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Star Wars to Toy Story: 15 annoying plot holes in otherwise great movies

Star Wars to Toy Story: 15 annoying plot holes in otherwise great movies

Tthere is nothing worse than a fan of smart-alec movies.

We all did it, of course. He was stripping down a cheesy blockbuster because of its perceived flaws. Dug holes in some messy plot logic. He proposed a different ending that would make a lot more sense.

The fact is, however, that we are often not as smart as we think. Often movies are just more interested in telling stories than being bulletproof from pedants.

Sometimes even widespread complaints are completely stupid. People are watching Titanic, for example, and ask why Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t just jump in the door next to Kate Winslet at the end. It’s enough to make you want to scream, “That’s not how buoyancy works!”

But sometimes the plot holes are so outrageous that you just can’t leave them. These are the ones that really stick in your mind and make you look for any plausible explanation.

Some of the best movies ever made can still contain some surprising plot holes, from Citizen Kane Down Back to the future. No matter what defense people come up with, there’s always a nagging feeling that never quite goes away.

Here are the 15 biggest plot holes in popular movies…

doomed to Shawshank

Frank Darabont’s prison drama features a famous plot twist where it is revealed that wrongly imprisoned Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) has secretly broken out of Shawshank Prison, hiding his escape route behind a Rita Hayworth poster. But how did he manage to reattach the bottom of the poster after walking through it?

Karate child

The last act of an 80s classic Karate child, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) defeats his rival Johnny Lawrence (Billy Żabka) with a sensational kick to the head. However, early in the fight, it was determined that headbutts were not allowed under the tournament rules – which meant that LaRusso should have been disqualified. It’s a plot hole that was made fun of in the recent sequel to the series, Kobra Kai.

The Karate Kid (1984) was one of the most important pop movies of the 1980s


Toy Story

Many of the first Toy Story revolves around Buzz Lightyear’s (Tim Allen) refusal to accept that he is actually a child’s toy. If that were the case, why would he pretend to be dead every time a human entered the room? It’s a plot hole that has been questioned by fans for years, and no explanation is ever quite satisfactory.


A sci-fi hit from the nineties Armageddon contained a plot hole so glaring that Ben Affleck laughed it off in the film’s DVD commentary: with Earth in mortal peril, NASA decides to train a cadre of drillers to become astronauts, a long, expensive (and in fact unfeasible) process, rather than just training existing astronauts how to handle a drill. “I asked [director Michael Bay] why it was easier to train drillers to be astronauts than astronauts to be drillers,” Affleck said in a comment. “He told me to shut the fuck up, so that was the end of that conversation.”

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Back to the future

Digging holes in Robert Zemeckis’ timeless time travel might be at odds with the goofy spirit of the film. But one lingering quibble is hard to shake off: Why didn’t Marty McFly’s parents notice that their son looked identical to the odd and charismatic teenager who once framed them? Even if you accept that it’s been decades since they last saw his face, it’s hard to believe that they won’t notice the eerie similarities.

Michael J Fox as Marty McFly in Back to the Future

(Universal Studios)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

At the end of Peter Jackson’s nearly 10-hour fantasy trilogy, a powerful deus ex machina ensues as the forces of good are saved by the arrival of the Great Eagles. But this scene left many viewers wondering: why couldn’t the Eagles just drop everyone off to Mordor? The apparent plot hole spawned endless debates among Middle-earth fanatics, with counter-arguments reaching deep into the eagle lore to disprove its merits. But the fact is that for the casual viewer, it was a surprisingly simple solution that everyone on screen ignored.

Citizen Kane

Even a movie as immortally great as Citizen Kane has its weaknesses – and the iconic opening scene is one of them. When Charles Foster Kane dies alone in his bedroom, he utters a mysterious word: “Rosebud”. The word becomes a riddle that journalists try to decipher. The only problem? There was no one around to hear it.

Beauty and the Beast

The titular beast from this classic Disney cartoon is approaching its 21st birthday; then the spell becomes permanent. And yet, one of the songs suggests that he lived as a beast for a whole decade, implying that he was cursed when he was still a teenager. Not only does this raise a lot of questions about the circumstances leading up to the curse, but it also directly contradicts the portrayal of the beast we see when it was human and very much like an adult.

Beauty and the Beast was released during the Disney Renaissance in the 1990s


Ant man

In this Marvel whim, it is stated several times that Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) retains his full-size mass whenever he shrinks down to the size of an ant. This is what allows him to hit people when he’s tiny. However, it breeds a whole load of inconsistency in the way Ant-Man interacts with the world – not least when his human-sized mass can fly on the back of an ant-sized ant.

Butterfly Effect

This poorly received Ashton Kutcher-starring thriller was pretty solid in terms of understanding the butterfly effect on points, showing how small changes in the moment can have far-reaching consequences. However, there were mistakes, such as the moment Kutcher’s character travels back in time to impale his child self on the hands – which led him to exactly the same adult circumstances, only with scars on his hands. The idea that this experience wouldn’t have had much of an impact on young lives is, frankly, absurd and goes against most of what the rest of the movie is trying to say.


M Night Shyamalan’s 2021 sci-fi drama about a beach where people age quickly was twisted, funny, and original. So it’s a pity that the ending of the film depended on one of the strangest plot ideas of recent years. Shyamalan’s character, tasked with watching the victims on the beach from afar, decides to pack up his gear and leave after the last two people have gone underwater for only a few minutes – apparently recognizing that no one will survive that long. After watching them for hours, suddenly he couldn’t take a minute to be sure? It’s a hilarious moment in a movie that is otherwise a thought-provoking and deeply disturbing watch.

Not a Day at the Beach: Guy (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Trent (Alex Wolff) in “Old”

(Universal Studios)

star Wars: The Force Awakens

Over the course of its more than a dozen films, the Star Wars franchise has boasted its fair share of plot holes and inadvertent Easter eggs, though at one point in 2015 The Force Awakens he had particularly armed fans. When Rey (Daisy Ridley) and the gang return from Starkiller Base after the death of Han Solo, General Leia (Carrie Fisher) rushes to hug her sadly and regretfully, completely ignoring Chewbacca, her longtime friend and Han’s former confidante. Probably with the old one.

The Dark Knight Rises

While the film had its staunchest defenders, there was a lot of talk about Christopher Nolan’s 2012 trilogy. The Dark Knight Rises it just seemed a bit undercooked. Whether the entire police force was lured underground and imprisoned, or the fact that world famous billionaire Bruce Wayne was able to fake his death and live his life without being recognized, the plot holes were so deep in this movie that that they can be tracked all the way to the bat cave.

The Dark Knight Rises Trailer 3

Black Panther

After T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is nearly killed in a fight with Eric Kilmonger (Michael B Jordan), he ends up in a river and swims downstream until a fisherman pulls him out of the water. However, we later learn that the tribe who discovers it are vegetarians – so what are they fishing for?

Silence please

While it is unquestionably one of the better studio horror films of recent years, Silence please was ridiculed for a few minor tweaks – such as a board that said “How much in the area?” written in capital letters. One rather conspicuous plot hole occurs halfway through the film, when the family goes to a nearby waterfall and is able to scream to each other without detecting the sound of the water. Any sane person would look at it and go… why not get closer to the waterfall? Some people just like silence.

This article was originally published in May 2022


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