10 Movie Secrets That Were Hiding In Plain Sight

A great movie mystery can turn a pretty good film into a cultural touchstone, inspiring debate across countless message boards, forums, and real-life water-cooler discussions.

Whether or not they’re wrapped up in a movie or franchise eventually or left to hang for years before viewers finally figure them out, there are plenty of directors both in and out of Hollywood who thrive on including plots in their projects that pretty much require three viewings to understand.

However, it’s often the little details that go into each and every production that make the eventual resolution of these mysteries so engaging, inspiring everyone to get back in order to spot all of the clues packed into the production. And the best of these are always the ones that make you feel a little dumb after the fact.

They’re big enough that they give the game away as soon as you notice them, yet obscured enough so that you don’t even question what they mean until the movie has already told you. As a result, whether you spotted them retroactively your first time through or took years to notice them, they all had viewers kicking themselves when they realised.

10. Criminal Records On Prison Uniforms – Guardians Of The Galaxy


One of the long-running theories coming out of the original Guardians of the Galaxy focused, oddly enough, on the individual markings each of the heroes had on their prison uniforms. After being jailed, each member is put in matching yellow jumpsuits, with the only differences being the pattern and colour of the lines on the left leg. Fans put together that these must be a reflection of their criminal records, an idea which director James Gunn later expanded upon.

Apparently, the colours stand in for different crimes, including murder, arson, burglary and grievous bodily harm. Gamora’s are almost exclusively the same colour, reflecting her long list of murders and assassinations as the daughter of Thanos, while Rocket’s cover pretty much everything previously mentioned as well as breaking out of prison and public drunkenness.

Not only is it a nice little detail, but also expands upon both the characters’ history and personalities, acting a great reflection of the criminal past they eventually leave behind. Well, mostly leave behind.

9. Bellwether’s True Motivations – Zootopia


Though pretty much every Disney movie features a twist in regards to its main villain, one of the most surprising in recent memory came in Zootopia. Uncovering a plot about corrupt officials attempting to frame predators for allegedly turning feral, it turns out that a seemingly innocent sheep, Assistant Mayor Bellwether, is actually responsible for the whole thing.

All the way through she’s presented as being an inherently good character, being the one to put protagonist Judy on the trail of the missing predators and seemingly pushing for an end to the violence. Of course, it’s revealed she wants the exact opposite outcome and is simply getting rid of loose ends.

While it seemingly comes out of nowhere, one small sticky note on her desk at the beginning of the movie actually revealed her relationship to the conspiracy plot straight away. In between everything is the scribbled-down number of Doug, a name which means nothing to the viewer initially. However, it’s later revealed he’s the one responsible for shooting animals and making them feral, of course, on Bellwether’s orders.

8. Tesla Vs. Edison – The Prestige

Warner Bros.

While The Prestige, like each one of Christopher Nolan’s movies, has its fair share of details which become more meaningful when you know the full plot, it’s an entirely missable subplot between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison that’s the most interesting.

The film never actually shows Edison on screen, opting to focus on David Bowie’s Tesla, but it does show how he’s just as committed to ruining his rival’s inventions as the two magicians are to ruining each other’s illusions. When Tesla shows off his latest machine on stage, he’s heckled in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot by a bearded man in the audience, apparently there to highlight how risky the inventor’s new creation is.

However, in another short scene towards the end, the same man is present at a hotel, and the receptionist refers to him as “one of Thomas Edison’s men”. Not only does this add an extra meaning to his prior sequence, but it hints even more strongly to the rivalry between the two inventors going on behind the scenes.

7. Luke’s Projection Didn’t Leave Footprints – The Last Jedi


With the full might of the First Order facing down on him, everything was set for the confrontation between Luke and Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi to be highlight everyone had waited for. Everything was in place, except for one tiny detail: Luke wasn’t actually there.

While it’s obvious in hindsight – I mean, how did Luke have time to get a fresh trim, dye his beard and craft a new lightsaber while the fate of the galaxy was hanging in the balance? – there is one key detail that makes this even clearer.

The surface of the planet they’re on is initially white salt, which turns into a dark red when anyone touches it. Consequently, the pristine surface is two completely different colours by the time Luke turns up to the battle, however he doesn’t seem to be able to impact it.

Multiple times we see him walking on the salt without leaving any footprints, while Kylo (and everyone else we’ve seen) does. Obviously, it’s because he’s not really there, something which everyone should have realised.

6. How Two Face Got In Marino’s Car – The Dark Knight

Warner Bros.

The Dark Knight is a pretty grounded film, but it still features a handful of fantastical moments – usually involving the ridiculous plans of the supervillains – that you just have to go with. One which became a source of contention after release, however, was how Two Face managed to slip into Maroni’s car unnoticed – which actually has a pretty obvious explanation.

If you watch the scene of Maroni and his men getting into the car again, you can actually see Dent take out one of his goons if you keep your eyes focused on the left side of the frame. Ingeniously, Christopher Nolan made sure that was the last place you were looking, not only by putting Maroni himself on the opposite end of the frame, but by moving the camera to the right to keep you following it.

Still, once you notice it it’s hard to not see the move every single time, but that only makes it even more satisfying.

5. The T-Rex Isn’t Chasing Claire – Jurassic World

Universal Pictures

Despite Jurassic World being a very, very dumb movie, the one small leap in logic that took the most flack post-release came from Claire managing to outrun a T-Rex while wearing heels. While somebody managing to escape the jaws of a dinosaur in heels does sort of make the creatures seem a little ineffectual, there is one detail everyone overlooked which explains everything.

Early in the movie it’s established that flares are used to train the T-Rex and other dinos to eat on command, with the camp operators throwing them at other animals they can devour. They’ve managed to create an association so that the creatures will follow the flare with the expectation that food will be waiting for them on the other end.

Consequently then, when Claire cracks open a flare at the very end and starts to run away from the T-Rex, the reason she isn’t instantly eaten is because the dinosaur isn’t actually chasing her, but rather following her. It’s been conditioned to understand that the flare equals food, so isn’t necessarily trying to get her, but rather find something it can chow down on.

4. Cross’ Murderous Motivations – Ant Man


Though audiences could tell a mile off that Cross was going to be the villain of Ant Man by the time the climax came around – after all, when has a smartly-dressed business man who isn’t the hero ever turned out to be good in these movies? – the extent of his villainy is actually revealed in an mid-movie scene, you just didn’t know it.

Cross shows up in Hank Pym’s house to invite him to the unveiling of the Yellow Jacket, however it’s later revealed he was actually there to kill him. Though he outright says as much later in the movie, in this scene the fact that he’s wearing gloves (and his outfit in general) gives away his true intentions.

You could say he just enjoys wearing leather gloves, but it’s the only time in the movie he’s shown with them on which, combined with the rest of his get up, indicates that he was going to assassinate Pym and slip away without leaving any evidence.

I mean, he tried to be inconspicuous, but the dude couldn’t have worn an outfit that screamed “I am a serial killer” more if he tried.

3. The Bride’s Name – Kill Bill


For much of the first Kill Bill, the audience is purposefully left out of the narrative. While the basics are established, the full extent of the story is kept under wraps, to the point where even the name of Uma Thurman’s character is obscured.

Dubbed either “The Bride” or “Kiddo”, there’s even a scene where her full name is bleeped out, in order to keep her real identity a secret even to the people watching.

However, despite going to great lengths to obscure it, her name actually does feature in the movie, albeit written down in a brief close-up. It’s stamped on The Bride’s boarding pass, revealing her name as Beatrix Kiddo.

Director Quentin Tarantino actually extends this mystery into the second film, but for those scouring the fine details of the first flick, they’d already figured it out.

2. The Guards Not Giving A Damn – Shutter Island


Shutter Island’s final twist reveals that the whole narrative is a form of therapy concocted to snap psychiatric patient Teddy out of delusions he’s convinced himself are real, with pretty much everything in the film being constructed purely for him, something which becomes obvious on the second watch.

The most immediately apparent detail that suggests everything is simply an act is the way the employees of the island constantly mess up the “roles” they’re given. Teddy’s alleged detective partner (actually a doctor on the island) struggles to even get out his badge when he first arrives because it’s attached to his gun holster, something which he’s not used to wearing.

However, the most obvious indication that the story Teddy has been told isn’t true is when he and the guards are searching for a missing patient. Though some are indeed pretending to search for her, a few shots make it clear that some guards are just relaxing. They’re surprisingly laid back considering there’s a missing person, but that’s because they know there really isn’t, and have no drive to actually look around the premises.

1. Thor Not Being The First Born – Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Walt Disney Studios

Thor’s nightmare in Age of Ultron turned out to be a pretty iffy scene in the grand scheme of things, as while the prophecy of the end of Asgard did come into play, Thor Ragnarok’s apocalyptic narrative didn’t really reflect this scene. That said, it’s still an important part of the franchise for one reason: it actually revealed that Thor wasn’t Odin’s first child.

While interacting with a crazed Heimdall, Thor is referred to as the “first son of Odin”, rather than his “first born” or first child. While that could just be strange phrasing, it could also be a reference to the fact that while Thor was indeed Odin’s first son, the Goddess of Death, Hela, was eventually revealed to have been born before him.

Whilst it’s easy to brush that off as reading too much into the text, there’s no denying how much Marvel was relying on this scene to set up future movies, forcing Joss Whedon to include it in the final cut despite it being a pretty major tangent.

It was meant to be purposefully mysterious and tease the future of Thor’s journey, so it would make sense that Marvel would seed the eventual Hela revelation so far in advance.


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