The last five years have seen plenty of films to thrill moviegoers. We’ve seen the rise of the comic book franchises of Marvel and Warner Bros; action films that try to be smart and not just thrills; fantastic stunts and FX but also fun dramas amid the huge franchises. No matter what the genre is, one thing is still true: Moviegoers love a great plot twist.
Some are better than others and you can complain about a few being so obvious you could see them coming a mile off. When done correctly, a twist throws everything you know about the film in a new regard, adding to its fun and makes you want to look back at all the clues laid out beforehand. Some can’t quite pull it off but others are able to do so wonderfully and make the movie stand out more. It’s easy to look back at great twists of the past but the last five years have offered some interesting ones that change things up. Here are the 10 best plot twists in movies of the 2010s and hopefully more to come.
Quite obviously, SPOILERS abound for these.
10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens
9 Final Destination 5
These movies follow a set but still fun pattern: Someone gets a vision of a massive disaster (in this case, a giant bridge collapse) with various gruesome deaths and manages to save himself and some friends from it. However, Death doesn’t like to be cheated and one by one the survivors are picked off in various brutal ways. For the most part, the (so far truly final) entry in the series plays on that, with the discovery that if one of these people kills another victim, they’ll live off that person’s years, setting up various murders amid the usual accidents. In the end, it appears that hero Sam and his girlfeind Molly have survived after killing classmate Peter and prepare to take a vacation to Paris. As they sit on the plane, they hear a commotion as a guy is screaming the plane is going to crash and is dragged off by security with several of his classmates following. We then see a ticket telling us this is flight 180, departing in 2001…and realize that the entire movie has been a prequel to the very first Final Destination film and the plane explodes just after takeoff.
8 Now You See Me
This 2013 film has a fun caper as four magicians (Jessie Eisenburg, lsla Fisher, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco) become famous as the “Four Horsemen,” whose magic acts cover their ripping off corrupt millionaires and giving away their money to the public. The FBI is called in with Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) dubious in how these tricks are done and calls on Thaddeus (Morgan Freeman), who specializes in debunking magic and illusions. The cat and mouse game between the two groups goes on throughout the film, Rhodes one step behind these guys and baffled by their moves as Thaddeus tries to help him out. One big heist ends with the money found in Thaddeus’ car and he’s arrested as the group’s accomplice. In jail, he defends himself to Rhodes, saying the real “Fifth Horseman” has to be someone who knew magic, who was in on the case, who could pull this off…
7 Iron Man 3
6 Furious 6
4 Gone Girl
1 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
It’s one thing to have a plot twist that changes your movie. It’s another to have a twist that transforms an entire cinematic universe. Such is the case in this 2014 blockbuster as Cap (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) are on the run from an apparently corrupt SHIELD and check out an old Army base. There, they discover a computer containing the mind of former Hydra scientist Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) who drops the bomb on them: After WWII, Hydra infiltrated SHIELD, spreading their agents about, sowing chaos across the world and are ready to finally take over. In other words, SHIELD has been controlled by the bad guys practically from the start with Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) one of their key leaders.
It’s a stunning twist you didn’t see coming and throws the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe off. By the end of the film, Hydra has come out in attacks and SHIELD is destroyed which naturally played huge on the Agents of SHIELD TV series and in later Marvel films. It’s still a daring move by the MCU producers that makes you realize you can’t take anything for granted, especially in a comic book film.
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