5 Movie And TV 'Plot Holes' That Aren't Actually Plot Holes
Movies and TV shows are like people -- sometimes they leave you at a gas station in Valdosta, Georgia. But also like people, they have flaws and inconsistencies that can cause you to lose focus on the story and instead focus on the massive "Oh heck no" that you just watched. However, not all of these plot holes and inadequacies are really there at all. In fact, every once in a while, you can find the solutions to your bafflement in the same fictional universe that provided the plot hole in the first place. In the case of these five questions, your questions disappear as soon as you remember the other parts of the story.
How Do Supervillains Get So Much Money For Their Schemes?
It's not uncommon to see a supervillain suddenly pull a 30-foot laser cannon out of nowhere. Their corresponding hero is usually a titanic mix of jawline and tricep meat, so the antagonist has to even the odds somehow. These giant death rays are the only things that are keeping them from becoming a toothless bruise on Gotham's sidewalk. But how do they afford them? When the entire world knows you as "Poison Ivy," and you dress solely in leaves, it's kind of hard to pick up an extra shift at Wendy's.
As it turns out, superhero movies and TV shows usually only show us the most explode-y of villainous schemes. Sure, there are characters like the Penguin, who runs a night club called the Iceberg Lounge and presumably gets his spendin' money from Half-Off Drinks for Ladies and Killer Croc Nights. But what about the other guys? When the Joker needs money, does he do the Jack Nicholson thing and put on facepaint? That was at the beginning of the Joker's career. Everybody knows what he looks like by now, made up or otherwise. "I'm sorry, sir. But we can't give you that loan. Well, your credit is not so good. Also, you launched a laughing gas bomb at me and my family no fewer than eight times last year."
Luckily, we had a show like Batman: The Animated Series, which wasn't afraid to show us Joker plots that were more about finding the right notary and less about blowing up Gotham. In the episode "The Laughing Fish," the Joker's big project is ... copyrighting something? That's literally it. No fiery reckoning. No breaking Gotham's spirit through forcing them to make terrible choices. The Joker just wants his residuals. And while it doesn't really work out in "The Laughing Fish," it shows that the Joker is just as interested in getting a check every month as he is in driving Batman insane.
Or look at "Joker's Wild," in which a billionaire creates a casino that's Joker-themed, and when Joker gets word of it, he plans to just take over and run it from behind the scenes. Does the Joker even know how to fill out a balance sheet? Does he know how to list his assets? That's gonna take a lot of time away from his normal routine of carving smiles into people's faces and inventing killer whoopee cushions. It's a ploy that will result in nothing but a manageable steady cash flow. That is the most boring outcome in the history of Batman. It's like making an X-Men comic wherein Professor X tries to organize a PTA.
Batman: The Animated Series was a fantastic show, and it managed to turn all of Joker's bland financial escapades into thrilling adventure TV. But even still, it's weird to watch something like "Joker's Millions," in which the Joker is broke, gets a massive inheritance from a deceased rival mob boss, and then it's revealed that most of the fortune was counterfeit and now the IRS is on Joker's trail. So maybe we were wrong in focusing most of our attention on the explode-y stuff. I think Batman can probably take it easy for a bit; the IRS is Gotham's true silent guardian.
Why Haven't All Of The Zombies Decayed By Now?
When the zombie apocalypse goes down, it's going to fill the world with billions of fresh undead folk. And over time, due to weather conditions, or lack of flesh intake, or simple rotting, those zombies' numbers will dwindle down. Eventually, all you'll have to deal with are violent warlords and that one dude who's been holed up in a shack with nothing to listen to but post-2002 Metallica albums, so you know he's gonna be mad. And that's not so bad. I know that these shows try to teach us that humans are the REAL monsters. But I can buy a human a beer and maybe talk them out of cutting my hands off. Zombies HATE when you try to buy them a round.
But even when these zombies should seemingly be in short supply, every other episode of The Walking Dead, and every zombie movie, has that one moment when the main cast looks over some field to see hundreds more zombies. How? Shouldn't they all be fertilizer by now? Well, no. And for your answer as to why, look at your main cast.
The Walking Dead is not the only Walking Dead going on. And I don't just mean the other AMC show Fear The Walking Dead, which is like someone wrote The Walking Dead in the middle of a Xanax overdose. We've seen from countless pieces of zombie media that people want to stick together. They seek each other out, and form groups, and these groups grow more than anyone could have foreseen. They're having their own journeys, which are probably more interesting than what's going on during the journey that got the TV show. The pacing of The Walking Dead has gotten better, but I swear to god, half of the last three seasons has consisted of people frowning at each other from their respective porches.
And then one zombie comes in and bites someone, and that someone bites someone else, and so on. Suddenly you have a mint-condition batch of zombies out there ready to populate the world with more zombies. So the question isn't really "Shouldn't the zombies all be crumbly garbage piles by now?" It's more about the followup: "Where are they all coming from?" Every time the cast of The Walking Dead runs into a big number of them, they're seeing the end credits sequence of another version of The Walking Dead that just finished. As long as people stay in these huge unwieldy groups, there is always going to be the potential for a new zombie crop to sprout up. Plus, it's often more interesting when there are a ton of zombies to brawl with. Sorry to break your heart, zombie genre, but "random jerk who's somehow metaphorically worse than a million brain-chewing corpses" isn't always the pinnacle of storytelling.
Why Is The Lord Of The Rings One Big Deus Ex Machina?
You know the Grand Theft Auto cheat codes that let you just drop a jet plane in the middle of the streets so you can zoom out of the five-star wanted level you just dipped yourself in? That's kind of what the Eagles are in Lord Of The Rings. Whether its Bilbo and his dwarf crew being saved from goblins, them coming down to even the odds in the Battle of Five Armies, Gandalf being saved from Saruman by them, or them rescuing Frodo and Sam from Mount Doom, the Eagles kind of seem like they're there to provide a Band-Aid to the narrative problems that J.R.R. Tolkien created for himself. That way he could focus on more important things, like looking impressive while smoking a pipe. Tolkien came out of the womb with a freshly packed bowl.
This leads people to say, "Why didn't the Eagles take care of [insert dangerous task here]?" Most commonly, that hypothetical dangerous task is delivering the One Ring to Mount Doom so that it can be destroyed. And those people haven't been paying attention to any part of the movies. They were probably staring at the majesty of Liv Tyler, or wondering if Gimli gives good hugs. I bet he does. I bet it's like hugging a wool blanket, and I bet it smells like good beer, sawdust, and hope.
For instance, remember one of the most important parts of the Fellowship Of The Ring, when Frodo offers Gandalf the Ring and Gandalf tells him, verbatim, "DON'T GIVE ME THAT RING, DAWG. I'M FRIGGIN' GANDALF." He doesn't do that because the Ring will give him a rash or because it doesn't match his magic bathrobe; he does it because he's Gandalf. If that Ring gets to him and turns him evil, imagine all the damage that he could do. He'd kill Frodo, and then eat all of the delicious Hobbit cakes, and then torch the Shire with a fart.
So no, the Eagles should not be taking that ring to Mount Doom. They're magical animals, but more importantly, they're 30-FOOT MONSTER BIRDS. If Gandalf, who has things like willpower and talons that aren't as long as your torso, doesn't want to take the Ring himself, I don't think Plan B should be to give it to the pterodactyls. That would set you back a notch. If you give it to Frodo, you at least don't have to worry about his little Hobbit hands going on a decapitation spree if he gets an itchy ring finger. If you give it to the Eagles, you just add another book to the series: Fellowship Of The Ring, The Two Towers, Return Of The King, and Argh, My Eyes! They Took My Eyes!
Of course, the followup argument is "Just let Frodo keep it, but have him ride the Eagles!" Same problem. If Frodo turns, wouldn't you much rather have him on foot, surrounded by companions who could easily destroy him, rather than slapping him on the back of a gigantic Eagle? Not only would he be able to more easily escape his group, but now he commands a squadron of gigantic, and very possibly invisible Eagles.
Why Are The Lightsaber Battles So Bad In The Original Star Wars Trilogy?
So Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie, and the robot Odd Couple are about to escape the Death Star. Huzzah. Those rapscallions beat the odds and did it. They then see Obi-Wan in the early stages of dueling Darth Vader, and man, you better get pumped for this. Obi-Wan, this stately British gentleman, is about to go head to head with Darth Vader, a big wheezy cyborg? Sign me up for 20 minutes of this. It's gonna be so awesome ... Huh, I guess that's it. A few clunky moves, and then Darth Vader just kinda chops Obi-Wan's ghost in two. Well. That was ... a thing.
Now that we've been presented with the frantic lightsaber fights of the prequels and the emotionally raw battle of Episode VII, the lightsaber contests in the original trilogy seem a little stilted. Especially the first one. They get smoother and more complex in Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi, but the fight in A New Hope is particularly awkward. It looks less like the climax of a grudge between two old foes, and more like the first time you try out Dance Dance Revolution, when you're not sure of what your feet or your body is supposed to do, so you just step around and hope that no one at Chuck E. Cheese's is watching.
And I know that this could get explained away with "Well, Obi-Wan is old," but he's still Obi-Wan Kenobi. He was at one time one of the most talented Jedi ever, so why does he fight like he's trying to kill a bee with a mop handle? Because a bee and a mop handle are pretty much all he's had to work with for years.
Remember that little laser ball that Obi-Wan gives to Luke for practice purposes on the Millennium Falcon? Luke eventually does really well with that thing, and Obi-Wan congratulates him with the tone of a dad congratulating his kid for gluing some macaroni to a piece of paper. "Yeah. Uh-huh. So good. That's one for the fridge." But that's all that Obi-Wan has when it comes to staying prepared for his fight against the Empire. He went from steady training partners in the Jedi Order to having a little sphere shoot haphazard lasers at him until he gets bored.
So Obi-Wan's fight against Darth Vader isn't marred by old age or growing pains in a new movie series. It's caused by Obi-Wan not being able to do anything in his off season. He's not thinking "I'll valiantly sacrifice myself, become one with the Force, and it will drive Luke to defeat the Empire." He's thinking "How do you hold this thing again? Two hands or one hand? Oh god, it's Darth Vader. He doesn't look like a robot ball at all. Oh, man. I'm in trouble."
How Do Slasher Movie Killers Catch Up When They're So Slow?
It's a question that we've been asking ever since the first deformed masked man rose from the ocean depths, breathed in his first air, and promptly began chasing a bunch of half-nude camp counselors: How do slasher movie villains catch up? Whenever it comes time to start hunting down all of the teenagers, the teenagers usually get a sizable lead, while the slasher icons hang out in the background, halfheartedly ambling like vengeful mall walkers. And then suddenly the teenager finds that the killer is already in the house or the car or the closet or the pantry, sniffing the old bags of tortilla chips and judging you for how many tweed jackets you own.
In the mid 2000s, there was a grand wave of horror remakes, and many of them sought to "fill in" the previously bare portions of the plot. For example, how did Michael Myers become the way he is? Well, if you cared to know, his parents yelled a lot, mostly. But when they weren't being terrible, pointless, frustrating ideas, they were actually illuminating some of the points that fans had asked about for decades. And one of those points was "How do the slasher characters catch up in Friday The 13th and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Tunnels, bro."
When it comes to sheer size, the two biggest slasher characters are Jason and Leatherface. If there were any characters who might not have the cardio of an athletic young adult, it's the guy who sits around and listens to his mom's decapitated head all day long and the guy whose diet is solely human meat. Not treadmill or "leg day" kind of guys. So installed in the side of Leatherface's Murder n' Crafts basement office is a handy tunnel that lets him pop out on the outskirts of the house when he wants to. You'd think it would be a storm cellar or something, but nope. It's just doors attached to a bizarrely long tunnel, so that Leatherface doesn't have to stomp his bloody shoes on the living room carpet when he wants to get outside. And I'm not just suggesting that as "maybe there are tunnels." They have a literal chase scene through them in both the sequel and the 2003 remake. They're there, and he uses them regularly.
Friday The 13th's Jason, on the other hand, has tunnels that go all around Crystal Lake. First of all, kudos are in order. That is really industrious, and if this whole "disfigured unkillable psychopath" thing doesn't work out, maybe Jason has a future in public works. But any time there's a person chilling by the dock, Jason just pops out of one of his little gopher holes and takes them down. Someone near the mess hall and you don't want to risk exposing yourself from too far away? Head down into your camp-sized crawlspace and worm your way over. Drop a few mini fridges down there and you'd have a pretty solid man cave. Or a big dirt room with a mini fridge in it. Either way, you win.
Daniel has a Twitter, where he mostly talks about Pokemon. Sorry about that.
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