20 Movie Endings People Love to Hate

Bethany Quinn | May 17, 2019 Movies
20 Movie Endings People Love to Hate

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic
Paramount Pictures

"Don't spoil the ending" is one of the most common phrases used when talking about films. The ending is what we live for, where everything will finally make sense, when we will get some closure. We're all too familiar with the phrase "spoiler alert" as something we try to avoid while browsing the Internet or social media! So there's really nothing more frustrating than when a movie's ending is just plain bad. All that build-up for nothing?

What's worse is an ending that just makes no sense and is completely out of place with the rest of the film.

Seriously, what gives?

After all, audience members invest precious time into getting to know these characters and following along with the events of the story. So a bad ending leaves much to be desired, to say the least. Oftentimes, directors leave endings to be interpreted by the viewer -- or chose the purposefully frustrating ending just to get our goat. But hey, it usually means we will be talking about it for years to come, so filmmakers did their part of making the movie a memorable one. (We'll give them that.) 

But loose ends that were never tied up or convoluted plots can really frustrate a viewer -- so much so, that even if the movie is a good one, it is overshadowed by its terrible conclusion. And the movies on this list are just that.

Here are 20 movie endings people love to hate (*spoilers ahead*). Some good films can have bad endings.

  • 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'

    1

    Aliens not welcome.

    Fans love the Indiana Jones films for the action and adventure with a bit of mystical history thrown in (and of course a handsome leading man). But this sequel had weird aliens that just veered too much from the essence of the earlier films.

  • 'The Matrix Revolutions'

    2

    So did Neo die at the end of this film or what? The third installment in the series left many die-hard Matrix fans utterly confused. When Neo goes into the Matrix, it seems as though he's killed by Agent Smith. However, machines aim to revive him but not before everything explodes to light. Perhaps a fourth movie, which star Keanu Reeves is totally down for, will explain what happened?

  • '2001: A Space Odyssey'

    3

    This movie is famous for two reasons: First, for its amazing special effects and ahead-of-its-time visuals. Second, for its ultra weird and convoluted plot. As for director Stanley Kubrick, he knew the ending was confusing and would prefer to leave it up to interpretation by the viewer.

    "They are the areas I prefer not to discuss because they are highly subjective and will differ from viewer to viewer," he said in a past interview. "In this sense, the film becomes anything the viewer sees in it. If the film stirs the emotions and penetrates the subconscious of the viewer, if it stimulates, however inchoately, [their] mythological and religious yearnings and impulses, then it has succeeded."

  • 'Interstellar'


    4

    In this film, Matthew McConaughey's character gets sucked into a black hole and subsequently an alternate universe. Audiences were left scratching their heads at the confusing turn of events.

    But hey, at least he didn't die, right?

  • 'I Am Legend'

    5

    Any ending that has hero Will Smith perishing in a blast is no good by us. In this film, his character (Robert) has worked hard on finding the right anecdote for curing the zombies that've ravished the world. But he hands it off to someone else before sacrificing himself in an explosion.

  • 'Tusk'

    6

    This film was a bit out of the ordinary for director Kevin Smith, who gave us Mall Rats and Chasing Amy. In Tusk, we see Wallace, played by Justin Long, as a man who's kidnapped and turned into a walrus by his torturers. The ending is far from happy, as Wallace is no longer human and now part animal.

  • 'The Sea of Trees'

    7

    When Salon reviewed this film, the site said "it features one of the worst endings in movie history -- with a third act so jaw-droppingly tasteless that it’s a sh*tty miracle." Gus Van Sant directed and Matthew McConaughey starred in this film about a widow, a few ghosts, and one weird twist ending.

  • 'The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King'

    8

    The final scene of this film wasn't as frustrating as the final hour, because many already knew how the film would end. (It's based on a famous trilogy.) Still, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King felt as if the plot was unnecessarily drawn out. By the time the film got to the climax, many of us had already given up on it altogether.

  • 'Now You See Me'

    9

    Mark Ruffalo stars as an FBI agent on the hunt for four magicians who are expert bank robbers. Throughout the film, we follow Ruffalo's character as he tries to outsmart the bank robbers before they strike again. But in the end, we learn that he is not only in on the crime, he is the ring leader.

    Boo!

  • 'Spider-Man 3'

    10

    Director Sam Raimi couldn't even stand behind the ending of this film. With too many villains and character's actions that seemed to go against the previous films, this third installment seems very out of place. Raimi explained:

    "It's a movie that just didn't work very well. I tried to make it work, but I didn't really believe in all the characters, so that couldn't be hidden from people who loved Spider-Man. If the director doesn't love something, it's wrong of them to make it when so many other people love it. I think [raising the stakes after Spider-Man 2] was the thinking going into it, and I think that’s what doomed us. I should've just stuck with the characters and the relationships and progressed them to the next step and not tried to top the bar."

  • 'Star Wars: Return of the Jedi'

    11

    Many fans of the Star Wars franchise blame this film for being too commercialized. The ending was sappy and contrived and way too fairy-tale like compared to the other films. At this point, the film had just become a marketing machine -- so much of the essence was gone.

  • 'War of the Worlds'

    12

    We love a happy ending, but the ending of this Tom Cruise flick was just a little too happy. The world is on the brink of construction. In fact, so much damage was done by these alien machine things, that it's hard to imagine how the people of Earth would ever rebuild. But Cruise's character and his family all survive and get reunited, which just seems windy unrealistic given the circumstances of the film.

  • 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'

    13

    A lot of crazy good-looking people get involved in complicated, steamyrelationships, only to be back at the same place in which the film started. Vicky Cristina Barcelona didn't have much of an arc or an ending for that matter, and audiences were left wanting to see these characters evolve just a bit more.

  • 'Source Code'

    14

    Source Code is pretty good, though a bit tricky to follow. A person can inhabit another person's body and consciousness, but only for eight minutes at a time. Jake Gyllenhaal is tasked with finding a bomber with the aim of stopping him. By the end of the film, the viewer has no idea which reality is actually real.

    Very frustrating!

  • 'High Fidelity'

    15

    John Cusack plays a guy in the midst of a breakup. He's obsessed with writing lists and was inspired by his current breakup to list his top five -- aiming to figure out what went wrong with each. Cusack's character is a lovable loser who ends up winning back his most recent ex, which is just totally bogus!

  • 'Lucy'

    16

    In Lucy, Scarlett Johansson plays, well, Lucy, a woman who was part of a drug deal gone wrong. She ends up ingesting a powerful drug that transforms her brain to be able to use 100 percent of its power. When her brain reaches full capacity, she sort of disintegrates into thin air under the notion that she now does not need to be in the human form to exist. It went way over our heads and the heads of a lot of people -- especially because when she's in this form, all she pretty much does is mess around with people's text messages.

  • 'Titanic'

    17

    This is a pretty obvious one! There was definitely enough room on that floating door for Jack Dawson, and we will never (ever) forgive Rose for literally letting him go.

    Our teenage hearts are still not over it!

  • 'Man of Steel'

    18

    At the end of Man of Steel, Superman takes the life of his enemy (Zod), which is very out of character for this superhero, who's known for his strong morals. Fans were conflicted over this moment, and although it stayed true to the film, it wasn't necessarily in line with the Superman we all know and love.

    "The shocking moment certainly fits in with the darker tone of Man of Steel compared to past Superman movies. And while the deed is done, fans now are left wondering what kind of impact this killing will have on Superman in future appearances, if any at all," Adam Holmes wrote for CinemaBlend.

  • 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2'

    19

    All of the Harry Potter films were fantastic, but the final scene of the final film felt a bit out of place for die-hard fans. Once Harry beat Voldemort and peace was restored, we get a major flash forward and a glimpse into Harry, Ron, and Hermione's lives as adults. Overall, many felt it was unnecessary and a little too cheesy -- even by Hollywood standards.

  • 'The Abyss'

    20

    At the end of this film, Bud, played by Ed Harris, goes on a dangerous and ultimately suicidal mission to dismantle a nuclear bomb at the bottom of ocean. When his tank runs out of oxygen, he is saved by aliens who, through Bud's actions, deem the human race to be compassionate beings. The ending is very happy and conclusive for such a dark film, and implies that humans and aliens will live in harmony with one another.

    Okay, whatever!

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