When it comes to bad movies, it usually takes the credits for viewers to realize just how bad everything that came beforehand really was. This isn’t the case for these movies, which start out on the wrong foot altogether.
It’s rare that a movie has an opening so bad that it actually foreshadows (or warns of) the film’s poor quality, but that’s exactly what happened here. At best, these openings were the first chapter of a mediocre movie.
Updated on May 6, 2023 by Angelo Delos Trinos: A movie’s opening should be the start of an unforgettable viewing experience, but for every good and even legendary opening sequence, there’s one that failed to do its job. This list was updated to include more movie openings of questionable quality.
15 The Avengers Quickly Defeated HYDRA
Avengers: Age of Ultron
After revealing that HYDRA infiltrated the highest echelons of the American government, Captain America: The Winter Soldier ended by revealing they survived Project Insight’s failure and was mounting another attack. Instead of following through with this, Avengers: Age of Ultron quickly disposed of HYDRA.
The sequel opened like a Saturday morning cartoon, where the Avengers merrily bested HYDRA. This happened despite HYDRA being one of the world’s worst ideological threats and, more importantly, Captain America’s personal foes. Given their relevance to MCU history, HYDRA needed a better send-off than what they got.
14 Ellen Ripley Was The Sulaco’s Sole Survivor
Aliens ended with Ellen Ripley entering her hypersleep pod again. This time, however, Ellen wasn’t alone. Newt, Hicks, and Bishop also went into hypersleep, and would wake up whenever she did. Their reunion never happened, as everyone on the Sulaco except Ellen died when it crashed in Alien 3’s opening.
While these deaths fit Alien 3’s bleakness, those invested in Aliens‘ survivors were understandably distraught and furious. Given how much time was spent developing Ellen’s bonds with Newt and Hicks, their off-screen demises reamin some of the series’ biggest wasted opportunities.
13 The T-800 Killed John Connor
Terminator: Dark Fate
Terminator: Dark Fate promised to repair the Terminator franchise’s reputation by ignoring everything after the legendary Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The legacy sequel accomplished this by having the T-800 kill John Connor not even five minutes into the movie. Worse, the opening took place shortly after Judgment Day’s ending.
As well-made as Dark Fate was, it nullified the first two Terminator movies’ stakes and points. The characters’ sacrifices were pointless since the darkest timeline was unavoidable, John Connor survived for nothing, and Sarah Connor abandoned her growth as a person to regress into the “badass” survivalist phase she outgrew.
12 James Bond Threw Ernst Stavro Blofeld In A Smoke Stack
For Your Eyes Only
Every James Bond movie opens with a prologue that sets the tone, and For Your Eyes Only spiced things up by featuring Bond’s nemesis, Blofeld. In this follow-up to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond avenged his dead lover by tossing a faceless and nameless villain (who was obviously Blofeld) in a smokestack.
Blofeld was essentially bootlegged and literally dumped because Eon Productions lost the rights to the iconic villain. Rather than just move on and create a new villain for the long-running Bond franchise, Eon killed Blofeld in the most spiteful way they could. Someone as irreplaceable as Blofeld deserved a better exit.
11 Michael Myers Threw Laurie Strode Off A Building
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later was that it did its job too well. Because Laurie and the potential imposter Michael Myers’ decisive confrontation earned so much praise and money, a sequel was approved despite H20 being Halloween’s hypothetical finale. Laurie’s actor Jamie Lee Curtis didn’t like this, which affected her return.
Resurrection didn’t just open by revealing that Laurie killed a man she mistook for Michae, but with Michael unceremoniously killing her. Curtis only reprised her iconic role to fulfill her contract then get things over and done with. Anyone who was invested in H20 or Laurie’s long-running arc was done a disservice by this.
10 Samara Attacked A Plane Through The In-Flight TVs
If Rings’ trailers were to be believed, Samara’s theatrical return was going to be the series’ biggest outing yet. The trailers hinted at a climactic confrontation on a plane, where Samara possessed an airliner’s in-flight TVs to kill to her victims. While the scene does happen in Rings, it took place in the beginning.
Rings is a bad and unnecessary sequel, but it could’ve at least been entertainingly bad had it committed to the schlocky excitement that its airborne opening implied. Instead, Rings retreaded The Ring’s slow-burning mystery, but worse. This made its adrenaline-pumping prelude all the more jarring and out of place.
9 Dolph Lundgren Returned As A Hologram
The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time
Sharknado 5: Global Swarming ended by teasing that Fin Shepard would join forces with his son’s future self (Dolph Lundgren) to save the world. Bringing an action movie legend like Lundgren seemed like the breath of fresh air that the terrible made-for-TV Sharknado movies needed, only for the finale to renege on this promise.
In The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time’s opening, Gil’s hologram (that may or may not even be Lundgren) informed Fin that he couldn’t stick around because of how “complicated” time travel was. This disappointing pay-off actually foreshadowed just how underwhelming and lifelessly formulaic the rest of The Last Sharknado was.
8 Outworld’s Invasion Was Too Hilarious To Believe
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is home to one of the most iconic terrible opening scenes in movie history. As promised by the beloved Mortal Kombat’s ending, the sequel began with Shao Kahn’s invasion of Earthrealm. Everything went downhill from there.
The ensuing scene looked cheap, the actors’ line delivery was weirdly stilted, the action was weightless, the techno music was grating, and Johnny Cage died before doing anything of importance. The unfortunate thing about this hilariously bad opening was that it was the most memorable thing about Annihilation.
7 Superman Gave An Awkward & Jarring Interview
Justice League (2017)
When Joss Whedon course-corrected the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) following the backlash against Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice’s darkness, he gave Justice League some unearned levity. This tonal reset was established by the prologue, where Superman gave a forcibly optimistic interview to kids.
In this shoehorned flashback, Superman was an inspiring beacon of hope – despite being a feared godlike alien in previous movies. Even if this prologue reminded viewers of the classic Superman, it contradicted Zack Snyder’s deconstructive themes. Not helping was the uncanny CGI used to hide Henry Cavill’s mustache.
6 Princess Irulan’s Exposition Dump Was A Chore
Frank Herbert’s “Dune” is (in)famous for being one of the densest sci-fi epics ever written, so it makes sense that the 1984 movie would ease audiences into the story with some exposition. However, Princess Irulan’s opening monologue was simultaneously overlong and too short. She said a lot, yet said nothing as well.
Princess Irulan recited the supposedly “unfilmable” Dune’s lore in such a boring monotone that audiences zoned out. The opening’s lack of interesting visuals didn’t help. This was just the first example of Dune’s heavy reliance on telling audiences about Arrakis and the characters’ thoughts through voice-overs instead of showing them.
5 Dr. Schreber’s Opening Narration Spoiled Everything
Dark City (Theatrical Cut)
When producers realized how unconventional Dark City was, they demanded that the Gothic Neo-Noir be reworked into something more palatable. Not only were scenes shortened or cut, but a hackneyed exposition-filled monologue was crammed into the beginning. Worse, this speech spoiled the biggest secrets and twists.
Instead of starting with Dr. Schreber’s rounds across the ominous metropolis, Dark City’s theatrical cut opened with him explaining everything about the Strangers and how they used the city to experiment on abducted people. Watching the director’s cut isn’t just the only way to preserve these surprises, but the only acceptable viewing method.
4 Task Force X Was Introduced Twice
It’s no secret that David Ayer’s Suicide Squad had a troubled editing process. In fact, the movie was rumored to have two wildly different final cuts. The cut that made it to theaters undid Ayer’s grimly realistic tone to emulate the roguish Guardians of the Galaxy. This tonal clash was made clear in the movie’s two openings.
The controversial Suicide Squad began with a quick and dirty montage introducing Task Force X’s members. It was then followed up by Amanda Waller introducing the supervillains again – now with garishly neon title cards. Not only was this redundant, these prologues foreshadowed the movie’s conflicting tones and visuals.
3 Alice’s Opening Recaps Kept Repeating & Contradicting Each Other
The Resident Evil movies
If there’s one thing that Paul W. S. Anderson’s Resident Evil movies are not known for, it’s continuity. The movies’ only constant was Alice. This was made clearer in the sequels’ prologues. Starting with Resident Evil: Apocalypse, every sequel opened with Alice narrating a flashback that retconned the previous movie’s events.
Extinction opened by revealing that the T-Virus turned the world into a desert, but then Afterlife ignored that so it could be set in generic abandoned cities. Worse, these flashbacks kept repeating and rewriting Alice’s backstory, making the task of following an otherwise simple action series’ lore needlessly confusing and infuriating.
2 The Opening Crawl Showed That The Movie Gave Up Before It Began
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
One of the worst things about The Rise of Skywalker was that it surrendered to the Star Wars fanbase’s most hateful elements by refuting everything The Last Jedi did. The finale used its runtime to placate entitled audiences’ demands, and its intentions were made clear when the text crawl announced Emperor Palpatine’s return.
Even ignoring that Palpatine only came back for nostalgia’s sake, his presence was never foreshadowed previously. Worse, the opening crawl only makes sense to viewers who joined a Fortnite event, because this is where Palpatine’s “mysterious broadcast” premiered. Palpatine’s inexplicable return is as lazy as it is pathetic.
1 The Movie Opened With A Spoof Of September 11, 2001
When notorious filmmaker Uwe Boll adapted Postal, he wanted to honor the games’ anarchic spirit by being as offensive as possible. He made this clear by opening Postal with a parody of the September 11 attacks. Here, the terrorists have a change of heart, only for the passengers to attack them and crash into the Twin Towers.
Even ignoring how utterly offensive the idea of lampooning a real-life terrorist attack is, Postal’s opening was as predictably juvenile as any cheap “politically incorrect” joke from the late 2000’s could get. The scene’s desperation to offend only made it more unfunny. It’s worth noting that Postal is arguably Boll’s best movie.
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