Let’s face it. There are good movies and then there are bad ones. It’s impossible to like ’em all. But sometimes it’s a little more complicated than “I like this” or “I hate that.” There can be films that, while pretty horrible, have some remarkable scenes. This is a list of that very phenomenon: movies that make you die a little inside, but feature a glimpse of awesomeness that might save you from the clutches of death a little longer.
But these aren’t just some random one-offs. They’re famous sequels/prequels … that shouldn’t have been made. These types of entertainment are akin to television shows, where the plots are normally more in-depth and feature more pronounced character development for obvious reasons. Because you have more time with these characters, the “bond” between you and them is exemplified. But sometimes getting more bonding time isn’t always necessarily all rainbows and gumdrops. Sometimes, too much of a good thing just makes it worse. Here’s when that “worse” is exacerbated.
15. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – Whirlpool of Awesome
This series really needs to stop. Like now. It’s kind of getting ridiculous. Back when three Pirates of the Caribbean movies was starting to push it, we, at least, had one fantastic movie (The Curse of the Black Pearl), a so-so sequel (Dead Man’s Chest) and one shipwreck of a film (At World’s End). Now we have, what, two additional listless facsimiles of an immensely tired story? At least we got one incredibly awesome moment from At World’s End.
The scene isn’t good because it’s the perfect example of exceptional dialogue. No. It’s great because it looks cool, nay, awesome. It begins during the middle of something already rad: two ships, the Pearl and Dutchman, battling it out. Then things get real when Calypso (Naomie Harris) summons an enormous maelstrom, which creates an equally ginormous whirlpool. This is awesome because the Pearl and Dutchman get caught up in it. Even more awesome: instead of trying to navigate out of the swirling waters, the crew on both vessels continue fighting. How is this not phenomenal?
14. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn – Treader
Girls Still Have Problems In Narnia
Usually, trying to adapt a very short story into a regular-length movie doesn’t translate well. There’s a reason why the original BBC iteration of The Chronicles of Narnia fused Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader into one entity. But in Disney’s rendition, the creators thought it would be a good idea to make The Voyage of the Dawn Treader into one feature movie.
Out of the insane amount of times the writers took creative license in this “movie,” one worked: illustrating Lucy Pevensie’s (Georgie Henley) insecurities surrounding her sister, Susan Pevensie (Anna Popplewell), who’s become a mature, attractive woman.
In this scene, Lucy recites a beautiful incantation whereby she enters a dream world. Here, she’s Susan, and neither Lucy nor Narnia exist. When Aslan (Liam Neeson), of course, trounces in, he gives Lucy some advice: not run away from who you are. While it’s a line we always hear in movies, it’s overdone for a reason. Sometimes, it’s the simplicity that makes something so profound.
13. Monsters University – Cute, Little Wazowski
Part of what made Monsters, Inc. such a success was that adorable, little girl, Mary “Boo” (Mary Gibbs). But in Monsters University, there are no adorable, little girls.
The only part of the prequel that works is when that desperately needed “cute” factor is included. And the problem is that this only happens at the very beginning. It’s a flashback of when Michael “Mike” Wazowski (Billy Crystal) is a kid (Noah Johnston). It’s not only adorable, but sad, too, because Mike is kind of a reject who gets paired off with his teacher because no one likes him. Cute and sad. The perfect combo. But it doesn’t last long. The story takes place when Wazowski is in college. We want to see these monsters scare, because they care, not because they need to graduate.
12. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Pissed Off Kid
One of the many, many problems with Episode VII is that it dabbles on the outskirts of the two powerhouses of this “new” galaxy: the next “Empire” – the First World Order – and yet another rebellion—the Resistance. Instead, we follow a rogue, cowardly Stormtrooper and a scavenger girl (with abandonment issues). While this is fine to a degree, this restricts our “view” of what this galaxy is capable of.
The few times we actually get to see this galaxy is through Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). This kid has some serious grand-daddy issues (Kylo liked it when his grand-papi was Vader, not Ani). This not only estranges him from the rest of his family, but leaves him with a plethora of negative feelings to contend with. Remember: the path to the dark side involves a great deal of negative emotions: fear, anger, hate and suffering. And this kid experiences all of that… and more… especially when he has a “little” freak out, destroying everything in the vicinity with his lightsaber. His reaction is borderline epileptic… and it’s glorious.
11. Matrix Reloaded – The Architect
This is one of the few instances on our list where the particular sequel we discuss (Reloaded) is actually far better than the sequel proceeding it (Revolution). The problem is there’s nothing good in the Matrix Revolution to write about. So we’re left discussing a less “sucky” film because it contains one highly profound moment.
Here it is: the scene when Neo (Keanu Reeves) meets the Architect (Helmut Bakaitis) — in an awesome room. When you’re able to tear your attention away from the endless monitors on the room’s walls, you’ll find out that Architect presents Neo with a choice. Neo can reboot the Matrix (destroy everything and start a new world) or make the Matrix crash (end mankind). Yes, it’s very similar to the Oracle (Gloria Foster)’s ultimatum in the first movie. The difference here is that the entire world is at stake, not just someone’s life.
10. Avengers: Age of Ultron – Age of Reddington
There are many things wrong with not only Avengers movies but anything starring Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). The saving grace in this film is undoubtedly the villain, Ultron, who’s played by the highly talented James Spader. Basically, every scene where he’s given the chance to speak counters the endless smut that permeates the film.
What’s so great about Spader as Ultron is that Spader’s character Raymond “Red” Reddington from The Blacklist exudes from Ultron. See, Reddington has a knack of sharing ostensibly ambivalent anecdotes that have nothing to do with what’s going on. And Ultron does this, too. And that’s a good thing.
One of Ultron’s best spiels is when he first meets Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) at a church. When they arrive, Ultron decides to talk about why the church was built in the center of the city rather than getting down to business, saying, “The elders decreed it so that everyone could be equally close to God.” Ultron later shares he likes that. We do, too.
9. Twilight Breaking Dawn: Part I – Breaking Bella
This isn’t the only “Part I and Part II” monstrosity on this list. Even though overly extending the final part of a series to create a “cliffhanger” is lucrative, it’s detrimental to the film overall. All we want to see in Part I is the final battle. But we don’t get to. We see everything else, including a wedding and a rather awkward honeymoon.
While most of the film is nothing more than elongated filler, there is one incredibly amazing scene that will always stand out: when Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) gives birth. Heck, even before the bloodbath, Bella’s baby breaks her back. That, alone, is intense. When the birthing insanity ensues, we’re subjected to rather short, yet intense close-ups of the chaotic and highly painful process. Even though we’re limited to brief moments, they are, however, highly disturbing and vomit-inducing… in a good way.
8. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them – Avada Kapital Punishment
In an earlier TheRichest story, we covered 15 reasons why Fantastic Beasts was, well, not fantastic. Mainly, the problem is the film is overly saturated with a specific plotline that eclipses what’s actually interesting. Ironically, it’s the “fantastic” creatures that ruins everything.
There are, on rare occasion, moments when we don’t have to deal with these wretched beasts, and it’s a breath of fresh air. The best moment revolves around a specific form of punishment that no one expected: execution. Yes. Apparently, in the Wizarding World, they execute criminals (or, at least, they did in the 1920s, when the movie is set, or just in America, where the story takes place). Regardless, the mere shock factor alone makes the scene immensely compelling.
7. Star Trek: Into Darkness – Klingons Lead Us Out Of Darkness
Here we are again. A sequel (Into Darkness) whose consecutive sequel (Beyond) is much, much worse. Strangely, the title of this film perfectly describes what this movie signifies about the Star Trek reboot: a descent into darkness.
Even though this reiteration takes place in an alternate reality (which gives the writers some creative leeway), fans still want to see what they know. And there’s a moment when we think we will… the franchise’s most iconic race, the Klingons. But we only get a taste. It’s a glorious taste. But a taste, nonetheless.
It ends when Starfleet operative John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) kills them off in, at least, an epic battle. While inherently rad, the consequences are twofold: we lose the Klingons and we’re introduced to an abomination, a Khan Noonien Singh that’s not of Indian descent. W-T-F.
6. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I – Strangle That Girl
Here’s yet another “Part I and Part II” fiasco. Director Francis Lawrence’s “reason” to go down this horrific route was there are apparently “two distinct stories” in Mockingjay. But the only distinction is that one is bad and the other is incandescently worse.
While the story in Part I needs some serious hacking, it ends on a relatively high note. After Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), who was captured by President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and his tyrannical Capitol, is saved, we come to discover he’s been “hijacked,” or brainwashed into wanting nothing more than to kill Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence).
5. Suicide Squad – Crazy Gangsta
Before Suicide Squad hit theaters, the thing people thought would destroy the movie ended up becoming its savior: Jared Leto as the Joker. Part of the problem was Leto’s name isn’t Heath Leger. The other was this new Joker had tattoos (expressing himself beyond his insanity).
But the Joker having some ink is not a problem. Leto’s interpretation of such an iconic character is just that awesome. It was something wholly unexpected: he made Joker (or Joka) a “gansta” with an “a”. Ironically, he’s hardly in the film. Instead, he’s lost in the horrible cast of characters that make up the Suicide Squad, especially Deadshot (Will Smith), and, yes, even Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) who’s “charm” quickly fades. Within the span of 123 minutes, she somehow becomes a caricature of herself.
But before this happens, there’s a highly disturbing scene in a night club where the Joker offers his girl as a prize to one of his goons. It’s immensely awkward, yet intriguing as hell, and ends too quickly—with a bang.
4. Transformers: Age of Extinction – Ratchet Goes Extinct
There are many people who despise everything about Transformers. But there’s a reason for the series’ interminable badness. Michael Bay has said, “I make movies for teenage boys.”
So while little boys like these films, that’s about it.
The specific problem in Age of Extinction is that we have to get reintroduced to a new set of humans who get entangled in the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons. They’re boring (yes, even you, Mark Wahlberg).
What’s cool, however, is the main storyline: the Autobots have become outlaws and are hunted down by a rogue CIA black ops division, Cemetery Wind. Heck, there’s even a Cybertronian bounty hunter helping them out, Lockdown (Mark Ryan). And the most badass scene in the movie, of course, involves him.
Lockdown, who’s searching for Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), finds Ratchet (Robert Foxworth) and decides to execute him. And it’s insane: as he’s getting killed, Ratchet begs for mercy. This is always intense.
3. The Golden Age Arc I – The Egg of the King Killing Kid Craziness
The purpose of this film (along with the other two in the trilogy) was to spearhead the effort of relaunching the 1997 anime series, Berserk. But rather than recreate the episodes that already aired, director Toshiyuki Kubooka decided to condense those 25 episodes (750 minutes) into three movies (288 minutes) before continuing the story in his new series.
So, they basically took an amazing story and stripped it.
They also made it CGI, which is an abomination in and of itself, seeing as Kentaro Miura’s art is stunning. But that’s a whole other story.
The scene that stands out is a moment that also stood out in the series. Strangely, the movie did a better way of portraying it. In it, Guts (Marc Diraison) assassinates a man named Julius (already awesome) but gets spotted by the victim’s son, Adonis… and there can be no witnesses. When Guts runs the boy through, Adonis’ suffering is compounded exponentially (when compared to the series). There’s more blood, sobbing and overall morbidity. It’s brutal. Humans (especially children) being killed is more emotionally heartbreaking than an Autobot. It’s just a shame that it’s in CGI.
2. Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith – Palpatine Poisons Anakin, Yet Saves Christensen
Part of the reason why people despise the prequel trilogy in Star Wars is because Hayden Christensen was such a horrible Anakin Skywalker. Even though Revenge of the Sith received the least amount of Golden Raspberry Awards nominations than the previous two prequels, Christensen still “won” Worst Supporting Actor.
And yet, when Christensen is with Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) in Sith, everything is just dandy because Ian is a phenomenal actor. Plus, we know Palpatine is poisoning Anakin’s mind.
The best scene takes place at the Coruscant-Galaxies Opera House-Night. Everything they discuss is highly engaging (namely feelings of betrayal and what “good” and “evil” signify), especially when the conversation segues to “the tragedy of Darth Plagueis ‘the wise.’”
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Part 1) – A Haunting Melody
There were two insurmountable forces that The Hobbit Trilogy faced and suffered from. One, they were compared to The Lord of the Rings. Two, director Peter Jackson decided to tackle the ridiculously impossible task of stretching a novel into three movies (partly because Jackson said The Hobbit is a “relatively light weight compared to LOTR”). Ironically, the end result became what Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) says how “old age” makes him feel: “thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”
Another irony: the best scene in the trilogy is in the worst movie (part I). It’s the iconic moment when the Dwarves, after crashing Bilbo Baggins’ (Martin Freeman) house, sing “Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold.” The melody is haunting and creates a foreboding atmosphere of the truly remarkable story that’s about to unfold… in LOTR, not The Hobbit.