5 (Dumb) Heroic Movie Sacrifices
When a movie wants the audience to shed a few tears, there's nothing better than a grand heroic sacrifice. It might be framed as someone selflessly giving up their life so that others may live, but when you consider everything outside of the dramatic movie moment -- all the good they could do, all the happiness they could create -- some characters are way, way too quick to give up and kill themselves. Think about how ...
The Avengers Who Could Kill Thanos Vanish During Endgame's Big Sacrifice
In Endgame's climactic battle, the Avengers can annihilate the evil alien army all they want, but their efforts are meaningless as long as the nigh-unstoppable Thanos is on the field. And once he gets the Infinity Plot Devices, Tony Stark is barely able to keep up. The only way he can win is to swipe and use the stones himself, even though doing so will kill him. Which makes sense, because Thanos is so much stronger than any of the Aven-
Oh right, Scarlet Witch singlehandedly almost tore him limb from limb a few scenes earlier. She's only stopped when a dang spaceship fires on her, and even that doesn't put her out of commission. She pops up a whole minute later, apparently as strong as ever, to offer redundant assistance to Captain Marvel. Or to pose for a hero shot for merchandising purposes.
So why doesn't she get right back to Thanos-killing, which is far and away the #1 priority here? She could presumably mind-rip his gauntlet off as easily as she mind-ripped apart his Mjolnir-resistant armor and mind-snapped his vibranium-destroying blade. Maybe she ended up clear on the other side of the battlefield somehow? Nope, she's in prime mourning distance.
After they all pause for their cover shot, Wasp, Shuri, and Iron Pepper attack Thanos. But Scarlet Witch vanishes to ... do what, exactly, beyond be conveniently unavailable a little later?
Captain Marvel, the Avenger so powerful they needed excuses to keep her away from the plot, also faces off with Thanos moments before Tony's sacrifice. If someone had to put on the glove and snap, how about her, while she still had the glove, before she got power stoned? Why not the laser-spewing superwoman who zooms through space and casually shrugs off a punch that could knock out the Hulk, instead of the exhausted middle-aged mortal?
You can assemble detailed dioramas of the chaotic battlefield to explain everyone's positioning, or try to make some sense of the arbitrary nonsense that is the ever-fluctuating levels of relative strength in the MCU, but the real answer is that Robert Downey Jr.'s contract was up and he was ready to move on from the character.
Captain America Can Think Of Nothing To Do With A Plane Besides Crash It
At the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The First Avenger finds himself on giant superplane set to crash into New York. He gets Peggy on the radio, and she says they can walk him through safely landing the plane somewhere. But Steve eyes the panel listing all the bombs, says there's not going to be any safe landing, and steers into the Arctic instead.
To be clear, he takes control of the plane and steers it. The controls weren't locked by some unstoppable sci-fi autopilot. He could have circled harmlessly while talking to professionals who would tell him "Steve, bombs don't automatically explode when a plane's wheels touch down. There is a good chance you can land it safely. Or we can figure out how to deactivate the bombs in the air."
But no one wants to watch Captain America anticlimactically cruise to the nearest abandoned island or listen to some nerd tell him which wires to cut, so let's say that the yoke somehow only has two settings: straight to New York or straight down. And hey, let's also say that the bombs are somehow on an unbeatable timer. This still leaves him a perfectly good solution for ridding the plane of bombs: dropping them. You know, like bombs are designed to do. Earlier, we even see several bombs splash harmlessly into the ocean, and dropping the rest is simply a matter of pushing a few buttons.
In fact, each bomb is its own miniature plane, complete with cockpit, controls, and ejector seat. If for some reason Steve still has to crash the larger plane, he can fly away in a small one. We saw him do exactly that earlier before returning to the main plane. This predicament absolutely does not need to end in suicide. That should be the last option.
No, we're not saying that any of this makes it a bad movie, but it's a scene obviously set up to fulfill the larger needs of the MCU, rather than to make any internal sense. The sacrifice is so contrived that when we get to Endgame, there's a deleted scene in which Rhodey (the same genre-savvy man who asked why they couldn't go back in time and kill Baby Thanos) takes Steve aside and points out one of the many ways he could have survived. Steve has no reply. This was presumably cut because everyone would have already brought this up to him years before.
Fast & Furious 6 Introduces Mortality Long Enough To Pointlessly Kill Someone Off
Before she was Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot was in the Fast & Furious films as Gisele. You might remember when she got a man's fingerprints by coaxing him into grabbing her ass, then handing her bikini bottom to the gang for analysis. And speaking of scenes that make perfect sense, at the end of whatever the sixth movie is called, she's hanging off Han while hanging off a car while hanging off a plane. Then she sees that a random bad guy is about to kill Han, so she wrestles out of his grasp to shoot the henchman, even though this means she falls to her death.
Good on her for acting fast and shooting furiously. But why did she have to let go of Han to do that? Are we so sure that this onetime Mossad agent is incapable of operating a gun one-handed when her life depends on it? We shouldn't be, because there's a scene earlier in this movie in which she manages to pull out a gun one-handed. To shoot a bad guy. Who's next to Han. While she's hanging from a speeding vehicle.
Maybe Han was holding her gun hand? After all, not everyone's ambidextrous.
Just kidding. In the Fast & Furious-verse, everyone is ambidextrous. Now, maybe Gisele wanted to be really certain of hitting this guy. But do you know what's harder than drawing and firing a gun one-handed? Drawing and firing two-handed at a target who's on a vehicle that's accelerating away from you because you're now in free fall. She makes that shot, because she has gun superpowers, but she could have made the other shot too.
To be fair, maybe she didn't realize that falling onto tarmac from a vehicle going 180 mph would kill her. After all, in her universe, people who brutally fistfight in front of explosions just have to occasionally put a Band-Aid on their eyebrow. The only heroes who ever die in these movies are her and, uh ... Han, the guy she sacrifices herself for, who gets knocked off in the mid-credits scene of this very movie. A scene we knew was coming because it already happened in a previous Fast movie -- which comes after this one chronologically, and in which Han has other girlfriends because the Gisele character didn't exist yet, necessitating her elimination here. So, real worthwhile sacrifice. We can only hope that they're together in a movie afterlife that makes more sense.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 Forgets How To Train Your Dragon
In How 2 Train Your Dragon, Hiccup finds his long-lost mother. This wonderful discovery of course means that doom is near, because a hero can never have two living parents. To enforce this immutable law of the universe, the villainous warlord Drago gains the ability to control dragons and commands Hiccup's dragon, Toothless, to turn against him. Toothless slooooooowly makes his way toward Hiccup, giving his father Stoick enough time to come up from behind the dragon and push his son out harm's way. This strategy seems like it would have a good chance of getting both of them roasted, but only Stoick dies, so good for him.
Alas, if only there had been a way to throw off Toothless' aim. That might sound like an oddly specific wish, but the vikings have a whole routine for doing precisely that. We saw it in the first movie. In the very first dragon class. It was the very first thing everyone was taught.
Stoick is his people's greatest dragon hunter, and he's forgotten this lesson from Day 1 of dragon school? It's not like he had only a split second to react; it takes him nearly two minutes to run over and figure out what he wants to do. And while a son being in danger might make a father panic, dragons almost killing Hiccup is a routine situation for Stoick. The first scene of the first movie features him having to keep attacking dragons away from Hiccup, and it's played for laughs as a frequent annoyance.
There's probably some nerdy explanation for why this particular dragon attack was different and couldn't possibly have been stopped. Maybe Drago's dragon control overrides the normal distraction methods or something. But it's funny that this is the excuse they used to kill off Stoick, when they planted the apparent solution to his predicament so early in the series. It's like if the final Harry Potter movie presented our heroes with the brutally unfair challenge of having to magically levitate a small feather.
Pa Kent Sacrifices Himself For Absolutely No Reason
In Man Of Steel, a tornado touches down in Smallville when Clark Kent is still a young adult of steel. Pa Kent tells his family to seek shelter under an overpass, even though that's the worst place to go during a tornado, because Pa Kent is wrong about literally everything. Then he sticks around to free the family dog, because he's in a gritty Zack Snyder movie where not even dogs are safe. His foot gets crushed, so he has trouble covering the small distance to safety. He warns Clark not to come to his aid, and then he kind of chills out until the tornado kills him.
Jonathan thinks it's essential for Clark to hide his powers, and he's willing to die to keep the secret. But he's so close to safety that Clark would barely need superpowers to save him. Jonathan doesn't need a house lifted off him or a rock blasted with laser eyes, he just needs an able-bodied assistant to quickly reach him and support his injured ankle. People wouldn't see Clark racing to him and think "Holy crap, Clark must be an alien" -- they'd just see a teenager who could probably make the high school track team. It would be nothing compared to, say, the time he lifted a bus out of a river as a boy and wasn't outed as a superbeing.
Jonathan is a responsible husband and father, and shouldn't be casually throwing his life away when he has so much more to offer his family. But it's as if he knows that he'll cease to exist when the movie ends anyway, and that his only purpose is to impart a single dramatic lesson on Clark instead of living a full life. Or maybe he was trying to save himself from the sequels.
For more, check out 4 Movie Heroes Who Would Be Villains Today:
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