Top 10 Dumbest Decisions by Superheroes
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Joey Turner
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With great power comes questionable decision-making. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Dumbest Decisions by Superheroes.
For this list, we’re paying tribute to the most half-baked decisions that heroes ever made in comics and movies… as well as the unfortunate consequences that resulted from those decisions. Caution: if you’re not up-to-date on your comic history or movies, there will be spoilers… and questions about your favorite hero’s competence.
#10: Fighting Over Hope Summers
“Avengers vs. X-Men” (2012)
In this 2012 Marvel Comics crossover event, the Phoenix Force is on its way to Earth to take Hope Summers as its host. The X-Men believed that she and the Phoenix could restore the dying mutant race, while the Avengers believed the Phoenix would bring about the end of the world. Rather than finding a middle ground, the two teams battle it out until the Phoenix Force arrives, splits apart, bonds with Cyclops and four other mutants, and forms the Phoenix Five. Oh, it gets worse: Cyclops kills Xavier while under the Phoenix’s influence. Though the story ends on a happy-ish note, Professor X’s death could’ve been avoided had the Avengers just not interfered.
#9: Sending Jean Loring to Arkham Asylum
“Identity Crisis” (2004)
Now, DC’s “Identity Crisis” has PLENTY of moronic moments to spare, but this one takes the cake. The Elongated Man’s wife Sue is mysteriously murdered, and the Justice League somehow can’t solve the case. The culprit is ultimately revealed to be Jean Loring, the ex-wife of Ray Palmer, aka The Atom. Jean didn’t intend to kill Sue; it was all just a confusing plan to get Ray back that ultimately backfired. Ray declares her insane and ships her off to Arkham Asylum… where she later finds a black diamond that turns her into the cosmic evil force Eclipso. But what did Ray expect? Nothing good ever comes from sending people to Arkham.
#8: Rorschach Refusing to Compromise
In the final issue of “Watchmen,” the vigilantes have discovered the man responsible for the central mystery – Ozymandias. It turns out, the giant alien squid destroying New York and killing millions was part of his insane plan to try and bring about world peace. He makes the others keep his plan a secret… but Rorschach refuses to concede. Rorschach’s black-and-white view of justice doesn’t let him see the bigger picture, and he’ll never compromise even in the face of death. He coulda lied and said he was going to go along with it, but that’s not Rorschach’s style. Instead, he threatens to tell the world about the conspiracy, and Dr. Manhattan vaporizes him.
#7: Working with Magneto
“X2: X-Men United” (2003)
In the comics, Magneto has proven time and time again that he’s not exactly trustworthy; but in the movies, the X-Men had to learn this lesson the hard way. In the first “X-Men” film, he was the big bad, fighting for mutant supremacy against Professor X’s dream of harmony. In “X2,” Magneto allies himself with the X-Men to thwart a genocidal maniac from using Cerebro to kill all mutants, but then turns on them and tries to use it to kill all humans instead. Magneto will rise to the occasion when mutant kind’s at stake, but he’s suffered too many hardships to show concern for humanity – and the X-Men should know that by now!
#6: Spider-Man Revealing His Identity
“Civil War” (2006-07)
During the events of Marvel Comics storyline “Civil War,” Tony Stark convinces Spider-Man to unmask himself as Peter Parker to show his support for the Registration Act. After consulting with his family, Peter reveals himself to the world… and puts a giant target on his back. As a result, Aunt May is shot and killed. Instead of letting his Aunt go peacefully, Peter makes a deal with the villainous Mephisto: he’ll let Aunt May live, if Peter gives up his marriage to Mary Jane. The unmasking is reversed, but for all his talk about “great responsibility,” this has to be one of the LEAST responsible moves Spider-Man or anyone else has ever pulled.
#5: Challenging the Mandarin
“Iron Man 3” (2013)
For a “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist,” Tony Stark’s ego can lead him to some pretty stupid decisions. America is under the threat of the mysterious terrorist known as “The Mandarin,” but Tony isn’t bowing to him just yet. In an act of defiance, Tony challenges The Mandarin… by publicly announcing the address of his Malibu mansion. He’s practically inviting the Mandarin to come blow up his home… which is exactly what happens. While it turns out later that the Mandarin is big a hoax, it goes to show how an oversized ego can lead to some idiotic and risky decisions.
#4: Trusting Loki
“Thor: The Dark World” (2013)
Since his debut in the first “Thor” movie, Loki has been a recurring foe in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – constantly looking to seize power, and manipulating others to help achieve that goal. In “Thor: the Dark World,” Loki is offered a chance at redemption when Thor recruits him to help fight the Dark Elves. Though they can’t stand each other, their brotherly bond really shines through right up to the end when Loki “sacrifices” himself to save Thor. However, the God of Mischief still has some tricks up his sleeves – turns out he faked his death and assumed the guise of his missing father, usurping the throne as king of Asgard – all thanks to Thor… oops.
#3: Drunkenly Testing a Teleportation Machine
2015’s “Fantastic Four” has a lot of dumb ideas in it, and this is no exception. Reed Richards has been brought into the Baxter Foundation to help build a teleportation machine alongside Johnny Storm, Sue Storm and Victor von Doom. The boys are hoping to be chosen as the first humans to test it… but, no such luck. So, like the “geniuses” they are… they get drunk, and drag Reed’s friend in to test a machine that takes them to another dimension. The new world’s terrain starts to collapse, Victor falls to his supposed death, but the others escape. However, the machine’s explosion grants them – and Sue – superhuman abilities. Booze and science don’t mix!
#2: Creating Ultron
“Avengers #58” (1968) & “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015)
Ultron is one of the Avengers’ most dangerous foes – a sentient machine with mind controlling abilities, supreme intelligence, and near immortality. But the most terrifying thing about him? It was the good guys that created him. In the comics, Hank Pym creates Ultron-1 using his own brainwaves while experimenting with artificial intelligence; however, it uses said intelligence to try to end humanity. In the “Age of Ultron” film, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner creates Ultron as a peacekeeping project… but its idea of peace ALSO involves humanity’s extinction. Although the movie version of Ultron is destroyed, the struggle leaves deep scars on the team. Both scenarios show that even the best intentions can accidentally create your own worst enemy.
Before we unveil our dumbest decision, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Trying to Rebuild Coast City
“Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight” (1994)
- Leaving the Ammo Behind
#1: Not Killing the Joker
“Batman” franchise (1939-)
Despite being a breeding ground for criminal psychopaths, Gotham isn’t very keen on the death penalty… even in the case of killer clowns. The Joker has committed some insidious deeds over the years – torturing heroes, murdering innocent citizens, and leaving more than a few scars on the Bat Family – and yet, even after everything he’s done… Batman can’t bring himself to kill the clown. It’s not that Batman doesn’t dream of ending the clown prince of crime’s reign of terror… but Batman’s moral code won’t let him sink to that level. And, as a result, the citizens of Gotham will continue to suffer because Batman doesn’t want to break the rules.