Movie characters that should have died 100 times over
Heroes and villains are what make the movie industry go round, continuously escaping death – or returning from it – to keep audiences invested, no matter the number of contrivances. But some characters survive certain death far more than others, and were it not for plot purposes, they would surely be dead inside the first act, let alone survive a multitude of sequels.
While the accomplices and henchman seemingly take only a grazed shot to the arm to die, these guys somehow manage to emerge all but unscathed despite sustaining multiple gunshot and stab wounds to vital organs, broken skulls or being held captive by openly hostile rivals who justifiably want them dead. It’s called plot armour, and suspension of disbelief is imperative.
These are the movie characters that would be dead in any other circumstance if not for plot purposes.
Without The Joker, there is no Batman. One exists to justify the other’s existence, and no matter how many times they come face to face, they simply refuse to kill each other; one wants to bring the other to justice, and The Joker enjoys seeing Bruce Wayne suffer. Fair enough – that’s what archenemies do. But given the police body count The Joker has racked up and the number of times he’s been arrested and held in a jail cell, it’s laughable that not one cop has simply put a bullet through his brain for being an admitted cop killer. In real life, cop killers are no stranger to justice and The Joker’s tally would surely justify a rogue cop unloading on the clown prince.
We love him because of his inexplicable ability to escape death at every turn, using seemingly superhuman instincts to weasel his way out of even the most obscure situations. But the amount of times Bond has escaped death while held captive – usually while his would-be killer waxes lyrical about his elaborate murder plan – always raises eyebrows. They could shoot him immediately, but then Bond would never know he’d been bested. Instead they often rig some kind of obscure exploding or torture device set to a timer and challenge Bond to escape by letting him know how much time he has to escape. The guy obviously thrives on escaping with nano-seconds to spare, making the answer obvious: either forgo the timer or set it for five minutes and tell him he has 10 –easy.
Very few people have survived a single brick to the head from a great height, let alone five consecutively. But those whacky bandits from Home Alone simply can’t be killed, no matter how much blunt-force trauma is inflicted upon their skulls. They somehow survived the original and invited even greater physical assault upon themselves in the sequel. Combined, Marv and Harry have taken bricks, blow torches, irons, paint cans and shovels to the head from either great heights or with great force. Truth be told, Kevin should have been sitting back on his couch with a face full of Cheetos midway through the movie as Harry and Marv’s corpses were escorted to the morgue by the coroner.
Leave it to Star Wars fans to ponder life’s greatest mysteries. Like, how did Luke Skywalker survive certain death on a freezing planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back? Five years ago, Star Wars fan Keith Veronese revealed his theory to Io9. Sure, Walker was stuffed into a dead tauntaun for warmth. But even then, covered in bloody guts and blood in below-freezing temperatures doesn’t bode well. Veronese used Newton’s Law of Cooling and ran the numbers, estimating the temperature of Hoth and time of death of Han Solo’s tauntaun, and came to the conclusion it was physically impossible for him to survive. But as we know, Skywalker did survive and continues to do so.
OK, so we’re using the BBC feature-length episode series as our current source of reference, but to be fair, quite a few of the 90-minute episodes have debuted in cinemas. Either way, the number of times Sherlock has escaped death off camera is surely closing in on double digits. Countless foes want him dead and have been nullified in their efforts. Then there’s the time he launched himself from the roof of London’s St Bart’s Hospital at the end of season two, only to survive for the beginning of season three. He claimed there were 13 ways he could have faked his own death but only mentioned two, and both left fans scratching their heads.