Flawed Logic in Movies: Spider-Man, Batman, and Shia LaBeouf


Some films contain flawed logic, trains of thought that, at some point, hop off of the tracks and barrel through fields of plot. This occasional lapse of sound reasoning does not necessarily decrease the value of a film (in fact, some plots thrive on lapses of logic), but audiences should be aware of these deduction deficits so that similar logic pitfalls do not occur in their own lives. Enjoy the stupidity of movie characters, but don’t pretend that it’s not stupidity.

Shia I RobotI, Robot (2004)

Flaw: Shia LaBeouf should lead you into battle. In this sci-fi action movie, Shia LaBeouf plays Farber, a teenage punk who cusses and objectifies women. He is also the protagonist’s friend. Though Farber really has no reason to exist in the film aside from providing some awkward and arguably unnecessary comic relief, director Alex Proyas includes a few scenes in which Farber and Detective Spooner discuss ladies and Farber’s poor use of profanity. During these conversations, nothing redeeming is revealed about LaBeouf’s character. Farber has no depth. He is a hormonal teenager who has managed, for some unknown reason, to befriend a renegade cop. Other than his friendship with Will Smith, Farber has absolutely no qualities that should inspire a mob to follow him into battle against a hoard of assertive robots. In fact, logic should dictate that when Farber starts to mock the robots, everyone else should back away, leaving Farber to deal with his own poor life decisions. In the movie, however, a large crowd of people, apparently unaware of Farber’s substandard leadership qualifications, stand behind the teenager, ready to charge. The result is pandemonium and pain for the humans as the robots toss people into the air like confetti. Farber, however, escapes unharmed, like a cockroach after a nuclear apocalypse.

blakeThe Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Flaw: Eyes are the gateway to one’s superhero identity. The third installment of Nolan’s Batman trilogy features several directorial choices that are worthy of blog-style analysis. Why did Bane die so suddenly? Why did Liam Neeson appear? Why did every cop in Gotham need to run underground at the same time? Some questions can be answered through in-depth examination, and others can be sidestepped by growling, “Because he’s Batman.” But what about Blake? During a dramatic, dialogue-heavy scene, Joseph Gordon-Levitt tells Bruce Wayne that he knows his secret identity. Blake says, “Right when I saw you, I knew who you really were.” While it is possible that Blake simply appreciates the mystery of vague statements, both Blake and Nolan should have assumed that a magician-style I-can’t-tell-you-how-I-did-it explanation wouldn’t quench our understandable curiosity. To be fair, Blake did admit that his lucky guess was informed by “that look on your face.” But unless Batman had a temporary “Because I’m Batman” face tattoo, this answer is unsatisfying. In short, don’t assume that you can discern the superhero nature of your friend by looking at his or her eyes. Unless your friend is Cyclops. But then you’d die, so don’t do that either.

Captain StacyThe Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Flaw: Promises you can’t keep are the best kind. In this superhero flick, Spider-Man tells Gwen Stacy’s dad that he won’t flirt with Gwen anymore. This conversation takes place just before Mr. Stacy dies, which complicates the usual father-to-boyfriend chat. If Parker had disobeyed Papa Stacy while everyone was in good health, then we would all laugh sitcom-style as Mr. Stacy’s face turned red and he yelled, “PAAARRKERRR!” But, instead, we have death and broken promises. Of course, Spider-Man’s announcement of his intent to disobey Daddy Stacy makes some sense in the context of young love, but Parker didn’t say, “Some promises are meant to be broken.” Spider-Man said, “Yeah, but those are the best kind.” Promises you can’t keep are the best kind? Jerk. That’s the motto of pathological liars and chronic tools. At least Tobey Maguire had the decency to own his occasional dishonesty. When Maguire sports black clothes and hair gel, Mary Jane knows to disregard everything he says.

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