10 Movie Sub-Plots That Were More Interesting Than The Main Story

When the side show upstages the main event.

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Have you ever been to a gig and found the supporting band to be more entertaining than the headline act? It's an experience that is somehow disappointing and rewarding at the same time; you leave cursing the main event for being a let down while still being grateful that the whole thing wasn't a waste of time. it's a feeling movie-goers know all too well.

Sub-plots are an essential part of storytelling in all its forms, used to add extra dimensions to the world and to make the characters that inhabit that world seem all the more real. They exist to balance the main plot, providing comic relief if the narrative is intense or romance where there is an overload of action. In short, sub-plots are there to make the main story better, though sometimes they only succeed in making it look worse.

A strong sub-plot (or a B-story, to use the industry vernacular) is a blessing for a movie that has a solid main story and can turn a good movie into a great one. The challenge for the filmmaker is making that B-story compliment the main plot without accidentally overshadowing it, though a sub-plot taking the lead over the main plot doesn't necessarily mean that the main story is bad.

Some of the entries on this list are films with weak central stories that were just about rescued by a good sub-plot, while some are films with a strong central story that just wasn't as good as the sub-plot, though they all have one thing in common - the B stories were better than the A ones.

10. Nelson And Murdoch Attorneys At Law - Daredevil (2003)

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20th Century Fox

The 2003 version of Daredevil is one of the most hated-on Marvel adaptations ever, with even star man Ben Affleck expressing regret at ever taking on the role. That regret was shared by countless fans of the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, though while Affleck and director Mark Steven Johnson usually take the brunt of the blame, the film was actually doomed in the editing room.

The directors cut of the film revealed a feature-spanning sub-plot that not only complimented the main story, but was actually more interesting than it in a number of ways. The deal with Matt Murdoch and his partner Foggy Nelson is that they kick ass both on the street and in the courts of law, though the bulk of the legal side of the battle was cut for the theatrical release.

The deleted thread involved a drug addict played by Coolio and shows how Foggy (Jon Favreau) and investigative journalist Ben Ulrich (Joe Pantoliano) play their part in helping Matt bring down the Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan) though investigatory work and the collection of solid evidence, a part of Daredevil's game that is simply ignored in the theatrical cut.

While it might not sound like a particularly exciting sub-plot, it becomes the most interesting aspect of the film not only because it features two great actors in Favreau and Pantoliano, but because everything around it is such a hot mess. The inclusion of actual violence in the R-rated directors cut does make the fight scenes a tad more watchable, though the real action takes place in the court room.


Phil still hasn't got round to writing a profile yet, as he has an unhealthy amount of box sets on the go.