Movie villains enshrine themselves forever in our imaginations with their larger-than-life personas, their zany outfits, and of course, their grand and diabolical designs on life as we know it. While some villains’ plans are actually quite ingenious and would have been very hard to undo if not for the last-minute intervention of our intrepid heroes, these are not the type of plans we are here to discuss.
In this list, we will go over villains whose plans seem okay on the surface but are almost laughably bad once you stop to think about them for a minute. Spoilers ahead—you’ve been warned.
10 Emperor’s Plan at End of Rise of Skywalker Is Actually Completely Hilarious
At the end of Rise of Skywalker, we find out the Emperor is alive (with no explanation) and that he has made a thousand Star Destroyers that have planet-destroying super-lasers similar to the one on the Death Stars. However, there are some serious problems with Palpatine’s plan, not even getting into the fact that the element of surprise is useful, and he announces himself before his ships have left dry-dock. Worse yet, though, is that the plan, in general, has more holes than swiss cheese. The thing about the Death Stars is that they were extremely hard to destroy, the first one had a single weak point, and the second one would have been nigh impossible to destroy with a fleet from outside if they had managed to finish building it.
However, star destroyers are quite destructible, and rogue fleets of smaller ships, as we see at the end of the movie, would easily swarm and destroy them before they could get within planet-destroying range. Considering how large the Star Wars galaxy is presumed to be, the random people fighting the empire are just a motley group that Lando threw together in a day; it’s hardly close to the strength of all galactic privateers. Even if they got free, the Emperor’s group of Star Destroyers would have quickly become too spread out and been annihilated by tiny fleets of freighters and suicidal fighter pilots.
9 Once Scar Tricked Mufasa to His Death, All He Needed Was to Eat Simba
We all know the story of The Lion King, how Scar tricked Mufasa to his death while also making Simba self-exile from guilt, thinking it was his fault. And the truth is, Scar made an absolutely stupendous error. Once Mufasa was gone, all Scar had to do was eat Simba—the little lion cub would have posed no real threat at that size—and then kill and eat any other remaining lion cubs that were not his own offspring. After that, he could simply move in as the leader, and no one would question him.
In the lion kingdom, this is normal behavior. Whenever a new male lion or lions take control of the pride, they simply kill and eat any lion cubs that are not their own offspring and then replenish the pack with their own DNA. While it is a nice Disney movie, they wouldn’t go with such a dark plot. In real life, the story would have been a lot shorter, and Simba would have been in Scar’s belly. For those wondering, only about 20% of lion cubs ever make it to adulthood.
8 The Machines in The Matrix Waste Power to Keep Humans Alive
In the first movie, we are told by Morpheus that the robots are keeping us alive in order to use us as giant batteries to keep them powered. However, this is one of the biggest plot holes in movie history because it really doesn’t make any sense. As far as the laws of thermodynamics and science in general go, this is a really dumb idea. Even if you could theoretically make it work, you could generate more power by just burning the resources you are using to keep the humans alive.
The only explanation—apart from it being a plot hole and the writers not understanding science—is that the machines, being partly sentient, are amused by us. Or they have some kind of affection toward us and actually don’t want us entirely destroyed. The battery idea is something they could want us to think, so we don’t realize we are basically a reality show for their amusement.
7 The Villains in Jurassic World Are So Dumb, Cartoonish Doesn’t Begin to Describe It
Jurassic World is a movie full of stupid choices. From leaving the door open while checking the pen of a supposedly escaped dinosaur (that we know can camouflage) to attacking said dinosaur with a bunch of guys on foot with tranquilizer guns and all the way up to the CEO of the park, who is a novice helicopter pilot, trying to destroy the escapee with a machine gun attachment and ending up crashing into a giant glass enclosure of pterodactyls.
What we are saying is that the decisions in this movie are already some of the dumbest imaginable, and the people in it are all already cartoonishly stupid, but the villains are beyond even that. InGen is up to its old tricks, and they want to train raptors to fight in battle for them, like trained dogs or something. And they somehow believe it will revolutionize warfare.
In order to test this theory, they do a live-fire exercise where they free a bunch of raptors and try to fight alongside them to kill another dinosaur. In order to punish them for their own hubris, the raptors decide to team up with the dinosaur they are meant to catch, and helpfully murder the rest of the park mercenaries they are supposed to be helping.
6 Erik Killmonger’s Plan Would Work if Wakanda Didn’t Exist in the Marvel Universe
In Black Panther, we learn the “poor” nation of Wakanda is actually a secret paradise of riches and technology, boosted by a rare metal called vibranium native to the region. This technology has allowed them to hide from colonialism, but some felt they should have fought back against it. This included the uncle of the current Black Panther, who was destroyed for his betrayal of his country, leaving behind a son in America.
That son, who goes by the moniker Killmonger, devises a plan to rejoin Wakanda, challenge T’Challa for the throne, and take control of the country. Then he plans to give out vibranium weapons to all the various rebel groups he has throughout the world and start a revolution where they take over and rule from Wakanda as lords of the entire world, finally righting all the wrongs of slavery and colonialism and making sure everyone lives in proper peace and harmony. The problem with this plan is that the Avengers exist, as do all the other superpowered heroes in this universe, one of whom already makes use of vibranium technology.
5 Professor Moriarty Isn’t Much of a Genius, Just a Jerk With a Lot of Shell Companies
At the beginning of Sherlock Holmes, A Game of Shadows, we learn the world is lurching towards war, and Holmes suspects Moriarty is behind it all. After some very dangerous investigations that almost cost himself, John Watson, and John’s new wife their lives, he discovers that his arch-nemesis Moriarty has been secretly pulling strings to make things worse while being a good friend of the prime minister and a supposed man of peace on the outside. We learn that the real reason Moriarty went to incredibly absurd lengths to start an entire world war is so that he can “own the bullets and the bandages” while people fight. Things he owns by investing in hundreds of shell companies—something Holmes destroys by stealing and decoding his secret notebook.
The silly thing about all this is that there is no need to go to all this trouble and potentially end up getting caught—like he did—and being pulled over a waterfall. You don’t need to start a war to get governments to buy bullets and bandages. They buy them in peacetime anyway and stock up anytime you make things sound slightly worse. Moriarty would probably make more money over time by keeping tensions high but not starting a war, so countries still had strong economies to buy but felt the need to stockpile.
4 Ozymandias Plan in Watchmen Would Just Start a World War, Not Unite People
In the movie Watchmen, Nixon is in a third term after winning the Vietnam War with the help of superheroes and has now outlawed them further. One anti-hero named Rorschach believes former heroes are being targeted, but it soon becomes clear something more is going on. As the story progresses, the blue, radioactive, god-like superhero Doctor Manhattan is accused of giving people cancer and leaves the Earth in disgrace and sadness.
Not long after this, we reach the lair of another hero named Ozymandias, known to be the smartest and fastest man in the world. After a convoluted final battle, he activates several superweapons that destroy major cities in every major country on Earth, especially the nuclear ones. And he makes it look like it was Doctor Manhattan. The entire world somehow unites behind Doctor Manhattan as a common enemy, who believes it’s best to make them think he did it, so there will be peace and a permanent end to the cold war. He then leaves the planet willingly so the charade will continue.
None of this, of course, makes any sense at all. The fact is that Doctor Manhattan is still seen as an American hero, and even if he did destroy U.S. cities as well, this would almost certainly unite the countries against each other, not just make them angry at Doctor Manhattan. And nations would be especially angry at the USA for unleashing him.
3 Despite J.K. Rowling’s Justifications, Voldemort’s Plan for His Horcruxes Is Very Stupid
In book six of Harry Potter, we learn Voldemort has been splitting his soul when he kills people and hiding the pieces in objects to anchor himself to the mortal world. Harry, at first, is despairing, wondering at the enormity of the task ahead of them, as Dumbledore explains that all these magic vessels must be destroyed so the dark wizard will no longer be anchored to the Earth. Dumbledore reassures him, though, explaining that Voldemort would have been sentimental and wanted to put them in objects that had value. And also ones he would be able to get back to if he needed to. However, apart from vanity, there is really no reason to put them in anything special; it just makes it easier for your enemies to identify. And to make matters worse, putting them somewhere you can get to them gives your enemies a way to get to them and is basically pointless.
Even if he could put his soul back together, there is no indication he even wanted to, as he thought having it in seven pieces—”the most powerfully magical number”—would be a big deal. And finally, if he had put them in random objects and then magicked them so someone couldn’t get back to them, people would have to keep destroying his body, and he would keep coming back like Ganondorf again and again.
2 The Aliens in Signs Are So Incompetent It’s Like a Child’s Fevered Dream
In the movie Signs, our heroes start to notice strange crop circles, then weird noises on the radio. Before long, things have escalated to the point that they see a bizarre video on television where what looks like a gray alien is seen walking through the frame. Not long after that, they are huddled in their basement, expecting an impending alien invasion. As the movie progresses, we find that aliens who managed to spend unknown light years traversing the galaxy and have humanlike appendages somehow have more trouble opening doors than a common housecat and cannot break through wood. Also, by the way, they are incredibly weak to water.
When the movie ends, it is accepted that “they came for us, to harvest us,” which leaves us with some of the dumbest aliens imaginable. They are smart enough to have technology that can invade Earth but don’t have bio suits to protect them from water, the most prevalent thing on the planet—something they are deathly allergic to. And they are somehow trying to harvest us, despite us being mostly bags of squishy water with some crunchy bones within. Even after scouting first and setting up landing pads in our fields, they couldn’t even figure out how to protect themselves from water or a baseball bat… and couldn’t open a simple wooden door.
1 Thanos’s Entire Plan Is Absurd on Its Face
We all know of Thanos’s plan to snap half of all life out of existence using the Infinity Stones in order to solve what he believes is a serious resource problem throughout the galaxy. However, there are a few giant holes in his plan. For one, his plan also has him destroying half of plant and animal life, which doesn’t really fix the resource problem. Suddenly eliminating half of the people does free up some current resources, but it also culls a lot of people who may have been in important positions or doing important things. Now, for argument’s sake, say Thanos thinks of all this and makes sure the snap doesn’t affect people driving a car or flying a plane, so we don’t have extra casualties, leaves a fair distribution of people with the right expertise per region, doesn’t touch plant or animal life, and leaves almost nothing to chance.
Major problems still remain, though, because most resource issues are actually infrastructure related, and for argument’s sake, even if they weren’t, killing a bunch of people doesn’t change the fact people will just breed again. Thanos destroys the stones so no one can undo what he did, but that means he cannot do it again once populations inevitably boom again, especially with all the abundant resources they now have. In the end, Thanos just wants to commit genocide, and no positives would be gained. At least in the comics, they were more honest about it, and he just wanted to do it to be a big shot and impress the female deity that personified death.