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Top 10 Worst Movie Endings of the 2000s

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Thomas O'Connor

A story is only as good as its conclusion. From “The Matrix Revolutions” to “Signs”, WatchMojo is counting down the movie endings of the 2000s that left something to be desired.


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Script written by Thomas O'Connor

Top 10 Worst Movie Endings of the 2000s

A story is only as good as its conclusion. Welcome to, and today we’re looking at the Top 10 Worst Movie Endings of the 2000s.

For this list, we’re looking at films released between 2000 and 2009 that left us feeling thoroughly unsatisfied, disappointed or downright mad when the credits rolled. The fact that some of these movies weren’t half bad up until the finale just made their terrible endings worse.

#10: “The Happening” (2008)

After a mysterious outbreak prompts people to start committing mass suicide, Mark Wahlberg's put-upon every man takes his family on the run. It’s eventually revealed that the disaster is being caused by plants exuding a powerful neurotoxin whenever groups of people are detected nearby. After watching their fellow survivors get bumped off one by one, Marky Mark and his wife decide to end it all and embrace, theoretically triggering the toxin. Except nothing happens. The outbreak has apparently ended, for no particular reason whatsoever. The “twist” is that things are just suddenly ok. It’s like the screenwriters had a premise and simply couldn’t be bothered to write an actual ending.

#9: “The Number 23” (2007)

The pairing of director Joel Schumacher and Jim Carrey should be enough scare off any audience member who’s seen “Batman Forever”. And sure enough, those who took the plunge on this dark and gritty turn by the former Pet Detective soon came to regret it. Carrey’s lead becomes obsessed with a strange book that outlines numerous connections between real-world crimes and the number 23; it was an admittedly compelling start. But in a final twist, Carrey learns that it was actually he who wrote the book, and that, following a failed suicide attempt, prompted by the guilt of killing his ex-girlfriend, he suffers from amnesia. Take note screenwriters, amnesia is way overplayed.

#8: “The Matrix Revolutions” (2003)

The Wachowski Siblings’ epic action trilogy has never exactly been subtle about the metaphor that protagonist Neo is a thinly veiled Jesus analogy. But the trilogy’s finale throws any pretense of playing it coy out the window just in case we hadn’t figured it out yet. Finally defeating the evil Agent Smith in a valiant act of self-sacrifice, Neo perishes to save the world and bring about a tenuous peace between human and machine before being carted off in a familiar spread-armed pose. Throw in the fact that the ending is extremely confusing and poorly explained, and you’re left with a finale that’s somehow both too obtuse and too obvious.

#7: “Signs” (2002)

So you’re a hyper-intelligent alien race that’s mastered intergalactic travel and you feel like getting your “invasion” on. But there’s a problem standing between you and galactic conquest: your biology makes you extremely vulnerable to water - to the point that it burns you like acid. Do you head out to find a dry, arid world to conquer? Nope! You mosey on down to Earth, a planet whose surface is mostly water, where water falls from the sky sometimes, and whose every living inhabitant is partially made up of the stuff. Because it turns out that you aren’t that intelligent after all, and by extension… neither is this movie.

#6: “Spider-Man 3” (2007)

The much-maligned third entry in the “Spider-Man” trilogy has its fair share of problems even before the big show-stopping finale, from too many villains to too many dance scenes. But the film’s closing moments put an extra-large nail in this franchise; it was such a misstep that the studio felt the need to scrap the whole thing and start fresh with a reboot. After being informed by his butler that “oh, by the way, Spider-Man didn’t kill your dad”, Harry Osborn teams up with his former nemesis to battle Sandman and Venom only to die in battle. Really, you couldn’t have clued Harry in to that important information just a little bit sooner there, "Jeeves"?

#5: “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” (2008)

Returning to the big screen for the first time in decades, our beloved Indie dusted off his hat and bullwhip for a whole new adventure - one that sadly goes completely off the rails after the final reveal that the legendary crystal skulls that have been driving the narrative are actually alien in origin. Also, the aliens come alive and kill Cate Blanchett's villain for no apparent reason. Oh… and Indie learns that his latest annoying sidekick, Mutt Williams, is actually his son. With nothing else to do, Doctor Jones marries his former sweetheart Marion before the credits roll. This ending doesn’t belong in a museum, it belongs on the cutting room floor.

#4: “I Am Legend” (2007)

After years as Hollywood royalty, Will Smith’s career took a bad turn after a series of high-profile duds. The finale of this adaptation of a classic sci-fi novel was one of the earlier examples that the future wasn’t looking as rock solid for the former Fresh Prince. After finally developing a cure for the plague that’s been turning humans into vampire-like creatures, Smith’s character sacrifices himself by exploding a grenade in the face of an oncoming horde, despite numerous other ways he could have escaped intact. To make matters worse, a superior ending can be found on the film’s DVD bonus features, but it sadly got scrapped.

#3: “Planet of the Apes” (2001)

The finale of the original “Apes” film starring Charlton Heston is one of the most iconic final scenes in cinema history, putting the makers of the 2001 reboot in a tough spot. After all, how do you top something this legendary? As it turns out, you don’t - but especially not with an ending like this. Returning to his own timeline, Mark Wahlberg is stunned to find a world where apes run the show instead of humans, and a monument to the villainous General Thade has taken the place of the Lincoln Memorial. It’s a bafflingly silly finale to a film that probably should haven’t have been attempted in the first place.

#2: “War of the Worlds” (2005)

No, we’re not talking about the fact that the alien invasion of Earth is brought to a halt by the common cold - we actually have a different, more basic beef. After spending the entire film trying to keep his family safe during the invasion, Tom Cruise’s Ray is forced to watch as his ridiculously over-eager son Robbie runs off into a pitched battle between the aliens and the military, determined to help out despite his lack of any real skills whatsoever. In any logical scenario, this would be curtains for Robbie, but he somehow turns up alive and well at the very end, completely fine in defiance of all common sense.

#1: “Rat Race” (2001)

In the summer of 1999, it was literally impossible to turn on a radio without hearing Smash Mouth’s “All Star” blaring out. Trust us, we were there. So when this comedy from two years later trotted out the notorious few-hit wonder for a surprise concert performance of their famous song, all we could really do was throw up our hands in frustration that this earworm tune had found its way back into our lives. Up until that point, the film had been a decent enough comedy, but this out of nowhere ending from a band that long overstayed its welcome overshadows any laughs to be had in the first 90 or so minutes.

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