Sometimes, the thrill of trying to work out a movie is part of the fun. Other times, movies leave us just baffled, trying to piece together a character's motivations or what that particular subplot had to do with anything.
Fortunately, movies go beyond their theatrical releases these days, which means that directors have a chance to explain away their bats**t subplots with little effort.
Using director's cuts, deleted scenes, interviews and commentaries, we've put together 5 of the best explanations for the most baffling movie missteps.
But are they really satisfactory? You tell us.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
1) The sequels to Paranormal Activity should never have happened
Plot: A couple install cameras to try and get to the bottom of a haunting. In the original cut, Katie gets possessed, chucks her dead boyfriend's body at the camera and then jumps out at the camera with a maniacal grin on her face. Really.
Problem: It just sucks. All that tension devolves into something much less sophisticated and leaves you feeling cold.
Solution: There are many alternate endings to the film, but this is the one that we like to imagine actually happened...
Here, Katie murders her boyfriend off camera and is shot dead by police when she jumps them with a knife.
Verdict: Not only is this way more interesting, it makes you wonder if the entire film was real or just a figment of Katie's psychosis.
2) Ridley Scott says Jesus is an alien in Prometheus. Preach.
Plot: Scott's kinda befuddled epic Prometheus charts the travels of the spaceship with the same name as they journey to find aliens called Engineers who they believe to be the original humans. Death, implantation and chest-busting ensues.
Problem: Aside from the fact that it's a bit incomprehensible, there are elements of Prometheus that seem to be grappling at concepts it doesn't have time to fully explain - like why the Engineers target humans in the first place, or what exactly its religious iconography is getting at.
Solution: Enter Mr Scott, who just explains it all by saying that Jesus was an Engineer who was sent to stop humanity misbehaving, and that the Engineers hate us because we crucified him, obvs:
If you look at it as an “our children are misbehaving down there” scenario, there are moments where it looks like we’ve gone out of control, running around with armor and skirts. And you can say, “Lets’ send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it. Guess what? They crucified him.
Verdict: Yeah okay Ridley, you just keep doing your thing. I'll look for sensible plotting elsewhere.
3) Donnie Darko is actually really, really boring
Plot: Joyously unhinged, dark and funny. Donnie Darko is a teen schizophrenic guided by an imaginary bunny named Frank. When he meets a girl, his attempts at a normal life are scuppered by his discovery that time travel might actually be legit.
Problem: While the fans loved it, director Richard Kelley was close to disowning the theatrical version of the film. Kelley released a director's cut in 2004 with 20 minutes extra footage and an altered soundtrack.
Solution: The cut provides a much more thorough background to the science of Donnie Darko, featuring cut-and-paste excerpts from Roberta Sparrow's book The Philosophy of Time Travel. This explains that Donnie's world is actually an unstable Tangent Universe and that he is a "Living Reciever" who must deliver the Artifact - the plane engine - to the Primary Universe in 28 days.
Verdict: Just typing that was boring. The brilliance of Donnie Darko is the way it intrigues you with just the right amount of information. Reams and reams of theory does not a fun experience make.
4) The mystery of Nick Fury's eye in Captain America: Winter Soldier
Plot: Captain America battles with his inner demons as he faces a new threat in the form of Soviet enemy The Winter Soldier, alongside Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), affiliating with Nick Fury, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Problem: We're told in the film that Hydra has deleted all of Nick Fury's data from the S.H.I.E.L.D servers, including his retinal scan. How then does he manage to use his shrivelled eye to provide clearance for Black Widow to release S.H.I.E.L.D's secrets onto the web in a pivotal scene?
Solution: Directors Joe and Anthony Russo cleared this one up:
What it is is that Fury…the reading, the scan of that eye, is specific to the scar. It’s actually a secondary, like a backup retinal scan for Fury that nobody knows about. They removed his good eye, but nobody had thought he created a backup retinal scan of this f***ed up scarred eye.
Verdict: A little too convenient, but actually pretty plausible.
(Source: Comic Book Therapy)
5) Kingdom Of Heaven requires an extra 50 minutes to explain it
Plot: Another Ridley Scott clanger, Kingdom Of Heaven is an epic take on the Crusades, featuring Orlando Bloom as a French blacksmith who goes to fight for the Kingdom of Jerusalem against Salahuddin.
Problem: The original cut received a lukewarm reception, with many praising the acting but citing the convoluted plot and historical inaccuracies as major issues. Historian Jonathan Riley-Smith actually deemed it "dangerous to Arab relations." Ouch.
Solution: Scott produced a director's cut extended by a huge 50 minutes of extra footage and featuring much more historical context. The blacksmith Balian kills at the beginning of the film is revealed to be his half-brother, while an entirely new character called Baldwin V is introduced, who becomes king before his family discovers he has leprosy.
Verdict: The director's cut received a much better response, though at over 3 1/2 hours length, it's not kind to the bladder.
(Source: Mental Floss)