Until Captain America: Civil War turned the topic into an entire plot point, superhero movie audiences were starting to get fussy about the amount of collateral damage inflicted by their heroes. And even though MCU and DCEU releases often fall into the category of movies where the heroes did more harm than good, there are plenty of other offenders that don't follow the same formula. Some of the entries on this list are comedies, some are classics, and more than a handful are summer popcorn movies with the biggest disasters.
Audiences love cheering for the protagonist, but where do we draw the line on suspense of disbelief when an entire building burns down in order for a hero to save a cat stuck in a tree? In addition to all the times a film's protagonists have likely killed off an abundance of people off-screen in their pursuits, the financial cost of the destruction inflicted is almost never factored in to a story's "happy ending." It's time to consider the true cost and list some of the worst offending movies where the price of saving the day just wasn't worth it.
The brave Jaeger pilots in Pacific Rim have one job: To save the world from alien kaiju. This they do with the help of humongous robots that they man with a neural connection. Usually the huge robots and aliens fight in the ocean, but in the film's end they venture out into Hong Kong and San Francisco.
Not to mention as the kaiju get bigger the potential for tsunami grows. There are probably unseen multitudes of Asians and Americans who lost their lives with nary a nod from the heroic pilots.
Sure, it made sense for Officer Jack Traven to try and save the people on board the bomb-rigged bus in Speed, but he put way more people in danger on the way to safety than were even riding on the bus that day. His misplaced heroism involves risking everyone's lives by jumping a freeway with a missing piece of road and barrelling past much slower moving cars to keep the bus at 50 mph - seriously, though, no one would be able to maintain 50 mph during LA's morning rush hour.
Even after the bus retreats to the safety of the airport to do laps and the passengers safely deboard, the bombed bus is sent careening into a large airplane where it detonates, likely resulting in mortal peril for the pilots and crew of the aircraft. The film ends with an LA metro train jumping the track and bursting through the road onto Hollywood Boulevard, the city's biggest site for tourist traffic. Even if no one was hurt, the city would be paying millions to fix the damage. Good job, Jack.
The Enterprise doesn't usually cause too much damage, what with being in space and all where there is plenty of room to battle aliens. But in Star Trek Into Darkness the evil Khan purposefully crashes a warship into San Francisco, destroying much of Star Fleet headquarters and, though not see onscreen, probably quite a few bystanders.
And we're supposed to believe that one year later Star Fleet is rebuilt enough to send the Enterprise crew off on their five-year mission. Sure, way to go guys.
While the audience was focused on the unlikely, yet loveable heroes fighting Gozer the Gozerian at the end of Ghostbusters, the city of New York watched four maniacs bust up their infrastructure and do tons of damage to homes and hotels along the way. Not to mention the explosion caused by their unlicensed storage facility in the basement of a dilapidated building in lower Manhattan. All to save a few possessed people and prevent a ghost infestation.
Like the theme song says, "Bustin' makes me feel good," but, it also costs the taxpayer a hell of a lot of money.