Every so often, a sequel to a popular film creates unintended continuity problems that discredit or ignore major plot points from it’s predecessor. Usually it’s not a big deal, and these oversights go unnoticed by many – but not to me. Before we begin, let me state that I’m not ripping on any of these films. I personally enjoyed every one listed here, and I find a few of them to be superior to their incarnations.
That being said, read on if you’re curious. I may ultimately shed a slightly different light on some beloved classics..
5. Ghostbusters 2 – What about the other ghosts?
So, I have to admit that I was confused by this sequel from the get go. I, like many other children of the 80’s, loved The Real Ghostbusters and it seemed only natural to me that the film would pick up after their wacky animated adventures. Sadly this was not to be. Instead, we were introduced to Ghostbusters who hadn’t been ‘bustin since they took out Gozer. And there’s where the plot hole begins.
Do you remember Walter Peck?
Of course you do. Fuck that guy. He’s the d-bag who released all of the ghosts the team ever caught. That action leads to the Key Master and the Gate Keeper hooking up (i.e. Rick Moranis nails Sigourney Weaver), Gozer being freed and everyone throwing down. But what about the ghosts?
You know, the ones who escaped. As far as I can tell, even though the increase in paranormal activity was tied to the coming of Gozer, he/she/it was not the equivalent to the droid ship in The Phantom Menace. In other words, taking the Sumerian god out wouldn’t just make the ghosts go away. So, the Ghostbusters would’ve had a shit ton of work to do, right? There must have been dozens of ghosts tearing through New York City, more pissed off than ever after having spent a stint in ghost Alcatraz.
It turns out, according to the sequel, the answer to that question is “nope.” Ghostbusters 2 reveals to us that the team was summarily sued by multiple state agencies and restricted from their busting activities, no matter how good it made them feel. Also, for some reason, no one believes in ghosts anymore. A giant marshmallow man tore through Times Square and began climbing a Hell tower that had begun eternal night and the city thinks that it was all a trick that three guys, an intern, and their secretary pulled off.
4. Tron: Legacy – Flynn forgot to hit CTRL-X
For those of you who might need a little refresher, the world of Tron takes place on the Grid (the Game Grid in the original film). It’s a digital world that exists within computers where the programs are portrayed as mostly human-like, and where real world people, known as “users,” are basically revered as Greek gods to the digital citizenry. Now, one thing that Flynn explains to us in Legacy is that sometime after the course of the original film, he copied the Grid to his personal computer system, located under his arcade, along with the digitizer that lets people come and go from the Grid.
Let’s back up a second. There was a word that Flynn used when he talked about how he set up the Grid in his basement, that word being “copied.” Have you ever copied something to a USB drive? Do you remember what happened to the original? The answer is probably nothing at all, because you just made an exact digital copy of a program. The original still exists. Now, Flynn may have copied the Game Grid from ENCOM to make his personal Grid 2.0, but that means that the original must have continued to exist somewhere.
But where? Did Flynn have the original systems running the programs he knew back at ENCOM? If so, then what happened to them after he went missing for decades?
The most logical answer would also be horrifying to the original film’s heroes. You see, software companies have a habit of upgrading their systems from time to time. If that particular system, which had some very important, profitable, and proprietary information (such as, say, a digitizer that lets people go into computers) then they probably copied it to the new system. Then, if they were smart, they would wipe the original systems out with powerful magnets. Then they would physically destroy the old system.
The fate of Tron 1.0 is likely to be a very sad one indeed.
3. Back to the Future Part 2 – Is Doc focusing on the right problem?
As it has been almost 30 years, let’s do a quick rundown of the story in Back to the Future. Due to series of events that involve tricking terrorists out of plutonium, Marty McFly is accidentally transported back in time and is almost erased from existence when his mother starts macking on him. The day is saved and a sequel is set up in the last scene.
The premise at the beginning of the sequel is this: Marty’s son, Marty Jr., is about to get into some bad shit that will bring about the downfall of the McFly family. Doc’s solution to this is to dress Marty up as his son, so as to reject Griff Tannon’s burglary offer. Shortly thereafter, it is revealed that the family is actually already pretty miserable because of a drag racing accident that Marty caused in 1985 — within 48 hours of the time that Doc actually picked up Marty to “save” his son.
So then, why didn’t Doc just warn Marty about the car crash in the first place?
On multiple occasions, Doc states that he doesn’t want to mess with the space-time continuum – but that’s exactly what he’s doing to help Marty’s family in 30 years. Beyond that, the argument of trying not to alter the future falls apart when you realize that Doc is supposed to be dead. Who saved him?
Oh right, it was Marty, using knowledge of future events and time travel. Doc owes Marty his very life, and somehow he doesn’t think that saving his friend from a horrible car accident is a good idea? The plan instead is to let his friend suffer a completely avoidable accident, then wait 30 years to roofie Marty’s son in a complex bait and switch operation. A simple “hey, you’re going to get into a wreck street racing. Here’s the newspaper explaining it” wouldn’t suffice? Maybe he could even throw in an additional statement explaining: “You’re a teenage with access to a time machine for crazy adventures, quit bitching about name-calling and grow up a little” so that Marty still learns a lesson.
When you think about it, Marty was never even supposed to have the truck that he would have crashed. In the original timeline, Marty’s family was lower-middle class and he was bitching about not being able to borrow his dad’s wrecked car to go camping. If Doc was a good friend and so concerned about the timeline, then wouldn’t it have made sense to just to tell Marty about the crash and set things a little closer to normal?
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Why didn’t they already have better weapons?
There was a spoiler warning above, but I want to reiterate it here. This is a new film and a big plot point is going to be given away.
The ending to the first Captain America film showed us that Howard Stark had found the Tesseract (cube) while looking for the lost Cap in the Atlantic. Howard Stark was young at that point, so it had to be the late 40’s to early 50’s when he fished it out of the ocean. So at this point S.H.I.E.L.D. had the cube. The problem was though they couldn’t weaponize it because they had sent Arnim Zola, the scientist who developed the cube energy based weapons, to Switzerland in exchange for information after his capture.
However, halfway into the Cap sequel it’s revealed that Zola had ended up joining S.H.I.E.L.D. after World War 2. During his time there he also created the Hydra sleeper cells that grew in numbers and eventually revealed themselves during a massive grab for power.
Here’s where a problem arises. As it is shown in previous films, S.H.I.E.L.D. was trying to figure out how to use the cube for their own purposes. In The Avengers, it’s revealed that not only was building weapons on their to-do list, but that they had a large stock of vintage H.Y.D.R.A. weapons just sitting around waiting for a recharge.
To put it bluntly, there’s no reason they shouldn’t have been doing exactly that. After all, did you see what those guns could do? There’s not a military force on the planet that would turn down a gun that offers one-hit vaporization kills. But S.H.I.E.L.D. never goes down that route, preferring instead to use super-powered beings to do their dirty work.
So, here’s the thing. Zola died quite some time after Stark found the cube. In fact, his digital copy states to Cap that he was working for S.H.I.E.L.D. right up until his death in 1972. This would mean that he had plenty of time, possibly 20 years, at the most, to rebuild the weapon charging machine that he had constructed for H.Y.D.R.A. in the early 1940’s.
There’s no freaking reason Zola couldn’t have done this and kept to his plan to infiltrate and destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. from the inside. In fact, having access to crazy-powerful vaporizing super guns would have been a great big “plus” especially when the time came to overthrow Nick Fury.
1. The Empire Strikes Back – That’s when Obi-Wan decided to contact Luke?
I’m gonna catch hell for this one.
Here it is in a nutshell. Why did Obi-Wan pick the moment where Luke was dying in the snow to relay to him that he should go to Dagobah? Why not sooner? Obi-Wan was clearly communicating with Luke during the Battle of Yavin, telling Luke to trust him and use the Force and all that. And Luke listens, he does it and saves the whole damn day. We cheered, we partied, and we added a shockwave to the explosion 20 years later. Immediately after the death of the Death Star, Obi-Wan even gives the young Skywalker a nice little “remember, the Force will be with you, always” to cap off his congratulations. Yay!
I’m not saying that Obi-Wan had to tell Luke right then and there, as bits of Tarkin flew by, to run to Dagobah. But why couldn’t he? He was pretty chatty during and immediately after the Death Star run. There had to be a more convenient time to tell him than when he was very likely about to die. Possibly sometime after the medal ceremony, but before getting to Hoth? Basically, anytime during the entire period where Luke had access to an X-Wing fighter that was capable of making the trip would have been a good time for Ben to just pop up and say: “Hey Luke, go to Dagobah”.
Obi-Wan may have sensed that Han was nearby and about to find Luke, but what if he hadn’t thought to use a Tauntaun as an oversized hand warmer? A dead Luke, that’s what. Some might say that Luke had become significantly more powerful during the time between sequels, and that was the reason that old Ben could finally talk more directly to him,. However, did the experience in the ice cave really open up Luke’s connection the Force that much? Was Wampa dismemberment the key all along?
All I’m saying is that had Obi-Wan picked anytime in the window between the destruction of the Death Star and Luke taking a leak before going on his Hoth patrol, things would have progressed far more smoothly.