10 Most Disappointing Endings In Movie History
Movie endings, they can make or break a film. They can wrap things up in a neat bow, helping make sense of everything we had witnessed before said ending, or they could throw in a twist or two that leave you scratching your head and pissed that you just wasted two hours of your life.
They can be exhilarating, or they can be mind-numbing. They can give you that “ah-ha” moment or they can eventually be disappointing.
The movie endings we are going to talk about fall on the disappointing side. They aren’t all singular movie ends but they are also endings to trilogies and sadly, even franchises. So, here are the 10 most disappointing endings in movie history.
If you haven’t seen some of these films, fair warning here, there are plenty of SPOILERS AHEAD.
10 Most Disappointing Endings In Movie History
10. Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
We know, this one should truly be the number one, right? Then again, you could also probably put the entire Star Wars sequel trilogy on this list after what J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson handed us. As it is, the final installment of “what could have been” mercifully and tragically ended The Skywalker Saga in a very unsatisfying way.
This final chapter in the Star Wars sequel trilogy was heavily criticized for its messy plot, rushed pacing, and character development, most centered around Rey Skywalker. Not only couldn’t fans get on board with her character, that twist in the end when she found out that she was actually the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine, which smacks highly of the “Luke, I am your father” moment, simply didn’t resonate.
Instead, it punctuated the fact that it was one of the most disappointing endings in movie history.
9. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Spider-Man 3 is another trilogy ending film that just did not work for many, which is a shame because the first two films in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy were hits. There were a number of things throughout this film that places it on this list including that cringe-inducing “emo” Peter Parker dance scene.
This film was much busier than the first two with villains and subplots. Plus, Topher Grace (a fine actor on his own) was hugely miscast as Eddie Brock, Peter Parker’s (Tobey Maguire) rival at the Daily Bugle, who eventually bonds with an extraterrestrial symbiote, turning himself into Venom. It left a bad taste in fans’ mouths and became one of the worst endings in movie history.
8. Now You See Me (2013)
Magicians who rob banks. Maybe that isn’t such a bad premise, and truthfully, the bulk of the movie was pretty fun. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isa Fisher, and Dave Franco as the magical bank robbers and Mark Ruffalo as the FBI Agent hot on their trail.
While it appears that the four have been working on their own the entire film, it is the “twist” at the end of the film that causes all the cards to collapse.
The big reveal comes when the engaged audience finds out the four were actually working for a bigger fish and that the bigger fish was none other than FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes (Ruffalo) and yes, he was also a magician. The ending was seen as a contrived and unsatisfying way to wrap up the story.
Yet somehow, this movie got a sequel.
7. The Mist (2007)
Let’s be honest here: Stephen King novels very rarely translate well to the big or small screen. The Mist, which stars Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, and Andre Braugher, definitely has its riveting moments and almost pulls off the nearly impossible – a satisfying film adaptation of a Stephen King book.
But then comes the ending, a bleak and controversial one at that. As a few survivors of the mist, including Jane’s David Drayton and his 8-year-old son, Billy, realize after attempting to escape the monster in the mist that they won’t be able to do so, they chose suicide instead of being eaten.
So, Drayton does the duties, shooting each passenger in the car, yes, even his son. Right after he pulls the trigger for the final time, then getting ready to turn the gun on himself, the mist dissipates showing the U.S. Army driving by him, rescuing survivors.
Upset and dissatisfied were just a couple of emotions viewers were feeling with this unfortunate movie ending.
6. War of the Worlds (2005)
Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds was an instant spectacle of a film. It has a big-name cast, headlined by Tom Cruise, and told the story of an alien invasion and a father, Ray Ferrier (Cruise), trying to get himself and his two children Rachel (Dakota Fanning) and Robbie (Justin Chatwin) out of harm’s way and to safety.
You’ve got to admit that Spielberg certainly knows his way around films that revolve around extraterrestrial creatures and for the most part, this one didn’t fail. Until the end, that is.
The alien invasion was in full force when suddenly, it wasn’t. An appearance by a bacterium that the invading aliens were not immune to put a stop to the invasion, wiping out the aliens. It was a poor movie ending that was seen as lazy. Too bad, because Spielberg had a solid film going.
5. Signs (2002)
For the number of times M. Night Shyamalan has hit it out of the park, there are just as many (if not more) times that he has failed to deliver. He is the product of his own early success when he set his movie-making ability bar sky high with The Sixth Sense.
It could be fan expectation that eventually doomed Signs, a film that starred Me Gibson as a former Episcopal priest who finds crop circles in his cornfield.
What begins as a mystery of who or what created those circles ends with what many have called a cop-out – aliens who are vulnerable to water, invading a planet that is three-quarters covered by water. It’s a movie ending that just doesn’t make sense.
4. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2012)
The Twilight Saga consists of five films based on the Twilight book series by Stephenie Meyer. It stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner that had fans separated by “teams” as in Team Edward (Pattinson) or Team Jacob (Lautner).
Be that as it may, the series all came down to the fifth and final, Breaking Dawn Part 2, and featured a massive final battle, that while it looked good on the big screen, ended up being a vision instead.
Yes, the climactic end to a series of films where one invested so much time was only a vision. So many fans were left feeling let down, making it one of the worst movie endings in film history.
3. The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
Okay, so it’s not like any of these movies in the Matrix trilogy were easy to comprehend. The Wachowskis penned a trilogy that caused audiences to think and pay attention to all that was going on. It offered tons of action but unfortunately, the final installment of the Matrix trilogy, The Matrix Revolutions, was met with disappointment from fans, who felt that the resolution to the story was convoluted and unsatisfying.
Perhaps this is one reason why, after 18 years, the Wachowskis decided to right some wrongs and produce the 2018 film The Matrix Resurrections. They should have left well enough alone.
2. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Steven Spielberg should have known that mixing genres, especially with such an iconic character as Indiana Jones, probably wouldn’t fare well. It didn’t. Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones deserves his spot in the action-adventure lexicon and through his first three movies, showed the world why.
Nearly 20 years after the third film, Spielberg was ready to tackle another Indiana Jones adventure and although he introduced some fantastical escapes and fights for Indy, along with introducing Shia LaBeouf as his son, Mutt Williams, it was the turn from action-adventure to science fiction and aliens that turned off pretty much everyone.
Indiana Jones, aliens, and a spaceship somehow do not go together, and it turned a promising film into rubbish with one of the worst movie endings in the history of films.
1. The Village (2004)
Again, M. Night Shyamalan is his own worst enemy. His success has contributed mightily to his failures and The Village, unfortunately, was a massive one. The film stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Sigourney Weaver, Adrien Brody, William Hurt, and Brendan Gleeson and with such a stacked cast, one would think the movie would rock.
The film tells the story of residents of a 19th-century village who live near a forest filled with horrible creatures. They have constructed a large fence barrier with lanterns and watchtowers to keep an eye on these creatures who continue to terrorize the town’s inhabitants. Seems tense enough, that is, until the movie’s endings reveal.
What the town knew was the creatures were actually people in costumes and the village was not a 19th-century village, but one devised to look like the 19th-century to keep its inhabitants from leaving.