Every new Marvel movie feels like obligatory viewing, but less and less for being any good. I’m certainly struggling to find good things to say about Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, a film that seems to exist mostly to fill a hole in the studio’s schedule.
Yet to understand—quote unquote, “understand”—what’s going on in the MCU, you have to watch every entry. And worse, you have to watch them all the way through their increasingly lengthy end credits. While waiting for the latest post-credits tease was genuinely exciting as recently as pre-pandemic, Marvel has lost not only focus, but intrigue. So I’m telling you what you have waited to hear for years now: You don’t have to sit all the way through the credits of a Marvel movie anymore. It’s a waste.
I don’t mean to diss the hundreds of hard-working people who try to make movies like Ant-Man watchable, from the script supervisors to the assistant-assistant-assistant-assistant camera operators and the catering staff. You should sit there and learn their names—every single one of them!
But I’d rather Marvel present me with a quiz on how many different countries each film was shot in at the end of those interminable credits instead of what it usually taunts us with. Movies like Avengers: Infinity War, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Thor: Ragnarok ended with short, revelatory scenes halfway through their credits, which was once a Marvel hallmark. They introduced new threats to come, like the ultimate evil Thanos, or set up what was next for the heroes’ stories.
During the first three storytelling phases of the MCU, when it was clear what the movies were building toward, these mid-credits and post-credits scenes were required viewing. They also did a good job at building our love for the characters—who can forget the post-credits scene from The Avengers, when the gang finally goes to get late-night shawarma after craving it for the entire film?
Since Endgame, however, the MCU hasn’t quite sold me on where it’s going next. The unsatisfying, if not boring, credit scene teases aren’t helping. Shang-Chi’s sister is now in charge of their dad’s organization? Okay. Russell Crowe’s Zeus is going to be in another movie? Shocking. T’Challa improbably has a child, also named T’Challa, who I highly doubt we’ll ever see again.
The latest Ant-Man is the most annoying offender, to my mind. In the mid-credits scene, we meet three other Kang variants, who confirm that Ant-Man has killed the Kang we saw in Quantumania. Despite banishing him to the quantum realm in the first place, these Kangs express concern that there are heroes like Ant-Man walking around, who may pose a threat to them. Cut to an entire gaggle of Kangs from different timelines, ready to unleash their powers on the rest of the multiverse—in order to eradicate as many super-beings as possible.
It’s obvious that Kang (Jonathan Majors) is going to come back in another Marvel movie, considering we already know there’s a movie on the schedule called Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. Spending the mid-credits re-establishing that there are tons of other Kangs out there aside from the one that Ant-Man and co. defeat during Quantumania, something we already know, is a waste of all of our time.
To top it all off, the post-credits scene is … a teaser for Loki Season 2. Kang is going to pop up in that Disney+ show too—the least surprising reveal ever, since the guy made his debut in the Season 1 finale. Considering Loki Season 1 also ended on an underwhelming stinger, perhaps instantly forgettable credits scenes are the fate Kang has been cursed to suffer.
What I want are not just meaningful credits scenes again, but outright strange ones. Eternals was the worst MCU movie by far, but I give it credit for doing something wacky for its two credit scenes. Harry Styles as Thanos’ little brother showing up at the end of Eternals? His name is Star Fox? And yes, that really was Mahershala Ali-as-Blade’s voice luring Kit Harrington into the superhero side. Will these things ever be followed up on? I kinda doubt it, but I love the weirdness.
Instead, we’re doomed to watch Marvel spin its wheels by trying to drum up anticipation for its bloated lineup spanning TV and film, failing along the way. Either make me laugh or show me a superhero that’s going to totally surprise me—something like what Guardians of the Galaxy did, by giving Howard the Duck his first theatrical appearance since the 1980s, just for shits and gigs.
Maybe I need to take off my rose-colored glasses that are convincing me that the old Marvel movies were materially better on this front, though. For as many credit sequences as I remember, there are way more that I’ve forgotten. But at least there was more like a 50/50 chance that something surprising would be set up during the movie’s final moments during these other movies. Now, I have zero confidence that Marvel movies will tempt me with a good time to come; it’s more likely that they’ll just try to get me to watch whatever new Disney+ show is coming out in a few weeks.
Which is why I propose we all take a stand. Until Marvel gives us a real reason to again, I’m going to do what was once unthinkable: leave as soon as the movie is over.
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