Which ones were actually worth the damage you probably did to your bladder?
With the success of the Marvel movies, the post-credit bonus scene became almost mandatory for all superhero-related blockbusters. Even DC is getting in on the act, though they fortunately left The Dark Knight Rises without a scene showing The Flash having tea with Aquaman.
But which after credits scene ones give you vital information, which ones are just good for a chuckle, and which ones were a complete waste of time you could have spent giving the theater back its super-sized Sprite? Here’s a handy guide. We’d say “spoiler warning” but you probably could assume that.
5. THE AVENGERS (2012)
END SCENE: Counting the mid-credit scene, there are actually two. The first shows a mysterious space guy. The figure turns and grins, revealing himself to be the villain Thanos. In the actual “post-credit” scene, we are treated to a wordless gag showing the battle-weary Avengers sitting in a restaurant eating the shawarma Tony Stark was so curious about earlier.
WORTH THE BLADDER STRAIN? Not really. Since his name is never uttered, the visual shout-out to Thanos was probably lost on all but the comic book faithful (he’s not a villain who’s recognizable outside the comic fan sphere) – hence the people asking what Hellboy was doing in the Avengers movie. Although it sets up the obvious sequel, it’s not done in a way that makes the teaser a must see. And the other sequence is just a joke. Plain and simple. It’s cute, but not worth possibly giving yourself erectile dysfunction for life.
4. X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (2009)
END SCENE: There are actually two different post-credit sequences for this X-Men spin-off (one was used theatrically, the other attached to On Demand versions of the film; both on the DVD). The first shows the a still-alive Deadpool telling the audience to shut up. In the other (seen here in a crappy quality video), we see a close-up of someone pouring out a shot of whisky while a pair of hands fiddle with an army dog tag in the background. It’s Logan. He downs the shot and orders another…in Japanese. The bartender asks if he’s American. “Canadian. I think.” She then asks if he’s drinking to forget. “I’m drinking to remember.” End scene.
WORTH THE BLADDER STRAIN? It depends on which one you got. The Deadpool ending is a non-starter for two reasons: 1) The movie thoroughly botched the character, so more Deadpool isn’t exciting to anyone who only knows him as the movie version and 2) it’s another tease for a sequel that isn’t likely to ever happen. Even if there is a Deadpool solo movie, it’s going to pretty much have to start from scratch. The second ending is a bit more rewarding because it’s a neat nod to Wolverine’s backstory – his adventures in Japan are among his best stories – and it leads directly into the sequel, which is currently in production and takes place in the Land of the Rising Sun.
3. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011)
END SCENE: Recently defrosted Steve Rogers is working out in a gym decorated in vintage 1940s décor. He works a heavy bag with booming punches before his last blow tears it from its moorings and sends it hurtling across the room. Nick Fury enters, and Rogers asks him, “Are you here with a mission, sir? Trying to get me back in the world?” “Trying to save it.” We then get a quick montage teaser trailer for The Avengers.
WORTH THE BLADDER STRAIN? Surprisingly…no. After all the work they put into Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and Thor, this post-credit scene is a letdown. The others were semi-teasers, this one is literally just a trailer. All subtlety has been thrown out the window and it’s just montage time. We expected more.
2. DAREDEVIL (2003)
END SCENE: After learning that someone is, in fact, going to take credit for choreographing the playground “fight” between Matt Murdock and Elektra, we are treated to a scene showing villain Bullseye (Colin Farrell) lying in bed in a full body cast. He survived! (Um….yay?) Anyway, he kills a fly by impaling it to the wall with a thrown hypodermic needle. He’ll be baaaaack (only he won’t, because the movie tanked).
WORTH THE BLADDER STRAIN? No way. Sure, Bullseye is the closest thing to “good” as this movie gets, but the punch line is weak (Bullseye killing the old lady with the peanut earlier was way better) and, again, it teases a sequel that will never happen.
1. GREEN LANTERN (2011)
END SCENE: OK, so technically it’s a mid-credit sequence, but it still counts because we’re sure the majority of people bolted for the exits pretty quickly after this movie was over. Diehards were rewarded with a quick scene showing Sinestro getting a yellow fear-powered ring that transforms him into the villain fans knew he was destined to become (and non-fans could pretty much figure out because HOW MANY GOOD GUYS ARE NAMED SINESTRO???)
WORTH THE BLADDER STRAIN? No. Like X-Men: Origins or Fantastic Four, Green Lantern committed the hubris of assuming it was going to get an automatic sequel, so its attempt to set up the sequel falls flat. Not to mention, you know, that the “big reveal” is about a guy everyone knew was a villain from the start and, once again, was named SINESTRO.
Continue to the Best After Credits Scenes...
5. X-MEN: THE LAST STAND (2006)
END SCENE: An unidentified person lies in a hospital bed, covered in tubes. A doctor enters and says “Good morning.” After a beat, the patient answers, “Good morning, Moira.” She responds with a stunned, “Charles?” The end.
WORTH THE BLADDER STRAIN? Yeah, otherwise you might think that Professor Charles Xavier had, in fact, been completely incinerated by Dark Phoenix. But c’mon, these people never really die. The scene also tiesThe Last Stand to X-Men: First Class (not that you would know that at the time) with the introduction of the mutant-friendly Moira MacTaggert (here played by Olivia Williams but played by Rose Byrne in the prequel).
4. IRON MAN 2 (2010)
END SCENE: S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson pulls to a stop in a car with New Mexico plates (earlier in the film, he told Tony Stark he’d been reassigned to the “Land of Enchantment”). He walks to a ridge and sees some bustling activity around a huge crater in the middle of the desert. Coulson gets on his phone and says, “Sir, we found it.” The camera pans down to the center of the crater – where a large hammer is embedded in the earth. Cue thunderclap, and fanboy squees.
WORTH THE BLADDER STRAIN? Definitely...for comic fans. Marvel had officially moved from “teasing” to “directly linking.” You weren’t getting throwaway gags or “what if” scenarios, these post-credit scenes were acting as 30-second teaser trailers for the next Avengers-related movie. But many ignorant moviegoers expecting something substantial stormed out with bloated bladders and screamed, “All that for a hammer?”
3. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2012)
END SCENE: An imprisoned Dr. Curt Connors is visited by a mysterious stranger, whose arrival is heralded by a thunderclap. In a raspy voice, the stranger asks Connors if Peter Parker knows the truth about his father. Connors says no, and then begs the stranger to leave Parker alone. The stranger disappears. See it here in an illegal bootlegged video, and then report yourself to the FBI for watching it.
WORTH THE BLADDER STRAIN? We’re going with yes, if only because it’s fodder for post-movie debating. Unlike the other Marvel teasers, which were pretty direct about what they were teasing, this one maddeningly refuses to give you any concrete clues as to who the unnamed baddie is. Director Marc Webb has even indicated he’s not entirely sure who it is, which is why he left it so open. Either way, who doesn’t enjoy a good movie debate? Preferably over pie. Electro! No, it’s Mysterio! No, it’s Green Goblin! No, it’s Tom Waits, Herald of Galactus! Ferris Bueller! And on and on and on…
2. THOR (2011)
END SCENE: Dr. Erik Selvig is summoned to the bowels underneath S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, where he runs into Nick Fury. Fury pops open a briefcase and shows Selvig a shining blue cube. We then see Selvig’s reflection in the glass behind him, and it reveals Loki saying “Well, I suppose that’s worth a look” seconds before Selvig says the same thing – the good doctor is a puppet for Thor’s evil step-brother.
WORTH THE BLADDER STRAIN? Absolutely. Marvel keeps raising the stakes. First it was a teaser for the concept of The Avengers, then it was a teaser for the Thor movie, and now it’s become not only a reminder that Loki is not dead (which is key), it also sets up the blue cube which will become the focus of the Captain America film that has yet to come out. These things are starting to do some heavy lifting now, and you have to do your homework.
1. IRON MAN (2008)
END SCENE: Tony Stark arrives at his house to find it in total darkness. (Shakey-cam footage can be seen here.) From the shadows, a voice mockingly repeats his movie-ending press conference announcement. “’I am Iron Man.’ Did you think you were the only superhero in the world? Mr. Stark, you’ve become part of a bigger universe. You just don’t know it yet.” The man reveals himself as S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury, who has arrived to talk about a little something called “The Avengers initiative.”
WORTH THE BLADDER STRAIN? Yes. This was the first hint at what Marvel Studios had in store for their “movie universe.” Iron Man was the opening salvo in a series of films that would eventually bring us to this summer’s box office juggernaut The Avengers. If you left before the credits, you’d have no idea why everyone was going nuts about a one-eyed Sam Jackson (unless you just assumed it was nautical slang for man parts, like we always have).