55 Movie Characters That Are Incredibly Stupid
You don't have a team of professional screenwriters plotting out your every move. Even so, you seem to function day-to-day pretty well, showing reasonable competence in all you do. We can't say the same for the following characters, who are scripted to be cunning and skilled and yet turn out to be anything but.
1. Jason Bourne
Bourne's whole franchise begins following him after he gets shot off a boat during a failed hit on an African dictator. He's all set to kill the guy, then he pauses when he sees the man has kids. He planned that operation for weeks, culminating in hiding on that boat for five days, but he never checked the "Family" section of the dictator's Wikipedia page?
2. Doc Brown
Doc does a lot of dumb stuff, but the most inexplicable has to be when he travels to the future and stashes Marty's girlfriend in an alley. He loses her, and this leads to the entire remaining plot of the trilogy, and there's zero reason for it. They could have just kept her in the car with them.
3. James Bond
In Skyfall, Bond tricks bad guy Silva into hacking information, which claims Bond and M are defenseless in an old Scottish estate. It's a trap. At least, it would be if Bond then filled the estate with MI6 teams. Instead, Bond really does take M to this indefensible place, letting Silva kill her.
To rescue his wife from slavery, Django invents an elaborate plan to buy Candle's most expensive fighter and get him to throw her in for free. Instead of just buying her directly, offering more money till Candle agrees. Does Django think racists don't like money or something?
When Elizabeth in Pirates of the Caribbean threatens to throw his magic coin overboard, Captain Barbossa is terrified and gives in to her demands. Except, we've established that ghost pirates 1) are unkillable, and 2) can track the coins across vast distances. Retrieving the coin should be a trivial matter of walking to the bottom of that shallow harbor and picking it up.
6. Davy Jones
7. The Evil Queen
The Queen gives Snow White a poison apple, which can only be countered by "love's first kiss." Why not just give her a non-magical poison, which actually works? Given that her goal is to kill the girl?
8. Obadiah Stane
Stane spends most of Iron Man taking control of Stark Industries. He ends the movie by donning a giant metal suit and attacking the city. Why? What is he getting out of this? What's his endgame once he takes the suit off?
9. General Ross
In his quest to hunt down The Incredible Hulk, General Ross decides to set a trap ... in a crowded college campus. This, from a man who spends his entire remaining career fretting about the collateral damage that heroes cause.
Loki is supposed to be the god of deception. He pulls off maybe one deception over the course of his entire filmography. In The Avengers, he even ends up just blurting out his plan to Black Widow after roughly 90 seconds of interrogation.
11. Pietro Maximoff
Quicksilver in Age of Ultron blocks a stream of bullets by standing in front of them. Even though he's quick enough to instead lift up the targets and pull them to safety. Even though he's quick enough to pick the bullets out of the air.
12. Black Panther
Shortly after preventing someone from stealing his country's Air Force and taking over the world, T'Challa gets the chance in Infinity War to use that Air Force when aliens attack. He does not use that Air Force. He instead sends hundreds of soldiers on foot to die.
13. Dennis Nedry
The first time RoboCop faces a crook, he gets shot 30 times and lives. Awesome! Then he disarms the robber and throws him. Uh, a little excessive, maybe, but he gets the job done. Then he leaves ... without actually apprehending the criminal. Damn, who programmed this guy?
Not that the people who try to take RoboCop down are any smarter. In the 2014 movie, corporate mercenary Mattox must kill RoboCop and make it look like it happened in the line of duty. He sends ... two guys. Who are so low-level they don't even have clearance to enter the lab.
16. Travis Lehman
Lehman is the parole officer and former law professor Tommy Lee Jones plays in Double Jeopardy. It's bad enough that the main character thinks the Double Jeopardy Clause lets her kill her husband publicly without penalty. But it's ludicrous that Lehman, who should know better and is out to stop her, tells her she's right. She is absolutely not right.
17. Adrian Veidt
Ozymandias' password in Watchmen is "RamsesII." You probably can't buy flowers online without the site prompting you to choose a stronger password than that, and that's not even getting into how he has a book with that title immediately in view of his desk. It's enough to make it seem like he wants his friends to hack into his computer, but that would be even dumber.
18. Harry Potter
Harry doesn't want to compete in the Goblet of Fire tournament. No one else wants him to either. So, how about he just not? What are they going to do if he refuses, kill him? He risks dying if he does compete! (His choice to compete doesn't end up killing him, but it does kill a friend.)
Voldemort loves killing people. He flings killing curses wherever he goes. Except when Neville Longbottom comes at him. He just magically shoves Neville. Guess who ends up killing Voldy's snake and part of his soul with it?
20. Hermione Granger
21. Max Shreck
When his secretary learns about his evil Batman Returns plot, Max Shreck kills her, even though it might be linked to him. Later, when an outcast sewer mutant learns about his shenanigans, Max ... doesn't even think about killing him. Instead, he decides to serve him.
In Batman Begins, Batman turns his car over to Gordon and faces Ra's in a train. Then, he simply flies away and lets Gordon shoot the train down. So, Batman didn't have to go there and risk a fight at all. Why leave Gordon to puzzle over the Batmobile's unfamiliar guns when he could have handled that himself?
23. Lex Luthor
Luthor's plan in Superman Returns is to use kryptonite to create a giant island with real estate he can sell. But the rock that springs up is a radioactive wasteland. No one can live there. He thinks people are going to want to buy that land?
The council of Krypton in Man of Steel exile Zod ... by sending him off the planet that's about to explode. That means they're actually saving his life while letting almost everyone else on the planet die.
25. Bill Paxton
When Bill Paxton and his unnamed '80s punks see a naked man approach them in Terminator, they laugh off the threat because they don't know he's a killer robot. Okay, but who cares whether he's a killer robot? Even if he's just a 270-pound Austrian bodybuilder crazy enough to stroll naked at night, you'd be stupid not to be terrified.
26. The T-1000
The evil bot in Terminator 2 stabs Sarah Connor then tells her to call out for John. It doesn't go well. Guess he forgot that he has the ability to mimic anyone, voice included.
27. Billy Costigan
28. Kayla Silverfox
Kayla is Logan's girlfriend in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Stryker kidnaps her sister, so she has to work for him. But then we learn she has the power of super persuasion -- people have to do what she says. She even uses it on Stryker in the end. So, she never thought to try it on him before?
29. William Stryker
As for Stryker himself, he stages an elaborate White House attack in X2 to get the president on his side for a raid on Xavier's mansion. This ultimately bites him in the ass (it introduces the teleporting Nightcrawler to the X-Men) and was totally unnecessary. He never needed the president's approval -- not for this nor for any of his other secret operations.
This Japanese businessman in The Wolverine fakes his own death, then sends the Yakuza after his granddaughter to trick Logan into protecting her. This is all to lure him into a trap and get him alone. Genius, until you remember that Yashida already had Logan paralyzed and alone in his own mansion at the start of the movie.
31. John McClane
McClane finds a pile of detonators in Die Hard. He drops explosives down an elevator and uses just the one detonator that blows them up. Later, he's SHOCKED to discover that the terrorists have additional explosives linked to all the other detonators.
32. Hans Gruber
What was Gruber's plan for escaping the skyscraper? The one vehicle they had wasn't big enough to fit everyone. And when he blows power to the garage to seal people out, that would equally strongly seal him in.
33. Mr. Rooney
The creepy principal from Ferris Bueller's Day Off spends all day trying to prove that a student lied about being sick. Problem is, Ferris' parents phoned in and excused his absence. It doesn't matter if he's lying and is out singing on parade floats. When parents excuse an absence, kids can skip school, and there's nothing the principal can do about it.
The demon car in Christine stares down bully Moochie in an alley. It runs over him, slowly, because he's trapped! Or, you know, he could just climb over the car and get out of there.
36. Kurt Hendricks
This villain from Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol faces off with Ethan in a car park. He wants to keep a suitcase device out of Ethan's hands, and so he leaps off a great height while carrying it, destroying it but dying in the process. Or, he could have just thrown it off and not jumped, accomplishing the same thing without dying. Then he'd still be alive to deal with Ethan's inevitable Plan B.
37. Moff Tarkin
The Empire sends Vader to cut through rebels at the end of Rogue One. That's not enough to stop a ship of them from flying away. So, why not just blow that thing up from space? If not with the Death Star itself, then with any of their many planes?
38. Qui-Gon Jinn
That pod race in The Phantom Menace is so Qui-Gon can earn enough to buy new parts for his ship. Can he really not think of a surer way of getting money? He actually has plenty of Republic credits, and if Watto doesn't accept them, can't he find anyone who'll exchange them? Maybe using some kind of mind trick to convince them?
39. The Decepticons
To track down the All-Spark, the Decepticons sneak a tiny spy robot to rob Air Force One. They then learn they have to steal glasses from a kid, so they go in guns blazing, which goes horribly. Gee, if only they had a tiny robot good at stealing stealthily ...
40. Harry Lyme
Obviously, there's a lot we can pick on about what the Wet Bandits did in Home Alone. But we just want to say: Was Harry really planning to bite off Kevin's fingers, like it looked like before the shovel guy showed up and intervened? That's nuts, as it would needlessly doom him to a much longer prison sentence, and because kid fingers are poisonous.
41. Walt Kowalski
42. The Medjai
In the Mummy, the warriors known as the Medjai punish Imhotep by placing a curse on him, making him a "walking disease, a plague upon mankind." And also making him invincible once he's resurrected. Why? This hurts everyone but him!
43. Atticus Finch
Tom Robinson was sure to be found guilty in To Kill a Mockingbird, based on the defense Atticus put up. Step one should have been requesting a change of venue (the judge was sympathetic and would have granted it). Step two should have been keeping the defendant off the stand.
Teddy in Memento gets a man with no short term memory to kill people for him. It ends badly for him because of course it does. Even without an elaborate plan that purposely ends in Teddy's death, Lenny can barely function and was bound to screw up soon.
45. Deacon Frost
The villain from Blade has a plan to immediately turn all humans into vampires. Uh, okay, Deacon. Once humans are all vampires, who are you going to feed on?
46. Leonard McCoy
In Star Trek Into Darkness, McCoy discovers that genetically enhanced blood can save lives. So, away the crew go to suck blood from supervillain Khan, who packs quite a punch. You'd think McCoy would remember there are 72 other genetically enhanced people already on his ship, unconscious.
It probably wasn't smart for Dominic West's character in 300 to mock the Queen so hard she stabbed him in the dick. But it really wasn't smart for him to carry around all the gold the Persians had bribed him with, embossed with the clear head of Xerxes.
49. The Butler
At the end of Spider-Man 3, Harry Osborn's butler reveals that Spider-Man didn't kill Norman -- his own glider did. Okay, good. Assuming he really is the butler and not a hallucination, it'd be nice if he spoke up sometime in all the years before this.
50. Sam Wheat
In Ghost, Patrick Swayze's dead character has the power to smack the villain Carl using invisible ghost punches and pummel him by throwing objects at his head. Amazing! He then forgets he can do this and never tries any of that again, even as Carl threatens his girlfriend.
51. Hans Landa
Hans from Inglourious Basterds has a reputation as the Nazis' greatest hunter. God knows why. He's completely unable to notice that Shoshana looks so suspicious when they eat together, and he wouldn't even have picked up on the Basterds' scheme had he not happened to know Italian.
52. Michael Corleone
In The Godfather Part II, Michael puts a hit on a rival in an airport. It's a suicide mission, for sure. Then why does he send his right-hand man to do it? He has an endless supply of goons willing to do what they're told.
Gaston leads a mob to kill the Beast. Good for him! And to arm himself, he brings ... a bow and arrow. Not the giant gun that he demonstrated he had back at the tavern.
Aladdin goads Jafar by saying he's not as powerful as the Genie, so Jafar wishes to become a genie himself. This lets Aladdin capture him in a bottle. There were so many things he could have wished for instead. Like "make me more powerful than a genie," or "make me the most powerful being on Earth," or "shut up."