Ock, Le Chiffre seems pretty intent on murdering the guy he desperately needs before he can kidnap him. His brilliant plan consists of:
A) Forcing Bond into a high-speed chase by taking Vesper.
"Get back here, I haven't slept with her yet!"
B) Tying up Vesper and leaving her in the middle of the road so that Bond has to perform a violent swerve at 70 miles per hour.
"I really hope he's not texting."
C) Trusting that Bond will be merely knocked unconscious as the car rolls over a record-breaking total of seven times and crashes down on the side of the road, then kidnapping him. If Bond does what people tend to do in those situations, which is die, the whole plan is ruined.
He doesn't wear condoms. Would you expect James Bond to use a seat belt?
Unless Le Chiffre has a henchman with voodoo powers who can bring people back from the dead, like in Live and Let Die, this makes no sense. And it's not like he wants the money so he can go on a nice vacation or something: He owes that $100 million to some very important terrorists. If Bond doesn't tell him the password for the Swiss bank account, Le Chiffre is screwed big time, so staging a scene that could splatter Bond's brains across his vehicle's upholstery probably isn't the brightest idea.
And let's say Bond doesn't see Vesper in time, runs over her, and then they take him: Even if they fried his balls until he gave up the password, Bond couldn't give Le Chiffre the actual account number ... because the only person who knew that is now roadkill.
"Oh. Well, since you're already here, do you mind if I keep frying your balls for a bit?"
So, instead of the stereotypical Bond villain who makes the mistake of keeping Bond alive too long, here's a bad guy who nearly makes the mistake of killing Bond too soon. They weren't kidding about that total reboot thing.
Mola Ram is the high priest of the Thuggee cult, a bunch of Indian dudes who hope to rule the world by gathering five lost magical stones. Mola already had three of these stones in his possession, but then that pesky Indiana Jones and his sidekicks stole them and jumped into a mining cart, escaping into a Donkey Kong Country level. Mola sends some henchmen into the tunnels to kill Indy and retrieve the stones so that he can finally reshape the world in his ugly image.
"... and Sinead O'Connor shall be my queen!"
How He Tried to Screw It Up:
At the end of the movie, Indy knows that the evil cult is thwarted because two of the Sankara stones wind up falling into the river and are lost forever -- that's how we know that the movie is over and the good guys won. So, sinking the stones under thousands of gallons of water is obviously against Mola Ram's best interest ... and yet that's exactly what he tries to do during the cart chase. It's like he was trying to end the plot half an hour earlier.
"I'll eat the heart of anyone who doesn't admit Raiders was better!"
See, henchmen isn't the only thing Mola sends into the tunnels: He also breaks down a huge water tank and floods the tunnels in order to drown the heroes, ignoring the fact that Indy still has the stones in his possession. If his corpse ends up buried in a vast, labyrinthine, watery tomb, how exactly does Mola intend to ever get the stones back?
Keep in mind that this is India in 1935, so we doubt that the Thuggee had lots of high-tech equipment on hand to drain the water out of the mines or could send scuba divers to search for small items. It would be quite a daunting task, and since Indy just freed all of Mola's child slaves in a previous scene, Mola Ram's now a little short on free labor.
"We're jumping ship to Nike."
Indy and his pals flee from the rushing water by escaping through a tunnel, which leads them onto a ledge overlooking a long drop into the river. Had they not escaped, the rushing water could have easily propelled their bodies and the stones into the river, and Mola's most prized possessions would end up in a crocodile's rectum.
The worst part is that the "flood everything" approach completely invalidates Mola's previous, far more sensible plan, which was "send henchmen after Indy." If these guards had managed to catch up with Indy, kill him and recover the Sankara stones, they would have had around 20 seconds to feel victorious before running into the huge wall of water coming after them.
"THIS HAT DOES NOT REQUIRE RATIONAL PLANNING!"
And speaking of classic Harrison Ford movies with inept villains ...