While some protagonists are amazingly good at blowing away the bad guy, and awesome from an audience point of view, they may actually suck at the jobs they’re hired to do. If you’re a cop, for instance, the D.A. is going to go nuts if you keep blowing away bad guys. They want to prosecute these guys in court and get a conviction. Killing them leaves an element of doubt and that’s not great from a criminal justice point of view. If you’re a cop in a movie, you get a medal for shooting a serial killer. In the real world, you’re going to get a mountain of paperwork and a dressing down from your captain, the D.A., the mayor, and pretty much every reporter in the city wondering why you’re running around like a vigilante dispensing such harsh “Justice.”
There's also those that are just completely inept; so laughably bad at what they do that you can't imagine how they got their jobs in the first place. Those sorts of characters number in the hundreds, so for the sake of clarity, we've only included one (our personal favorite) super dummy on our list.
Here are 12 Great Characters That Suck At Their Jobs.
Yes, Homer is supposed to suck at his job, it’s a massive part of who he is. Even so, he’s come to symbolise every lazy office peon in the world that skates through life doing the absolute minimum to stay in a job without getting fired.
Despite his slovenly behaviour, he’s surprisingly motivated at times. When he’s thought up one of his hair-brained schemes, he’s been surprisingly focused on making it a success. Mr. Plow saw him working all hours in a blizzard. When he was in a barbershop quartet, they outsold The Beatles.
Considering he’s travelled the world, met numerous famous individuals, and done more with his life than most people could ever hope to, he’s incredibly inept at his day job. Good thing it’s not overseeing the safety of a nuclear power plant or anything…oh wait…
Jurassic Park’s game warden and (supposed) expert on all things Raptors. Muldoon has a keen awareness of just how lethal these creatures are, having lost a man in the opening scene of the movie. He even goes so far as to make a point of telling the visiting palaeontologist, Alan Grant, how smart the Raptors are. He’s even noticeably fearful of them on at least two occasions.
Which has to raise the question of how he allowed the beasts to get the drop on him at the end of the movie using the exact tactic Alan Grant predicts they would use at the beginning of the movie when he’s still in Montana. Sure, Muldoon wasn’t present for that explanation, but Grant must have written books on the subject, being the foremost authority on the subject. If Muldoon had been doing his job, surely he’d have done the necessary research?
Putting aside the fact that a spy is supposed to blend in and a man in a trench-coat and eye patch stands out like Santa in July, Nick Fury massively dropped the ball when it came to running S.H.I.E.L.D.
Aside from his cunning plan in The Avengers to task a half dozen guys that just leveled a German forest when they were smashing each other team up with no training, no plan, and no experience, take on a whole alien invasion pretty much single-handedly, he also ran S.H.I.E.L.D. for years without noticing he was working alongside Hydra the whole time.
While Fury got lucky with the Chitauri invasion, the events of Winter Soldier showed that he had serious issues when it came to human resources. The C.I.A for instance does regular polygraphs on employees to check for moles, and S.H.I.E.L.D. is supposedly the MCU equivalent of the C.I.A and N.S.A all rolled into one -- yet it had more traitors than in all the Bond movies put together. Fury dropped the ball big time.
What does a spy look like? If you think it’s a guy in a tuxedo, you’d be wrong. A spy, a real one, blends in to a crowd. You’d never know you were talking to a spy, that’s the point of them.
But the tuxedo image comes from five decades of James Bond movies, most of which involve James Bond doing a tux at every opportunity. Even worse than standing out, he gives his actual name wherever he goes. Spies spend years undercover, developing assets, maintaining a strict cover, never breaking their cover except to have a meeting with their handler at regular intervals to hand over vital intelligence. Rarely, very rarely, do they actually have to kill anyone. They usually gather information, while unarmed, and pass it along. If someone needs to be sanctioned (to be killed) they send in SEAL team 6.
Bond runs all over the globe, breaking all the rules of spy craft, and leaves explosions and destruction in his wake wherever he goes. Sure, the bad guy is always beaten, the girl bedded, and the shaken not stirred martinis consumed. But as spies go, he pretty much fails on every level, though he does look cool doing it.
Iron Man 3 had the unenviable task of following on from The Avengers, which was not only the highest grossing superhero movie of all time, but (at the time) the third highest grossing movie ever -- and the highest grossing movie not directed by James Cameron. It took in a massive 1.3 Billion dollars, and complaints about the Mandarin aside, there were few complaints about the success of the movie.
The people in the film, however, seemed to be totally unaware of how the Secret Service, and just about every branch of the military, works. The President gets kidnapped, and the Secret Service (the guys whose only job is to protect the president) do nothing about it. They don’t even call S.H.I.E.L.D., who at the time weren’t known to be full of Hydra agents.
Surely the first thing they would have done is call Captain America. Instead, they seem to think “Hey guys, we’re in an Iron Man movie. Let Stark take care of it.” While Iron Man does indeed save President Ellis, the head of the government being kidnapped by the MCU equivalent of Bin Laden should have had a bigger response from the government.
While the X-Men are dedicated to saving the world and ensuring the peaceful co-existence of man and mutant, they also run a school for gifted youngsters that aren’t old enough to be X-Men just yet.
Herein lies the problem. Charles Xavier, in the movies at least, lies about the nature of the school. In X2, Bobby Drake (Iceman) tells Logan (Wolverine) that his parents are unaware he is a mutant and believe he is at a prep school for the gifted. While yes, Bobby is gifted, taking a child away from his family to a boarding school under false pretences is a serious federal crime. Also, the dangerous in-house equipment such as Cerebro (which has almost killed the world on multiple occasions now) raises issues of child endangerment.
As the leader of the X-Men, Charles Xavier has prevented the Cuban Missile crisis from getting worse, stopped Magneto and Apocalypse, and saved the world a bunch of times. As a school teacher, entrusted with the safety and well-being of teenagers, he’d not only be shut down, but quite possibly arrested too.
While The X-Files is often referred to as a cult show, it was anything but. For a time, it was the highest rated show on Fox, winning 16 Emmy Awards and 5 Golden Globes in its heyday. It wasn’t just a hit show, it redefined smart sci-fi and set the bar for high-concept shows for a generation. Lost, Heroes, Fringe, they all owe a huge debt to The X-Files.
Central to the success of the show was Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) whose belief that “The Truth is Out There” became the motto of the ‘90s. Despite being a self-confessed sociopath and porn-addict, Mulder made the F.B.I. suddenly the coolest profession in the world. While his battles against government conspiracies were central to the mythology of the show, there were numerous “Monster of the week” episodes too. But there's always been one nagging thing about the show, a problem mentioned by die-hard fans time after time: Mulder never actually solved a case.
The F.B.I. is a law enforcement agency, and central to that is wrapping up cases and making sure bad guys go to jail. When Mulder closed a case, they were filed away and largely ignored. When he did manage to get Eugene Tooms into a courtroom to prosecute him for being a serial killer, his evidence was deemed too “far-fetched” and Tooms was free to kill again until Mulder eventually managed to kill him himself.
While from an audience standpoint he solved dozens of cases, from an F.B.I. standpoint, he had a shockingly poor arrest record.
It’s become something of a punchline now that in the entire original trilogy, the Empire’s soldiers, known as Stormtroopers, were notoriously bad shots. Early into 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Obi Wan Kenobi tells young Luke Skywalker that the Jawas were killed by Stormtroopers, not Tusken Raiders as the blaster fire is too accurate and only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise.
Only, they really aren’t. during the shootout on the Tantive IV, R2 D2 and C3PO walk through a volley of blaster fire without a scratch. There are thousands of shots fired by Stormtroopers over the course of the original trilogy, and aside from Leia taking a tiny scratch to the arm in Return of the Jedi, none of the main characters are ever seriously wounded on-screen by Storm Troopers.
The very first scene of the very first Mission Impossible had Ethan Hunt interrogating a Russian while in disguise in one of the franchise's signature rubber masks. Pretty good spy stuff, and more covert than anything Bond has ever done on screen.
Things go downhill from there, however. The masks, so vital in concealing one’s identity, aren’t used when infiltrating the Vatican in MI:3 or even when standing three hundred feet from a former colleague who knows what he looks like in MI:2. It’s beyond sloppy. Hunt's disregard for maintaining his cover comes to a head in MI:3 when interrogating Owen Davian on board a plane. This is one of the most resourceful and dangerous men on the planet, and not only do the agents not have masks on, they use their real names in front of him, leading to the kidnapping of Ethan’s wife.
Indiana Jones is a beloved action hero, and one that made a generation want to become an archaeologist. The only thing is, he’s a terrible archaeologist. Ninety percent of an archaeologist's life is spent in the library (or online these days) fact-checking and developing a workable theory to gain funding for a dig to prove or disprove said theory, which will hopefully enrich our understanding of history.
While Indy single-handedly found The Lost Ark and The Holy Grail, he didn’t follow any procedures regarding site examinations or documenting the expeditions. Sure, there were those pesky Nazi’s running around, but even so, the nation’s greatest archaeologist should have done at least some paperwork.
There’s even an entire episode of The Big Bang Theory that addresses the fact that Indy is tasked with returning the Ark to the museum but fails to do so, as it ends up in a government warehouse instead.
Thanos may well be the big bad of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but right now, his plans look a little flawed. While not yet completely clear, his goal certainly seems to be “acquire the Infinity Stones, conquer universe."
There’s a problem with this, however. For a start, he has one less stone than he started out with. He was in possession of the scepter containing The Mind Stone but lent it to Loki to aid in the Chitauri invasion. The plan appeared to be, let Loki have Earth in exchange for the Tesseract (which contains the Space Stone) and take back the sceptre. Only, Loki failed and the Mind Stone is now firmly in Vision’s forehead.
It’s not just Loki that has failed to acquire a stone for him either. Ronan was supposed to acquire the Power Stone for him in exchange for Thanos destroying Xandar. Ronan’s ended up keeping the stone for himself, and his betrayal eventually led to the Nova Corps gaining control of the stone. Given he now has one less stone than he had to begin with and his monumentally bad decision making when choosing henchmen, it’s no wonder he has chosen to “do it himself” as he swore to do in the post-credits scene in Age of Ultron.
Boba Fett is known the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy, and one seriously scary guy. Except, in the entire original Star Wars trilogy, he never captures or kills a single person.
While he is the one that determines Han Solo is going to go to Bespin, and indeed beats him there, it’s Darth Vader himself that captures Solo and the other rebels and merely hands him over to Fett. In Return of the Jedi, he’s hit in the back by a blind guy, triggering his jet pack and launching him into the Sarlacc pit. His Dad, Jango Fett, faced down Obi-Wan Kenobi and held his own against the Jedi. Boba, despite being awesomely cool, failed to live up to his father’s legacy in pretty much every way.
He was somewhat redeemed in the Expanded Universe of novels and comic books, which rounded out his character and made him much, much more badass. But now that The Force Awakens has pretty much erased all that from the established canon, Boba Fett has once more been relegated to the status of “awesome-looking henchman." The man who was once set to be the big bad of Jedi could use some redemption.
Any other awesome movie characters that actually aren’t that great at their jobs? Tell us about them in the comments!