After seeing “Thor: The Dark World” this weekend, one thing has become clear — we’re shelling out tens of dollars to see the same plot device over and over again: Bad guys getting captured on purpose to fulfill an evil deed.
More and more movies are following this same rule of thumb and we’re falling for it.
Here’s how the setup goes: Somewhere early in the film, the bad guy is caught. This is usually on purpose, a larger part of their master plan. The villain is then imprisoned in a holding cell (usually made of glass). Inevitably, he escapes to wreck more havoc.
Here are the list of movies where we’ve noticed this occur in one form or another.
“Silence of the Lambs” (1991)
Hannibal Lecter escapes from a cell in a Tennessee courthouse before disappearing without a trace.
“X2” (May 2003)
Magneto breaks out of a plastic jail cell he’s held locked inside of by the X-Men.
“The Dark Knight” (July 2008)
The Joker makes an elaborate plan to get captured by the cops and thrown in jail before giving the Caped Crusader the ultimatum of saving his love Rachel or the hero Gotham deserves, Harvey Dent.
As a result, he single-handedly breaks the bat emotionally, while inadvertently giving rise to another villain, Two-Face.
“The Avengers” (May 2012)
Loki gets captured unintentionally by the superhero crew only to try and dissemble the team. He succeeds momentarily after controlling Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and getting Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) to transform into the Hulk, unleashing a storm of rage on board of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Helicarrier.
Disney / Marvel
“Skyfall” (November 2012)
It was Raoul Silva’s (Javier Bardem) master plan to be kidnapped in order to find and kill M. Again, the cell he’s kept in mirrors that of Loki and Magneto in previous films.
MGM / Sony Pictures
“Star Trek Into Darkness” (May 2013)
Starfleet member-turned-terrorist John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) allows himself to be captured only to reveal his true identity as Khan and alterior motives he has in place.
“Thor: The Dark World” (November 2013)
*SPOILER* Villain Algrim (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje aka Mr. Eko from “Lost”) gets captured so he can break out of his cell and let the rest of the Dark Elves into Asgard. *SPOILER*
Disney / Marvel
Here’s a better look at the prison he’s held in. Because of his actions in “The Avengers,” Loki was being held in one, too. Note how similar his cell looks to that of Khan’s in “Star Trek” (minus the furniture).
Disney / Marvel
Hollywood, please stop this.
It’s painfully predictable and kind of insulting as a viewer to continue seeing the same stunt pulled over and over again.
The first time we really noticed this occur was in 1991’s “Silence of the Lambs.” After that, we noticed it again in the X-Men sequel, “X2.” It was still original enough to feel like its own thing though.
It was after 2008’s “The Dark Knight” when we really noticed this premise begin to resurface more frequently with villains getting caught on purpose.
Here’s the problem:
We got really excited when the Joker broke out of prison in a grand booming scheme in “The Dark Knight.” That level of mastery, the “let me get captured on purpose for a bigger purpose” fit perfectly in line with the Joker’s character.
Initially, while watching James Bond flick “Skyfall,” we felt the same way when Javier Bardem’s Raoul Silva thought up a grand scheme to infiltrate MI6 headquarters. After all, it looked pretty original.
Soon afterward though we realized we saw that familiar setup once before. As huge Batman fans, you can’t pull one over on us. Only after you make the connection between the two films, do you feel a little cheated.
The scene then felt so familiar that when it happened again in “Star Trek Into Darkness,” it didn’t come as a surprise that “John Harrison” (aka Khan) was going to escape from his captors. It was only a matter of time.
It was even more obvious in “Thor: The Dark World.”
At the end of the day, we can only be fed the same plot device so many times before it starts to get old. We’re at that point.