6 Smart Movie Characters Who Do Incredibly Dumb Things
Movie characters are smarter than us because they have the important advantage of, you know, not having to exist in a real universe. The writer who comes up with Sherlock's ingenious solution to the mystery also comes up with the mystery -- it's pretty easy to be smart in that context. Yet, as we've pointed out before, sometimes these supposed geniuses make decisions that even a WWE staff writer would find patently ridiculous. For instance ...
Batman Begins -- Batman Risks His Life for No Reason
In Batman Begins, Liam Neeson and his ridiculous mustache poison Gotham City's water supply with a drug that makes people go violently crazy. However, the poison only works when it is vaporized, so he steals a giant microwave gun to vaporize the city's entire supply all at once. Luckily, no one in Gotham decided to have a hot shower or boil anything on their stoves in the interim. That really would've tipped his hand.
"Please, Master Wayne, you were in the suit all night. You smell like rotten onions and hobo taint."
In the film's climax, Neeson hops on a monorail with the microwave cannon and heads toward the city's main water distribution center, which is inexplicably a stop on the monorail's route. Batman intercepts the monorail to exchange punches and one-liners with Liam Neeson, then leaps to safety just as the monorail derails and explodes.
But Wait a Minute ...
There was absolutely no reason for Batman to get on the monorail.
You see, before Batman hops onto the train to beat up his former BFF, he gives the Batmobile to Commissioner Gordon and tells him to blast apart the monorail's tracks, engineering the derailment. So Batman knows the train is going to crash, killing Neeson and destroying the microwave cannon. Why the hell would he then Batman his way up to the speeding monorail car and risk his life in a brief punch-witticism contest? Just for the satisfaction of spin-kicking that goateed face one last time?
"Seriously, I'm rich; I will buy you a razor company to get rid of that thing."
Come to think of it, why the hell did he put Commissioner Gordon in the Batmobile and task him with making the critical train-destroying shot? Gordon has never even seen that kind of sophisticated technology before, and he even misses his first shot. What if he hadn't managed to blow up the tracks in time? What if he'd pressed the eject button by accident?
"I played Space Invaders back in '79. I got this."
Batman should've shot out the tracks himself. Even if by some miracle Liam Neeson managed to stop the speeding train in time, his plan is totally screwed. It's not like he could toss the microwave cannon on his back and run the rest of the way, and if he tried, Batman would already be sitting there with his Batmobile cannon pointing at the train. The "World's Greatest Detective" added two completely unnecessary and needlessly risky steps to his supervillain-thwarting plan.
Man of Steel -- Zod's Prison Sentence Saves His Life and Dooms Everyone Else
Man of Steel begins on the doomed planet of Krypton, where General Zod and his renegade followers attempt to overthrow the governing council because they're not content to just sit there twiddling their thumbs while the entire planet explodes. Zod's coup fails, and he and his followers are sentenced to "300 cycles of somatic reconditioning" in the Phantom Zone, which is basically "space jail" with a bunch of extra syllables. They're shipped off right before Krypton blows up, which is really lucky for them, when you think about it.
But Wait a Minute ...
Why doesn't the council imprison Zod on Krypton? Their entire world is hours from destruction, but the council decides to punish Zod by sending him and his crew off planet, effectively saving their lives. We get that there wasn't enough time to evacuate all of Krypton, but why use their transdimensional technology to save a handful of supervillains? Why not send their best scientists and scholars to the Phantom Zone and toss Zod and his cronies into county lockup?
And why do they send people to prison in space cocks?
It's not like the Phantom Zone is the Kryptonian equivalent of a Turkish prison -- Zod returns in a ship full of advanced technology, including space suits and a clone hatchery, that his jailers put him in.
"It's not all fun and games. The blow job machines in the suits don't work the balls all that well."
It's not like they didn't know that Zod would continue being evil if given the chance. He spent his last moments on Krypton screaming oaths of vengeance at Superman's mom, and yet not one member of the council paused to ask if maybe they shouldn't lock him in his apartment instead and let the detonating planet take care of him.
"Krypton, nooooo! They were supposed to install our margarita machine next week!"
World War Z -- The U.N.'s Top Man Doesn't Know How a Stealth Mission Works
In World War Z, U.N. investigator Gerry Lane tracks down the origins of a global zombie epidemic to an army base in South Korea. Gerry and a team of soldiers then try to sneak back to their plane without alerting the zombies, who are attracted to sound.
Everything is going smoothly until Gerry's wife calls him on his cellphone, penetrating the silence with a thunderous eulogy fart of poor timing. The ringing phone draws the attention of the zombies, who proceed to kill everyone escorting Gerry while conveniently sparing his pilot. They may be zombies, but they're not assholes.
"Oh, is that your wife? Tell her to put the kids on and I'll do the whole 'Braiiiiinnss!' act. Kids love that."
But Wait a Minute ...
First of all, even if Gerry was just a regular dude, he should have known better. Sure, he couldn't have known his wife was going to call, but Jesus Christ, you put your phone on silent when you're in a movie theater. You'd think "prowling around behind flesh-eating enemy lines" would command the same level of caution. Getting your skull pried open by an ocean of ghouls ranks a bit higher on the faux pas list than interrupting the Carrie remake. But also, Gerry wasn't just a regular dude.
Gerry was hand-picked for this world-saving mission because he was the best investigator the U.N. could get their hands on -- they rescued him from the zombie chaos specifically so he could do this. He has years of experience running covert ops in war-torn countries and has already seen what the zombies are capable of, and what attracts them. Not doing a cursory check of "Do I have noise-making devices in my pocket?" on the way out the door to a fucking stealth mission to save the human species from annihilation is like the president forgetting to wear pants to the inauguration.
Or wearing a douchey scarf in 115 degree heat.
Green Lantern -- The Guardians Forget to Take Hal's Ring Back
Green Lantern tells the story of the Green Lantern Corps, an organization of superhero intergalactic policemen who use "power rings" to defend the universe from peril. The rings allow their bearers to fly through space at incredible speeds and create any object their minds can conjure. For some reason, they decide to give one to Ryan Reynolds.
"In brightest day, in blackest night, no better actors are in my sight ..."
Reynolds' character, Hal Jordan, heroically quits his new job as a Green Lantern the instant he fails his first training exercise. Since there's no reason for him to remain in space on the Green Lantern headquarter planet of Oa, Hal zooms back home to Earth to pout and crack moody jokes about his shortcomings.
But Wait a Minute ...
Hal Jordan quit the Green Lantern Corps, but he took the ring with him. The self-appointed Guardians of the Universe let a whiny, myopic Earthling just kind of walk out of Space Police Headquarters with the most powerful weapon in the galaxy, which he then uses to rescue a bunch of people in a helicopter crash by building a giant Hot Wheels racetrack, which you may recognize as the lamest possible way to rescue someone.
"You know what? I'd rather die in the crash."
Sure, it all works out because Hal is a good guy, but what if he wasn't? The villain of the movie, Parallax, is a former Green Lantern who succumbed to temptation and turned into a giant cloud of evil yellow fart dust that is currently marauding through space, consuming entire planets in its wake. How did the Green Lantern Corps know that the same thing wouldn't happen to Hal Jordan? He quit immediately, which doesn't speak volumes for his character, and they let him take the cosmic power ring home with him anyway. That's like letting an Army recruit wash out of basic training with a helicopter and a briefcase full of nuclear launch codes.
Especially when you consider that one of the first things Hal did after he found the ring was use it to commit a triple homicide in a bar parking lot.
After Earth -- Terrible Military Strategy Causes Thousands of Deaths
After Earth is set in a strange and distant future wherein the human race is forced to evacuate Earth and resettle on a planet called Nova Prime, which is eventually attacked by a race of aliens called the Skrel, who unleash a tide of monsters called the Ursa, who hunt down humans by smelling their fear (because this strange and distant future was apparently written by 9-year-olds).
In the first draft, Nova Prime's orbit makes all the women's boobs grow bigger, and people can fly by fart propulsion.
The aliens nearly wipe out humanity, but then General Cypher Raige (see "written by 9-year-olds," above) figures out a way to stop them -- he develops a technique called ghosting, wherein you eliminate your smellable fear by concentrating really, really hard, and the world's stupidest war is won.
But Wait a Minute ...
Scientists do believe that there's a fear pheromone in humans, and that it's secreted through sweat. With that in mind, take a look at this shot of Cypher Raige demonstrating ghosting:
And Will Smith failing to demonstrate acting.
Ignore Will Smith's absurd future haircut and look at the other soldiers. Every single one of them has exposed skin. Sweaty, smelly skin. Why the hell didn't they just wear odor-shielding coveralls?
The humans knew the Ursa (the people-eating monsters created by the aliens) hunted by smell. If they had covered up before going to war, the Ursa would've had no way of detecting them, and the campaign would have been over in days. Just send all of the soldiers out in wetsuits and paintball masks with satchels full of Axe body spray in case of emergency.
"We have Axe, Hawaiian flame shirts, and fedoras in the cargo hold. Use those and nothing will be interested in you. Ever."
Hell, you could've sent them out in fucking astronaut suits -- it wouldn't matter if the soldiers were clunky and slow, because we clearly see that the Ursa are completely helpless when they can't smell their targets. For some inexplicable reason, the aliens decide to engineer a bunch of blind, gunless monsters to destroy humanity, and the only edge they have is being able to smell fear (we will refer you again to "9-year-olds," above).
The Cabin in the Woods -- The Facility Was Designed by Morons
The Cabin in the Woods is a generic horror movie where generic teenagers get killed off by generic monsters, until you reach the big plot twist, where it's revealed that their deaths are being orchestrated by generic villains in a generic secret underground facility to appease an even bigger generic monster (92 percent Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes).
At the end of the movie, the surviving teenagers discover the secret underground facility and stumble upon a "System Purge" button in the lobby. They press it, releasing a swarm of werewolves, zombies, vampires, giant snakes, aliens, evil clowns, and basically every other monster you can think of from their respective holding cells in the facility. The monsters proceed to slaughter everyone inside Horror Base, which leads to the downfall of the human race.
But Wait a Minute ...
Why in the possible fuck is there a System Purge button, and what in the unutterable shit bassoon is it doing in the goddamned lobby?
Seriously, what possible reason could there be for installing a button that releases all the monsters at once? Did they plan on cleaning all their cages simultaneously? Do the demons and trees that rape people to death get lonely and need to be taken for walks? "Purge" implies they might need to quickly kill all the monsters. So why doesn't it activate a dozen flamethrowers in every cage, or bathe the entire joint in white-hot nuclear fire? Why does it empty them all out into the elevator bay like they just clocked out for lunch?
"Hey, you want to try that new Thai place?"
"Nah, I'm just going to grab some Carol from accounting real quick. I'm behind on my reports."
Even if the button killed the monsters instead of letting them all out, what architectural mastermind had it installed in the lobby? It isn't even locked. It's just sitting there in the guard house like a vending machine. We're surprised nobody ever pressed it by accident. We get that The Cabin in the Woods is making fun of horror movie tropes, but you can't make fun of dumb movies just by making your own movie infinitely stupider.
Well, you can. But no one will respect your decision.
Related Reading: While we're talking about the dumb things smart characters get up to, has anyone else wondered how Ripley didn't realize she was being set up in Aliens? And if Hans Gruber was such an evil genius, why was his escape plan so woefully inadequate? On the opposite side of things, some of our dumbest-seeming celebrities are actually pretty darn bright.