×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

5 best and 5 worst MCU post-credits scenes

Ever since Iron Man, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been rewarding patient viewers with extra scenes during and after the end credits. Usually, these stingers set up future films and get audiences excited about an upcoming hero or the next big bad guy. Occasionally, these scenes are just meant to send audiences home laughing or to hand out Easter eggs to diehard Marvel fans. Of course, there have been over 20 MCU films (and counting) at this point, and with that much extra material, you've got a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to quality. On one hand, you've got the scenes so good that Taneleer Tivan himself would want them for his collection. On the other hand, you've got those moments that are basically garbage and should be dumped on Sakaar and forgotten forever. From dusty deaths to lackluster love affairs, here are the five best and five worst MCU post-credits scenes.

Best: Nick Fury gets dusted

Avengers: Infinity War ends with everything in ashes. Thanos completes his rock collection, snaps his bedazzled fingers, and turns half of the life in the universe into dust. Star-Lord, Spider-Man, and Black Panther all fade away, and half the Wakandan army disintegrates before our very eyes. But the horror extends far beyond Titan and Wakanda, and in the post-credits scene, we watch the terror unfold as a real-life rapture takes place in New York City.

After a very somber set of credits, we see Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) driving through the Big Apple, a bit concerned that aliens are attacking Earth. Suddenly, a random car starts swerving across the street, and a helicopter crashes into a nearby building. But when Fury goes to investigate, he discovers people are disappearing left and right. Even Agent Hill goes up in smoke right before his eyes. Realizing there's some serious Code Red stuff going on, a panicked Fury decides it's time to bring out the big guns and reaches for... a pager?

With everybody getting decimated, it seems odd that Fury is falling back on 1990s tech. But before we find out what he's up to, Fury starts to disintegrate. As he fades away, Samuel L. Jackson almost drops his R-rated catchphrase, and as the pager tumbles from his ashen hand, we see the super spy has signaled one of the most powerful beings in the universe: Captain Marvel. It's the perfect setup for the MCU's first female-led film and it leaves audiences with a little bit of hope, which they badly need after so many Avengers bite the dust.

Worst: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 just keeps on going

Everybody loves a fun post-credits scene, but you can have too much of a good thing, as evidenced by the never-ending credits in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. While this space adventure is one of the best superhero movies ever made, it goes overboard once the story comes to an end, as we're treated to not one, not two, but five post-credits scenes.

First up, there's Kraglin (Sean Gunn) fooling around with Yondu's Yaka Arrow, and after some tentative whistling, he sends it soaring across the screen... straight into Drax's (Dave Bautista) shoulder. It's hilarious, but it's immediately followed up with a head-scratcher showing Sylvester Stallone reuniting with his Ravager buddies, including Michelle Yeoh, a CGI worm, and a robot that sounds like Miley Cyrus. Unless you're a dedicated Marvel fan, you might not know these are all major characters in the original Guardians of the Galaxy comics.

That's quickly followed by a funny moment when a frustrated Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) confronts a teenage Groot (Vin Diesel) about his messy room. The fourth credits scene is possibly the most important, with the vengeful high priestess Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) creating a cosmic warrior named Adam Warlock, an incredibly powerful being in the comics. Finally, it all caps off with a Stan Lee cameo, as he's regaling the mysterious Watchers — another Easter Egg strictly for super fans — with stories of his adventures.  

On top of everything else, the credits are filled with cast members busting a move, including a disco-dancing cameo from Jeff Goldblum. Individually, all this stuff is pretty great, but all together, it's overwhelming, and the gravity of the Adam Warlock scene doesn't mesh with the hilarious arrow sequence or the fan service moments. The credits of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 are like loading your ice cream with every topping imaginable. It's just too much.

Best: A lesson in patience

For nearly a decade, MCU fans had been trained to stick around in movie theaters and wait for the post-credits sequence. But as moviegoers learned in 2017, patiently sitting around the theater doesn't always pay off — unless you have a good sense of humor.

Set in the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming finds Peter Parker (Tom Holland) navigating through high school while dealing with young love, a feathered fiend, and a perpetually disappointed Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). But Tony Stark isn't the only Avenger to show up. Throughout the film, there's a running gag in which Steve Rogers appears in high school PSAs, giving kids advice about health, fitness, and following the rules. And moviegoers are treated to one last PSA after the credits are done rolling, when Cap steps onto the screen and lets everybody know they wasted their time waiting for something spectacular.

As Steve looks straight the camera, the star-spangled soldier gives a lecture on the importance of patience. "Sometimes patience is the key to victory," Cap explains. "Sometimes it leads to very little, and it seems like it's not worth it, and you wonder why you waited so long for something so disappointing." And that's it. No big reveal or set-up for the next film. Just Cap pulling the rug out from under us... and it's hilarious. Inspired by the post-credits scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, it's one of the most meta moments in the MCU, and the fact that we all got pranked by Captain America is absolutely hysterical. Honestly, we could watch this post-credits scene all day.

Worst: An insect solo

When it comes to post-credits sequences, Ant-Man and the Wasp has one of the most memorable moments... and one of the very worst. The mid-credits scene finds Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) heading into the Quantum Realm for some superhero experiments. However, the pint-sized Avenger soon loses contact with his buddies back on Earth, as they've just been dusted by Thanos, leaving Scott trapped in the world between worlds. It's a horrific scene that legitimately disturbed audiences, but just a few moments later, its impact is ruined by some insect silliness.

After watching Hank Pym and the van Dynes get decimated, we eventually cut to an eerie scene of the world post-snap. We're inside Scott's house, and it seems completely abandoned. His TV is broadcasting an emergency alert signal, and we know the world is falling apart outside. But that's when the drums kick in. As it turns out, Scott's house isn't totally empty: There's a giant ant in the back playing the hero's electronic drum set. And granted, this bug is a regular John Bonham, but musical skills aside, this comedic moment undercuts the tragedy of the previous scene. Somewhere, Ant-Man is tumbling through the Quantum Realm, but back on Earth, we're getting a silly insect solo. Ant-Man movies are supposed to be lighthearted, but this is the aftermath of Infinity War we're talking about. We should be worrying about poor Scott Lang, not laughing about a six-legged Ringo Starr.

Best: Groovy baby Groot

Guardians of the Galaxy, you broke our hearts. You made us fall in love with Groot — a lovable tree with a goofy grin — only to kill him off in the film's big climax. Fortunately, director James Gunn gave us a seed of hope that Groot would return in the sequel, although in a much tinier body.

In the final few moments of Guardians, we see that Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) has collected a sliver of grown-up Groot's obliterated body, planted that little fella in a pot, and is caring for a brand new Baby Groot. He's an adorable little guy, and as we discover in the post-credits scene, this super cute sapling has some really sweet dance moves.

With the Jackson 5 keeping things groovy, Baby Groot is dancing his chlorophyll-filled heart out, swaying back and forth to "I Want You Back." But this adorable oak doesn't want an audience. In the background, Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) is polishing an oversized knife, and he keeps seeing something move out of the corner of his eye. But whenever he looks over, Baby Groot goes absolutely still, mastering the mannequin challenge two years before it hit the internet. While the scene doesn't set up any major payoffs, it lets us know that Baby Groot is the cutest member of the MCU and offers a glimpse of the awesome moves we'll get when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 rolls around.

Worst: Thanos gets impatient

Thanos blew us all away in Infinity War and Endgame, but before our purple destiny turned our knees to jelly, a lot of fans were frustrated with the Mad Titan. The space war lord was first teased in 2012, but after that, Marvel didn't do much to establish the Titan as the end-all, be-all villain he was promised to be. Sure, Thanos showed up for a hot second in Guardians of the Galaxy, when he did a lot of intense sitting... but that was about it.

So when he came storming onto the screen in the mid-credits sequence of Avengers: Age of Ultron, we were all hoping for something truly terrifying. Instead, Thanos simply grabs his gauntlet and mutters to himself, "Fine, I'll do it myself." It's decidedly anti-climactic and poses quite a few problems. First, it makes Thanos look like an idiot. Why did he wait this long to collect the Infinity Stones himself? Why did he trust random goons like Loki and Ronan to do it for him in the first place?

Secondly, his exasperated line just lands with a thud. The Thanos of Infinity War and Endgame speaks with the eloquence of a stage-trained actor, but here, he's just a cranky old man. It does a major disservice to the character and raised a lot of doubts about how big a deal this guy was going to be. Fortunately, when he snapped his gloved fingers, all our doubts turned to dust.

Best: Thanos comes a-courtin'

The Avengers was a major turning point for the MCU. It proved the studio could take wildly different characters from standalone movies and effectively put them all in one big blockbuster. And with director Joss Whedon at the helm, the movie broke box office records and earned heaps of critical praise, giving Marvel a lot of goodwill heading into Phase 2. Plus, The Avengers has one of the most important mid-credits scenes in MCU history, one that set the stakes for two of the highest-grossing movies ever made.

The movie ends with the Chitauri retreating into the cosmos, Loki heading for Asgardian jail, and the Avengers getting ready for some much-deserved shawarma. But out in space, there's a storm brewing. The head honcho Chitauri, the Other (Alexis Denisof), is busy licking his wounds and warning his mysterious master that humans are not to be trifled with. "To challenge them," the Other intones, "is to court death." And that's when we see his boss for the first time, grinning a truly wicked grin. Sure, he doesn't look like the Mad Titan we all know and love today, but it's definitely Thanos, making his grand MCU debut.

The "courting death" line is a nod to the comics Thanos, who desperately wants to impress the literal personification of Death. Of course, that bizarre plot line was dropped for the films, but still, here was the big purple warlord, promising to wage war on humanity. The scene sent shockwaves through the Marvel fanbase, and moviegoers unfamiliar with Thanos' backstory quickly googled the Mad Titan to find out what this guy was all about. And the answer was murder — lots and lots of murder.

Worst: A confusing cameo

Before we explain Guardians of the Galaxy's post-credits scene, we need to talk about Howard the Duck. The sarcastic fowl was introduced to Marvel fans in the 1970s, courtesy of writer Steve Gerber and artist Val Mayerik. His stories satirized everything from politics to comic books, and according to director James Gunn, Howard's "early stories... are some of the finest and most unique in the Marvel Universe."

Unfortunately, that's not what everyone remembers about Howard. Instead, when most people recall this bipedal bird, they remember the disastrous 1986 movie. Produced by George Lucas, Howard the Duck was a commercial and critical flop, marred by freaky animatronics and interspecies sexual tension. The movie is considered Marvel's greatest misstep, so a lot of moviegoers were unimpressed when they reached the end of Guardians only to find the disgraced drake himself.

The scene starts with the Collector (Benicio del Toro) sitting in the ruins of his bombed-out lair. Thanks to the Power Stone and a disgruntled employee, the Collector's trinkets have been turned to rubble, and the specimens he's captured are roaming around freely. Depressed, the Collector is consoling himself with a cocktail when Cosmo the Spacedog, freed from his cell, starts licking his face. Then a disgusted voice offscreen asks, "What do you let him lick you like that for?" That's when the camera reveals — duh, duh, duh — Howard the Duck, chilling in his shattered cage and enjoying an adult duck beverage.  

While Gunn might've hoped to restore Howard to his former glory, the legacy of the Lucas film looms too large. So when the boozing bird shows up onscreen, audiences let out a massive groan. Aside from diehard Howard fans, most moviegoers though this post-credits scene was a waste of time and a major "duck you" to audiences.

Best: Nick Fury starts a franchise

Walking into Iron Man, most moviegoers had no idea there was going to be a post-credits scene. They didn't know the folks at Marvel hoped to build a cinematic universe. Most people didn't even know who Nick Fury was. But after Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) proudly declared he was indeed Iron Man, patient Marvel fans were rewarded with the granddaddy of all MCU post-credit scenes — the one that kickstarted a $20 billion franchise.

After a busy week battling Jeff Bridges and revealing his secret identity to the world, an exhausted Tony Stark returns to his mansion but finds something amiss. It seems Jarvis has been deactivated, and there's somebody lurking in the shadows. The mysterious figure asks Tony if he thinks he's the only superhero in the world before boldly declaring, "Mr. Stark, you've become part of a bigger universe. You just don't know it yet." That's when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, but come on, they're basically the same person) steps into the light and reveals he wants to talk to Tony about something called "the Avenger Initiative."

And that right there sent Marvel fans into freak-out mode. That right there laid the groundwork for 20-plus films introducing audiences to heroes like Black Panther, Captain America, and Black Widow. The scene is less than 40 seconds long, but just like that, we discovered we were all part of a bigger universe — the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Worst: The most boring romance in the MCU

Thor: The Dark World is not a great movie. Sure, it introduces the Reality Stone. Yeah, it's got some fun stuff between Loki and Thor. And it sets up a hilarious scene in Thor: Ragnarok and a big emotional moment in Avengers: Endgame. But past that? Well, The Dark World is just disappointing, and the same goes for its two post-credits scenes.

In the first one, the Asgardians have decided it's a bad idea to keep two Infinity Stones — the Reality Stone and the Space Stone — on Asgard, so Volstagg (Ray Stevenson) and Sif (Jaimie Alexander) hand the glowing red cube over to the Collector (Benicio del Toro). And while this mid-credits sequence sets up Guardians of the Galaxy, it does call the Asgardians' judgment into serious question. They were worried about the Stones, so they hand one over to this guy? Why? Everything about him, from his freaky gestures to his snake-like voice, just screams "this dude is a creep." It would only be more obvious if he had "bad guy" tattooed on his forehead.

Still, while the mid-credits scene makes the Norse gods look like chumps, at least it sets up an upcoming film. The final post-credits scene, on the other hand, is pretty much pointless. Having just saved the universe from Doctor Who and the Dark Elves, Thor returns to Earth and reunites with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). The two share a passionate kiss, and honestly, we couldn't care less. The Thor/Jane love affair is the weakest romance in the MCU. Plus, a few films later, their relationship would be tossed aside with a quick joke in Thor: Ragnarok. Sadly, not even a pigeon-chasing Jotunheim beast can salvage this scene.