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 bank heist in Fast Five was pretty awesome, but, the damage totals and human casualties far outweigh the $100M that was supposedly in that vault. Beyond the dozens of crashed cars, there's no doubt that dragging a 10 ton projectile through the streets of Rio (that crushed multiple cop cars and probably people) is going to cost far more in value than all the cash gained in the robbery.
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.
#12 on Movies That Need Sequels
Outbreak is one hell of a scary ride about an Ebola-like virus called the Motaba virus that finds its way to the United States by way of, wait for it, a monkey. The virus turns people's organs into blood soup in a matter of days, and, the military decided to try and contain the disease by firebombing a small town in Africa and getting ready to bomb an American town of infected citizens.
The film rather glosses over that the US military killed many innocent people and considers bombing their own citizens, especially when it turns out they had a serum the whole time because they created the virus as a bio-weapon.
#26 on The Best Movies of 1995
John McClane is a bad-ass. But, does he really need to almost destroy the foundation of the Nakotomi Plaza building to stop a few eloquent thieves in Die Hard? That situation could've gone terribly sideways, killing everyone in the building, and, most likely a whole bunch outside on the street. Not to mention the structural damage to the surrounding area.