Top 10 Movies Where The World Is Saved At The Last Minute
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Nick Roffey
These are the top 10 movies in which the world is saved at the last minute. For this list, we're looking at films in which Earth is saved from destruction at the eleventh hour, with points given for suspense, improvisation, and just how fun and completely over-the-top are the scenarios involved when the world was saved at the very last minute. Since these moments are from the endings of the films in question, here's a big fat spoiler alert. Films like "Doctor Strange", "Ghostbusters", "Avengers: Endgame" and "Men in Black" really played on our nerves— until our esteemed heroes saved the world in the last minute.
Top 10 Saved the World in the Last Minute Movies
Better late than never. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we're counting down our picks for the top 10 saved the world in the last minute movies.
For this list, we're looking at films in which Earth is saved from destruction at the eleventh hour, with points given for suspense, improvisation, and just how fun and completely over-the-top are the scenarios involved. Since these moments are from the endings of the films in question, here's a big fat spoiler alert.
#10: “Doctor Strange” (2016)
Some villains, you just can’t defeat by blowing up. Sometimes… you’ve gotta outthink them! The egotistical Dr. Stephen Strange just wants to fix his hands and get back to being a badass surgeon, but he’s drawn into a battle between Earth’s protectors and the inter-dimensional god-tyrant Dormammu who wishes to add earth to his dominion, the Dark Dimension. Prepared to bend the rules of natural law a little to protect Earth, Strange uses the mystical Eye of Agamotto to create an infinite time loop in which Dormammu kills him over and over again . . . forcing Dormammu to surrender (ie. rage quit). Earth 1, Dark Dimension 0.
#9: “The Core” (2003)
Human experimentation has stopped the Earth's core, and radiation and superstorms ravage the surface. But there’s hope: a team sent down into the Earth to jump-start the core . . . by blowing it up. Seems reasonable. Unfortunately, there’s also a hitch: the core is different than previously estimated, so they need to improvise. By contrast, the new plan makes the old one look rock solid. But thanks to quick-thinking, self-sacrifice, and a gleeful disregard for realism, the courageous crew succeeds . . . and our good-looking male and female leads even make it back in one piece - with the help of some passing whales.
#8: “Ghostbusters” (1984)
Never cross streams. It’s a good rule in most situations. But when it comes to confronting a shape-shifting chaos god hellbent on ending the world, well, there are apparently exceptions to every rule. In the midst of a supernatural disaster, as the dead run amok in New York City, the evil deity Gozer the Gozerian unleashes its fluffy, delicious, but extremely hostile superminion, Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and the ghostbusters are forced to do the one thing they thought they were never supposed to. Thankfully, this risky maneuver pays off, and the might of their combined streams destroys both the portal and Gozer’s puffy but deadly “destructor”.
#7: “Star Trek” (2009)
It isn’t the first time the crew of the USS Enterprise have saved the human homeworld. This time, instead of using whalesong to save the day, Kirk, Spock and the other crew members take a more . . . hands on approach. In a desperate bid to stop the vengeful Nero from turning Earth into a black hole, Spock attempts to crash into Nero’s ship, but faces a barrage of . . . well, “everything”. It’s at that perfect moment the USS Enterprise arrives on the scene to assist him, leaving an unrepentant Nero to go down with his ship.
#6: “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (2017)
It should come as a surprise to no one that more than one MCU film made this list. Saving the world at the last minute is standard superhero fare. In this fifteenth installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we meet Ego, a Celestial who seems at first like the ultimate cool estranged dad. He’s got the beard, the awesome digs, great taste in music, and the god-like powers of an ancient cosmic being. Unfortunately, he also wants to use Peter to terraform Earth and thousands of other worlds into more of himself. As the Guardians fight off a fleet of drones, and an entire planet, it all comes down to baby Groot and one red button.
#5 “Sunshine” (2007)
When something stops working . . . nuke it. Like in “The Core”, the crew of Icarus II in Danny Boyle’s “Sunshine” hope to use a nuclear bomb to jumpstart a natural process. But this time it’s our dying Sun. Things go from bad to worse after the deranged Captain Pinbacker of Icarus I sneaks on board and sabotages the mission. In a last ditch effort, surviving crew member Capa rides the payload down toward the Sun, where he finds crewmate Cassie . . . and the murderous Pinbacker. Just as the payload tumbles into the fiery maelstrom, Capa hits the manual controls - igniting the bomb. It doesn’t get much closer than this.
#4: “Avengers: Endgame” (2019)
After 21 films building up to a post-apocalyptic world where 50% of all life has been snapped dead, the Avengers - or what’s left of them - must figure out a way to protect the survivors, and undo what Thanos did. With the help of a post-Quantum Realm Scott Lang, Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff recruit the remaining Avengers to go back into the past to recover the Infinity Stones. After reuniting in the present and bringing back the other 50%, the Avengers assemble in the most epic way possible:, with a Mjolnir-wielding Captain America, Captain Marvel’s return to Earth, and Wakanda and Asgard’s armies coming together. A couple of major sacrifices later, the supervillain is finally disintegrated, and Earth - as well as the rest of the universe - is now safe.
#3: “Independence Day” (1996)
Aliens are poised to destroy Earth, when a combined computer virus and kamikaze-style attack save the day. Up to this point, the invading extraterrestrials clearly had the upper hand. Their saucers are shielded, but pilot Steven Hiller and technician David Levinson manage to upload a virus into the mothership . . . and a nuclear weapon to boot! As one of the saucers prepares to fire, and with his last missile jammed, unlikely hero Russell Casse, played perfectly by Randy Quaid, rams his plane right up the alien ship’s probe-able part. It’s the ultimate redemption for an alcoholic whose tale of alien abduction was once ridiculed, and its replete with enough cheesy one-liners for two blockbusters.
#2: “The Fifth Element” (1997)
As a giant black ball of evil hurtles toward Earth, a single match and a distraught Supreme Being are all that’s left between the world and total annihilation. Minutes away from catastrophe, the good guys manage to activate the elemental stones that power Earth’s secret weapon against the ultimate incarnation of evil. But the disillusioned Leeloo, the Supreme Being who can unleash its power, has seen too much of human violence - and has lost the will to fight. Time is out, but at the absolute last second, Leeloo learns something new about being human that restores her faith.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are some honorable mentions.
“Deep Impact” (1998)
“Men in Black” (1997)
“Flash Gordon” (1980)
“Mars Attacks!” (1996)
“I Am Legend” (2007)
#1: “Armageddon” (1998)
With fragments of an asteroid already smashing into Earth, a hastily thrown together team rushes to blow it up. Hmm, seems to be a theme here. When their drill hits a gas pocket, the world seems lost, until backup arrives in the nick of time. But the suspense just keeps escalating: damage to the triggering device means someone will have to stay behind to hit the button. Taking the place of his future son-in-law, Harry Stamper makes the ultimate sacrifice. Did training oil drillers as astronauts instead of training astronauts to drill holes make sense? Maybe not! But the result is arguably more fun, more world-threatening, and came with BIG explosions.