They are the unforgivable plot points that just didn’t make sense; the logic gaps that stopped you in your tracks; the nonsensical moments from 2016 movies that didn’t get spotted from the first draft. Spoilers await…
‘X-Men Apocalypse’ – Ageless of Apocalypse
Where do you start? The tangled and twisted ‘X-Men’ universe is so full of plot holes and parallel timelines it’s impossible to join the dots. By far the biggest plot hole in ‘Apocalypse’ is the fact that none of the characters seem to have aged at all – the film is set in 1983, 21 years after the events of ‘X-Men: First Class’, but the cast have barely aged a day.
We’ll give the mutants a free pass because of their dynamite DNA, but the human characters – like Rose Byrne’s Moira MacTaggart – must have been mainlining Oil of Ulay for two straight decades. And if all of the X-Men movies are supposed to be inter-connected, we still haven’t really got over the clanger that Bolivar Trask is played by two actors: Bill Duke (tall, black) and Peter Dinklage (short, white).
‘Suicide Squad’ – Boomerang returns
Of all the movies released in 2016, ‘Suicide Squad’ was the one most meddled with in the editing suite: with scenes reshot, cut short or just plain removed, the film suffered death by a thousand cuts. The movie is basically one gigantic plot hole, in that instead of a plot it has a total absence of one, but one small moment really ground our gears. Late in the movie, when the Squad pull up into a bar and drown their sorrows on the eve of their defeat, Captain Boomerang calls it a day and says g’day, exiting stage left. Except literally a minute or so later, when the Squad leave to face the final battle, Boomerang does what boomerangs do and returns – except he offers no explanation why he changed his mind, or where he went. Maybe he was just having a wee in the alley.
‘Star Trek Beyond’ – Bike me up, Scotty
You have to be careful when you talk plot holes with a franchise like ‘Star Trek’, because we’re very much in uber-nerd territory here: any flaw you think you’ve found in the series’ technology can probably be explained by the reams and reams of expanded Trek universe info that lurks in the dankest corners of the internet’s wikis. There is, however, a gripe that can’t be reason away with pseudo-science. When Kirk and Jaylah use the transporter to beam themselves into the thick of an action sequence, the old-school motorbike they’re riding on is already travelling at top speed – which would be physically impossible, given the size of the transporter room they beamed in from. Yes, we definitely are picking holes in movies about space aliens.
‘Doctor Strange’ – Agamotto not so hotto
Through the first two acts of ‘Doctor Strange’, Mordo acts as a kind of advisor to Strange, espousing advice like a human version of Clippy, the Microsoft Word help icon. One thing Mordo is very strict on is the misuse of the Eye of Agamotto and how it can be misused to tamper with time itself – even when he’s only used it to replenish an apple. Terrible things could happen, we’re told – the very fabric of the universe could be under threat, we’re told. Except… here’s the thing: in the movie’s climax, Strange uses the Infinity Gem to reverse a whole bunch of time, un-razing an entire city, saving thousands of lives and vanquishing a demon from a dark dimension. And the consequences of this are… nothing? Nothing bad happens at all. Except Mordo throwing a bit of a hissy fit. (The alternate dimension of this plot hole: why doesn’t Strange reverse time far back enough to save the Ancient One?)
‘Captain America: Civil War’ – Cap knows best
This is a controversial one, because arguably there is an explanation for it – it’s just not explicit… and it’s not even in this movie. The movie hinges on the relationship between Cap and Tony Stark, but the balance is thrown in the last act when Tony discovers that his parents were murdered by a mind-controlled Bucky in his HYDRA days. Worse, when questioned, Cap says he knew all along. But how? We just found out now. Baron Zemo purposely only now released the video to Stark for maximum effect. If you believe the filmmakers, the ‘answer’ can be found in ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’: when Cap and Black Widow are confronted by a gigantic digital plot dump by a computerised Armin Zola, there are clues in that scene to suggest that’s the moment Rogers learns the truth about the Starks. But it’s a stretch. Shouldn’t such a pivotal point be a little clearer?
‘Don’t Breathe’ – Ear we go
This US indie horror movie surprised everyone to make it to #1 at the box-office, but it did so by breaking a lot of its own rules. Stephen Lang’s murderous blind man claims his lack of sight has heightened his other senses, yet he fires a handgun in an enclosed space just inches away from his own head, which would surely shatter his finely-tuned ear drums, no? Also, having heightened senses shouldn’t make you invulnerable to hammer blows or broken bottles – by the end of the movie, he’s practically superhuman.
‘Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice’ – Lex appeal
Lex Luthor is a strange little figure at the centre of this epic superhero face-off, but he’s also the cause of the majority of the movie’s plot holes. Never mind that his evil plan is almost psychic in its predictions of the actions of all of the main characters, and never mind that he’s arrested by the movie’s end yet is still able to freely communicate with the alien ship in the deleted scene revealed straight after the movie’s release. The biggest plot hole is exactly how Luthor is able to show how Kryptonite cuts right through Kryptonian cells, with a video showing just that – because later, he has to request special access to General Zod’s body from the US government, who were in possession of the corpse. Generally, they don’t let randos perform experiments on top secret dead aliens on request.
‘Now You See Me 2’ – Now you see me twice
Sure, any potential plot hole in this sequel could be written off with ‘it was all an illusion’, but we’re not buying it. For example: there’s a clear case of a character supposedly being in two places at the same time. In one scene in London, Dave Franco’s card sharp Jack Wilder can be seen performing his card swap trick, but later on in the movie’s big reveal, Woody Harrelson’s character tells us that Jack was supposedly hypnotising his twin brother at the exact same time he was seen earlier – except in a completely different location. How would this have been possible? No amount of sleight of hand can distract from this glaring error.
‘Zootropolis’ – What a howler
We can forgive this oversight as it moves the plot along nicely in a film that’s funny and way more clever than it has any right to be – however, a plot hole is a plot hole. We learn that Emmitt Otterton, the missing person around which the movie’s entire plot takes place, was being driven by Mr Big’s chauffeur when he suddenly went savage and attacked the driver; that driver, Manchas, tells us how the otter started yelling about “night howlers” before he went insane. We’re led to think he’s talking about wolves, but we later learn what really caused him to go savage: a sniper shot him with a pellet containing the toxic night howler serum. But how did Otterton know that’s what he was shot with? It’s an almighty logic leap that he’d be able to identify the concoction in the seconds of sanity he had left.
‘Finding Dory’ – Pipe down
We know Dory lost her parents and she’s been trying to find them ever since. This sequel sets up the Marine Life Institute as a sacred sanctuary for all sea life, including Blue Tang fish and including Dory’s family. Why then, if the MLI is such a fantastic safe space for fishes, is there a pipe in the Open Ocean exhibit that leads… um, straight to the open ocean? If the fish are there to be rehabilitated and looked after, it makes no sense for there to be a pipe that violently ejects them from their cushy tank life directly to the harsh elements of the sea. No wonder the fish need rehabilitating: they’re living in constant fear of homelessness.