Iron Giant Cover

Everyone loves a good heroic sacrifice. It makes an average hero into a good one, a good hero into a great one and a great one into something immortal. To see someone go down all guns blazing, or to save truckloads of others is the stuff glorious film moments are made of, and as movie-goers, we love to be thrilled.

And for the most part, we are – we get swept up in moments of grand emotion, saluting our hero as he meets his heroic end. Hell, we might still think fondly of the moment as we leave the cinema. But after a while, the penny drops –  we might be in the car on the way home, we might be tucked up in bed that night or it might even be months later, but when we realise, it’s dramatic. we begin to ask –  why did that person sacrifice themselves? After all, there were plenty of other options on the table, so why did they choose the path with the most pain? Well, we know why – this is movie logic, and dammit, we need our drama. Yet sometimes, drama is only there for drama’s sake, and it ends up looking silly.

So without further ado, I’m going to run through some of the worst offenders when it comes to making a big, sacrificial moment. They may be heroic, but hot damn, they’re completely unnecessary. Obviously, there’s a SPOILER WARNING in effect.

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This article was first posted on July 15, 2013