Fans have been buzzing about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever since the trailer dropped. In it, the kingdom of Wakanda is under siege and it’s up to the new leaders to protect their land in the aftermath of King T’Challa’s death. However, audiences were teased with the appearance of a potential new Black Panther near the end of the clip. It’s an example of a great movie plot twist that totally makes sense, but other movie twists actually do their heroes a disservice.
A well-timed plot twist can elevate a movie from good to great. Audiences forgot that Bruce Willis was shot at the beginning of The Sixth Sense (1999), making the revelation that he’s actually been dead the whole movie all the more shocking. But other movies are not so sharp, and sometimes the big reveal even undermines the protagonist’s credibility.
Shutter Island (2010)
By many accounts, Shutter Island is a great movie. It’s a mystery thriller with several twists and turns that keep the audience guessing until the very end. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels who is charged with solving the case of an inmate that has gone missing from an insane asylum.
The twist happens when viewers learn that Teddy is actually an inmate himself, and his doctor (played by Mark Ruffalo) has concocted the elaborate ruse as a way of ending Teddy’s fantasies once and for all. The audience is led to believe that Teddy is the hero, but once his point of view is discredited, the rest of the film slogs along to a truly disturbing ending.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
The most memorable thing about The Usual Suspects is the twist. Kevin Spacey plays Roger “Verbal” Kint, the lone survivor of a harbor explosion stemming from a heist gone wrong. As Kint explains to Agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) that the mastermind behind the scheme is a drug lord named Keyser Söze, he pulls clues and details from the agent’s own office to fill in the gaps.
Once it’s revealed that Kint was Keyser Soze the whole time, Kujan’s credibility comes into question. A trained police officer with a keen eye for detail didn’t even realize that a criminal mastermind was in front of him the entire time. Simultaneously love and hated, The Usual Suspects is still one of the best movies on Amazon Prime, 27 years after its debut.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Shawshank Redemption is arguably one of the best films of all time. Some even consider it better than the original Stephen King book. Tim Robbins plays Andy Dufresne, a banker who murders his wife and her lover. He is presumed innocent and spends a good part of the movie bonding with Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman) in prison and rebuilding his reputation.
In the end, it’s revealed that Andy has been planning his escape the entire time by hollowing out a tunnel in his cell hidden by a Rita Hayworth poster. It undermines his claims of innocence and reveals him to be a lying con man. Furthermore, he withdraws laundered money and evades escape in Zihuatanejo. It’s an iconic plot twist, but Andy’s redemption feels unearned.
Return Of The Jedi (1983)
Return of the Jedi is a very divisive film. It’s generally regarded as the weakest film of the original Star Wars trilogy, yet the non-stop action, the appearance of the Ewoks, and the redemption scene near the end make it one of the more memorable ones.
Fans couldn’t help but feel warm and fuzzy inside when they learned that Darth Vader actually saves Luke from the Emperor’s wrath. The problem is that Vader’s redemption comes a little too late. It’s only after Luke has lost his hand, his friends are captured, and the second Death Star is fully operational that Vader has a change of heart. If the father-son bond was still there the whole time, why didn’t either party make more of an effort to avert disaster?
Fight Club (1999)
Based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club follows Edward Norton as The Narrator, an unfulfilled office worker who attends support groups where men fight each other to combat the boredom of everyday life. The Narrator soon falls under the spell of Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a soap salesman who encourages him to abandon a world filled with consumerism. Surprisingly, Fight Club was considered a box office bomb when it first debuted.
The Narrator becomes unreliable when the audience learns that he and Durden are actually the same person. The Narrator has Dissociative Identity Disorder and created Durden in his mind as a coping mechanism. Everything in the movie could have been made up and in the end, viewers are left with more questions than answers.
Palm Springs (2020)
Andy Samberg stars as Nyles, a wedding guest who gets sucked into a mysterious cave in the middle of the Palm Springs desert. Realizing he’s now stuck in a time loop, Nyles is forced live the same day over and over again. One day, Nyles accidentally brings his love interest, Sarah (Cristin Miloti), into the loop and she ends out being the one who figures out the solution.
Palm Springs is a great summer movie, but the ending felt lackluster to some viewers. Sarah figures out the solution through physics, using trial and error with a goat as bait. It’s mentioned multiple times that Nyles has been stuck in the time loop for a very long time, so the idea that he didn’t try this method himself felt unrealistic.
The Incredibles 2 (2018)
In The Incredibles 2, tech entrepreneur, Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), and his sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener), offer to help the Parr family restore public confidence in superheroes. The siblings concoct superhero missions that will be filmed. Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) is chosen to track down Screenslaver, a supervillain who’s been trying to hypnotize and enslave the population.
Not surprisingly, it’s revealed that Screenslaver is actually a paid actor and Evelyn Deavor is the real villain behind the moniker. For superheroes who are constantly being scrutinized by the public, the Parr family was very naïve to trust a couple of new characters right away. With so much attention already on them, they should’ve been more careful to only trust people they know.
M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs still stands as a masterpiece of psychological horror. Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) is a former priest investigating mysterious crop circles left in his fields. When the aliens actually show up at the end of the movie, the viewer is sufficiently unsettled. Even after 20 years, Signs contains scary scenes that still keep fans up at night.
The twist is that water is deadly to aliens. It’s supposed to be a metaphor for Graham cleansing himself of his tragic past and moving on, but as priest and a rancher, it’s alarming that he didn’t think of it sooner. There’s a point earlier in the movie where Graham’s acquaintance Ray Reddy (Shyamalan) even suspects that aliens are afraid of water, but Graham doesn’t clue in.
Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)
Steve Carell stars as Carl Weaver, a middle-aged man who is suddenly left single when his wife reveals she’s been having an affair. Carl heads to the bar to pick up women and gets help from a ladies’ man named Jacob (Ryan Gosling). Jacob has recently been rejected by Hannah, but the two reconnect later.
In the end, Hannah is actually Carl’s daughter. Knowing how Jacob treats women, Carl is appalled that the two are in a relationship. However, Carl has been playing the same game since his wife left, so it’s hypocritical of him to think less of Jacob. Carl is looking for love in the wrong place but loses credibility with his family for shaming his daughter for doing the same thing.
The Power Of The Dog (2021)
Jane Campion’s The Power Of The Dog follows ranchers Phil Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his brother George (Jesse Plemmons) as they navigate the rugged landscape of Montana. When George becomes smitten with a widow named Rose (Kirsten Dunst), Phil belittles Rose, her son Peter (Kodi Smit McPhee), and George for the majority of the movie.
Just as Phil and Peter begin to bond, Phil comes down with a deadly disease and dies. It’s revealed that Peter intentionally put a diseased cowhide on Phil’s hand, causing an infection. Peter was fed up with Phil’s bullying and led him along to believe the two could actually be friends before stabbing him in the back. Peter’s credibility as the upstanding young man Rose thinks he is is destroyed and the viewer ends up sympathizing with Phil instead.
NEXT: 10 Romance Movies With A Tragic Twist That Will Break Your Heart