There is a saying, “it isn’t how you begin, it is how you end.” And while I do think beginnings are important, it is true that a bad ending can ruin a movie. The first two acts of a movie can be fantastic in setting up a story, but if the payoff sucks, we will still leave disappointed. Others times, a bad ending is just the final note in a movie that was already awful. To be fair, endings are hard. Finding a way to satisfyingly wrap up the story you have been telling, is difficult. But the following movies I am about to talk about really dropped the ball.
Side note before we start. While doing research for this, I noticed a lot of people hat endings that are not happy. People cited movies like The Mist and Buried as having bad endings because the endings are so morbid. But I do not see what is wrong with a sad ending. Frankly, the ending in The Mist is one of the best endings of all time, vastly superior to how the book ended.
I also saw a lot of people complain about endings that are ambiguous. And again, I have to disagree. Stories do not need to give us the answers. Sometimes, leaving on an open-ended question is what is best. Forcing a conclusion that answers every question, can just feel clumsy at times.
I am more bothered by these endings. Some of these endings are forced for drama. Some undermine the rest of the movie. Some are just plain stupid. Here are, the worst endings, I have seen in movies.
Christopher Reeves Superman was the perfect superhero movie at the time. Light-hearted, hopeful, it perfectly captured the spirit of classic Superman. It was mostly an inconsequential movie, with little actual substance, but it is a nice movie to watch.
But that ending, ugh. His love Lois Lane is dead. So what does Superman do? He starts flying around the Earth super fast, and somehow, that turns back time, and he can prevent her death.
Not only is that a cop-out way to undo the death, but it makes zero sense. Why does Flying around the Earth turn back time? I allow for a little bit of suspension of disbelief, but this is too much. I would have been fine with him just flying really fast, and traveling back in time, but that is not what happened. He literally altered the rotation of the planet, to turn back time. And that just is not how science works. If he could fly fast enough, to alter the rotation, he would not be turning time back, he would probably be causing an apocalypse.
7.The Dark Knight Rises
I am not a huge fan of The Dark Knight Rises, even without the ending, it felt a bit muddled. It certainly has its good qualities and is still a good movie, but it is a disappointment compared to The Dark Knight.
The ending annoyed the hell out of me though. A bomb that has served as a MacGuffin the entire movie, is about to go off. Batman heroically sacrifices himself by attaching the bomb to his helicopter and flying it out into the bay. He seemingly dies, the world finds out Bruce Wayne was Batman, and he is celebrated, post-mortem, as a hero.
But then Alfred goes on vacation in Paris, and he freaking sees Bruce, with Catwoman, alive. What? How? it is explained to us he fixed the autopilot in the helicopter, and somehow escaped it before it blew up. But when? We see the helicopter fly all the way out into the bay, and at no point is there a moment he can safely escape. This makes no sense. Even if he jumped out of the helicopter at some point, he would have fallen into the bay, and probably would have still been caught in the explosion.
The only logical explanation is that in Alfred’s advanced age, he was having a stroke, and hallucinated seeing Bruce. Which if that is the case, is also a dumb way to end a movie. There is no good way to frame this fart of an ending.
It also undermines his sacrifice. The final heroic moment now means nothing. Batman faking his own death to retire seems so anti what Batman would do. Not to mention the way they undermined Bane at the end and made him a weak puppet of a character, and then the new main villain had one of the most pathetic villain deaths of all time.
I liked Wonder Woman. It was far from great, but it was enjoyable, for the first two acts. I actually really liked where I thought they were heading. The first act set up Aries as the shadowy villain puppeteering the World War. But as the movie went along, it started to feel like maybe there is no Aries. Maybe humans can just be bad. They were very clearly trying to make us think this was where the story was Chris Pine’s character outright said it. And after Wonder Woman killed Ludendorff, the character she thought was Aries all along, and it turned out he was just a man, I was so happy with where the story was going. I was thrilled by the idea of a Superhero movie with no big villain fight at the end. That would have truly been a statement and made it a unique movie.
But no, a few moments later, it is revealed that a different character is Aries, and we get a boring, generic, ugly looked boss fight with a CGI character. Boooooo. They obviously had a good idea to have no Aries and the moral being that men can be bad, but decided to chuck that away for a crappy, overdramatic, CGI fight. They try to save it by saying he didn’t really control the two sides of the war, he just pushed them in the right direction to go to war, but I am not buying it. It ends with the heroes, and the German soldiers, stopping the fight, and watching the sunset, implying that with Aries dead, things will cg=hange, Again, BOOOOOOOOO.
What a waste of what could have been a good ending. They set up a good idea and then undermined it.
Grease is a cheesy movie. So a little bit of cheese in the ending is to be expected. I did not like this movie, but I understand why others do.
But the ending, I cannot forgive. The two characters ending up together is fine. But the way it happens is awful. One, they both have to change themselves for the other person. What kind of crap lesson is that? So they will both spend their lives pretending to be someone they are not, grow bitter, and start to hate each other. Great.
But even worse than that, in the final scene, the two are driving away together, and the car just starts to fly. Lifts off the ground and they fly away. Now it is important to mention, nothing fantastical has happened anywhere else in the movie. The entire movie up until this point took place in our reality. Nowhere else in the movie did they s]st up that supernatural stuff can happen. It would be like if at the end of a western movie, the main character rode off in a spaceship.
I hate Signs. Some people say that it is one of M Night’s best movies, I think it has all the annoying quirks and flaws that his other movies have. It is utterly boring, with stilted monotone acting, but more importantly, the way it ends sucks.
These advanced life forms, capable of traveling across the galaxy, are perhaps the most pathetic aliens to ever appear on screen. Not only do we find out they are incapable of figuring out how doors work, but they are also allergic to water. Water, the thing that makes up most of the planet, and also, most the bodies of the species that live on Earth. he big conclusion is one of the characters beating the crap out of an alien with a bat, and glasses of water. The entire movie was leading up to this moment, and it is so bad. It explains why the young girl character had the weird quirk where she doesn’t finish her glasses of water and just leaves half full water glasses all over the house. It also explains the swing away plot line.
The swing away plot line is its one type of stupid. See Mel Gibson used to be a priest, but he left the church when his wife died. She was hit by a car and pinned to a tree. And her final words, are for Mel’s character, to tell Merill’s character to swing away. We think this is a reference to how the character is a baseball player, who strikes out too much. But no. The lesson of the movie is God always has a reason, and his reason for killing Mel’s wife, was so she could tell Mel to tell Merril to swing away, so he would know how to defeat the alien when the time came. What?
Also, I have seen the theory that the aliens are actually demons, and I do not buy it. Sure, that would explain why they are hurt by the water, seeing as the water is touched by a priest, meaning it is “blessed.” But where do they set this up in the movie? The movie clearly refers to them as Aliens. Making a movie called Signs, about Aliens invading Earth, and having the Aliens actually be demons, would be like making a movie called Trolls 2, and the villains being Goblins. Oh, wait.
3.Planet of the Apes (2001)
This entire movie was awful. It is one of Tim Burton’s worst movies. The acting, the plot, the, everything, was just bad. It is a bastardized version of the classic Planet of the Apes.
But that ending, wow, that is special. The original had a very powerful ending, where it is revealed the planet was really Earth the entire time. Since everyone knows this ending, it would be impossible for the remake to pull it off again, so they need a new twist ending.
Mark Wahlberg’s character seemingly escapes and gets back to his world. He crashes lands in Washington DC, right on top of the stairs to the Lincoln Memorial. But wait, that is not Abe Lincoln, that is Ape Lincoln. Then the police show up, and they are monkies as well. turns out, Mark did not go back in time, he went forward in time, and the Ape civilization is even more advanced, and for some reason rebuilt the Lincoln memorial, but to honor the main ape antagonist instead of Lincoln. Or maybe the Apes traveled back in time and took over somehow. Who knows. Who thought this was a good way to end the movie? Just stupid.
2.War of the Worlds
War of the Wols is an okay film. It is pretty generic throughout, but mostly harmless. It does not live up to the book, but it is okay I suppose as a popcorn movie.
But the ending is crap. It is a Desu Ex Machina in it’s worse form. Not only do all the characters live. Not only does Tom Cruise reconnect with his Son, who somehow survived being in an explosion, without being injured, and made it home to his mom before Tom Cruise and his daughter, but that is only a piece of the stupid. All the aliens, just die. Its explained they have no protection against the bacteria on Earth. So they all get sick and die, and the humans celebrate, that is the end.
To be fair, this is how the book ends, but there is a caveat. In the book, they actually bother to set this up. First, they start off the book letting the reader now the aliens are mortal, they can be defeated. They are not billed as this unstoppable force the humans have no chance against. They also establish that our Earth’s bacteria, hurts them, throughout the book. So it is not Deus Ex, it is a genuine plot point the story earned.
How the movie ended the story, is just lazy. They didn’t bother to set anything up, they just shoehorned in the bacteria stuff, to wrap up the story at the last second. The book also ends on a somber note, while the movie is all optimism.
This is the mother of all bad endings. This cheesy romance movie managed to create an ending that hits all the flaws of these other movie endings. It makes no sense, it comes out of nowhere, it is only there for forced drama, and it is just astonishingly stupid.
Remember Me seems like the average, generic, romance movie. It is cheesy, boring, with little to no substance. But then the ending comes. The Main Character, played by Robert Pattison, is in what we assume is a random building. Then it cuts to a classroom, and a teacher writes the date on the chalkboard. She writes, September 11th, 2001. Yes, they are going there.
Yes, the twist in this movie is that it is 9/11, and the main character is in the Twin Towers at the end. What the hell were they thinking? Who thought making it 9/11, was an appropriate way to tend a movie that had nothing to do with the tragedy. I am not saying you cannot make movies about 9/11. But given the fact it is one of the greatest tragedies of American history, maybe show some freaking care in how you handle it. Don’t just shove it in at the end, unless there is a damn good reason for it.