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If we here at Cracked have proved anything in the past, it's that there is no vetting process for the job of Evil Genius. Almost every movie with a criminal mastermind involves a series of bumbling, spectacular failures. In fact, as we're about to demonstrate again, a lot of movie menaces could have been stopped by simply telling the heroes to stay home and waiting for the villain to step on his own dick.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier -- What's With Hydra's Assassination Attempt On Nick Fury?

Marvel Studios

In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the evil organization Hydra is about to take over the peacekeeping agency SHIELD. This is a decades-spanning scheme involving many deep-cover operatives, and a huge part of this plan involves killing SHIELD's commander, Nick Fury. You probably know all this because the movie is completely sweet and it made $715 million.

Hydra's infiltration of SHIELD is unimaginably complicated. It's a plot as complex as 9/11 being an inside job, but obviously better planned, since there weren't 1,290,000 YouTube videos exposing it. One would imagine the assassination of Nick Fury would be just as elaborate -- a murder so flawlessly orchestrated that no one would see it coming. So what do they do? They dress up like cops, give themselves away, and open fire on the world's most bulletproof car with bullets.

When that doesn't work, they go to Plan B: a portable battering ram. It seems weird, but in traditional assassinations, a portable battering ram is what you bring on the off chance your bullets can't get through a bulletproof car.

Marvel Studios
"Who made a 'stupid purchase request' now, Gary?!"

Unfortunately, it also doesn't work, so Nick Fury kills most of them and leaves. That's when he runs into Plan C: the Winter Soldier with a landmine-launching gun.

Marvel Studios
Which is a fundamental misunderstanding of both mines and guns.

In one shot, he totals the invincible car, and Fury is forced to make a desperate and cartoonish escape into a hole in the ground -- a getaway so ridiculous that the Winter Soldier never even considers pursuing him. Though in hindsight, it probably should have occurred to him that a super soldier could have caught up to an injured man in a tunnel with a four-second head start.

So this organization has their own super soldier who happens to own the only gun capable of taking out their target's impenetrable vehicle, and he's only there in case their first two bumbling plans fail? Why not start with the Winter Soldier? Why not simply track and snipe Fury when he's walking to his car? And before you say that's a dull, anti-climactic way to kill someone in a superhero movie, remember it's exactly what happens in the next scene, in which the Winter Soldier easily tracks and snipes Fury.

Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios

In a classic spy move, Nick takes a drug which lowers his body functions to fake his own death. So Hydra, after spending all day and the lives of many deep undercover operatives to kill Nick Fury, still gets fooled by the oldest trick in the comic book. This is probably the most important step in their entire 70-year conspiracy, and they put less thought into it than a Taco Bell chef unveiling his latest arrangement of tortillas and cheese sauces.

Marvel Studios
"I can't believe I ever sided with these guys."

The Dark Knight Rises -- Why Does Bane Spare Gotham?

Warner Bros.

When the Dark Knight Rises came out, Batman had been kicking the crap out of the bad guys in comics for about 70 years. So the movie knew it had to pull out all the stops with its villain. It went with Bane, a genius hulk with a booming voice immune to bat punches, bat gadgets, and all forms of darkness. He snaps Batman's back and throws him in prison pit before unleashing his plan to remove all law and government from Gotham.

Warner Bros.
The usual libertarian MO.

Here's the issue, though (spoiler): That's not his plan at all. He threatens Gotham with a bomb to keep it isolated and lawless, but after several months of anarchy, it's revealed that he and Batman's new girlfriend, who is also evil, have been planning to blow up the city anyway. So ... what's with all the other crap?

These two are supervillains trained by an ancient clan of ninjas who know firsthand how badass the Batman can be. So why create a tortuously long plan and then leave the only man who can arguably stop it alive? And not only alive, but alive in a prison anyone can escape by believing in themselves enough to try jumping? Seriously, the secret to escape was a slightly athletic jump which Batman had inside himself all along, and this was the plot of a film made for adults.

Warner Bros.
*Play For Full Effect*

And even if Batman hadn't escaped from the prison, which is a long fucking bet, a resistance was developing in Gotham that was making progress in disabling the bomb without him. A bomb Bane was waiting to trigger for no real reason. There are literally dozens of ways something could have gone wrong with this plan -- which again, was to blow up a city, except only after an arbitrary amount of time during which everyone could do whatever they want. Did Bane maybe think that terrorists got paid by the hour?

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The Avengers -- What's With Loki's Shitty Army?

Marvel Studios

Loki didn't prove himself to be a very physically powerful villain in the original Thor movie, and it only gets worse in The Avengers, in which he gets his ass handed to him by virtually every single member of the team. Even the completely human ones, Black Widow and Hawkeye, manage to outsmart him and explode him, respectively. But Loki is a big-picture kind of guy, not a common street brawler, right? Well, not really. Let's talk about his army.

So Loki's idea is to take over the planet with aliens, which is a classic plan. 10/10. Unfortunately, his massive space army is made up of two types of units. First there are these awesome dragon things which seem to do nothing except demonstrate how easily Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man can kill gigantic creatures.

Marvel Studios

Next up are the regular space soldiers. They're fragile, undisciplined maniacs wearing armor too weak to block Earth arrows -- a weapon so obsolete that only one man on the planet still uses them. They each carry a laser rifle, which may seem dangerous at first. But then one of them hits Captain America -- an Earthling pretty humanish in his durability -- right in the stomach, and it only seems to make him cranky. Regular bullet rifles, like the ones everyone here has, seem to be far more effective.

Marvel Studios
"If I point this at your eye for more than three seconds, it could cause serious damage if you don't blink!"

You know who had a stronger army than Loki? Any country on the planet. Maybe even any volleyball team holding frying pans. Low-thread-count pillowcases do more damage than Loki's army. And to make matters worse, while his space legions are getting the shit kicked out of them, it's revealed they all share the same off switch. So let's sum up the main features of these dreaded Earth conquerors: They're killable morons with non-lethal weapons who all instantly die when someone flips a lever. Even for a god of mischief, that's kind of silly.

Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End -- Why Kill The Kraken?


If you managed to maintain your pirate enthusiasm all the way into the third Pirates Of The Caribbean film, you may remember James Norrington retrieving the heart of Davy Jones, and then Lord Beckett using it to enslave Davy Jones himself. Beckett wants to control the entire sea, so he sends Jones out to kill as many pirates as possible. He has all this power at his disposal, and his only wish is "Please kill pirates."

First, let's ignore the fact that Norrington could have controlled Jones himself and taken over. Instead, let's talk about how Beckett's first command to Davy Jones is to kill his pet Kraken -- the big, bad monster which dominated the third act of the previous movie. The monster's death happens off-screen, the main characters happening across its rotting carcass on a beach:

"Release the tears."

Aside from the studio wanting to save on CGI, why in the shit would Beckett do this? It's the most deadly thing in the ocean, it's right there for them to use, and he throws it away. The Kraken even managed to kill Jack Sparrow at the end of the second movie. That's how powerful this monster is: It already killed the main character of the story he's living in.

With such a beast, there'd be no need for Davy Jones's Flying Dutchman to sail around destroying pirates. They could have sent the Kraken and relaxed. Trade disputes with a foreign port? Show them your Kraken. Are you tired of feeling depressed and alone? Kraken. If you have any single problem on the ocean you can't solve with a Kraken, you're an asshole who doesn't deserve a Kraken.

"Dammit, I dropped my sunglasses."
"I got this."

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Angels And Demons -- What The Hell Is This Villain Doing?

Columbia Pictures

In Angels And Demons, the sequel to The Da Vinci Code which not nearly as many people saw, the main villain is Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, who hatches a ludicrously elaborate scheme. It starts with him killing the Pope, then kidnapping and torturing priests, then laying Illuminati clues all over Vatican City which reveal the secret location of an antimatter bomb set to go off. Then, with all of Catholicism on the verge of doom, his plan is to fly the bomb away in a helicopter and be promoted himself to Pope. But in order for all this to come together, he'd need Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), an expert on Illuminati nonsense, to investigate. McKenna probably had some kind of a flowchart he could work from.

Columbia Pictures
"Step 13: Make sure Langdon continues to have awful, awful hair."

Like in most Dan Brown novels, the villain remains anonymous until the very end. But since we already told you it was McKenna -- and you're welcome for saving you 138 awful minutes -- we can start to analyze his behavior from the beginning. We know this man wants Hanks to follow the mystery's clues, and having him uncover them is crucial to the plan. So ... it would be weird for McKenna to kill him, right? And yet that's what he tries to do for the whole goddamn movie.

For instance, when Tom Hanks is in a secret Vatican archive, neck-deep in spooky brain teasers, McKenna tries to murder him by cutting off the oxygen to the room. It doesn't work, but it absolutely could have, which would have foiled his own plan and greatly increased his chances for getting, you know, arrested for murder.

Columbia Pictures
"This too is all according to plan."

Without Hanks uncovering clues, McKenna would end up being nothing but a murder suspect flying around with a bomb in a helicopter. Maybe? Honestly, this movie could be about exploiting tax loopholes with small business loans, and not a single person would notice the difference. It's very possible this guy was trying to kill Tom Hanks because he found it more interesting than remembering his own plan. On a similar note ...

The Matrix Trilogy -- Why Are The Agents Trying to Kill Neo?

Warner Bros.

The Matrix Reloaded took an innovative and beloved movie idea and drove it right the fuck off a cliff. The world mostly agreed it was a giant pile of stupid, but the standout stupidity had to have been the bad guys' plan.

The main plot point involves "The One" desperately trying to find "The Source" so he can reboot the Matrix using the power of his carefully relatable uniqueness. As explained by "The Architect," this needs to happen, or the system will crash and kill all the real humans connected to it. None of this pseudoscience holds up to even minimal scrutiny, since inventing a living artificial world to keep the gooey and unconscious content is 70,000 times more complicated than "windmill," for about the same amount of electricity. Still, despite all this idiocy, these are the clearly defined rules of the movie's universe.

Warner Bros.
"Ergo, the parameters are concordantly in consonance with the circumforaneous parochial motif ex post facto, tl;dr."

So in a world where their system needs to be rebooted by Neo, why in the hell is the system trying so hard to kill Neo and his friends? They want him to reach the source so he can save the entire program. Why get in his way? Or worse, kill him?

You could say that for some convoluted reason, this is all part of the Matrix's illusion ... but there's not even really a reason to make him think they want to kill him. As soon as they figured out Neo was "The One," a single agent could have greeted him politely and explained the situation. Maybe the reason these computerized idiots need so many human batteries is that they waste all their resources creating pointless, counterproductive karate programs.

At least fruit ninjas would have swords.

J. Olasz is still waiting for his 15 minutes of fame. Until then, he creates horribly difficult but enjoyable gaming modules, and of course has a Twitter feed

For more villains who we aren't quite sure what they're thinking, check out 6 Evil Corporations In Movies (With Terrible Business Plans) and 6 Famous Movie Villains Whose Evil Schemes Make Zero Sense.

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Last Halloween, the Cracked Podcast creeped you out with tales of ghost ships, mysteriously dead people, and a man from one of the most famous paintings in U.S. history who years later went all Jack Nicholson in The Shining on his family. This October, Jack and the Cracked staff are back with special guest comedians Ryan Singer, Eric Lampaert, and Anna Seregina to share more unsettling and unexplained true tales of death, disappearance, and the great beyond. Get your tickets for this LIVE podcast here!

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