Between Tower Bridge, Big Ben and the London Eye, London has one of the world’s most iconic and recognizable skylines. It’s a shame, then, that Hollywood is so damn intent on blowing it up in every damn movie. So much so that in London Has Fallen, there’s now an entire film that’s just about terrorists blowing up chunks of London – with shouty Gerard Butler ready to save the day, of course.
So, in honor of a city that’s already got rising rents and gentrification to worry about, without even thinking about supervillains tearing down skyscrapers, here are a few of London’s most glorious on-screen deaths.
1. Reign of Fire
OK, so we don’t technically see London destroyed here, but we do see the rather charred aftermath. Dragons did it, in case you couldn’t guess, and it looks like they had the good sense to go after the most cinematic targets first. Gerard Butler is in this one too, oddly enough. What have you got against London, Gerard?
2. V for Vendetta
We can maybe give V for Vendetta a free pass here. First, it is adapting a graphic novel that went and did it first. Second, it’s really just thematically appropriate that the Houses of Parliament get blown up in a film making a point of playing with Guy Fawkes imagery. Plus, it was a really good explosion. There were fireworks and everything!
3. Star Trek Into Darkness
This one was a bit of a letdown, honestly. After posters showing London’s futurized skyline covered in flames, what we actually got was one small explosion – of an entirely fictional building, the ‘London Archive’. Still, out of all the cities in the world, JJ Abrams picked London for his arbitrary bombing plot, so it’s earned its place here – even if San Francisco saw much worse in the film’s climax.
4. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
This is a novel one. Instead of direct building damage, a sinkhole opens up in the middle of the Thames, which would probably play havoc with people’s water bills. Thankfully, the Fantastic Four were there to save the day (I mean, I guess? It’s been a while since I saw this one). Marks docked for, once again, starring the London Eye.
5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
It feels kind of sad when one of Britain’s biggest franchises turns on itself, but here’s Harry Potter wrecking the rather nice Millennium Bridge. Still, the home advantage is perhaps what led to the unusual choice of target, eschewing most of the obvious options in favor of a bridge most famous for once getting a bit wobbly.
6. Thor: The Dark World
It was poor Greenwich that drew the brunt of the damage in the second Thor film, as the dark elves ancient spaceship (God, don’t you just love the lunatic Thor films?) crashed through the city’s Old Royal Naval College. It’s not one of the obvious London landmarks to wreck, so we have to give Thor: The Dark World some credit for creativity here. We’d say it shows a real knowledge of the city, except the film’s embarrassing Tube geography gaffe rather gives the game away.
7. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Wow. They, uh, really went for it there, didn’t they? The second G.I. Joe film sees London struck by a missile that sends a shockwave rippling up the river, and it honestly doesn’t look like there’s much city left at the end of it all. It’s a bit boring to see the London Eye at the center of it all, but points for sheer destructive scale here.