As Batman and the MCU are always telling us, we can't all be superheroes. Try jumping down more than four stairs at once, that will offer ample proof, or simply consider the fact that every now and then, for absolutely no reason, you will bite the inside of your own face while eating.
Superman wouldn't do that.
However, seemingly ignoring their own rules, Hollywood occasionally decides to suspend disbelief a little too much where the grim reaper is concerned. It used to be the case that muscle-bound action heroes would shrug off massive injuries in the interest of the plot, but that is almost deemed archaic now where films like The Raid seek authentic, shocking violence, and where shock power in movies and TV shows now is measured in how many main characters will die.
Everything is an awful lot more real now, including the silliest of movies, so it's pretty hard to take when characters somehow manage to emerge from what would definitely be life-ending injuries with a few carefully placed band-aids and a slight limp that will last a mere matter of scenes.
However unlikely, and however fatal for a movies authenticity, Hollywood still occasionally impregnates even everyday heroes with God-like powers of endurance, and it's time to right those wrongs. This gallery of unlikely survivors charts a history of heroes who should have died, and what impact their deaths would have had on their own universe, and in some cases, it's hard to see why anyone even bothered letting them beat the Reaper...
13. Indiana Jones - Several Times
Indiana Jones is a walking contradiction: he is an archeology professor - that must unsexy of professions - and yet he moonlights as the world's most irresponsible adventure hero, smashing priceless historical things, and physically and emotionally abusing the woman who is supposed to be the love of his life.
He's also basically as impervious to injury as a jelly fish: throughout the first three movies he survived some ridiculous things, like jumping out of an airplane onto a mountain in a raft, or crashing over a cliff in a tank, and then walking away as if all of his bones weren't all snapped or powered to dust.
That would have been enough, but then in the fourth, misguided movie, George Lucas decided he hasn't been silly enough and blew him up inside a fridge. Fair enough, he might have survived the blast if the fridge had been locked in position, but Jones' sanctuary is tossed through the air and bounces across rough terrain in what could only be described as organ-shrivelling fashion.
And of course Indy gets out as if he's Wil-E Coyote, and watches the pretty mushroom cloud from a distance that would definitely also kill him.
What If He'd Died?
Countless important historical relics would go unmolested and unstolen. If he'd died in the first movie, nothing would have changed anyway. If he'd died in the last, we'd have saved us from silly aliens that everyone for some reason thought were too much of a stretch to accept, even though haunted religious artefacts and ghosts happened like a couple of films beforehand.
12. Dr Richard Kimble - The Fugitive
Apparently Harrison Ford is just entirely unkillable. In the iconic dam sequence, Kimble decides that making an impossible leap is better than being taken into custody, jumping off the spillway into the ferociously rushing water below. Cue everyone, apart from U.S. Marshal Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones), saying there's no way he could have survived that, and symbolically wiping their hands clean.
Gerard meanwhile is an actual police man, and wants to see a dead body, which he definitely should have been able to since everyone else was right that there's no way Kimble could have survived the fall, especially since he'd just been in a bus crash.
If the impact on the water didn't do for him, the current would probably have drowned him, adding a tragic end to Kimble's story before he even got the chance to prove it actually was the one armed man.
What If He'd Died?
Case closed. Another guilty man dealt with by the infallible American justice system.
11. Chev Chelios - Crank
Another Jason Statham performance where he just plays Jason Statham, the almost invincible, whispering "hard-man" who crops up when something needs to be delivered or kicked. Crank is very silly, but it's actually very entertaining because of that - it seems to come from a school of thought that you can either like it, or lump it, and it really won't make any difference to Chelios.
Just like the rules of death, since Chelios not only dies when he's falling through the air at the end (hence his peaceful expression) he also sustains considerable enough injuries from actually landing to basically mince his insides. His brain is literally dribbling out of his face holes.
But then, in the sequel, he's alive, and his heart, which should have been hamburger meat, is deemed fit enough to make him a good transplant candidate.
What If He'd Died? No Crank 2. Good.
10. Don Corleone - The Godfather
Don Corleone has the auspicious accolade of being the most fearsome gangster in the history of cinema, despite not really doing much to prove his credentials in the first film. He's old and respected, and there's no hint that he is anything like the monster he seems to be held as by those who come to him for favours.
But then an assassination attempt riddles him with eight bullets in front of his son, Fredo, while he's out buying oranges, after he refuses to endorse drug-dealing and you get a sense of the threat he must still be considered. And the would-be assassins clearly have justification in their over-zealous attempt as the Don manages to shrug off the bullets after a short hospital stay, and walks away to mumble another day.
In real life, eight bullets is a fatal amount.
What If He'd Died?
We wouldn't have got to see Marlon Brando making a fool of himself with an orange segment in the touching final scene, which added an important touch of humanity and vulnerability to the character. Apparently in the world of gangsters, oranges are far more deadly than bullets. And poor Sonny might not have been shot so many times.
9. Dewey - Scream & Scream 2
The goofiest sheriff in all of Hollywood was never supposed to survive. Even in the completed film, the shots of him after he is stabbed in the back by Ghostface show that he isn't breathing, because Wes Craven originally planned to have him die, but then test audiences and Craven decided they liked David Arquette's performance too much, and a scene was added where it turns out he has survived.
The problem with that is that Ghostface is not your average rent-a-killer, and he doesn't do things by half, which is precisely why Dewey died in the original version, and should have in the completed film. And if that first reprieve wasn't enough, in the second film Dewey is stabbed several times, in a savage attack that would have killed any of the other victims in the film.
Especially the sexy ones, or the minorities, neither of which count Dewey of course.
By Scream 4, Dewey's injuries have become a bit of a joke, which suggests that Wes Craven was fully aware of how ridiculous his survival was.
What If He'd Died?
He might have been popular, but nobody would have batted an eyelid. Dewey's death should have happened because he was a walking horror movie trope: the cop always dies, unless they're the cop who turns up just too late and oversees the crime scene as people are lead away with blankets on. That's the science of horror movie cops, and for a film that self-referential to ignore as much was sacrilege.
8. James Bond - Skyfall
There are certain rules you have to accept don't apply when it comes to James Bond. He doesn't need to establish real relationships with people in order to have sex with them, he is allowed to be a weaponised sociopath and a real-life conversation with him would be like talking to a YouTube advert, given his famous attraction to product placement.
And then there's the fact that he can't die. Over the years he's been put through a ridiculous number of plots and dastardly traps designed to kill him out of the sight of his main enemy, and he's always escaped because villains are idiots, but he's never actually been in a situation where he would definitely have died.
That is until Skyfall; in the opening sequence he is shot twice and thrown from a moving train off a bridge into a river. Bullets, gravity and high-impact into moving water would usually spell disaster, but this being Bond, he simply readjusted his cuff-links and set up a new life for himself in a small beach bar, goading scorpions into biting his face.
What If He'd Died?
Well, the big bad wouldn't have so easily broken into MI6, since it's Bond who facilitates his ridiculous plan that would never have worked ever, and while M might have died anyway, she probably wouldn't have done so quite so slowly and painfully.
7. Tank - The Matrix
Tank is a walking advert for not entrusting a computer programmer to be your muscle and sole security when faced with giant robotic killing machines, as if you ever need that message reinforced.
The Zion native, who works on the Nebuchadnezzar with his big brother Dozer is part of the crew who "rescue" Neo out of the real world and dump him unceremoniously into a morbid hell he can't even begin to fathom, and who, along with his brother are shot by Cypher when he enacts his plot to kill the entire crew and be slotted back into the Matrix.
Ignoring how short-sighted (and possibly impossible) that plan is, Cypher appears to have the upper hand when he kills Dozer and Tank with his giant electric gun, but then after he unplugs a couple of his friends, it turns out the definitely fatal gun that definitely killed Dozer somehow decided to be less powerful when he shot Tank, who survived.
And then, wouldn't you know it, the gun decides to work perfectly again when Tank shoots Cypher, as he is killed instantly.
What If He'd Died?
So would Neo. In the long-run, that would mean everyone was trapped inside a fake, comparatively Utopian alternate reality where steak and hot women in red dresses exist, and people are able to actually bathe, and don't stink like race horses. And we would all have been spared the most laboured Jesus metaphor in movie history.
Anyway, he died after the end of the movie, after contracting a series case of The Actor Playing Me Wants Way Too Much Money-Itis.
6. Harry Potter - Twice
Harry Potter should have died twice. Not only is the final act sequence in which he is killed totally ludicrous reactionary writing that ignores the fact that all of the other Horcruxes don't just go back to their state before they were impregnated with evil wizard soul, he also manages, somehow to survive for an unrealistic length of time after being bitten by what is clearly established as the most powerful venom in the entire magical universe.
When Harry is accidentally bitten by the Basilisk in the second film, he is told that the venom will kill him quickly - within a minute or so seems to be the accepted time frame - but Harry survives for more than twice that before Fawkes comes and cries on him.
But then, perhaps it's foolish to attempt to explain the logic of a scene that glosses over a major plot-hole in what the Basilisk has been eating to survive for so long (and who has been feeding him) and an even bigger one in the fact that the Horcrux portion of Harry is not destroyed by the venom that destroys all the rest of them.
What If He'd Died?
Well, the first time comes with the most implications. Had Harry not completely ignored the rules of poisoning, a significant number of people would have been spared death: yes, Ginny might have died, but she was nursing an at times debilitating crush on him anyway, so her life would likely have been ruined.
But think of everyone else: without Harry's blood, Voldemort would not have been able to come back, meaning no Cedric Diggory death, no Mad-Eye Moody death, no Hedwig, no Dobby, no Fred Weasley, no Remus, no Tonks - basically, the world would have been an awful lot less deady.
And then the second time, the complete opposite would have been the case, as Voldemort went full Hitler and wiped out all muggles, half-bloods and unworthy wizards and basically rained hell down upon Earth until Neville Longbottom realised he wasn't an idiot and killed him, probably.
5. The Black Knight - Monty Python And The Holy Grail
Much like Anakin Skywalker, Monty Python's most infamous supporting character since the Dead Parrot suffers massive limb trauma and barely seems bothered.
He is the personification of the plucky, if somewhat ignorant terrier, defying severely limiting injuries to remain focused on the prize, despite how unlikely it is. And that's great, but there's no way his flesh wounds would allow him to function, let alone to offer barbed witticisms about still being good for a fight.
It would have been dramatically less comical of course, but the poor Black Knight should have simply slumped off quietly to the other side from the shock of massive trauma and huge blood loss.
What If He'd Died?
We would have been robbed of one of the most enduring images of British comedy, and an easy go-to point for any character, or real-life person who endures unthinkable physical torment, or seemingly insurmountable odds to triumph.
4. Michael Myers - Halloween
Myers is basically the poster boy for horror movie supervillains without the usual human pitfalls, like being allergic to getting stabbed in the neck, or the eye, or being shot in the head once and five times in the chest.
Those things would usually put a serious wrinkle in your day, but Myers simply continues on with his merciless plot to kill Laurie. So what's the deal? Is he actually a ghost, or just the grown up evil-incarnate Myers boy?
If it's the first, fair enough, that would explain how he manages to disappear, but if it was the second, what the Hell is his immune system made of that he can just suck bullets into his skull and be apparently fine?
What If He'd Died?
Laurie might have had a chance to grow up as something other than the presumably badly maladjusted survivor who perpetually fears for her life, and probably breaks out into serious cold sweats every time she sees re-runs of Star Trek.
3. Gandalf - The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
Gandalf's epic fight with the Balrog in the depths of Moria is a fine moment in the second LOTR film, but his resurgence completely robs the moment of its massive emotional impact. That's why he SHOULD have died, ignoring for a minute the fact that he appears to be vulnerable to things that kill normal men, like swords, but can land on a beast made of fire, and not be incinerated to death.
Now, obviously Gandalf's not-quite-death is explained in the lore-heavy books as the actions of the Middle Earth God Eru, so he can continue his quest to help the half-lings take down Sauron, but that isn't really explained in the books and we're just supposed to believe that wizards level up through death.
But even if it was divine intervention, how come Eru didn't deem Boromir worthy of a second go after his heroic death, especially given how helpful he would have been later in not getting Faramir almost killed, and basically in not making his father an irredeemable blaggard?
They were on the same quest after all, and most of the things Gandalf actually does, aside from fending off the Nazgul with his powerful staff/torch, could have been achieved by mere men anyway, so it seems Boromir just gets screwed out of existence.
What If He'd Died?
Almost everything Gandalf does, other than convincing other people to do things, or abusing Pippin, could be achieved by other non-magical characters. There are minor exceptions, like the protection against the Nazgul he offers, but throughout the film the greatest magic he seems to use involves summoning a magical horse. Not much would have changed.
2. Anakin Skywalker - Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith
After having his heart broken, and his mind poisoned by the Emperor to the point where he's no longer even believable as a real person (which is helped enormously by Hayden Christensen's supreme "method" acting), young Anakin finds himself in a duel with his mentor, who duly chops off his limbs and pretty much leaves him to die, in the least Jedi-like act of nastiness the Empire has ever seen.
Seemingly unfazed by the loss of his limbs (again, mighty fine act-selling by Christensen) Anakin tumbles sort of near some lava and gets his face all burnt, before Palpatine swoops in and saves him. Not only should his injuries have killed him pretty much immediately - not to mention the intense atmosphere - you'd have thought Obi Wan might have stuck his light-sabre in his eye to put him out of the excruciating agony he was very obviously in.
But regardless, there's no way anyone, not even a Sith Lord imbued with lots of evil powers like a force strangle-hold that seems to have absolutely no precedent before Episode IV kicks off, could have survived those injuries.
What If He'd Died?
His injuries deemed too severe to be fixed with what amounts to a giant, man-sized asthma inhaler, Anakin is left to die on the side of the lava river. Which he definitely does, since the temperature of the air around that molten fiery rock should have been enough to melt both of the battling former friends even before his legs and arms were lopped off.
1. The Bride - Kill Bill
What sort of assassin shoots a target in the head at point-blank range, and manages not to kill them? And how terrible at your assassin job would you have to be not to check that the target was completely, definitely taken out, before you went off to have a party with her stolen wedding cake?
In a universe in which it is possible for a character to die literally from having his rape-loving tongue bitten off, it is unthinkable that the Bride manages somehow to dodge a definitely fatal bullet while it's already inside her brain with such precision that it doesn't impair any of her mental or physical faculties.
What If She'd Died?
Bill is able to bring the Bride's child up in relatively affluent circumstances, showering her with the kind of love that only a father who sees his lost love reflected in her face could, and she grows up to be hugely successful and not maladjusted at all, possibly using the story of her mother's tragic demise as the means to success on an American talent show or something.
Instead, the child is forcibly removed from the life she has grown accustomed to by a horribly maladjusted mother who didn't really develop the full gamut of maternal instincts having had her child taken away from her before the crucial experience of child-birth.
Probably haunted by night-terrors of considerable magnitude - either relating to her near-death, or all the death she doled out, or the fact that she was probably raped every day for the entire time her daughter was alive - life wouldn't exactly be enjoyable for The Bride, who probably ends up being killed by Vernita Green's daughter anyway.
Which other movie characters should never have survived their injuries?