The heroes in our favorite movies can be as close to our hearts as family members. Closer even, in some cases. You know what you did, Karen. Movie protagonists, however, serve as moral compasses, people who can do no wrong and always put their own safety on the line for lives of others. Seriously, they're so inspiring that action movies are often way better than their "Oscar worthy" counterparts. We can be so enamored with our heroes, we sometimes ignore the mass off-screen deaths in movies. The fact is, the good guys sometimes casually kill lots of random, innocent people for their own gain. Of course, these scenes are rarely shown in detail, but that does not mean their actions do not have consequences, and it goes to show that heroes can secretly be the villains of their own movies.
While everyone's aware of the enormous, inadvertent death tolls racked up by superheroes (Marvel's done it so frequently, it served as the catalyst for the events of Captain America: Civil War), there are plenty of examples in science fiction, action movies, and even comedies of good guys murdering countless strangers.
- Photo: 20th Century Fox
A father figure for many of the world’s mutant superheroes, Professor Xavier is a fan favorite and one of the best X-Men characters of all time. He's so beloved, in fact, so much we missed it when he was responsible for the death of thousands of humans and mutants.
In X2, Professor X uses his telepathic amplifier Cerebro to connect with every human on the planet and give them all excruciating, incapacitating headaches. Sure, he’s under control of another mutant, and is forced to target humans by his arch nemesis Magneto, but none of it would have even been possible without Professor X’s relentless pursuit of knowledge and control, which led him to build Cerebro in the first place.
So how many people did he kill? If we assume that the incapacitating headache lasted anywhere between 5-10 minutes as shown in the film, given that approximately 660,000 people are being flown in airplanes around the world at any given time, we reasonably infer that many of those individuals were killed by the wheelchair-bound pacifist.
- Photo: Walt Disney Pictures
It's clear throughout Frozen that Elsa is a little unhinged, and she has every right to be. Her parents locked her up for the entirety of her formative years, and she grew up afraid to touch anything. However, a messed up childhood doesn't excuse straight-up mass murder.
As Elsa sings one of the catchiest and most over-played songs of the past decade, she creates an ice palace for herself and inadvertently covers her home kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. To clarify: it wasn't almost winter already. This cataclysmic weather shift came out of nowhere. How many infants must have died, their frail bodies unaccustomed to the cold? How many families starved to death, their crops destroyed by frost? Elsa may have found herself and received her sister's forgiveness, but she will be remembered as an unforgiving and cruel godhead by her people for generations.
- Photo: 20th Century Fox
While the Sith and the Jedi might have you believe that morals in the Galaxy are as black and white as the Force, we know that can’t be the case. Thanks to The Force Awakens and Rogue One, we learn that many of those who worked for the Empire did so against their will. Many Imperial workers and soldiers had no other option to keep themselves and their families safe.
Knowing that, we have to assume that many of the employees on both the original Death Star, and the Death Star II were just as oppressed as those fighting for the rebellion. With that information, the complete and indiscriminate destruction of both battle stations, and the people on board, takes on a much more sinister sheen. It also paints the celebration and joy that follows in a new, harrowing light.
- Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
In The Matrix Neo's goal is to free mankind from slavery at the hands of sentient machines. However, by the sequel The Matrix Reloaded, it becomes clear that Neo is much more concerned with his love life than the future of the human race. We see how love trumps life for Neo when he races to save Trinity, after she is ambushed and shot by Agent Smith. Neo flies to reach her in time and miraculously save her life.
The problem is, the speed at which he flies creates a sonic boom of destruction. Buildings rupture and countless cars get pulled into his supersonic wake. While you might give him a pass because he is in the Matrix, we must remember that all those people in the cars and buildings are connected to real, powerless, humans still enslaved by the intelligent machines and at the mercy of Neo’s power. As the movie tells the audience over and over, if you die in the Matrix, you die for real. By the film's own logic, that makes Neo a very real mass murderer.