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Totally Pointless Subplots In Your Favorite Movies

Most subplots enrich a film by revealing details about characters, or injecting humor into what would otherwise be a dull story. Others function as a reflective tool that emphasize the movie's themes. Unfortunately, there are no shortage of filmmakers who include some subplots to simply pad a movie's running time, artificially give a particular actor a meatier role, or provide fan service. Here are some examples of totally extraneous subplots or those that barely contributed anything to the main narrative of their respective movies. Spoilers ahead!

Donnie Darko's English teacher

In Donnie Darko (2001), Drew Barrymore plays the titular hero's English teacher, Karen Pomeroy. The movie's story, as one might expect, centers on Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal). In fact, outside of the montages, he is in almost every scene. The notable exception are a few scenes with Drew Barrymore. We see her romance with the Donnie's science teacher (Noah Wyle), a few lectures, and ultimately being fired by the principal. What was the point of her character? Flower Films, Barrymore's production company, helped get Donnie Darko produced. Most likely director Richard Kelly wished to thank Barrymore with a larger role. Luckily he didn't cast her as the nightmarish rabbit.

Sean Bean's search in Silent Hill

Sean Bean plays Christopher, the husband of the main character, Rose (Radha Mitchell), in Silent Hill (2006). He sets upon a mission to find his wife and daughter after they disappear. Does anything he do affect what is happening to Rose in the town of Silent Hill? No, his actions are inconsequential. Why then was this character in the movie? Apparently the filmmakers added more to Christopher's story after the studio noted that there were no major male characters in the movie. Silent Hill is also seemingly one of the few movies featuring Sean Bean where his character doesn't die horribly. What gives?

The Captain Kirk and Carol Marcus "romance" in Star Trek Into Darkness

Alice Eve portrays a young Carol Marcus in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). Trekkers may recall Marcus from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), when she was played by actress Bibi Besch. Marcus played an important role in The Wrath of Khan's storyline and also helped flesh out Captain Kirk's character as one of his former flames. But her inclusion in Star Trek Into Darkness feels like nothing more than fan service. Sure, she's the daughter of one of the movie's villains, Admiral Alexander Marcus (Peter Weller). Her presence on the Enterprise prevents him from immediately destroying the ship. Aside from that, what does she do? There isn't even much of a romance between Marcus and Kirk. It seems that the ultimate point of her character was to look great in underwear, as demonstrated in a pointless cheesecake shot in the middle of the movie. If so, then mission accomplished.

All the Krypton scenes in Man of Steel

All of the events that occur on Krypton at the film's beginning are unnecessary for the viewer to see. Why? Because the movie explains Superman's backstory to the viewer for a second time when the hero discovers the Kryptonian ship on Earth. The scenes on Krypton prevent the movie from having a tighter narrative. Their inclusion instead seems like a way to give Russell Crowe more screen time to justify his salary. Opening the film with these scenes also demonstrates the filmmakers' unwillingness to deviate from the structure of 1978's Superman. Also? They're kind of bad scenes anyway.

Venom in Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3 (2007) has a host of story problems. The movie's narrative is a mess due to the number of villains thrown into the mix. The most egregious and unnecessary of those villains is Venom/Eddie Brock (Topher Grace). Director Sam Raimi was outspoken in his dislike for the character. The original story idea for Spider-Man 3 didn't even include him. Yet, Marvel pushed for Venom's inclusion because he's a popular villain in the comic books. Perhaps if Venom was the main villain of a new movie, then he might be compelling on the big screen. But in Spider-Man 3, his inclusion feels like an afterthought. As a result, the subplot is simply a poorly-developed revenge story. It also spawned one of the most unnecessary and cringe-worthy dance sequences in cinema history, where Peter Parker "goes bad" because of the Venom symbiote's influence.

Kind of everything in The Amazing Spider-Man 2

On a related note, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) is chock-full of unnecessary subplots. Notable among them is Rhino (Paul Giamatti). He's only in the movie to set up the Sinister Six team of villains for a future film—which, as we all know by now, isn't going to happen, at least in that Spidey-verse. The second is Aunt May's (Sally Field) financial troubles and desire to become a nurse. One can even argue that Electro's (Jamie Foxx) entire presence is an unnecessary and distracting subplot. Not so amazing, after all.

Hawkeye's Family

No one cares about Hawkeye. At least not in Avengers movies. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) introduces the audience to the superhero's wife Laura (Linda Cardellini) and their two little kids. But, let's not forget: Age of Ultron is supposed to be about superheroes punching the crap out of evil flying robots. As such, the movie's bogged down considerably during the scenes featuring boring Hawkeye and his damn wiener kids.. This, again, feels like the filmmakers added this storyline to give Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) more to do, since the archer is sidelined for most of the first Avengers movie. Then again, it's always nice to see Linda Cardellini outside of a Scooby Doo flick.