The best magic tricks are no just those where the pay-off is the most grand or has the most bells and whistles, just as the most rewarding jokes are the ones that layer set-ups in order to add greater reward to the punchline. As the rube, you're supposed to also get some satisfaction in the journey - of realising in hindsight that the wool was pulled over your eyes and trying to go back to subconsciously track where you lost your footing on reality. When the pay-off is good as well, you get double the enjoyment.
But you can't just distract your audience if your pay-off is no good. You can't be a real expert in slight of hand or misdirection if what you're trying to hide just isn't worth it. That's the kind of deceit that gets shown up all too easily. And it's the same way with films. No matter how complex your narrative or deeply written your lore, if there's something fundamentally broken with the film, the breaks will show through the tangled we you weave.
Sometimes, though, the thinking seems to be that if you just confuse your audience or bury them in complex details, they just won't notice the bits that sort of suck.
10. Terminator: Genisys
Writing any movie whose plot involves time travel runs the risk of getting knotted in paradoxes, logical inconsistencies and timeline confusions. Unless you're making an X-Men movie, of course, because then who cares about preserving the timeline - let's all just charge into a big maelstrom of paradoxes and impossibilities on the back of a unicorn with Hugh Jackman's face.
Anyway, that aside, Terminator Genisys - a movie that apparently knew it was so interminably insufferable that it coupled its weirdly infuriating name with a revelation of its one valuable spoiler in the trailers - took a different approach to the old X-Men "who cares" method.
Instead of ignoring time travel, Genisys tried to make the rules of time travel so complex to understand that nobody would try while also twisting the plot in so many knots that following it is near impossible too. It simultaneously panders to the lowest common denominator audience at the same time as pretending to be smart and the result is essentially that it comes across like Professor Idiot, impenetrably complex and disturbingly vacuous at the same time.