Even the most skilled filmmakers sometimes make mistakes. Depending on the movies you like to watch, you’ve probably spotted your fair share of plot holes over the years.Some fans poke fun at perceived plot holes in their favorite flicks, even dedicating entire websites to movie blunders. It can be entertaining feeling like you’re smarter than the screenwriter, after all.
Sometimes, people are right to lampoon movies for obvious plot holes that they should have caught — after all, we can only ignore so many logical flaws. However, there are some famous plot holes that aren’t actually plot holes at all. They have a logical explanation for why the plot twisted and turned the way that it did.
For this list, we’ll be defining plot hole as an aspect of the story that goes against the logic set forth by the rest of the plot or the movie’s universe. An inconsistency, like someone’s glass of water changing places throughout a scene, won’t count as a plot hole. Neither will character choices — a character not making the obvious choice isn’t a plot hole, it’s characterization.
These might cause some fan wars, but they’re not errors. Here are 16 Movie Plot Holes That Aren’t Actually Plot Holes.
16. Marty’s parents don’t recognize him
In Back to the Future, Doc and Marty accidentally travel back to 1955 without enough plutonium to get them to 1985. While they’re trapped in the fifties, Marty meets his parents as teenagers. Trying to make sure that he’ll still be alive in 1985, Marty orchestrates a moment for his parents at the “Enchantment Under the Sea” school dance before coming back to the present day.
Given how significant Marty became to them in 1955 — saving his father from getting hit by a car, getting hit on by his mother — fans have asked how his parents didn’t recognize him in 1985. Isn’t that a plot hole?
Not necessarily. It’s easy to forget a face after thirty years, especially if it appears in a context you don’t expect. His parents forgetting someone they only knew for a few days is one of the most realistic parts of the movie.
15. Nero is oddly patient
In the 2009 Star Trek reboot, a lot of fans had questions about the timeline of events. The movie starts off with Nero’s ship Narada attacking a ship that James Kirk’s parents are on, just before an infant Kirk is born. Then, of course, the movie flashes forward to Kirk as an adult seventeen years later. Two decades go by in the movie’s timeline before Nero becomes a villain again. What gives?
While some people think that it’s a plot hole that Nero is apparently just chilling for years, waiting to take action again, there’s actually a reason for his absence. A deleted scene in the movie reveals that he was actually captured and locked up by Klingons during that interval, giving Kirk plenty of time to grow up and become a leader.
14. Why Doesn’t Everyone Use A Time Turner?
In the third Harry Potter movie, Harry and Hermione use a Time Turner to go back in time three hours to save Sirius and Buckbeak. Hermione confesses that she’s been using the Time Turner all year to take multiple classes at once. After seeing that was possible, some people started asking questions. If Dumbledore was willing to give a thirteen year old the ability to turn back time to go to class, why didn’t they just use a Time Turner to go back in time and defeat Voldemort?
First, Time Turners can only go back in time so far without causing major disruptions. The one Hermione has is only meant to go back hours, not days or years. By the seventh book, though, it’s a moot point anyway. During the battle in the Ministry of Magic during Harry’s fifth year, almost all of the hourglasses were destroyed.
13. Darth Vader Can’t Sense The Force
In Star Wars: A New Hope, Darth Vader captures Leia and interrogates her. He doesn’t seem to sense anything out of the ordinary about her…like, say, the fact that she’s his daughter, or that she has some level of control over the Force.
In Empire Strikes Back, however, Vader is able to sense the Force in Luke, eventually leading to the epic reveal that he’s really Luke’s father. So what gives? Why could he sense the Force in Luke, but not Leia?
There are a few possible explanations for this, other than George Lucas was making it up as he went along. By the time of Luke and Darth Vader’s epic showdown, Luke has been training with Yoda, trying to learn the ways of the Jedi. It’s possible that the Force was just stronger with him. Leia is also said to be “unusually resistant” to interrogation, so maybe she just had stronger mental walls than her brother.
12. Hiding Luke on Tatooine
If a child’s father turned to the Dark Side and became a murdering overlord, it makes sense that you might want to hide his kids from him. It might not make as much sense to hide one child under his real name…on his father’s home planet. He’ll never look there, right?
Some fans have pointed to this decision as a plot hole or a flaw in the movie’s logic, but they might have been a little bit too hasty. Tatooine was the planet where Anakin’s mother died, so it wasn’t very likely that he’d pop over for a visit. Besides, he hates sand. Why would he go back to a planet covered with it?
11. The Shawshank Redemption Poster
At the end of the The Shawshank Redemption, Andy escapes through a tunnel that he’s been digging little by little for the last nineteen years. The tunnel is only discovered because Norton throws a rock at the poster that’s neatly covering the tunnel’s opening.
Fans have pointed out that Andy would have had to put the poster back from inside the tunnel. How did he put the poster back so neatly from inside? Plot hole!
Not really. Andy had escape on his mind for years. It’s not a stretch to think that he would have thought about how he was going to cover his tracks once he left, or even practiced how to put the poster back on neatly. It would have been hard to get the poster in place, but not impossible. It’s also not a logical flaw in the plot, so it’s not a plot hole.
10. Escapes From Jurassic World
In one of the scenes from Jurassic World, a flock of pterodactyls accidentally escape and attack the resort. While some of them are subdued with tranquilizers, there are still some pterodactyls that escape off into the proverbial sunset.
After watching the movie, some fans questioned why the characters would have let some giant flying dinosaurs go free, even if the humans were trying to stop the T-Rex from going on a rampage. In a quick line in the movie, it’s mentioned that the dinos are bred with an amino acid deficiency. That means they’d die without specific nutrients in their food, which can only be found in the park. The keepers knew that the pterodactyls would die on their own anyway.
9. No one cares about Amanda
I will find you. And I will kill you. And I will not care about my daughter’s best friend, who was also kidnapped.
The movie that gave Liam Neeson some of his most iconic dialogue is sometimes criticized for forgetting about a major character. Amanda, Kim’s friend who convinces her to come to Europe with her, is also abducted at the same time as Kim. People think that Bryan Mills completely forgets about Amanda as he careens through Paris trying to find his daughter.
However, Amanda’s fate is touched on in the movie, though you might not have realized that it was her. When Bryan breaks into the safe house, he finds a lot of very drugged girls being held captive. One of them is Amanda, though she’s unfortunately already dead.
8. Django Unchained’s Convoluted Plan
Quentin Tarantino movies aren’t exactly known for being subdued. The plan that Dr. Schultz and Django come up with to free Django’s wife makes for some visually striking scenes, but some people don’t think it makes any sense. Why doesn’t Dr. Schultz just offer to buy Django’s wife from Candie and be done with it? Why go to all that trouble?
He could have done that, but he wouldn’t have gotten the result he wanted. It’s explained that Candie wouldn’t have thought that such a small sale was worth his time, so Schultz and Django wouldn’t have gotten the audience or the reception that they wanted. Instead, they had to cover their true goal with a different scheme — coming to buy one of the famous Candyland fighters.
7. Feeding Time for Gremlins
There are three rules to owning a mogwai — don’t expose it to bright sunlight, don’t let it get wet, and whatever you do, don’t feed it after midnight. 11:30pm, you’re good. 12:01, not so much.
Okay, cool, easy enough. But wait…isn’t it always after midnight somewhere? When are you able to feed them?
A popular fan theory offered an explanation — you feed them at sunrise. Gremlins are weak at that point from the sunlight, even if they’re not in direct bright sun. You can feed them then and not give them the energy that they need to transform. At night, though, when they’ve gotten their strength back up, it’s dangerous to feed them.
6. Hiding the Enterprise
People were willing to forgive the 2009 Star Trek for a lot. They weren’t as forgiving of Star Trek: Into Darkness. It was so disappointing that there are whole websites dedicated to pointing out plot holes and inconsistencies from just this movie. Trekkies don’t play.
There is one plot point that’s admittedly confusing, but not necessarily a plot hole. Spock is against showing the Enterprise to the Nibiru people because he’s against the violation of the Prime Directive. Instead, they hide the Enterprise under the sea. Why not just leave it in orbit and take a small shuttle? Wouldn’t that make more sense?
5. Online Shopping Decepticons
In Michael Bay’s 2007 Transformers, Sam Witwicky is using any method possible to make a buck, including putting his grandfather’s old glasses on eBay. The Decepticons apparently see the glasses on eBay, realize that valuable information have been etched into the glass, and go on a hunt for the man behind the username LadiesMan217.
For some reason, some people said that the Decepticons not purchasing the glasses on eBay was a plot hole. This doesn’t really make any sense — why would alien robots bid on the glasses, wait for the auction to end, and then make up a fake shipping address on Earth when they’re evil and can just kill people for them?
4. Thor’s Appearance on Earth
At the end of Thor’s first standalone movie in the MCU, he destroys the Bifröst in an effort to thwart Loki’s plan. The moment carries emotional weight, since as he says, this means he can no longer return to Earth (and Natalie Portman). Yet somehow, he still makes it to New York to team up against his brother for the 2012 Avengers. Uh…what gives?
This one does seem like a plot hole unless you caught Loki’s quick throwaway line of explanation. Loki mentions in Avengers that Odin must have used “dark magic” to get his brother there, which is supposed to clue the audience in. The Bifröst was eventually fixed, but not before the events of the movie.
3. Cypher enters The Matrix
Entering and leaving the Matrix is supposed to be a team effort. You need someone to plug you in, and then someone to unplug you to bring you back to the real world. Since that’s established early on in the movie, people were confused when Cypher betrays the group. If no one knew what he was up to, how did he enter and leave the Matrix alone?
The Wachowskis have an explanation for that. According to the filmmaking siblings, there’s a moment where Neo interrupts Cypher writing a script that creates an automated system that will let him go meet with Agent Smith. This system is what allows him to go into the Matrix without the help of someone like Tank or Dozer.
2. Buzz freezes
Buzz Lightyear believes he’s an explorer, not a toy. He’s pretty adamant about this for most of the movie. So why does he freeze around humans with the other toys, even though he thinks that he’s real?
There are a few possible explanations for this, other than “Pixar didn’t think of that.” Because let’s be real, Pixar thinks of almost everything. He could be playing dead and not ‘acting like a toy,’ since someone like Andy could be a giant, potentially threatening life form in his mind. He could be blending in with the other ‘strange creatures’ in his new surroundings until he figures out what’s going on.
1. The Titanic Door
People have been debating this point for the last twenty years. Jack could have fit on the door! There was enough room! Why wouldn’t Rose have let him share the door with her if he loved her so much?!
As tragic as it was to watch a young Leonardo DiCaprio ‘die,’ it wasn’t a plot hole — despite what some superfans might tell you. You can tell in the scene that the door wouldn’t have supported the weight of both Jack and Rose. When he tries to fit on it with her, it starts to sink into the water. Both of them would have frozen to death if he had stayed on the raft, even if it did technically have the space for both of their bodies.
Jack would rather have kept Rose afloat and alive, so he got off the door. Be like Rose and let it go.
Are there other plot holes that aren’t really plot holes that drive you up the wall? Let us know which ones we missed in the comments!
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