Note: As early as now, I’m already putting up the SPOILER WARNING as of now. I mean, as I will be revealing major story points and the plot twists of some newer stories from movies, television, cartoons, comics and anime, there are going to be SPOILERS all around. Heck, I’ll also mention a few older plot twists just for the heck of it! So, yeah, SPOILER WARNING!
We all know the major plot twists we didn’t see coming by now. We know Darth Vader is Luke’s father. Rosebud was Citizen Kane’s childhood sled. The planet with intelligent apes was Earth all along. Aerith dies early in Final Fantasy VII. Terra was sent to infiltrate the Teen Titans. There are so many more plot twists and it’s kind of sad that you can’t relive the moment when it’s revealed. That’s because the shock and amazement of a good plot twist reveal cannot be beat. And it does seem like more movies, television show, comics and even cartoons and video games are implementing plot twists in their stories.
So, this time around, I like to highlight some of the best plot twists in modern times. I’ll be including one each from movies, television, comics, cartoons and video games. They might be the best but they’re my personal favorites.
MOVIES: The Sixth Sense
Probably the one that might have started the idea of inserting plot twists today!
The Plot: Malcolm Crowe, a formerly world-renowned psychologist, decides to get back to his practice after getting shot. His first client is a young, troubled boy named Cole. The boy is bullied as it seems as if he has hallucinations. Cole eventually reveals that his hallucinations are real because he has a secret: he can see dead people.
The Twist: Malcolm Crowe is actually dead. He actually died at the start of the film when he was shot.
Why This Was A Big Plot Twist: Before the Sixth Sense, the idea of having a plot twist was pretty alien to a lot of moviegoers. At first glance, the story of a young boy getting help to adjust to his ability was intriguing enough. However, adding that final bit, showing that the person actually trying to help him was a dead person as well was pure genius. While not exactly a new movie as it was released way back in 1999, it was the pioneer of the modern plot twist. You can probably thank the Sixth Sense as, after it struck it big, movies that relied on plot twists, like Memento, Shutter Island, The Prestige, The Others and Donnie Darko, started getting released with frightening frequency afterwards.
TELEVISION: The Good Place
Heaven isn’t all that cracked up to be?
The Plot: Eleanor Shellstrop had died and, because of all of her good deeds for being a human rights attorney, her spirit is sent to The Good Place. However, Eleanor knows her being in the Good Place is a mistake. She isn’t the supposed human rights lawyer. She’s actually a trashy, vain, and selfish woman from Arizona who’s never helped anyone. In order to hide this fact, she enlists her Chidi, her supposed soulmate and ethics professor, to help her become a good person and earn her place in the Good Place.
The Twist: Eleanor figures out she and her friends are actually in the Bad Place. It was all an elaborate ruse to torture themselves for all of eternity.
Why This Was A Big Plot Twist: There were hints that it was the Bad Place all along. However, you don’t figure it out because the central premise, a bad person getting into paradise, was good enough. It was all kept under wraps and the reveal was even a shock to most of the cast members.
And even if you did figure it out, the execution of the twist was top-notch. They way the Good Place builds and builds on top of all the insanity until the big reveal is unparalleled thanks to the pacing. It feels super satisfying to get to the reveal whether or not you put all the pieces together.
CARTOONS: Rick and Morty
Not so smart now, are ya, Rick?
The Plot: Rick Sanchez, the smartest man in all of the multiverse, and his grandson, the usually dim-witted Morty, go on different adventures through
time and space and the known multiverse. Hijinxs ensues.
The Twist: Rick actually blocked travel to the other realities wherein Rick isn’t the smartest man in all of the multiverse. The evil version of Morty managed to destroy the barrier and he himself is now travelling to those realities to do who knows what.
Why This Was A Big Plot Twist: Fans of Rick and Morty have generally accepted that Rick was the smartest being in all of the multiverse. It was shown time and time again throughout the show’s first five seasons to be fact. The fifth season finale continues a long plot thread where an evil version of Morty plots revenge on all Ricks, concluding with him destroying the barrier that allows travel to the rest of the multiverse where Rick actually isn’t the smartest being. As of this writing, it’s not known what will happen as this opens up the possibility of other people as smart or even smarter than Rick entering his reality and wrecking havok.
COMICS: The Amazing Spider-Man “Dying Wish”
Kind of like Face-Off… but with a darker end.
The Plot: Doctor Octopus, now old and decrepit, forcefully switches his body with that of Spider-Man/Peter Parker. The real Spider-Man/Peter Parker has to now find a way to escape from the prison Doctor Octopus’ body is in and figure out a way to reverse the body swap.
The Twist: The real Spider-Man/Peter Parker fails and dies in Doctor Octopus’ body. But not before flooding Doctor Octopus with his memories, leading to a change of heart. Still in Spider-Man/Peter’s body, the now reformed Doctor Octopus fights crime as Spider-Man.
Why This Was A Big Plot Twist: Most readers assumed everything would return to the status quo by the end of Dying Wish. Alas, this was not what happened. While Peter Parker has relinquished his role of the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man time and time again, it was never because he was, well, dead. This started the Superior Spider-Man story arc with Doctor Octopus determined to not only continue Spider-Man’s legacy, but to prove he is the superior version. It does end with the real Peter Parker regaining control of his body but it took a while for things to return to the status quo.
VIDEO GAMES: Final Fantasy VII Remake
Is calling it a “Remake” technically a lie?
The Plot: Final Fantasy VII Remake is an update of one of the most iconic video games ever made. The story has Cloud Strife, a man with a broken past, attempt to take down Sephiroth, a megalomaniac set on destroying the planet in order to become a god.
The Twist: Final Fantasy VII Remake, despite the name, isn’t actually a one-to-one recreation of the original. By the end of the game, it’s revealed some significant story arcs have changed and these changes will have big ramifications on how the story will move forward from now on.
Why This Was A Big Plot Twist: Most gamers, especially those who played the original 1997 JRPG, would’ve been satisfied if all the events played out exactly like it did way back when. However, Square Enix opted to fiddle around with the story and, thanks to your actions, some major changes have happened. Zack Fair, who died way before the events of the original game, is now alive in an alternative timeline. The Whispers of Fate, basically the will of the planet who dictate where the story is supposed to go, have been wiped out, leaving Cloud and company to possibly do things you didn’t do in the original. This opens up the entire game for new possibilities instead of being locked into a certain set of events.
BONUS: Game of Thrones “The Red Wedding”
Not much of a SPOILER if you know it’s coming. But for those who didn’t? Hoo boy!
I’m adding this as a bonus because, despite its wide-reaching effects throughout the television community, the fans who’ve read the books were fully aware of what was going to happen. Which is why a lot of book readers had the foresight to film their friends who were about to have their hearts crushed when the Red Wedding was going to happen.
So, while it was a huge plot twist, it wasn’t exactly something fans of the book didn’t know was coming. Good twist, though.
What’s your favorite modern plot twist? Let me know in the comments section below!