Part of being a supervillain is having a crazy plan to take over the world, exact revenge or even to just make a lot of money. Whatever their goals are, a great comic book villain can’t just go about them in a normal way. Real life criminals often commit crimes not only without getting caught, but without anyone knowing that a crime has even been committed. That doesn’t work in comic books. When villains are brought to the big screen, they have to make a big splash, which means they typically bring some truly insane plots along with them.
This list isn’t meant to criticize these plots or films. Many of the movies included here are great, but that doesn’t mean the bad guys’ plans are all airtight. Often times, they focus on theatrics over practicality. As long as the plot moves along, then audiences tend not to notice. If you take a step back, however, and actually look at the plots, these all have glaring issues. Only a completely crazy person would even attempt to pull them off, which is what makes them so entertaining in the first place. Here are the most insane supervillain plots ever from comic book movies!
15. JOKER PLANS FOR EVERYTHING
It’s not entirely clear how far ahead the Joker planned in The Dark Knight (2008), but he seemingly was ready for anything. His plan goes through several phases, eventually landing on trying to prove that the people of Gotham are all capable of being evil. He first tries to prove this by planting explosives on two boats, which the city is using to evacuate citizens and prisoners, and giving each boat the detonator for the other boat.
He also urges Harvey Dent to go on a killing spree after his fiancee is killed. Of course, both plans required him to have the foresight to see that Harvey would get half his face blown off. Also, he had to make sure that the city would evacuate by boat, and that those two specific boats would launch at the same time, with one carrying prisoners. How convenient for him.
14. ZEMO OVER-COMPLICATES RUINING FRIENDSHIPS
In Captain America: Civil War (2016), it’s revealed that Howard and Maria Stark were murdered by the Winter Soldier back in 1991. This information is uncovered in the present day by Helmut Zemo, a former Sokovian colonel who lost his family during the final battle of Age of Ultron (2015). He blames the Avengers for this, and uses this information to drive a wedge between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, who refuses to give up on his childhood friend (Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier).
He also frames the Winter Soldier for an assassination, which he somehow knows will lead Tony Stark to investigating and finding a hidden Russian base, where Zemo has planted the evidence of the elderly Starks’ murders. He also could’ve just mailed Stark the evidence and not relied on Iron Man figuring it out himself, but where would be the fun in that?
13. EGO DOESN’T PICK UP HIS OWN KIDS
While the father/son reunion between Star-Lord and Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 (2017) seems to be heartwarming at first, it turns out the Ego just wants to use Quill as a vessel for his power so he can terraform planets across the galaxy. It also turns out that Ego had many children across each of these planets, but Quill was the only one that could handle the power. The only reason why Ego didn’t collect Star-Lord earlier was that when he hired Yondu to pick him up, Yondu decided to hold on to the boy and raise him.
But, Ego knew that Yondu had picked up Quill, so he should have been able to track his son down sooner. Even more confusing, why hire Yondu at all? Ego demonstrates the ability to shapeshift, so it’s not like he’s avoiding all of the moms.
12. VIOLATOR LIKES TO PLAY WITH JASON WYNN’S HEART
Being one of the rulers of Hell, Malebolgia of course wants to initiate the apocalypse on Earth. He sends his agent, Violator, to help make this happen during the events of Spawn (1997). The overly complicated plan is: they convince Jason Wynn, the head of a covert government agency, to kill Al Simmons, one of his best agents. Simmons makes a deal with Malebolgia and is turned into Spawn.
Violator then gets Wynn to attach a device to his heart that will ignite a doomsday weapon if it ever stops beating, while also trying to steer Spawn into killing Wynn. The plan fails when Spawn regains his humanity and spares Wynn’s life. Of course, Violator could’ve killed Wynn at any point, instead of relying on the guy that seems like he’s really not on board with the whole “hell on Earth” thing.
11. DOCTOR DOOM FORGETS GALACTUS
It’s not entirely clear what Doctor Doom’s plan in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), but it’s not a great one. After encountering the Silver Surfer, Doom hatches a plan to steal the cosmic entity’s immense power, which makes sense. Having the power of the Silver Surfer would definitely come in handy for his other evil schemes. He even successfully tricks the Fantastic Four into helping him trap the Surfer, only to betray them and transfer the power to himself.
Then Galactus shows up and Doom is shown looking up with confusion (and maybe even fear). Why didn’t he plan for this? The Surfer told everyone that Galactus was coming, he didn’t try to hide that fact at all. Maybe Doom just assumed that he would wing this part of the plan and got overwhelmed. Either way, he should’ve at least considered Galactus.
10. LEX LUTHOR KNOWS THAT BATMAN WILL STEAL HIS KRYPTONITE
There’s nothing new about Lex Luthor trying to take down Superman, but the way he did it in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) seemed way too complicated. Desperate to kill God (aka Superman), he spends months feeding Bruce Wayne’s rage against the hero. He then kidnaps Superman’s mom and forces him to fight Batman or he’ll kill Martha. It’s a bit complicated.
Anyway, the only reason why Batman is able to fight Superman is because of the kryptonite he stole from Lex. But Lex had been working to turn Bruce away from Superman for months before he even found the kryptonite. Lex apparently planned on Batman stealing the green rocks and knowing what they did. Without those rocks, the fight between Bats and Supes would’ve lasted three seconds, saving Martha and making Lex’s plan pointless.
9. BANE AND TALIA AL GHUL KIDNAP A CITY
Revenge is a dish best served cold. Apparently, Bane and Talia al Ghul of the League of Shadows misunderstood that to mean “kidnap an entire city during winter.” Their plan, which they put into motion in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), was based on getting back at Bruce Wayne for killing Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins (2005). Some of their plan makes sense: robbing Bruce of his riches, playing with his heart, breaking his back and stealing his Batman toys.
The major part of their plan involves holding Gotham City hostage for several months. Using a nuclear bomb, they keep the US military from intervening. Luckily, Gotham is only accessible by a handful of bridges, and the US military has no way of disabling a radio remote for the bomb. They’re also lucky that Gotham is surrounded by rivers that somehow freeze, making boat escapes/rescues impossible.
8. CURT CONNORS FORGETS HIS GOAL
Curt Connors spent years working with Richard Parker on a way to regrow limbs, and when Peter Parker reunites with him years after his father’s death in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), this leads to a breakthrough. Unfortunately, Connors’ combination of lizard and human DNA doesn’t just regrow limbs, it also causes temporary transformations into lizard monsters.
Initially, Connors’ motivation is to protect the public from Oscorp’s greed, and turns himself into The Lizard. In a weird turn of events, he later decides to launch the lizard serum into New York City’s atmosphere, turning the city into (temporary) lizard monsters. This is an odd turn, considering that Connors had discovered the cure he was looking for, albeit with some unfortunate side effects. With a few tweaks, he probably could’ve figured out a solution to the lizard monster problem, but he instead decided to go the “city of lizard monsters” route.
7. APOCALYPSE DOESN’T KNOW HOW NUKES WORK
When Apocalypse awakens in the 1980s, he’s disgusted to see that people he considers weak have inherited the Earth in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016). He believes that technology is to blame, so when he gains control of Professor X’s brain, he uses Xavier’s powers to mind control soldiers across the planet to launch all of the world’s nuclear missiles, sending them into space.
Apocalypse then uses Magneto to cause chaos all over the world, which backfires when Magneto turned against him. Instead of using this two part plan, however, Apocalypse should’ve just detonated the nukes. If he was trying to cause mass death and destruction, that would’ve been much simpler. Of course, then he wouldn’t have been able to give a bunch of speeches about strength and survival of the fittest, but that seems like a fair trade off.
6. MAGNETO KNOWS AN OPPORTUNITY WHEN HE SEES ONE
Never let it be said that Magneto doesn’t take advantage of a situation. In X2: X-Men United (2003), Colonel Stryker kidnaps Professor X and places him in a knock-off version of Cerebro. When Xavier is connected to the machine, he’s connected to the minds of every living thing on the planet, and if he concentrates on one specific group, he can kill them. Stryker has his son (a mutant) hypnotize Xavier into thinking he should kill all the mutants.
Luckily, Magneto’s helmet protects him and he’s able to stop Xavier in the nick of time. Unfortunately, Magneto is still evil and tries to get Xavier to concentrate on all the humans. It’s a great evil plan, except it has some huge holes in it. Hopefully, there would have been enough mutants trained to be doctors, engineers and basically every other job to keep society going after all the humans drop dead.
5. THE RIDDLER IGNORES HIS BUSINESS PLAN
While working for Wayne Enterprises in Batman Forever (1995), Edward Nygma designs a device that beams TV directly into people’s brains. After Wayne rejects the idea, Nygma successfully tests the device on his boss, discovering the added side effect that it feeds the user’s “brain waves” into his own head, making him smarter.
Fired from Wayne Corp, Nygma teams up with Two-Face to steal enough capital to start his company. Once the company is up and running, however, it’s a huge success. Now, Nygma is rich and has access to all of Gotham’s brainwaves, and Batman doesn’t suspect a thing until Nygma and Two-Face attack him (the brain device had revealed Bruce’s secret to the criminals). Instead of attacking him, Nygma should’ve just revealed Batman’s identity to the public and then just continued to be rich and successful.
4. LOKI RELIES ON THE SAME OLD TRICKS
In Thor: The Dark World (2013), Thor frees Loki from Asgardian prison to help him confront the Dark Elves. The two brothers actually use an illusion to trick the Elves into thinking that Loki betrayed Thor, so they can get close while the Elves let their guard down.
Loki then tricks Thor into thinking that he’s been mortally wounded during the battle. When an Asgardian soldier shows up to collect Loki’s body, the God of Mischief seemingly swaps places with the guard, just so he can get close to Odin, who is next on Loki’s “swap out and replace list.” This entire plan hinged on Thor once again falling for Loki’s illusions. Either Loki doesn’t have any other tricks, or he doesn’t think too highly of his brother.
3. DANICA WAKES A MONSTER THAT HATES HER TOO
Typically, vampires wanting to team up with Dracula would make sense, but there’s nothing “typical” about Blade: Trinity (2004). Danica Talos, the leader of the vampire house of Talos, discovers Dracula’s tomb in Syria and awakens him. Since he’s the first vampire, she believes that he’ll be able to help them hunt down and kill Blade, who has been killing vampires for years at this point.
On the surface, this seems like a great plan. The problem with it is that Dracula is disgusted by modern vampires. He is a warrior, and the modern houses plan on living off blood farmed from comatose humans. Also, it turns out that Dracula’s blood is the key for the Daystar virus, which is capable of wiping out the vampires. Sure, Danica couldn’t have known all of this, but her plan still ended up completely blowing up in her face.
2. ALDRICH KILLIAN BECOMES RICH AND HANDSOME
As the head of AIM, Aldrich Killian helps develop Extremis, a process that rewrites a living thing’s genetic code, making them stronger and able to recover from most injuries (also, random fire and heat powers). Killian uses his newfound power to blackmail the Vice President of the United States to help him kidnap the actual President in Iron Man 3 (2013), putting the Vice President in charge (while still beholden to Killian’s commands).
The weird part is that Killian seems to be motivated by a mean stunt that Tony Stark pulled on him at a New Year’s party back in 1999. After Extremis is developed, Killian seemingly becomes very rich; rich enough to afford multiple large houses, pay off a seemingly endless supply of henchmen and, most importantly, bribe politicians. Of course, bribes aren’t as much fun as kidnapping the President and inserting a puppet leader in his place.
1. LEX LUTHOR DOESN’T UNDERSTAND REAL ESTATE
Lex Luthor is supposed to be a genius, but his plan in Superman: The Movie has some huge holes in it. This version of Luthor isn’t obsessed with Superman, he’s seemingly obsessed with real estate. His plan is to explode a bomb on the San Andreas fault line, which will cause California to fall into the ocean. Luthor is owner of large plots of land that are currently worthless, but will become valuable beachfront property after California disappears.
First, there are easier ways to make money in real estate that don’t involve destroying large portions of the country. Also, this plan required Lex to predict the exact way the new coastline would form. If his calculations were off by only a few miles, then he’d still be stuck with worthless land. Flipping houses would have been way easier than this.
Watch Steppenwolf unleash what is hopefully one of the most insane plans yet in Justice League, which will hit theaters on November 17, 2017.
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