Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but the plots in these films are allowed to simmer long before they are ready for serving. These are not cases of a wronged individual scorching the earth as a knee-jerk reaction to being wronged; these are complex, highly detailed revenge schemes that take years of planning to properly execute. Some may be plans formulated by a wronged protagonist or antihero, while others are plotted by villains with misguided notions about their own victimhood. Some belong to the thriller/horror genre, while others are more action-oriented. What is most important for each revenge plot included is the level of detail, effort, and planning spent on vengeance.
Which of these characters put too much effort into their revenge schemes? Vote up choices based on the time spent on the plans and how extreme the reaction is.
Warning: Heavy spoilers ahead!
- 19 VOTES
Revenge Motive: While attending a technology conference in 1999, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) approaches billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) with a request to discuss his research and development agency, Advanced Idea Mechanics. Stark not only shuns these initial efforts, but also blows off a rooftop meeting scheduled with the scientist.
The Plan: Killian develops his technology without the help of Stark, disguising the destruction of his failures as strikes from a fabricated terrorist known as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). In continued efforts to receive help from Stark, Killian holds his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) hostage, injecting her with his latest technology.
The Outcome: The injection given to Potts results in superpowers, allowing her to eliminate Killian before he can destroy Stark’s superhero alter ego, Iron Man.Over the top?
- 244 VOTESPhoto: Tartan Films
Revenge Motive: While Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) is a teenager in high school, he accidentally discovers his classmate Lee Woo-jin (Yoo Ji-tae) in a compromising position with his own sister, Soo-ah (Yoon Jin-seo). Despite only telling his best friend what he has seen, Dae-su inadvertently spreads rumors of the siblings’ relationship throughout the school, eventually resulting in Soo-ah taking her own life.
The Plan: Decades later when both teenagers are grown adults, Woo-jin has Dae-su kidnapped and held captive in a small room. After 15 years have passed, Dae-su is released and given five days to figure out the reason for his imprisonment. Suffering from the 15 years spent sheltered from the world and human interaction, Dae-su becomes romantically involved with a young chef named Mi-do (Kang Hye-jung). Only once this has occurred does Woo-jin reveal that Mi-do is Dae-su’s daughter, having grown during his years in captivity. Woo-jin’s ultimate revenge plan was to trick Dae-su into having an incestuous relationship as punishment for exposing his own.
The Outcome: Revenge complete, Woo-jin shoots himself in the head. Rather than live with the knowledge of what he has done, Dae-su visits a hypnotist to try removing the memory that Mi-do is his daughter, though the ending ambiguously suggests that these efforts may not have been entirely successful.Over the top?
- 327 VOTES
Revenge Motive: When Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) loses his wife as the result of a tragic mishap during an escape trick in a magic show, he blames fellow apprentice Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) for his choice of knot. As the two begin their own careers as magicians, it fuels a rivalry built on sabotaging and copying each other’s tricks.
The Plan: Angier uses his own double, employed for a trick where he appears to be teleported across the stage, to frame Borden for his murder. With everyone believing Borden took the sabotage attempts too far, he is convicted and hung for the offense, while Angier is free to take on a new identity.
The Outcome: Angier discovers that Borden used his own twin brother as a double for a similar teleportation trick, and that surviving brother does away with Angier as punishment for his fatal revenge plot.Over the top?
- Photo: Sony Pictures Classics
Revenge Motive: Though never seen in the film, we learn of multiple incidents and people Gabriel Pasternak wants revenge for. His ex-girlfriend (María Marull) cheated on him with his best friend. A music critic (Darío Grandinetti) harshly reviewed his work. A former professor failed him, and a former psychiatrist failed to help him.
The Plan: Pasternak somehow manages to get all the people who have wronged him on the same plane by paying for their tickets. Once aboard, the various passengers discover they all have a connection through the same man, and that he is the flight’s cabin chief. Barricading himself in the cockpit, Pasternak hijacks the flight full of people who have wronged him.
The Outcome: The sequence ends just before Pasternak crashes the plane, killing himself and those he blames for the pain in his life. Even his parents aren’t spared, as he directs the hurtling aircraft towards their location on the ground.Over the top?