IMDb Polls

Poll: Disappointing Deus Ex Machina Moments

Deus Ex Machina is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the inspired and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object.


These are some of the most infamous Deus Ex Machina moments in movies.

Which of these moments do you find the most disappointing?

Discuss here.

Make Your Choice

  1. Vote!


    The Eagles in The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit films.

    The Eagles arrive at the exact time the protagonists need to be rescued.

  2. Vote!

    Kevin Spacey in Superman Returns (2006)

    Kryptonite in the Superman films.

    A plot device that's introduced by illogical means every time the writers feel the need to create obstacles for Superman.

  3. Vote!

    Michael Keaton in Batman (1989)

    Batman's Utility Belt in the Batman films.

    Batman's utility belt usually contains something unexpected which frees him from a seemingly inescapable situation.

  4. Vote!

    Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds (2005)

    The bacteria in War of the Worlds.

    Advanced aliens, undefeated by humanity's weapons, conquer Earth, only to be slain by terrestrial bacteria.

  5. Vote!

    A baby monitor provides a message from above for Graham (Mel Gibson, left) and his brother, Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix, right).

    Water in Signs.

    Aliens are defeated because they were allergic to water (which covers 70% of the surface of the planet), a fact the advanced beings were not aware of.

  6. Vote!

    Keanu Reeves in The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

    The Supercomputer in The Matrix Revolutions.

    When Zion is being attacked by the machine army, Neo asks the supercomputer (named Deus Ex Machina with intentional irony), that happens to control all the machines, to consider peace. The supercomputer agrees, and the machines immediately break off their attack.

  7. Vote!

    Christopher Reeve in Superman II (1980)

    Reversing time in Superman.

    By suddenly gaining the ability to break several laws of Physics, Superman is able to fly faster than speed of light, thus reversing time and preventing the events of the entire third act from ever taking place. He couldn't even fly fast enough to stop missiles before this.

  8. Vote!

    Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith in Independence Day (1996)

    The Alien Computer in Independence Day.

    An alien computer is found that conveniently contains all the necessary information required by the protagonists to strategically defeat the enemy. Not only that, it's easily hackable by present-day human technology.

  9. Vote!

    Jurassic Park (1993)

    The timely arrival of the T-Rex at the end of Jurassic Park.

    When the main characters find themselves surrounded by Velocirapters, a T-Rex (that causes the ground to vibrate when it moves) suddenly arrives very stealthily and timely to save the day. The large predator went completely unnoticed by the other dinosaurs until it came crashing through the building.

  10. Vote!

    Independence Day (1996)

    The Mother Ship in Independence Day.

    The mother ship conveniently controls all the other attack ships and destroying the mother ship results in the all-out defeat of the aliens.

  11. Vote!

    Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Ariana Richards, and Joseph Mazzello in Jurassic Park (1993)

    The UNIX system in Jurassic Park.

    A young girl is able to hack into a computer in the world's most technologically advanced facility and restart the building's access control system with the help of a simple UNIX file system navigator.

  12. Vote!

    DANIEL RADCLIFFE as Harry Potter in Warner Bros.

    The Sword of Gryffindor in Chamber of Secrets.

    When Harry confronts Voldemort in the Chamber of Secrets, he has no chance of surviving against the unstoppable Basilisk when suddenly Dumbledore's Fawkes flies out of nowhere with the Sorting Hat which produces the Sword of Godric Gryffindor, a weapon conveniently capable of killing the Basilisk.

  13. Vote!

    Harrison Ford and Karen Allen in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

    The Power of the Ark in Raiders of the Lost Ark

    At the climax Indy and Marion are tied up against a pole and the Nazis have the Ark. When the Nazis open the Ark the power of the Ark is unleashed on the Nazis, killing them all, but leaving Indiana Jones and Marion unharmed. Their ropes have been burnt, setting them free.

  14. Vote!

    Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, and Chris Hemsworth in The Avengers (2012)

    The Nuclear Missile from The Avengers

    The Avengers are losing and Iron Man's suit is running out of power. But in a classic example of Deus Ex Machina, SHIELD launches a nuclear missile at Manhattan to end the invasion. Iron Man intercepts the missile, takes it through the wormhole and destroys the Chitauri Fleet just as his suit is drained of power.

  15. Vote!

    Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto, and Jane Seymour in Live and Let Die (1973)

    The Rope Cutting Watch in Live and Let Die. (And other Gadgets from the James Bond films)

    James Bond always seems to have the perfect gadget to get him out of all the seemingly impossible situations he could get into. In Live and Let Die, James is tied to a pole when out of nowhere his watch is revealed to be able to cut through ropes, setting James free.

  16. Vote!

    Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)

    The Federation Droid Control Ship in The Phantom Menace

    Little Anakin Skywalker accidentally turns on the Autopilot of the fighter ship he was hiding in. He flies towards the Federation Ship, unintentionally crash lands deep inside it and luckily ends up destroying the "main reactor", thus deactivating the entire droid army.

  17. Vote!

    Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

    Priori Incantatem in The Goblet of Fire.

    When the most powerful wizard in existence is trying to kill a young Harry Potter, he is luckily saved by the never-before-mentioned Priori Incantatem effect because both of their wands coincidentally shared the same core.

  18. Vote!

    Calvin Wimmer in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

    The Matrix of Leadership in Revenge of the Fallen.

    The tool which is supposed to be a power source for a super weapon, is also inexplicably able to bring Transformers, as well as humans, back to life.

  19. Vote!

    James Franco in Spider-Man 3 (2007)

    Harry's Butler in Spiderman 3.

    Harry Osborn's butler suddenly reveals the true nature of his father's death after 5 years. Harry has a change of heart and decides to help Spiderman fight his enemies.

  20. Vote!

    Andy Serkis in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

    The Airborne Virus in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

    The airborne virus that was created in order to make the apes more intelligent also surprisingly turns out to be lethal to humans.

  21. Vote!

    Matt Damon and Emily Blunt in The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

    The Chairman's New Plans in The Adjustment Bureau

    The two lovers are surrounded by the members of the Bureau when they realise they're about to be separated forever. But suddenly they are all alone and the members of the bureau are gone. Turns out, the Chairman changed his mind and decided to let them go because they TRIED TOO HARD.

  22. Vote!

    Kaya Scodelario and Dylan O'Brien in The Maze Runner (2014)

    The Trigger Device in The Maze Runner

    The Maze is seemingly unsolvable when Thomas lucks out on killing a Griever when it gets crushed between shifting walls takes a mechanical part from its brain that turns out to be a trigger device that will open a passageway out of the maze.

  23. Vote!

    Dev Patel in Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

    The final question in Slumdog Millionare

    Jamal could answer all the questions correctly because they had some connection with his past, but gets the last question right by pure luck and wins the game.

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