6 Happy Movie Endings That Actually Ruin the Hero's Life

If there's one thing Hollywood loves more than a happy ending, it's a happy ending that accidentally screws over the hero. As we've told you before, lots of movies that end with the main characters smiling and hugging their loved ones secretly imply that most of those people will end up dead, destitute or just plain miserable 15 minutes later.

In fact, this happens so often that we should probably just strike the word "accidentally" -- this has to be on purpose. Otherwise, how do you explain ...

#6. The Dark Knight Rises -- Bruce Wayne Will Get Recognized in 15 Minutes

The "Happy" Ending:

The plot of The Dark Knight Rises would take us five entire articles to summarize, so we're just gonna skip to the end (SPOILERS!): After having his back broken (for a while, anyway), defusing a months-long terror plot on Gotham City and putting up with some outrageous accents, Bruce Wayne decides to fake his own death, retire to Europe with Catwoman and leave all his Batman shit to his ex-cop buddy, John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), whose legal name, conveniently, is Robin.


Clearly a reference to Robin Williams, who nearly played the Riddler.

For a while it looks to the audience like Wayne really died, but in the last scene, his faithful butler, Alfred, is in a restaurant in Florence and sees him sitting there with Catwoman, in reference to a conversation they'd had earlier.


A second later, he starts mouthing, "I'm nailing her."

But After the Movie's Over ...

So, uh, Bruce Wayne is a world-famous playboy millionaire who supposedly died during a terrorist plot that will go down in the annals of history ... and he's just sitting there, in the middle of a crowded restaurant, completely undisguised? Seriously? Imagine some alternate universe where Donald Trump died in the 9/11 attacks, then showed up alive a year later. The question isn't whether someone will recognize him, it's how fast they'll do it. By the time he asks for the check, his photo will be prominently displayed on every major news outlet in the world.

But let's say Bruce simply dropped his fake mustache in that one shot. Let's say Alfred is just senile and imagined the whole thing.


This is Europe, there's probably LSD in that cup.

That doesn't change the fact that Gotham City is still screwed, because there's no Batman. Sure, Bruce left all his gadgets and stuff to Blake, but that was an incredibly naive thing to do, because it ignores the fact that Batman's true superpower was always money. If his tank broke down or exploded, he just got a new one. Actually, forget the tank: What's Blake gonna do when something tears up his Batsuit, like the dogs at the beginning of The Dark Knight? Patch it up with duct tape?

Costume Fail
Blake after two nights.

And that's the other thing: Bruce trained to be Batman by traveling the world for seven years, most of which was spent with a group of highly skilled assassins in the mountains. Contrast that with Blake/Robin, who was at one point overpowered by Gary Oldman in a hospital gown. What's going to happen when the Joker comes back (presumably he escaped from prison with the other criminals), or when a guy who looks like the Penguin as played by Philip Seymour Hoffman inevitably shows up?

Actually, the comics have already told us: They'll beat the shit out of Robin, only this time there won't be a Batman to come and rescue him.

DC Comics
The next Batman movie will be this, for three hours.

#5. Sin City -- Bruce Willis Killed Himself for Nothing

The "Happy" Ending:

Sin City features a perfect combination of insane violence and man-tears-inducing moments. One of the stories follows Hartigan (Bruce Willis), a cop who saves an 11-year-old girl named Nancy from being raped and killed by the creepy pervert son of one Senator Roark. Hartigan saves the girl but gets framed for the crimes of Roark's son and is thrown in jail for his trouble. Eight years later, he comes out of jail and tracks down little Nancy, fearing for her safety, and finds out that she's grown up to become Jessica Alba.


"Pretty sure this is mathematically impossible, but I'm not complaining."

However, it turns out that Hartigan was being followed by Roark's men all along, and now that he's led them to Nancy, Roark's son will try to finish what he started. Hartigan saves her again and kills the pervert, but then he realizes that Roark will never stop chasing him as long as he's alive and will try to get to him through those he loves ... so he heroically kills himself to make sure that Nancy is finally safe.

But After the Movie's Over ...

Wait, nope, she's still in danger, and even more so now that the dude who keeps saving her life isn't around.


Those aren't real six shooters on her hips.

Hartigan seems to think that Roark won't be interested in Nancy once he's dead, but in one scene, Roark specifically tells him that he'll kill anyone who knows about his son's crimes. Nancy fits that description perfectly, since she was almost in those crimes twice. Roark makes it clear that he won't let anyone soil his family's name.


Because Junior still has a shot at being president one day, apparently.

But Roark doesn't know where Nancy lives, right? Yes, he does: Hartigan told him. Roark's men had been following Hartigan since he got out of prison, and before he found Nancy in the strip club where she works, he stopped by her place. So they know where she lives and where she works, and that she could ruin Roark's good name if she talked about what she saw -- honestly, not trying to kill her would be a huge oversight for any self-respecting criminal organization.

Hartigan killed himself with the best of intentions, but how the hell is Nancy going to survive now that the most powerful man in the city wants her dead and her only possible protector blew his brain out? Not that it was working too well before the bullet hit.


"No time to think this through ..."

#4. Total Recall (1990) -- Arnold Is Going to Get a Lobotomy

The "Happy" Ending:

The plot of the original Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger is pretty much the same as the recent Colin Farrell remake, but we're going to go with the original here because we don't hate you that much. Arnold is a construction worker in the future who decides to take a mental vacation by implanting fake memories of a trip to Mars. However, the procedure reveals that Arnold is actually a secret agent who was brainwashed and sentenced to bone young Sharon Stone every morning.


Those bastards.

With the help of a hot rebel chick called Melina, Arnold uncovers the conspiracy and defeats the bad guy in an epic showdown on Mars. The last shot is of Arnold and Melina triumphantly kissing in the Martian landscape, and then the image fades to white.


Apparently, having your face expand to the size of a beach ball carries no lasting physical harm.

But After the Movie's Over ...

That fade to white? That's Arnold being lobotomized. Seriously. This isn't even some theory of ours -- it's what the movie tells us is happening.

There's some debate about whether most of Total Recall actually happens in Arnold's dreams or not, but as far as we're concerned, it's pretty clear -- everything (and we mean EVERYTHING) that happened after he sat down to take his dream vacation went exactly as the dream salesman described it. Arnold became a secret agent, people were trying to kill him, he met an exotic woman and he killed the bad guy, Vilos Cohaagen. They even showed him the exact face of the woman who would show up in his dream.


"Make her look like that chick from The Running Man ... eh, close enough."

And the name of this prepackaged fantasy? "Blue Skies on Mars," which turned out to be a spoiler for the very last image he sees in his dream ... and possibly his life.

You see, there's a little scene where a sweaty guy comes up to Arnold and claims to be a scientist speaking to him from the waking world. This guy warns him that he's suffered a "schizoid embolism," and if he doesn't come out of the dream soon, he'll be lobotomized. Arnold basically goes "Ah believe you ... just kiddin'," and shoots the guy in the head, then goes on with the rest of the movie.


"Analyze that."

However, everything the sweaty man warned Arnold about comes true -- he even gave away the big plot twist, which is that Arnold's original personality was working for Cohaagen against the rebels. As the man put it, "One minute you'll be the savior of the rebel cause, and the next thing you know, you'll be Cohaagen's bosom buddy. You'll even have fantasies about alien civilizations ..."

In other words, all the crazy plot twists and stomach aliens that come in the last part of the movie are the result of Arnold's brain misfiring as doctors remove chunks of it from his skull.

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