5 Move Characters Who Weren't As Competent As We're Told
If a movie wants to demonstrate that one of its characters is, say, a great driver, it can show them ramping a bridge or winning a race. But sometimes a movie only tells us that a character is a great driver, and we suckers in the audience believe them, even if the rest of the film shows that character repeatedly crashing into stationary objects. So here are some supposedly skilled movie characters repeatedly crashing into stationary objects.
Hans Landa, The Brilliant Investigator, Has To Have An Answer Literally Spelled Out For Him
Inglourious Basterds' Hans Landa is a Nazi colonel with a genius for locating fugitives. His ability to spot what others cannot even led to his creative nickname, "the Jew Hunter." To demonstrate this, the movie opens with him finding a Jewish family hidden beneath the floorboards of a farmhouse, and all of them are killed except one, who escapes.
You have to wonder how he got the nickname, though, given all the other Nazi sh*theads who came up with the idea of searching crawlspaces. It wasn't like this was a foolproof trick that only Landa could have seen though. But after that nickname is established, Landa spends the rest of the movie showing how undeserving he is of it. When the sole survivor of the prologue, Shoshana, later eats with Landa, we hope that he won't pick up on her fear and hatred of this monster who killed her family. But flip that around, and you've got a supposedly brilliant detective who doesn't recognize that the woman he's eating with is unusually terrified of him.
It's not like he has any reason to pretend he doesn't recognize her. A big movie premiere which Hitler himself is attending is planned for the theater she runs, and he's supposed to vet her for security purposes. Yet he fails to pick up anything amiss. (Note: She is plotting to fry the theater with all the Nazis in it, which we're pretty sure counts as "amiss.")
Later, when it comes to foiling the Basterds, Landa just gets lucky. As in, he finds a napkin with the name, autograph, and fresh lipstick of the Basterds' mole at a crime scene with three dead Basterds. They may as well have thrown in her dental records and a signed confession. Then, even with all of those advantages, Landa needed to coincidentally be fluent in Italian to be able to spot the disguised Basterds when they pretend to be Italian. That's not genius detective work; that's applying your experience from a year abroad.
Even sillier, the movie actually does feature a good detective: Dieter Hellstrom, who effectively sniffs out the German-speaking Basterds by noting their accents and foreign mannerisms. But somehow Landa was the one who got the reputation for his incredible observational skills.
Ready Player One's Elite Treasure Hunters Couldn't Figure Out An Obvious Puzzle
If you bring millions of nerds together and tell them that they're in an Easter egg hunt, with the prize being sole control over the greatest economic resource in human history, you'd expect at least a few of them to be able to think outside the box. And yet Ready Player One's Gunters, who are trying to crack the secret of the elaborate virtual reality OASIS, are all as stupid as the moniker "Gunters" implies.
The first challenge set for players is a race that's been held regularly for over five years, which no one has been able to win at the story's start. The Gunters know that there's an impenetrable obstacle at the end of the track in the form of King Kong, who annihilates every vehicle that reaches him without fail. After five years, they all still think that the solution to the challenge must be come at Kong even harder, as if maybe one day the lava in Mario Kart will up and decide not to kill them. But finally our hero, Wade, figures out the real solution: If you stay in the starting area, you can reverse into a secret door which bypasses the entire race and leads you to your prize.
How the hell did millions of people not figure that out in five years? The challenge is explicitly presented as an Easter egg hunt, and yet instead of looking for secrets and probing boundaries, everyone just kept flinging themselves at an unbeatable boss. The movie's justification is that Wade had to analyze outside clues, but by that point, someone who shifted gears incorrectly should have figured it out by accident.
To put this in perspective, elaborate Easter eggs with absolutely no monetary value are found so quickly that days after a game's release, there will be detailed walkthroughs on how to trigger them. And yet in five years, not a single person thought that maybe the first step to acquiring a massive commercial empire based around video games was to experiment with a video game a little bit. These supposed savants couldn't solve the maze on a children's menu.
X-Men Villains Keep Trying To Weaponize Mutants, No Matter How Badly It Goes
In our world, Wolverine is one of the most successful comic book characters of all time, so we understand why they keep making movies about him. But it's unclear why the X-Men world's many villains indulge our desires by repeatedly trying to control a man against his will when that man has a flawless track record of slicing up anyone who abuses him.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine makes a strong case for worst film in the series -- and that's not an easy win -- but at least it's the only one in which it makes some sense for the villains to be tapping into Wolverine's power. It's their first try, it hasn't blown up in their faces yet, and you've got to swing for the evil fences. But their plan is to take an already borderline-indestructible man who's been coerced into working with them, embed claws made of a metal so strong that it's essentially magic within him, and then forcibly erase his memory so that he can be turned into a brainwashed killing machine. Can you spot the flaw in this process? If so, you're smarter than the villains, who get chopped into sashimi before step three.
Then in X2 Gonna Give It To Ya, William Stryker, the same man who saw his entire operation get destroyed by Wolverine the first time he tried to control him, launches a second plan to control mutants who are far more powerful than he is. His new operation is also annihilated, he gets killed for good measure, and viewers are left to wonder who the hell is paying for the supervillain equivalent of food that eats people.
Over in the Deadpool spinoff, the bad guys are pulling the exact same move, torturing people until they get superpowers and then hoping the angry people they've just given superpowers don't kill them in a variety of ultra-nasty ways. Spoiler alert: Most of Deadpool is about Wade Wilson getting revenge by killing those villains in a variety of ultra-nasty ways with the new superpowers they gave him.
By the time Logan rolls around, nearly three decades have passed and a new group of evildoers have had the chance to reflect on the many mistakes of their predecessors. This time, their plan is to use the DNA of Logan and other mutants to ... create mutant children and turn them into weapons against their will. You know, famously cooperative and easy-to-reason-with children. It's already gone awry by the time to movie starts, with the villains trying to hunt and destroy these rogue experiments that have cost them tons of money and resources. It ends with everyone on Team Bad Guy getting slaughtered. It's understandable that a good villain wouldn't care about getting people killed, but at this point, straight up burning money would be more cost-efficient.
Deckard Is A Terrible Blade Runner
In Blade Runner, protagonist Deckard is pulled out of retirement because he's supposedly the only man capable of killing four rogue replicants -- artificial humans who are much stronger (and sexier) than regular people. The police tried putting their best active man on the job, and he ended up in the hospital. Now, Deckard does get off to a good start, tracking one down and shooting her in the back as she flees, but it's all downhill from there.
You can see his perfectly formed instincts at work as he opens fire in a crowded shopping district.
Leon, supposedly the dumbest replicant, grabs an inattentive Deckard on the street, slaps him around with ease, and is on the verge of bashing his skull in. Deckard is only saved when Rachel, a replicant whose only experience is being a secretary, grabs his gun and shoots Leon dead. It's like an elementary school teacher having to step in and do a police officer's job during a convenience store robbery.
Next comes Pris. Deckard manages to track her down, but Pris easily ambushes him by pretending to be a mannequin, despite the fact that Deckard knows exactly what she looks like and has the opportunity to carefully examine her first. Pris pins Deckard to the floor, and once again, he's moments away from having his head crushed like an egg. This time he only survives because instead of finishing him, Pris decides to show off how many backflips she can do. C'mon, Pris. He sucks, but he still has a gun.
Finally there's the rogues' leader, Roy Batty, who kicks Deckard's ass up and down an entire apartment building. Deckard only lives because Roy, who's about to die of old age anyway, spares his life out of a desire to be remembered. We understand that in grimy noir films the hero needs to get roughed up a little, but how terrible are all the other Blade Runners if the supposed best of the best goes one for four?
In Infinity War, The Avengers Completely Squander Wakanda's Military Might
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Wakanda is known for its ultra-high-tech armed forces, and the Avengers are known for being the Avengers. In Infinity War, the Avengers have the chance to choose where the titular Infinity War will be fought, in a bid for control of the final plot device. They pick Wakanda because of its military might and fancy energy shield generator. With all of that tech and firepower at their disposal, alongside Captain America's supposedly awesome tactical prowess, it seems like they should stand a chance at victory. But then they fare about as well as a children's paintball birthday party team going up against a SEAL squad.
The enemy alien army slowly forces its way through the shield, but that just gives Wakanda a chance to bombard the distracted enemy with their incredible ships, right? Remember? The ones that were a focal point in Black Panther and which are now, uh, completely absent. So are the cool armored rhinos. What, are they on loan to a zoo somewhere? They don't even field tanks or artillery! The country with technology light years beyond what's seen anywhere else on Earth is ordered to stand in big lines out in the open with guns. What's supposed to be the climax of Marvel's cosmic sci-fi adventure is fought with tactics that were dated by the American Civil War. The only person using artillery is War Machine, who had to bring his own rockets from home.
Forget you, Lockheed Martin. Frontal hand-to-hand infantry charges are the real military of the future.
Then T'Challa and Cap -- the same guy who a few years before was able to stave off an alien invasion of New York City with the help of a few superpowered friends and like three cops -- decide to open a section of the barrier entirely. They want to funnel the aliens forward so they can charge at them. They -- the army using guns -- want to charge into melee combat against an army of unarmed aliens fighting with their claws. Spoiler alert: They lose and Thanos annihilates half the Universe. They could have easily won by keeping the barrier up and, like, asking the Ethiopian Air Force to do them a solid and drop a few bombs on the clump of pinned-down aliens.
You can tell Tiago how wrong he is about all of this on his Twitter.
For more, check out Why Indiana Jones Secretly Sucks At His Job:
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