Whether you realise it or not, even the most simple and straight-forward movies are typically propped up by a number of subplots which coalesce together to support the main, basic, "hero vs. villain" narrative.
In an ideal world, subplots add context and nuance to the central conflict, while further developing the focal characters and making their struggle more palpable. However, it doesn't always work out that way, and often the additional side-plots just end up feeling woefully tacked-on.
From ridiculously unnecessary romances to bizarre asides that feel at odds with the rest of the film, these subplots could essentially have been excised from each movie without changing the plot's main through-line in a particularly significant or damaging way. Rather, their exclusion would almost certainly make each film play as more streamlined and less bloated.
In a time where blockbusters in particular feel more excessively overstuffed than ever before, these 12 movies are a firm reminder that even great films could often use a little more editing in the scripting stage...
In fairness, the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn't exactly have a stellar track record when it comes to organic romance, but the almost hilariously forced love-in between The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers: Age of Ultron really takes the cake.
At its core a highly entertaining, if certainly flawed, superhero sequel, the romance between these two characters nevertheless felt like a feckless box-ticking exercise in the most broad and bland sense.
Considering that Bruce Banner had unfinished business with Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) from a while back and Black Widow honestly seemed better-suited to her old pal Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) given their affecting heart-to-heart in the first Avengers movie, this just came totally out of left-field and felt like an attempt to capture a classic Beauty and the Beast-type love story.
It added virtually nothing of value to the movie and included one especially eyebrow-raising moment, where Natasha referred to herself as a "monster" for being sterile. Just...no.