8 Movies With Plot Holes That Completely Ruined Everything (And How To Fix Them)

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No film is perfect. If you’re going to make a masterpiece, you’re probably going to miss a detail here or there (and the internet will certainly eviscerate you for it). If the film holds together as a whole, that’s no big deal.

When certain details don’t add up, though, plot holes can really ruin the audience’s suspension of disbelief. (Editorial note: This should be obvious from the title, but this article is full of spoilers. Read at your own risk.)

We’re not talking about stuff like the Joker’s hair color in the first scene of The Dark Knight. We’re talking about big stuff—major plot elements that don’t fit with the rules established by the movie. Granted, some of those moments can be attributed to movie magic, but in some cases, plot holes can ruin every re-watch.

“The Dark Knight” (2008)/Warner Bros. Pictures (via IMDB)

We looked into some of the most unforgivable plot holes in movie history. Because we’re charitable, we also looked for ways to explain away the mistakes. When that wasn’t possible, we offered suggestions for how the filmmakers could have avoided the plot holes entirely.

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1. A Quiet Place took more liberties than any movie in recent memory.

Audiences loved A Quiet Place because it gave us something completely different: a horror movie starring Jim from The Office. It also made for a unique moviegoing experience, since the film’s use of silence and sound worked as a novel means of building tension. Every little noise seemed dangerous, from the characters’ creaking footsteps to your neighbor’s incessant popcorn munching.

In the film, writer/director/actor/Jim-from-The-Office John Krasinski stars as a father who’s trying to keep his family alive after a race of blind aliens ends most sentient life on Earth. The alien creatures are incredibly fast, extremely sensitive to sound, and capable of ripping through metal when it’s convenient to the plot.

Eventually, the family figures out that loud noises of a certain frequency can disorient the creatures—something that occurred to the audience about five minutes into the film—and the aliens are defeated.

A Quiet Place was critically acclaimed, and it earned $332 million worldwide. It’s an awesome thrill ride of a movie, but we’ve just got to say it: The plot falls apart if you think about it for more than a few seconds.

The Plot Hole

We could discuss how the creatures can hear any moderately loud sound and how the humans’ sneezes or farts could have spelled their doom (something that Krasinski actually addressed in interviews—short answer, the family had a lot of pillows), but we’ll focus on something else: the sand.

To mute their footsteps, the family covers the ground of their farm with sand. That allows them to run quickly from place to place without alerting the creatures. But was the sand already in place before the film started?

“A Quiet Place” (2018)/Paramount Pictures (via IMDB)

If not, then how did they bring in tons of sand—something that farms don’t typically have lying around—without alerting the creatures? If the sand was in place before the aliens got there…why? Did the family just happen to find the estate of an especially eccentric farmer?

How They Might Have Fixed It

The family could have just worn socks. Granted, that wouldn’t have fixed the film’s numerous other plot holes, but at least the farm wouldn’t have copious amounts of sand all over the place. We hate sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere.

Watch A Quiet Place on Amazon here.

2. Harry Potter should have known about one of his main antagonists.

The Harry Potter series is the epic story of an orphan who’s abducted in a violent home invasion by a 7-foot-tall groundskeeper who believes in wizards.

Fortunately, the groundskeeper turns out to be right about wizards. Otherwise, the movie would have turned out really differently.

In any case, Harry spends years learning how to be a wizard while fending off attacks organized by the series’ villain, Voldemort, an evil wizard whose uncle played “I’ve got your nose” one too many times.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (2010)/Warner Bros. Pictures (via IMDB)

With help from his friends Ron and Hermione, Harry becomes a master wizard, defeats Voldemort, and develops a breathtaking ability to make billions of dollars for Warner Bros. Jokes aside, Harry Potter is one of the best fantasy franchises of the last 50 years, and for that, we can thank author J.K. Rowling’s airtight plots and sublime attention to detail.

Still, Rowling isn’t perfect.

The Plot Hole

One of the most jaw-dropping moments occurs in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry figures out that the villainous Peter Pettigrew has been living under his nose for years; Pettigrew is able to transform into a rat, and he’s been posing as Ron’s pet rat, Scabbers. Not only is Pettigrew a despicable spy, he’s eaten tons of food pellets under false pretenses.

“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004)/Warner Bros. Pictures (via IMDB)

For dedicated Harry Potter fans, the problem is obvious. Ron’s brothers, Fred and George, have access to the Marauder’s Map, which magically shows the location of every person in Hogwarts. Why didn’t they notice Ron sleeping in a bed with Peter Pettigrew every night?

How They Might Have Fixed It

Huffington Post asked actor Oliver Phelps (who played George Weasley) about this plot hole.

“Maybe it’s a boo in the family that no one talks of. ‘Who’s this Peter bloke?’” Phelps said. “Maybe it was an unspoken word in the Weasley family.”

“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004)/Warner Bros. Pictures (via IMDB)

In other words, maybe the brothers did see Pettigrew’s name—they just didn’t want to ask their brother any uncomfortable questions. That’s fair, but we’ll note that Ron was just 11 in the first film. They probably should have moved past the awkwardness and said something.

If his brothers had stepped in, they could have figured out one of the series’ biggest twists fairly quickly. They also would have saved a ton of money on rat food.

Watch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on Amazon here.

3. Batman Begins could have been way more disturbing.

Originally titled Batman Starts Being Batman After Seeing Bats and Stuff, director Christopher Nolan’s first Batman flick ushered in a new era in comic book movies. It was dark, violent, and brooding, even more so than Tim Burton’s landmark 1989 film.

In Batman Begins, the titular character (played by Christian Bale) trains as a member of the League of Shadows before learning that the group’s leader, Ra’s al Ghul, intends to destroy the city of Gotham. Batman destroys the League of Shadows, saving only his mentor, Henri Ducard, who later turns out to be the real Ra’s al Ghul (it’s complicated).

Later, the evil psychologist Jonathan Crane doses Gotham’s water supply with a fear-inducing chemical, and Ra’s al Ghul uses a powerful microwave emitter to vaporize the water, sending the chemical airborne. Ra’s al Ghul loads the active emitter onto a train, which speeds toward Gotham, but Batman destroys it and neutralizes the fear-inducing chemical before it reaches the water supply.

The Plot Hole

Why didn’t the microwave emitter fry people on its way to Gotham? Microwaves aren’t exactly discerning; the train should have done tremendous damage to everything around it on its way to the water supply.

How They Might Have Fixed It

A throwaway line of dialogue explaining that the microwave emitter had an extremely focused beam could have sufficed, as self-described cinephile Mark Hughes explains for Quora.

“Batman Begins” (2005)/Warner Bros. Pictures (via IMDB)

Still, if Ra’s al Ghul just wanted to destroy the city and he didn’t really care about making everyone go crazy, he could have used an extremely powerful microwave emitter in a thousand other ways. He could have microwaved citizens, burned down buildings, attacked politicians, you name it. The “make everyone crazy” route seems unnecessarily convoluted. Then again, we’re not supervillains.

Watch Batman Begins on Amazon here.

4. Gravity ignores basic physics to get rid of a character.

Gravity is basically a rollercoaster. Released at the height of the 3D movie craze, it pushes the technology to its limit, giving audiences a realistic view of outer space. It’s intense, dramatic, and thrilling, even if it has one serious plot hole.

In Gravity, Sandra Bullock plays a medical engineer on her first trip to space (a place where there is little…gravity). Russians shoot missiles at a satellite, for some reason, which causes a debris storm that decimates Bullock’s ship. Working with guidance from seasoned astronaut George Clooney, she tries to make her way back home to Earth (a place where there is a normal amount of…gravity).

Along the way, she’s forced to repair a malfunctioning spacecraft, which requires her to float around in her underwear for a couple of scenes, and George Clooney dies to give her struggle a little extra…gravity.

The Plot Hole

Granted, the movie doesn’t exactly strive for realism (we’re not going to even get into how Bullock has perfectly shaved legs after spending weeks in space). But one particularly egregious moment should seem ridiculous to anyone with a basic understanding of physics. Unfortunately, it’s arguably the movie’s most memorable scene.

While trying to connect with the International Space Station, Bullock and Clooney become entangled in a parachute; the end result is that they’re linked by a tether to the ISS. Clooney realizes that the only way for Bullock to survive is if he detaches himself and floats away. He selflessly sacrifices himself and floats away, handsome as ever, his bottle of Just for Men Salt and Pepper floating beside him.

“Gravity” (2013)/Warner Bros. Pictures (via IMDB)

Of course, if he didn’t want to spend his final moments in the vast, lifeless expanse of space, he could have just tugged on the tether.
Remember, they’re in space, so there’s very little…gravity. By the time Clooney was at the end of his rope (literally), the parachute had stopped exerting force on him. By tugging on the tether, he could simply drift back toward the ISS, since, well, Newton’s first and third laws.

It’d be a minor oversight, but the movie’s called Gravity; we expect them to know how gravity (or a lack thereof) works.

How They Might Have Fixed It

Ethan Siegel, NASA columnist for Medium, has an excellent piece detailing the finer points of Gravity’s physics. He notes that the scene might have made sense, provided that the ISS was rotating and the film’s cameras simply didn’t show that rotation.

“Gravity” (2013)/Warner Bros. Pictures (via IMDB)

It’s a stretch, as Siegel admits, but it’s a much better solution than retitling your movie Gravity, Except Sometimes No Gravity But Sometimes Lots of Gravity, Depending on Whether It Helps to Progress the Plot.

Watch Gravity on Amazon here.

5. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones ruins everything.

The first Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark establishes the titular character (played by Harrison Ford) as a gruff-but-brilliant adventurer willing to do anything to protect ancient artifacts—unless that involves taking any sort of precaution when, say, excavating a booby-trapped Peruvian temple. Seriously, he demolishes dozens of priceless artifacts in the very first scene.

That’s not a plot hole, however; Jones is just a terrible archaeologist.

In the film, he’s tasked with recovering the Ark of the Covenant before a group of Nazis get hold of it. The Nazis plan to use the Ark’s power for…well, Nazi stuff, we suppose. Fortunately, Jones tracks it down before they do but ends up tied to a pole with his love interest, Marion, while the Nazis inspect the relic.

Thinking quickly, Jones tells Marion to close her eyes while the Ark is opened. Angels of death come pouring out, melting all of the Nazis’ faces, because, well, that’s what you get for being a Nazi in an ’80s movie.

The Plot Hole

This is less of a “plot hole” than a “plot consequence,” but it still puts a damper on Jones’ heroics.

In hindsight, we know that the Ark’s power is too great to be harnessed by mankind. Anyone who opens the Ark would die—something that Jones realizes seconds before the faces start melting.

With that in mind, what was the worst-case scenario if Jones had simply stayed at home? He’d have taught a few more classes (while fending off completely inappropriate romantic overtures from his students), and the Nazis would have died anyway. In fact, they might have brought the Ark back to Hitler, which would have effectively prevented World War II.

How They Might Have Fixed It

We suppose that Jones could have found some sort of incantation that brought out the power of the Ark. At least then, he would have done something productive. Instead, he basically started the worst war in human history. Smooth move, professor.

Watch Raiders of the Lost Ark on Amazon here.

6. The Shawshank Redemption has a thrilling climax…with one big issue.

If you haven’t seen The Shawshank Redemption, watch it right now (then come back here and we’ll ruin it for you). It’s one of the greatest films of the ’90s and possibly one of the greatest films of all time, right up there with Waterworld and John Leguizamo’s The Pest. Unlike those other films, however, it’s not perfect.

The film follows Andy Dufresne (played by Tim Robbins), a man sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Over the course of 19 years, he tunnels out of the prison, hiding his painstaking work behind a poster of Raquel Welch. (This is the poster, by the way, just in case you want one for your own cell.)

“Shawshank Redemption” (1994)/Columbia Pictures (via IMDB)

When Dufresne goes missing, the evil warden angrily confronts his fellow inmate, Red (played by Morgan Freeman, back when it was okay to like Morgan Freeman). The warden throws a few rocks, one of which goes straight through the poster, revealing Dufresne’s escape route.

The Plot Hole

How did Dufresne re-hang the poster after making his escape?

“Simple,” you say, “he attached the top of the poster then let it fall into place after climbing through.”

That would make sense, but the poster is taut enough for the warden to be able to throw a rock through it without too much effort. The rock makes a perfect hole; if the poster was only attached at the top, the entire poster would move into the wall.

How They Might Have Fixed It

Well, the poster might have moved into the wall when the warden threw the rock, but that would have diminished one of the coolest scenes in one of the greatest movies of all time. We’ll just assume that Andy figured out some sort of magical adhesive—after all, he had decades to come up with something.

Watch The Shawshank Redemption on Amazon here.

7. The Karate Kid teaches kids to cheat.

If you were a kid in the ’80s or ’90s, there’s a good chance you spent some time obsessing over The Karate Kid, in which Daniel LaRusso (played by Ralph Macchio, better known as “that one guy who was in Karate Kid”) takes on the vicious Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka, better known as “that other kid from Karate Kid”), a practitioner of the evil Cobra Kai martial arts.

“The Karate Kid” (1984)/Columbia Pictures (via IMDB)

With the help of Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita, better known as “you know, Mr. Miyagi, and I think he was in Sanford and Son”), Daniel learns an ethical form of karate based on respect, hard work, and personal balance.

Then he wins the tournament by kicking his opponent directly in the face.

The Plot Hole

Daniel wins by kicking his opponent in the face.

Remember all of that stuff about hard work and respect? Apparently, that goes out the window when your opponent sweeps your injured leg out from under you.

Daniel’s crane kick is extremely unethical and dangerous—not to mention completely illegal, as the referee clearly stated throughout the tournament. Daniel should have been disqualified immediately and charged with assault.

How They Might Have Fixed It

Daniel could have lost with honor, which might have taught kids the importance of taking an ethical approach to life even when there’s no clear benefit.

Daniel and Johnny could still make up at the end of the film, and maybe Johnny could decide to give Daniel the first-place trophy, completing his character arc and giving everyone a warm, fuzzy feeling. Instead, crane kick. Roll credits.

Watch The Karate Kid on Amazon here.

8. The original Jurassic Park features an extraordinarily patient Tyrannosaurus.

Jurassic Park is still the best-looking Jurassic Park film, which is certainly saying something considering that most 1993 CGI looked like this:

It’s one of director Steven Spielberg’s many masterpieces, and while the plot basically boils down to “people run from dinosaurs,” it still has a few minor issues.

Our first pick for a plot hole was teenage Lex somehow figuring out how to take control of the park’s security systems because she has a basic knowledge of the operating system Unix.

“Jurassic Park” (1993)/Universal Pictures (via IMDB)

Surprisingly, that’s not really a plot hole, as Wired’s Klint Finley points out. The computer she was using did have Unix installed. It’s possible that park security specialist Dennis Nedry (played by…uh, Newman from Seinfeld) sucked at his job.

But the climax of the film has a far bigger issue.

The Plot Hole

Our heroes are encircled by velociraptors, and just when their doom seems inevitable, the Tyrannosaurus rex remembers that it’s in the movie, snapping up one of the velociraptors and distracting them while the humans escape.

“Jurassic Park” (1993)/Universal Pictures (via IMDB)

To see why that’s a problem, think of it from the Tyrannosaurus’ perspective. Where was it hiding? There’s not a decent place to lie low, and during the preceding scene, the velociraptors and humans covered pretty much every inch of the room. Someone should have noticed the giant T-rex, even if it had a sheet over it or something.

How They Might Have Fixed It

The humans might have lured the velociraptors outside, but that would have ruined the surprise, and we wouldn’t have gotten that awesome shot of the T-rex with the banner floating down on it.

We’re on board with this plot hole. Not everything has to make sense—especially in dinosaur movies.

Watch Jurassic Park on Amazon here.

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