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8 ‘shocking’ modern movie twists that everyone saw coming, ranked

A man talks to two women in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Whenever a plot twist occurs in a film, it can either make or break the story for its audience. Some classic movies like Psycho and Planet of the Apes and more recent movies like 2022’s Nope have presented iconic twists that nobody could have dreamed of upon release, while others did not have as much success in defying viewers’ expectations.

Such predictable plot twists don’t necessarily ruin the story, but if the filmmaker’s goal was to trick everyone watching and blow them all away, these eight movies didn’t exactly fool their audience.

Warning: This article contains spoilers (to some people) for all the films on the list.

8. Arthur never dated Sophie (Joker)

Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker in "Joker" (2019).
Warner Bros. / Warner Bros.

This Joker origin story shows Arthur Fleck falling in love with his neighbor, Sophie, a single mother whom he meets in the elevator of their apartment building. It appears that they start dating, but the film reveals that all the time they spent together as a couple was imagined by Arthur.

Though this was meant to blow audiences’ minds, such a twist has already been done many times before on film, and considering that the Joker isn’t the most reliable narrator, it didn’t come as a surprise that he had never dated Sophie. Also, the fact that Arthur stalked her and just walked into her apartment, dressed as a clown, and kissed her without her freaking out were two huge red flags that this was all part of his fantasy.

7. David switches places with Walter (Alien: Covenant)

Michael Fassbender in "Alien: Covenant."
20th Century Studios / 20th Century Studios

As the Covenant crew tries to flee the Engineer home world, their android companion Walter battles his evil predecessor, David, to help them escape. It seems like Walter won the battle, but it is revealed at the end that David defeated him and took his place aboard the Covenant, allowing him to overthrow the ship while the crew is in cryo-sleep.

Though the filmmakers chose to kill Prometheus’ main character, Elizabeth Shaw, off-screen, it was still unlikely that they would have a villain as big as David share a similar fate, as the movie implied.

6. Thanos wins (Avengers: Infinity War)

Thanos smiling at the end of "Avengers: Infinity War."
Marvel Studios / Marvel Studios

Avengers: Infinity War shows Thanos emerging from the shadows to claim all six Infinity Stones in a quest to wipe out half of all life in the universe. Despite their best efforts, the Avengers fail to stop him in the end, and the evil alien turns many beloved heroes to dust with a snap of his fingers.

While this was a horrifying conclusion, the film’s marketing campaign implied that the story would be a dark crossover event that would forever change the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Likewise, the Infinity Gauntlet storyline the film is based on is famous for Thanos doing precisely what he set out to do, and it was unlikely this blockbuster would stray far from the source material.

5. Sharon Tate doesn’t die (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Once Upon a time in Hollywood (2019) | Ending Flamethrower Scene - Leonardo DiCaprio

Set in an alternate 1969 in Hollywood, this Quentin Tarantino movie, one of his very best, follows the lives of actor Rick Dalton and his stunt double Cliff Booth in the elad-up to the notorious Manson Family murders. The film shows the Manson Family targeting Cliff and Rick, who lives next door to Sharon Tate in the film, on that fateful summer night, only for the duo to kill their attackers and spare Sharon and company from tragedy.

While this seems like a shocking change in history, Tarantino had done multiple revisionist films before, one of which featured two American soldiers shooting Hitler to death. As a result, it was expected that the director would go so far as to show Rick and Cliff murder the Tate-LaBianca murderers in such a brutal manner.

4. It’s all a simulation (Don’t Worry Darling)

Close-up of a young woman looking confused in the 2022 movie "Don't Worry Darling."
Warner Bros. Pictures / Warner Bros. Pictures

Don’t Worry Darling follows housewife Alice as she suspects the men in her 20th-century-style town are hiding something sinister. Alice soon discovers that the world she lives in is all a digital simulation created by her husband’s boss, Frank.

Audiences could tell this film was trying to pull off a twist in the vein of The Matrix, Get Out, and The Stepford Wives. However, the “it was all a dream/simulation” twist had already been done to death throughout pop culture, so it was easy to see this truth bomb coming before it hit the ground.

3. Mysterio is a villain (Spider-Man: Far From Home)

Mysterio with his helmet off in "Spider-Man: Far From Home."
Marvel Studios / Marvel Studios

When Peter Parker goes on vacation through Europe with his classmates, the web-slinger encounters Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio, who claims to have traveled from another universe to stop the monstrous Elementals from destroying the Earth.

But after he and Peter seem to have defeated these creatures once and for all, Beck reveals that he pretended to be a superhero and faked the Elemental attacks using holographic projectors. He may have fooled Peter, but given that Mysterio is most well-known as one of Spidey’s greatest and most deceptive villains in the comics, he didn’t fool the fans when he appeared in this film posing as an interdimensional hero.

2. Superman returns (Justice League)

Superman in "Justice League" (2017).
Warner Bros. / Warner Bros.

Following the Man of Steel’s death in the DC Extended Universe, his character was notably absent for much of Justice League‘s marketing campaign. Though the studio tried to keep his resurrection in the film a secret, fans knew they would see the Blue Boy Scout fly out of his grave.

For one thing, his cinematic demise at Doomsday’s hands was taken from the iconic The Death and Return of Superman storyline from the mid-1990s, which showed the hero come back to life a few months after he bit the dust. On top of that, the final shot of Batman v Superman, which had dirt floating over his coffin, strongly hinted that he still had some life left in him.

1. John is Khan after all (Star Trek: Into Darkness)

Benedict Cumberbatch in a poster for "Star Trek: Into Darkness."
Paramount Pictures / Paramount Pictures

Before this film’s release, many people predicted that Benedict Cumberbatch‘s character, Commander John Harrison, was actually the iconic Star Trek villain Khan. Since director J.J. Abrams had already shared his interest in introducing Khan to the rebooted timeline, people knew they would see the Space Seed again sooner or later.

But despite Cumberbatch denying rumors that he played Khan in this film prior to its premiere, fans were not convinced. As a result, the revelation of Harrison’s true identity was not the shocking twist the film had built it up to be.

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Anthony Orlando
Anthony Orlando is a writer/director from Oradell, NJ. He spent four years at Lafayette College, graduating CUM LAUDE with a…
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