Where Are Your Pants? 5 Super Hero Movie Conventions That Don’t Hold Up To Scrutiny

Criticizing the realism of superhero movies is a little bit like yelling at officials during a basketball game.  Even when you’re in the right, it always feels a bit hopeless.  Whatever, though.  Here are five plot points from super heroe movies that are too ridiculous to ignore.

5) Spiderman, Spiderman’s Webs

We all know the Spiderman story.  After being bit by a radioactive spider, Peter Parker gains the ability to spin webs from his hands.  He later dons a red costume and spends his time fighting bad guys with bowl cuts and swinging through the streets of New York using the seemingly never-ending supply of webs in his hands.  I can buy the radioactive spider origin story.  I can buy the spider sense thing.  I can buy the litany of  goofy looking villains he is constantly dispatching.  I can even buy the fact that Spidey operates his entire crime-fighting enterprise out of his suburban bedroom in a house he shares with Aunt May, the world’s most oblivious woman. 

The one thing I can’t buy though, is this: every time Spider Man needs to get from Point A to Point B, he does so by swinging through the sky using his webs.  What are these webs sticking to?  I’m sure there are times when he can just shoot them onto skyscrapers and whatnot, but what about when he gets out to the sudburbs where (I think) he lives.  Does he just walk on the street like an average Joe?  Or is that the point when he has to get out of his costume?

4) X Men 2, Professor Xavier’s School For The Gifted

Professor Xavier wears many hats.  He’s a gifted telepath, the leader of the X-Men, a defender of the world from evil-doers, and, apparently, the principal of some kind of ill-conceived prep school for mutants.  I don’t want to get into a debate over the merits of segregated schools for mutants.  Suffice it to say that it’s not a horrible idea in theory.  However, there are two things that bother me about this plot point.

The first is the idea that this school could exist undetected for any lengthy period of time without being exposed for what it is.  I mean, you’ve got a group of young kids who are away from home, presumably for the first time.  They’re scared, they’re just figuring out their place in the world, and their economics teacher is this guy:

Oh yeah, and on top of all that, most of the students have some pretty unique skills, like being able to walk through walls and blow up stuff with their mind.  Eventually, some type of incident will occur, it will end up on the news or on YouTube, and Professor X is going to be in a world of trouble. 

The second complaint is the structure of the school itself.  There are some students who are 17 or 18 (Rogue, Ice-Man, that fire dude) and others who look like they’re 10 or 11 (that kid who can change television channels with his mind, for instance).  The teaching staff seems to consist of Professor X, Storm, Cyclops, Jean Gray, and the occasional guest lecturer (Wolverine, Cyclops, etc.).  This becomes a huge problem in X-2 when Colonel Stryker’s men invade and, umm, capture every single student.  And does Professor X even bother to tell the parents who entrusted their children to him that their babies are being used by a psychopath as part of a diabolical plan to wipe out mutants?  No, no he doesn’t.

3) The Dark Knight, The Joker’s Boat Situation

The Dark Knight proves that even great films aren’t impervious to questionable logic.  Basically, the Joker’s entire reign of terror over Gotham seems pretty impossible.  Though the Joker claims that he does not have a plan, he actually has an insanely detailed plan which half of Gotham City appears to be in on.  That’s the only way to explain the sheer amount of damage he does.  Let’s first look at the hospital scene and the improbablility of anyone being able to blow up that sort of building with ease.  Here’s what the explosion looked like:

I don’t pretend to be an expert in explosives, but you don’t have to be a 9/11 conspiracy nut to know that buildings don’t usually explode like that.  This wasn’t a case of a few pounds of C4 being stuck in the basement, this was multiple explosions happening one after another, seemingly coming from multiple rooms.  So the question: how the heck was the Joker able to get all this explosive stuff into a hospital without anyone noticing?   

2) V for Vendetta, V’s Plan To Destroy Parliament

V For Vendetta was a graphic novel about a vigilante anarchist nicknamed V fighting against fascism in a dystopian England which the Wachowski brothers brought to the big screen in 2006.  Both the book and the movie feature the same gaping plot hole.  After making his initial assault and commandeering the primary British television station, V announces that his pièce de résistance will come in a year when he blows up Parliament.  Now, with a full year to prepare for the attack, you would think the government would come up with about 500 contingency plans to cover every possible scenario that could occur.  You might also think they would explore every lead available to them, regardless of how crazy it sounds.  After all, the existence of their regime is hinging on whether or not they can stop one nutjob in a Guy Fawkes mask. 

Detective Finch files a report stating his belief that V will attempt to use the underground train station in his plot.  So of course, Prime Minister Sutton decides to completely ignore him.  And where does V decide to attack from?  The subway, with a train loaded with dynamite that apparently just rumbles underneath Parliament unmolested and then explodes, completing V’s plan and launching England towards a new era of democracy and freedom.  I don’t know what’s more ridiculous, the fact that there’s an unguarded railway system that leads directly from V’s lair to his intended target, or the fact that Detective Finch’s warnings went completely unheeded.

1) The Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner’s Pants

Bruce Banner is a scientist whose experiments with gamma rays lead to him having a Mr. Hyde-esque doppelgänger dubbed the Hulk.  As the Hulk, Banner ostensibly operates as a superhero, though he often does more harm than good.  He’s like the Bill O’Reilly of superheroes.  Sure, Bill O’Reilley might occasionally do an interesting report, just like the Hulk will occasionally rescue some damsel in distress.  But mostly they just cause a lot of ruckus.

So the thing with the Hulk is that when he gets angry, he transforms into the Hulk.  His eyes start to bulge, his skin turns green, and he becomes a giant, angry behemoth.  One thing that’s always been a bit awkward is the clothes situation.  Though Banner always managers to lose his shirt, his purple pants comically grow with him.  This is certainly a good thing; the Hulk is scary enough without seeing his, ahem, package blowing in the wind.  But it begs the question: what the heck does Banner do with all those giant, purple pairs of pants?

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~ by fc13 on May 14, 2010.

One Response to “Where Are Your Pants? 5 Super Hero Movie Conventions That Don’t Hold Up To Scrutiny”

  1. I’ve got tons of these. Enjoyed.

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