10 Sci-Fi Movie Endings That Make No Sense

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There are few things more disappointing than a bad ending in a movie. Then again, very few films are completely perfect, but some cinematic efforts go out of their way to end on a disappointing note. Still, moviegoers are generally able to forgive minor flaws if the overall experience that they have is a positive one. However, leaving the theater with a sour taste in their mouth is a fault that’s hard to shake off.




The science fiction genre demands great endings to maintain the audience’s suspension of disbelief. Many great science fiction films require the audience to learn about the extensive mythology and rules of the universe, which makes any tremendous leaps in logic more difficult to deal with. Unfortunately, these sci-fi movies have some of the most nonsensical endings in history, leaving a terrible impression on otherwise forgiving audiences.


10 ‘Moonraker’ (1979)

Directed by Lewis Gilbert

Jaws holding James Bond in 'Moonraker'
Image via United Artists


Moonraker is an absolute anomaly within the James Bond franchise, which was clearly made only to capitalize on the success of Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope at the box office only two years prior. Even though the eponymous novel by Ian Fleming is one of the most thrilling and darkest installments in the series, the 1979 adaptation from director Lewis Gilbert made the ridiculous decision to send Roger Moore’s James Bond into outer space to stop a SPECTRE mission.

The incorporation of science fiction elements into the 007 franchise completely betrayed the intentions of the series. While there’s an element of superficiality to even the best Bond movies, Moonraker trades out any sense of realism for a strange battle with space lasers. To make matters worse, the ending is not even exciting enough to warrant its existence, making Moonraker one of the worst installments in the franchise’s proud history.

moonraker-james-bond-movie-poster

Moonraker

Release Date
June 26, 1979

Cast
Roger Moore , Lois Chiles , Michael Lonsdale , Richard Kiel , Corinne Clery , Bernard Lee

Runtime
126

Writers
Ian Fleming , Christopher Wood


9 ‘The Matrix Revolutions’ (2003)

Directed by Lana and Lily Wachowski

Neo and Agent Smith fighting under the rain in The Matrix Revolutions
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Both The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were very controversial among fans of the first film, as Lana and Lily Wachowski chose to go in deeper with the philosophical and religious undertones of the story. While The Matrix Reloaded introduced interesting ideas about the Architect and his role in maintaining the balance between mankind and machines, The Matrix Revolutions‘ infamous ending killed off almost all the main characters.

Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie Anne-Moss), and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) all lay down their lives to defeat Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). The ending of The Matrix Revolutions was so confusing and unearned that it was essentially erased in the subsequent film, The Matrix Resurrections. The 2021 sequel revealed that Neo and Trinity survived in a different iteration of the Matrix, albeit with their memories erased.


The Matrix Revolutions Poster

8 ‘War of the Worlds’ (2005)

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Ray looking upward in War of the Worlds
Image via Paramount Pictures

War of the Worlds would have been one of the greatest science fiction films of all time if it wasn’t for its baffling final five minutes. Unlike previous adaptations of the beloved novel of the same name by H.W. Wells, Steven Spielberg’s 2005 remake of War of the Worlds was a direct parallel to domestic terrorism, a threat that felt all the more urgent in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.


However, War of the Worlds ends with the aliens miraculously defeated with no explanation other than an expository voiceover by Morgan Freeman that tries to tie up all the loose ends. In addition to contracting the more realistic tone that Spielberg had established, the ending’s overly saccharine approach marks a sharp tonal contrast with what had been one of the revered director’s darker films.

War of the Worlds 2005 Film Poster

War of The Worlds (2005)

Release Date
June 29, 2005

Runtime
116 Minutes

Writers
Josh Friedman , David Koepp , H.G. Wells

7 ‘Southland Tales’ (2007)

Directed by Richard Kelly

Boxer Santaros in Southland Tales pointing a gun at his own head
Image via Universal Studios


Southland Talest required a tremendous amount of imagination on the part of writer/director Richard Kelly, who cashed in on the success of Donnie Darko to create an absurd, hilarious, and occasionally brilliant science fiction satire of the Bush era. Although it contains perhaps the greatest performance of Dwayne Johnson‘s career, Southland Tales defies logic in its final act when it attempts to explain its intersecting timelines.

Southland Tales was unfortunately rushed to completion to make its debut at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, resulting in a project that felt largely unfinished. Thankfully, Kelly expanded on the different timelines in his prequel comic book series and the extended edition included in the film’s Blu-Ray release. Unfortunately, the legacy of Southland Tales’ disastrous reception may have landed it with the unfortunate reputation of being one of Hollywood’s biggest bombs ever.

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6 ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ (2008)

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Mutt and Indy on a motorcycle in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Image via Paramount Pictures

Some fans may think that considering Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull a science fiction film is completely illogical. While the previous three installments in Steven Spielberg’s adventure series were homages to the film serials of the 1930s, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opts to be a tribute to 1950s B-movies, complete with aliens and Cold War influences.

Although Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has many more redeeming moments than it’s often given credit for, it remains a puzzling entry in the series. Crystal Skull ends by introducing extraterrestrial creatures from another dimension. An explanation for what these creatures are doing next is never offered; in fact, the subsequent film, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, outright pretended that it didn’t exist and ignored the alien storyline altogether.


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Film Poster

5 ‘Total Recall’ (2012)

Directed by Len Wiseman

The original Total Recall from director Paul Verhoeven is one of the best science fiction films of the 1990s and featured an interesting ambiguous ending similar to what Christopher Nolan did with Inception. Unfortunately, the 2012 remake of Total Recall by director Len Wiseman fails to make a compelling case for either of its different interpretations.


The story ends with Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) waking up in an ambulance and wondering if everything that he experienced in the film was a dream. Quaid would obviously know if the entire revolution he started was a false memory, but there are too many coincidences to make it feel authentic in reality. The failure of the Total Recall remake just goes to show how illogical it is to try and remake something that was already perfect to begin with.

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4 ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ (2013)

Directed by J.J. Abrams

Khan behind a glass wall in Star Trek Into Darkness - 2013
Image via Paramount Pictures

2009’s Star Trek introduced an alternate “Kelvin Timeline” where the new versions of Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto) could go on new adventures without contradicting the events of the original series. However, Star Trek Into Darkness made the baffling decision to cheat death by establishing that the blood of Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) could be used to bring back Kirk from death.


This questionable choice opens a can of worms, as there’s no reason to believe that Khan’s blood couldn’t be used to subsequently save everyone’s life in the Star Trek universe. Alas, that convenience isn’t mentioned at all by any of the characters. Pine may have been a great version of Kirk, but he deserved better than the lazy writing of Star Trek Into Darkness, which pulled way too willingly from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan instead of treading a unique path like its predecessor.

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Star Trek Into Darkness

Release Date
May 5, 2013

Runtime
133

Writers
Roberto Orci , Alex Kurtzman , Damon Lindelof , Gene Roddenberry

3 ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ (2019)

Directed by J.J. Abrams

Rey hels Kylo Ren in The Rise of Skywalker
Image via Lucasfilm


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was an absurd disaster that completely betrayed all the themes set up in the previous eight entries in the Star Wars saga. Star Wars: The Last Jedi revealed that Rey (Daisy Ridley) was born to “nobodies,” a daring and narratively intriguing choice that opened all kinds of questions about the Force. However, the final installment in the sequel trilogy retconned it by saying she was actually the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who had somehow revived himself in a clone body after his presumed death at the end of Star Wars: Episode VI- Return of the Jedi.

The film never takes the time to explain Palpatine’s cloning process, nor does it delve into Palpatine’s wife and family. It also felt entirely unrealistic for Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) to easily take down the Knights of Ren, who had helped him seize Luke Skywalker’s (Mark Hamill) Jedi Academy in the first place. The ending feels lazy at best and nonsensical at worst, a true insult to long-time fans.


Star Wars Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker Film Poster

2 ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ (2020)

Directed by Patty Jenkins

Wonder Woman bears her lasso of truth in Wonder Woman 1984
Image via Warner Bros. 

Wonder Woman 1984 made the baffling decision to introduce the idea of “magical wishes” into the DC Universe, which created more contrivances and plot holes than anything else. At the end of the film, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) saves the world after millions choose to give up their wish at the same time, thus putting the reign of Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) to an end. Even in a film that is obviously very tongue-in-cheek, this sort of logical leap was too much to justify.


If this illogical fantasy element was not enough, Wonder Woman 1984 does not do enough to explain the resurrection of Steve Trevor, whose relationship with Wonder Woman is more creepy than it is romantic. Considering how drastically worse Wonder Woman 1984 was in quality compared to its predecessor, it’s not surprising that Gadot and Patty Jenkins won’t be returning to make a third entry in the trilogy in James Gunn’s upcoming reboot of the DC franchise.

Wonder Woman 1984 poster

Wonder Woman 1984

Release Date
December 16, 2020

Runtime
151 minutes

Writers
Dave Callaham , Patty Jenkins , Geoff Johns , William Moulton Marston

1 ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ (2023)

Directed by Peyton Reed

Kang the Conquerer looking serious in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Image via Marvel Studios


Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is often cited as the film that kicked off the larger backlash against the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it’s easy to see why. The film essentially focused almost its entire running time on introducing the new villain Kang (Jonathan Majors), who planned to conquer the Multiverse with his evil army. However, Kang is easily defeated by Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and his family after they destroy him using the multiversal power core.

It didn’t make sense for a fearsome villain like Kang to be defeated so easily, especially after the more intimidating version of the character was introduced in the Disney+ series Loki. It’s still unknown if the Kang storyline will continue, as drama in front of and behind the camera has complicated the character’s reputation among fans. Thus, the events of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania are almost completely superfluous.

Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania Movie Poster


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