16 Times Movie Heroes Tried To Get Out Of The Game But Inevitably Got Pulled Back

List Rules
Vote up the hero retirements that were never going to last.

You don't have to look far for superheroes who hate to fight. Many of our most virtuous heroes would prefer to solve their conflicts with their brains rather than their fists, but some of them get so fed up with fighting injustice that they quit altogether. But how many retired superheroes actually stay retired?

Heroes who try to quit are inevitably pulled back in by their sense of duty. In other cases, heroes who tried to get out of the game only return when something personal happens. The following heroes aren't just dipping their toes in retirement - they really don't want to deal with the whole good-versus-evil thing - but each and every one of them is faced with the choice of turning a blind eye to injustice or suiting up and saving the day.


  • John Wick In 'John Wick'
    Photo: Lionsgate

    Why He Gets Out: John "Baba Yaga" Wick retired from his life of being the greatest assassin in the world when he settled down and married Helen. Wick didn't just quit assassinating people - he buried all of his weapons and covered them up with concrete so he'd never have to give himself over to violence again. 

    How Is He Pulled Back: Five years after his retirement, a group of Russian Mafia dummies break into Wick's home, where they steal his car, break a bunch of his stuff, assault him, and kill his sweet little dog. This horrible act of violence seals their fates forever as Wick digs up his weapons and starts wreaking havoc across New York City.

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    Agent K In 'Men in Black 2'

    Why He Gets Out: K is easily one of the best agents that the Men in Black have ever employed, but after he hesitates in the middle of a battle with a giant alien cockroach, he comes to the realization he's too old for the game. Rather than continue on and slowly fade away, K is neuralyzed, and he goes off to live as the postmaster general in Truro, MA.

    How Is He Pulled Back: Wouldn't you know it, five years after K's neuralization, a shapeshifting alien pops up on the scene, and she's looking for something called the Light of Zartha. K is the only agent with any knowledge of the Light of Zartha, so he's brought back into the MiB and deneuralyzed to begin the hunt for this mysterious Light that may or may not have something to do with his past. (Spoiler alert: It does.)

  • Why He Gets Out: As a retired CIA operative, Bryan Mills has seen enough violence to last a lifetime. The rigors of the job took such a toll on his home life that his marriage came to an end, and he was left with nothing but his job. Mills decided to quit the CIA to spend more time with his daughter - a decision that helped repair their bond.

    How Is He Pulled Back: When his daughter is kidnapped by an Albanian trafficking ring in Paris, Mills travels to France, where he tracks down the traffickers and unleashes pure hell on the creeps who kidnapped his daughter. He systematically carves his way through the trafficking ring until he rescues his daughter and ices the Sheikh at the top of the chain.

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    Allan Quatermain In 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'

    Why He Gets Out: After the demise of his son, adventurer, hunter, and extraordinary gentleman Allan Quatermain retires from a life of excitement to Kenya. Rather than deal with losing anyone else close to him, he doesn't just move off the beaten path - he finds a path so far off the beaten path that it takes the devious Professor Moriarty and his cohorts to find him. 

    How Is He Pulled Back: After an attack on the Bank of London and a German Zeppelin factory, Quatermain is recruited to investigate the mysterious assaults. He's not sold on saving the day for queen and country, but when the gentleman's club that he frequents is similarly attacked, he agrees to get to the bottom of the situation to keep Africa out of the fray.

  • Why He Gets Out: This former Marine and DIA agent faked his demise to escape from the vicious nature of his work. Robert McCall settled down into a simple life in Boston as a hardware store worker, where he discovered a world with no bloodshed and actual downtime.

    How Is He Pulled Back: Seeing one of his only friends, a sex worker named Alina, beaten to a pulp by the Russian mob , McCall straight-up eviscerates the creeps who crossed his friend. After he wipes the floor with these goons, it's McCall versus the Russian mafia in an all-out bloodbath. 

  • Why He Gets Out: In 2007, Jason Bourne exposed the behavior modification super-spy program Operation Blackbriar by handing off a collection of files about the secret agency to the CIA deputy director. Afterward, he faked his death and swam away from New York City through the East River.

    How Is He Pulled Back: It all comes back to the CIA. Bourne is tracked down to Greece, where he's been living as a bare-knuckle boxer (seriously). Former cohort Nicky Parsons gives Bourne a collection of CIA files that reveal that Bourne's father was actually involved in the creation of Operation Treadstone. With this information, Bourne dives right back into the secret world of national intelligence.