Dear Marvel, enough with the end-credits scenes

Ant-Man and the Wasp photo WDS Media File
Ant-Man and the Wasp photo WDS Media File /

While the mid-credits scenes still serve a purpose, the MCU is getting increasingly patronizing with the end-credits scenes.

When Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) returns home at the end of Iron Man to find his security system shorted out, and the trenchcoat-wearing Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) telling him about “the Avengers initiative,” it was a defining moment for what the MCU would become. A declaration that this summer popcorn movie would be the seed from which an enormous, interconnected cinematic universe would grow.

Ten years later, the MCU is a box office juggernaut with a bigger GDP than some countries. While its films have had a signature style, tone, and color palate, it’s the end-credits scenes that reliably tease what’s to come in future installments. Somewhere along the line, Marvel recognized their popularity, so they started to embellish them. A lot. Now, maybe it’s time to start dialing them back a bit.

Okay, it’s been a few weeks since Ant-Man And The Wasp hit theaters, but there are spoilers for that, and most other MCU films below. 

Considering that Marvel has started using both mid-credits and end-credits scenes pretty regularly, it’s important to clarify that these mid-credits scenes still serve their purpose.

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In Ant-Man And The Wasp, we see Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) shrunk down to the quantum realm to retrieve a sample. When he calls on Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to bring him back, the camera shows that Pym, his wife Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) and daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) have turned to dust, the result of Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) actions in Avengers: Infinity War.

It was the perfect use of a mid-credits scene. It took a mostly stand-alone movie and tied into the larger MCU, and did so in a way that enticed the audience into seeing how this ties into their next movie.

Then, after sitting through the rest of the credits, audiences were treated to 20 seconds of a giant ant playing drums. Great.

Yes, it was after the fallout of Infinity War, complete with TV stations broadcasting emergency signals and the ambient sounds of honking horns and general chaos in the distance, but honestly… what was the point?

The other major offender of the needless end-credits scene was last year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. Mid-credits, we see Adriane Toomes (Michael Keaton) and Mac Gargan (Michael Mando) discuss the fate of Spider-Man after they’ve been incarcerated. Toomes had his run as The Vulture, and Gargan revealed, not-too-subtly, that he would become The Scorpion.

It wasn’t until the end-credits scene that had Captain America (Chris Evans), circa his school fitness video, comes in to break the fourth wall and speak of the importance of patience — even if that patience isn’t always rewarded. Get it?

Yes, that was Marvel openly trolling its audience, much to their ire — to say nothing of the theater employees patiently lining in the aisles waiting for the bulk of the crowd to leave so they can start doing their job.

This trend didn’t really get started until Joss Whedon threw the shawarma scene together at the tail-end of The Avengers back in 2012. Then, for some reason, two credits stingers became the norm. Then, things really started to fly off the handle when recently ousted director James Gunn stuck a whopping four (!) mid/end-credits stingers at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, with very little seeming relevant to what was coming throughout the larger MCU.

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Granted, Marvel’s other two entries this year, Black Panther and the aforementioned Infinity War, each made effective use of their stingers. Black Panther saved the reveal of Bucky (Sebastian Stan) further teasing the coming of Thanos, and Infinity War went with the loan mid-credits scene with Fury desperately calling for Captain Marvel (on a pager, no less) before turning to dust himself.

This kind of restraint is key to making these stingers feel like something not only necessary to the MCU but fundamentally important in keeping them both fun and engaging through the next 20 films and beyond. Sticking another scene that’s just a joke on the audience is going to be welcomed with all the warmth of a collective eye-roll from everyone who sticks around to the end.

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Marvel’s created something extraordinary with the MCU, but their end-credits scenes have become tedious, unnecessary, and just flat-out not fun.