10 Movies That Peaked Too Soon

Avengers Age of Ultron was never better than its iconic party scene.

Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves in Speed
20th Century Fox

The late, great Roger Ebert once famously said, "It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it," and he's absolutely right.

Whether good or bad, a film is so much more than the mere contents of its plot - it's a product of performance, style, tone, and pacing, among other things.

How the various scenes are organised and unfurled to the viewer is ultimately what will inform their opinion of the movie, and often filmmakers simply fail to get this balance right.

And so, we end up with top-heavy films that serve up their strongest scenes early enough that the rest of the movie just feels a little pallid by comparison.

Now, that isn't to say that these movies are bad at all - hell, some of them are still pretty great - but that each delivered its best scene long before the end, such that the actual climax couldn't even begin to live up to it.

It's an extremely tough balance for filmmakers to strike, of course, but no matter how good these films might've been, they reached their high point long before the end credits rolled...

10. Superman Returns

Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves in Speed
Warner Bros.

Though Bryan Singer's Superman Returns is far from a bad film, it was nevertheless one that came and went without making much of a dent in the cultural consciousness.

One suspects its dew-eyed homage to the 1978 Richard Donner/Christopher Reeve Superman might've proved more successful in a present-day Hollywood obsessed with exploiting nostalgia, even if it's tough to deny that the film nevertheless peaks obscenely early.

There's really only a single scene that's fondly remember by fans, and that's the superbly crafted sequence where Superman (Brandon Routh) saves a plane containing Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) and other reporters from crashing into a baseball stadium.

It is exactly the sort of high-stakes, elegantly executed set-piece that every Superman movie needs, to establish the Man of Steel's plucky heroism in relatively everyday circumstances, and it's a high the rest of the film never gets close to replicating.

This is particularly problematic as the sequence occurs barely 40 minutes into the movie's beefy 154-minute runtime, the rest of which is largely concerned with Superman's uninteresting fatherhood woes and pedestrian nods to the original Donner movie.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.