Gaps in logic, storytelling inconsistencies, contradicting resolutions – these are typical traits of the “plot hole” (also known as a plot error), which is a flaw in the script that reduces the credibility of a film, depending on how severe the error is.
That being said, it’s not uncommon for movies to have plot holes. In fact, most major motion pictures and big budget productions will have some sort of inconsistency with its predetermined logic as a byproduct of too many minds trying to craft a single, coherent narrative on screen. Plot holes are byproducts of a big, busy, production… and only the absolute best of the best storytellers and filmmakers have been able to direct movies that are (almost) flawless.
For every other movie out there, it’s just a matter of trying to mask that plot hole with distractions for the audience; lots of action scenes, huge set pieces, or an otherwise captivating story with lovable characters. Most times, people don’t notice plot holes until they’re called out. The truth is, movies with plot holes are extremely enjoyable nevertheless, but it’s fun to look out for these errors in storytelling once we are aware of them. Here are 25 plot holes from some of the biggest, most popular films in cinematic history that producers and directors hoped we wouldn’t notice.
25 How Did The Precogs See A Falsified Event? (Minority Report)
Minority Report remains, to this day, one of Tom Cruise’s best films. Set in the distant future, it’s a movie about a trio of psychics called Precogs and how they can see an event even before it happens, allowing Tom Cruise and his team of officers to stop bad things from happening… that is, until Cruise sees an immoral action that HE will commit.
In the end it’s revealed at it was all an elaborate plan to frame Cruise’s character, John Anderton, with the villain tampering with evidence to fuel Anderton’s desire for revenge. The question is, how did the Precogs see the event, then? The movie’s plot relies on Precogs accurately foreseeing the future… but if their visions can be tampered with, then what makes Precrime so special? The movie never explains this crucial gap in the story.
24 Why Don’t The Kryptonians Fly Away On Spaceships? (Man Of Steel)
The story of Superman’s origin is simple. Kal-El is a baby when his planet, Krypton, is on the verge of total annihilation. Kal’s parents use the last remaining space pod to send their infant son across the cosmos to find safety on Earth. However, in Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel, General Zod and his fanatics are taken to the Phantom Zone in weird-looking spaceships by the elders of Krypton shortly before the planet collapses on itself. This begs the question… if Kryptonians knew in advance that their planet was about to collapse, why didn’t some of them fly away on these same spaceships?
Granted, we’re led to believe that all Kryptonians are advanced versions of genetically-engineered designer babies who only abide by their code, and the elders of Krypton don’t believe the rumors of their planet’s demise… but surely someone would have taken precautions to station a group of Kryptonians elsewhere just in case their planet was, in fact, destroyed, right? It makes no sense for every single Kryptonian to be extinct if there was, even on the day of destruction, giant human-size spaceships that could have taken them away.
23 The Toxins Should Have Been Vaporized Weeks Ag (Batman Begins)
Batman Begins may be one of the best superhero movies ever made, but it still doesn’t explain how half of Gotham isn’t downright insane halfway through the film. The plot of Batman Begins establishes that Ra’s Al-Ghul’s secret band of baddies have been poisoning Gotham’s water supply for weeks, but the toxin remains harmless until vaporized by a microwave emitter that was being smuggled into the city.
Fine. But, doesn’t anyone in Gotham own a kettle? Does no one go to a sauna anymore? What about a simple hot shower? All these things vaporize water, which means thousands – maybe even millions – of Gothamites should have turned into crazed lunatics long before Ra’s Al-Ghul even arrived there during the third act of the movie. It doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of the movie, though.
22 Why Does Buzz Lightyear Freeze? (Toy Story)
Still one of the best Pixar movies ever made, Toy Story is a classic for the ages and a movie that stands the test of time. But it isn’t without plot problems. The toys in Andy’s room know that they’re play things, so they freeze and go back to “toy form” whenever Andy’s around. Buzz Lightyear, Andy’s newest toy, believes he’s an actual space hero for whatever reason… so why does he also freeze when Andy comes back into the room?
But hey, since this is primarily a kids movie, we’ll cut it some slack.
21 Why Doesn’t Stephen Strange Believe In Magic? (Doctor Strange)
Doctor Strange is a fun, vibrant film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that tells the story of Stephen Strange, a surgeon who loses the steadiness of his hands because of an accident, and goes to Katmandu in search of a cure. There, he meets the Ancient One, who tells him about the body’s ability to heal itself with mystic forces… to which Strange says, “I don't believe in fairy tales, about chakras or energy or the power of belief!”
His stance on science would be fine if he didn’t already mention the Avengers, but it’s made clear that the good doctor is fully aware of the existence of super soldiers, alien wormholes, and actual gods from different realms. It makes no sense, then, that Stephen Strange, no matter how much of a medical doctor he may be, can’t comprehend that magic and the mystic arts are very real elements in this world. So what’s with the skepticism? It’s a character trait that doesn’t make sense in context and is only used for dramatic effect.
20 Why doesn’t E.T. fly after his spaceship? (E.T.)
Remember the iconic bicycle scene in Steven Spielberg’s classic masterpiece, E.T.? Surely you do. It’s an uplifting, iconic moment in cinema in which the adorable alien uses his otherworldly powers to make the bicycle carrying him and Elliot fly into the sky. It’s magical.
We’re just curious… if E.T. had the power to fly and also make other objects fly, why didn’t he just fly after his spaceship when it lifted off and accidentally left him behind on Earth? Why all the struggle to “call home?”
19 Ben Solo’s Name Makes No Sense (Solo: A Star Wars Story)
Solo: A Star Wars Story wasn’t exactly well-received by moviegoers despite being a pretty good film. That being said, the reveal of Han Solo’s name and how he got it is largely disliked by fans. In Solo, we learn that Han’s iconic last name was given to him by a glorified Galactic Empire temp staff, who quickly assumes that “Solo” is an apt last name for someone who doesn’t have one, and has no family.
This one scene creates a multitude of needless plot holes. One, Han Solo himself later explains that his father used to work on ships just like the Millennium Falcon… so he obviously knew his family and had a last name. Two, why would Han Solo keep a name that was given to him as a joke by a lackey of the Galactic Empire? Three, why did Disney feel the need to explain the word “Solo” when it could have meant literally anything, in any language, across the Star Wars universe? It’s not at all a weird name that needed explaining in that context. And finally, if Solo wasn’t Han’s real name, then why did he name his son “Ben Solo?” Does this mean that Kylo Ren, the primary villain in the new Star Wars saga, originally got his name from some guy who was on “New Sign-ups” duty that day?
18 Whose Infinity Gauntlet Is This? (Thor: Ragnarok)
Avengers: Infinity War is one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, thanks in no small part to its big purple baddie, Thanos. During the film, we learn that Thanos visited Etri, a dwarven blacksmith played by Peter Dinklage of Game Of Thrones fame, on the planet Nidavellir and forced him to forge the Infinity Gauntlet – a glove worn by Thanos as housing for the six Infinity Stones. But hold up, let’s rewind in true Time Stone fashion to a few months ago when, in Thor: Ragnarok, we saw Hela invade Odin’s Vault only to find an exact replica of the Gauntlet, to which she scoffed, “Fake!” before pushing it over.
The timelines don’t add up. Thor is unaware that Nidavellir had been attacked in Avengers: Infinity War, suggesting that Thanos’ visit happened sometime after Thor: The Dark World. But then, how did Odin know of the Infinity Gauntlet… and why did he have a replica made of it? Is there more than one Infinity Gauntlet? The timeline gets more muddled when, at the end of Avengers: Age Of Ultron, we see Thanos pick up the gauntlet and exclaim, “Fine, I’ll do it myself.” Huh?!
17 Why Doesn't The Sound Make The Blind Man Deaf? (Don't Breathe)
Don’t Breathe is a critically-acclaimed thriller from Fede Alvarez about a group of thieves who break into a blind man’s house, only to realize that they’ve chewed off way more than they can handle.
The Blind Man, played by Stephen Lang, is both protagonist and antagonist in this film – and he uses his heightened sense of sound to find the intruders. This point is well-established early in the film. Yet, when the Blind Man fires his gun, the shot rings just inches away from his own face… which means he should, at best, hear the deafening onset of tinnitus and nothing else. This plot point is glazed over and ignored for the most part, allowing the ruthless homeowner to continue his hunt throughout the film.
16 Can’t They Just Clone The Dinosaurs? (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom)
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a fun time at the movies, but its entire plot relies on logic that contradicted by the movie itself! In the film, an active volcano threatens to wipe out the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, sending them back into extinction. A nefarious sect within the Lockwood estate tricks our heroes, Claire and Owen, into capturing and saving some of these dinosaurs… before it’s revealed that this group of backstabbers wants to auction the creatures to wealthy buyers as well as clone the more ferocious species.
Here’s the issue. This group of baddies, led by Rafe Spall’s character, Mills, have already engineered a monstrous hybrid known as the Indoraptor in their lab. They have the DNA and the technology. So, why go through all the hassle of getting the dinosaurs off the island? Apart from Blue, who seems to be the bridge between human and dinosaur, why did these people put themselves in the path of an active, flaming volcano to get dinosaurs that they could have engineered anyway?
15 The Winning Kick Is Strictly Not Permitted (The Karate Kid)
The original Karate Kid is a classic film for the ages. It’s a coming of age story that’s fun and tells the story of perseverance and determination and discipline. Good stuff! Except, it also implies that breaking the rules is 100% okay as long as you’re the good guy.
We’re told, time and time again, throughout the movie that kicks to the face are a major no-no in karate tournaments. There are several scenes that drive the message home that kicks to any region above the neck are strictly not permitted and will not, under any circumstances, be tolerated. So how does Daniel defeat his nemesis, Jonny, in the final tournament? With a powerful, remorseless Crane Kick right to the face!
What gives, Karate Kid?!
14 What Happened To Harry’s Body? (Kingsman: The Golden Circle)
Kingsman: The Secret Service is a vastly superior film to its sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Harry’s “resurrection” in The Golden Circle was a huge deal for fans of the franchise because the character was dropped (to a point of no return) at the end of the first film. Eggsy and Merlin watched the whole thing, which makes us wonder, did they just leave him there?
The two seem pretty shocked to see Harry alive in the sequel, but shouldn’t they have had an inkling, seeing as his body was nowhere to be found after the events of the first film? He’s been missing for an entire year and shows up with an eyepatch in The Golden Circle, but it’s never explained why absolutely no one from his team bothered to figure out what happened to him after the world was saved.
13 Why Not Just Train Astronauts To Drill? (Armageddon)
There’s no arguing that Armageddon is a staple in shameless 90s action cinema, and besides the multiple Transformers sequels, it’s probably one of Michael Bay’s worst films. The entire movie rests on a plot that makes no sense. A giant asteroid is headed for Earth and NASA has 18 days to stop it by sending a bunch of drillers to space to blow up the rock from within. The thing is, the movie wouldn’t even need to happen if they just sent regular astronauts up there and taught them how to drill, instead of working the other way around!
This plot hole is so huge that it was even called out by the film’s star, Ben Affleck. In the movie’s DVD extras, Affleck says, "I asked [Michael Bay], 'Wouldn't it be easier to train astronauts to drill than to teach drillers how to be astronauts?'" Michael apparently just told Ben to be quiet, in much harsher words.
12 Can Everyone Shrink in Ant-Man? (Ant-Man & The Wasp)
When it comes to zany movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, few come close to the utter ridiculousness of Ant-Man and its sequel, Ant-Man & The Wasp. They’re both great films, but the internal logic of both movies make absolutely no sense whatsoever, even by superhero standards. According to Hank Pym, when something shrinks, it keeps the same weight and density of its original state, which explains why Ant-Man and Yellowjacket are so strong even at that size. That’s cool, but then how is Hank carrying a tank in his pocket?! Shouldn’t the tank still have the same weight? Wouldn’t Scott Lang squish Ant-Tony instead of being able to fly him?
Fast forward to Ant-Man & The Wasp, and the plot holes get even bigger. In one scene, Michael Pena’s character, Luis, is in a van with Hope Pym, played by Evangeline Lily. In order to escape the bad guys, she decides to shrink the van with Luis in it! By the film’s logic, only Hope – who’s wearing the suit – and the engineered van should be able to shrink. Luis, who’s in plain clothes, should turn into a ball of gloop… yet he doesn’t, and everyone’s shrinking and growing, completely ignoring the boundaries that were set in the first movie.
11 Who The Heck Is Martha?! (Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice)
One of the most divisive scenes, by far, in any superhero film, is the infamous “Martha!” scene in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice. In a climactic moment, Superman, at the brink of getting defeated, tells Batman to “Save Martha!” Not only is the scene widely believed to be cheesy, it’s also a massive plot hole in the movie. For starters, why would Superman only give Batman his mother’s first name? If his goal was for Batman to save Ma’ Kent from the clutches of Lex Luthor, wouldn’t he just reveal that she was, in fact, Clark’s mom? Also, what was Batman supposed to do with that information? If the logic behind Superman saying “Martha” was to protect his secret identity… what would it matter if he thought he was doing to be defeated in that moment anyway?
None of these things add up, and that’s because the scene was specifically written to serve as an excuse for our heroes to join forces… all because their mothers shared the same name.
10 Where’s the original DeLorean? (Back To The Future 3)
We’re still not sure if this is a plot hole or a legitimate paradox, but the entire storyline of Back To The Future 3 seems to be in a state of flux because of this one, giant, jarring mistake. Marty McFly arrives back in 1885 in a DeLorean – the film’s trusty time-machine. Unfortunately, the car springs a leak and gasoline isn’t as easy to obtain in the Wild West, so Marty and Doc Brown come up with the insane plan of powering-up the now-defunct DeLorean with a steam-engine train! It’s a ridiculous plan that leads to all sorts of shenanigans, but the question still remains… why didn’t Doc and Marty just dust-off the fully-functional DeLorean that was hidden in the mineshaft?
The last time we checked, there should be TWO time-travelling DeLoreans in 1885 – one that Marty arrives in at the start of the film, and another that was kept there by Doc Brown himself in anticipation of his 1955 counterpart. So what gives?
9 Does Everyone Know Who Superman Is?! (Justice League)
While a lot of fans thoroughly enjoyed Justice League, DC’s attempt at emulating the success of their Marvel counterpart, the film serves more as a guilty pleasure than actual, quality cinema. The movie as a whole is riddled with plot holes, inconsistencies, and contradictions, but one of the most poorly handled storylines is the return of Superman and by default, Clark Kent. By the end of the film, Bruce Wayne is helping Clark restore his home in Smallville, and we see Clark Kent walking around without glasses, as Superman, in regular farm-boy attire… while talking to Bruce Wayne… within a few feet of several movers and contractors who are working on his house!
The movie even alludes to Kent getting his job back at the Daily Planet! Does no one – the movers, the renovators, the staff at the Planet – recognize Superman just standing there, wearing Clark Kent’s clothes, moving back into the ol’ Kent house?! Does no one question how Clark Kent has miraculously returned, which should be even more bizarre than Superman coming back to life?!
8 What Was The Lizard’s Plan? (The Amazing Spider-Man)
When it comes to logic in movies, the superhero genre is often guilty of going rogue, and that’s totally fine. It’s a genre built on sci-fi physics and all sorts of magical gobbledegook. That being said, there’s no reason for superhero movies to have a bad plot, no matter how crazy that plot is. Cue The Amazing Spider-Man, Sony’s failed attempt at relaunching the Spider-Man franchise with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone – who, in all fairness, were great in these films. In the movie, we see Dr. Kurt Conners turn into a freakish, humanoid character called the Lizard thanks to an experiment gone wrong. He then proceeds to carry out his nefarious plan of… turning everyone into lizards? Wait, what?
Throughout the movie, it’s never explained what Connor’s plan is. We see him try to unleash some sort of gas that apparently makes people freak out and turn green… but we’re never told what this is for. This isn’t even a plot hole; it’s more like a plot ravine with the bottom nowhere in sight!
7 Droids Break The Star Wars Continuity (Star Wars Prequels)
The Star Wars prequels are riddled with plot holes and inconsistencies, but none bigger than the retconning of Darth Vader’s past as a young Anakin Skywalker on Tatooine.
For whatever reason, George Lucas decided to reveal that it was in fact Anakin who built the droid C-3PO. Neither character shows any recollection of this in the original trilogy. The same happens when R2-D2 fails to recognize Obi-Wan Kenobi, and vice versa, in A New Hope… even though the two have had numerous adventures together in not just the movies, but also the animated TV shows, books, and video games.
6 Where Is The T-1000's Clothing? (Terminator 2)
One of the most iconic scenes in pop culture history is the arrival of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cybernetic-organism-self in The Terminator in its purest state. The reason behind the lack of clothing, as explained by Kyle Reese, is that only living organisms can travel through time. Either that, or machines like the T-800 that are shielded by living tissue. Explain to us, then, why in the sequel to The Terminator, Terminator: Judgment Day, the villainous T-1000 also arrives on the scene without accoutrements… even though the T-1000 is made of liquid metal alloy.
The writers were aware of this inconsistency and originally wanted to show the T-1000 arriving in a cocoon made of flesh, but then feared that it might confuse audiences so they decided to scrap the idea.
5 Getting Mystique’s Powers Wrong (X-Men: Days Of Future Past)
Say what you want about the X-Men series, but X-Men: Days Of Future Past is widely believed to be a good film. In a dystopian future, mutants are being hunted by Sentinels that are able to absorb and mimic mutant powers, making them nearly indestructible. The only solution is for Wolverine to travel back in time and save Mystique, the key to Trask’s Sentinel technology, so that these anti-mutant weapons will never be engineered to their fullest extent. The only problem here is that absorbing mutant powers isn’t Mystique’s ability to begin with. It’s Rogue’s, and she’s nowhere to be found in the theatrical cut of the film.
There is an explanation to this. Because Jennifer Lawrence is a much bigger draw box-office-wise, 20th Century Fox decided it was best to make her the central figure of the movie. But, there is another completely different version of Days Of Future Past called “The Rogue Cut” that you can find on Blu-Ray and DVD that better explains how the Sentinels got to where they are now. In all honesty, the Rogue Cut is more faithful to X-Men canon and tells a story that makes more sense in terms of mutant powers, but the version without Rogue is the one most people saw in theaters.
4 Silva’s plan is ridiculous (Skyfall)
Skyfall is arguably the greatest James Bond movie ever made. It’s got great acting, a fantastic script, amazing cinematography, and a truly menacing antagonist in Raoul Silva, played to perfection by Javier Bardem. The problem is, a lot of Skyfall was inspired by Christopher Nolan’s magnum opus, The Dark Knight, with Silva’s plan mirroring that of the Joker’s (to get caught on purpose and then attack MI6 from within).
It makes for an exhilarating story, but it creates a few plot holes along the way. For one, Silva’s genius plan hinges on one too many coincidences and probabilities to be taken seriously. First, he has to pretend to defeat M and then spare her. Then he has to get caught by the authorities. Once inside, he pretty much has to rely on the government to summon M to a hearing, expel her from MI6, expose her position, all while making sure a train carrying his explosives would pass directly above Bond mid-chase. What if M didn’t decipher the code on time? What if the court didn’t summon her on that day?
In the case of the Joker it makes sense because of his anarchist nature. But Silva’s revenge depends on each and every one of these plot points to happen, which is a bit silly when you think about it.
3 Spider-Man Breaks The Marvel Timeline (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
If there’s any movie that completely breaks the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline, it’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. The movie’s prologue establishes that Adrian Toomes, who eventually becomes the Vulture, started salvaging weapons and technology that were left behind by the Chitauri after the invasion of New York in the first Avengers movie. The film then cuts to 8 years later and we’re introduced to Peter Parker. If the first Avengers took place in 2012, then does Spider-Man: Homecoming take place in 2020?
It doesn’t add up, because it’s implied that the events of Captain America: Civil War do take place in 2016. This is either a major oversight by the producers of the film, or there just wasn’t any logical way to explain the timeline without setting it eight years apart. It’s still an amazing movie, though.
2 Who Is Cypher’s Operator? (The Matrix)
Speaking of movie logic collapsing on itself, have you ever wondered how Cypher entered the Matrix without an operator? In the ongoing battle between man and machine in the post-apocalyptic hellscape that is the real world, Cypher realizes that the artificial reality of The Matrix isn’t so bad after all. He makes a deal with the bad guys, promises to betray Morpheus and his crew, as long as his own memory of the past is wiped and he’s plugged back into the system as a wealthy Hollywood hotshot. That’s all fine and dandy… with one jarring problem. Everyone needs an operator when being plugged back in to the Matrix, and Cypher didn’t have one.
1 There’s No Way To Prove Time Travel (The Butterfly Effect)
The Butterfly Effect is a pretty mind-bending film with a simple concept; changing something in the past, no matter how insignificant, could have monumental consequences in the future. Using this logic, Ashton Kutcher’s character, Evan Treborn, decides to prove that time travel exists by going back in time and sticking a skewer in his hand… causing the scars to appear in the present.
It’s a pretty cool concept… only it doesn’t make sense. If Evan went back in time and stuck skewers through his palms, wouldn’t that mean that he would have had scars since that point in time? Meaning, the cellmate would have always known he had those scars. Unless that specific moment was frozen in time as a reference only to be influenced by Evan’s tampering with the space-time continuum, the movie’s logic collapses on itself because of this scene.