The Post-Credit Problem

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If you’re a human being with access to a cinema you will have likely been a witness to one of the many films inspired by the Marvel Comics universe. The films, regardless of their studio and distributor (The Amazing Spiderman aside) are notorious now for their near certain chance of persuading the viewer to sit through 15 minutes of credits to see a short clip at the end that will be one of few things. It could be a lead in to the next film, the main film of course being wrapped up so a cliffhanger has to have it’s own place. It could merely be a little comedy skit and something to keep the audience laughing, the Pirates of the Caribbean films featured comedy skits at the end of their first two film’s credits… no one watched them though because no one knew they’d have to stay and watch.

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What they never are however are surprising. The necessity to have a ‘cliffhanger’ segment is… unnecessary. A comedy scene can always be good but what’s wrong with having it in the main segment of the film?
The scenes have been around a very long time, however they probably came to mainstream prominence following the raging success of Iron Man and it’s follow-ups. Regardless of whether or not a huge onslaught of Marvel films was due, the scene set in motion a huge chain of events, one of which was the tendency to have a post-credit scene.
As cute and sweet as they used to be, they really serve no purpose. The scenes are generally unrelated to the direct storyline of the film, see the recent Days of Future Past‘s post-credit scene for a scene that leaves the majority of the audience going “what the Hell was that?”. The need to put this scene so far away from the main bulk, almost like a mini-sequel is a cheap method of exciting the viewer, it is sadly one that they all eat up. There would be no harm in having post-credit scenes at the end of the main film.
Casino Royale, the closing scene is detached from the bulk of the film, still it in a Marvel film and you’d have to find out who the ‘gaffer’ and ‘3rd photocopier’ was before hearing the man say “Bond, James Bond“.

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It may seem such a trivial and unnecessary complaint but personally I want a film to absorb me. Be it 90 minutes or 4 hours, I don’t want to look at anything else for that entire time whilst a story unravels before my eyes. Having 15 minutes of credits and conversation in the dim ‘please go home’ cinema lights ruins the atmosphere and ruins the end credits. If you REALLY want to have one do what The Wolverine movie did and have an initial set of credits for one minute, then the scene. Then the rest of the crew.
Another sin is perhaps in the fact that if Disney are going to make the recent Marvel films as mediocre as they have been since the takeover the least they could do is add 50 seconds to your already staggering run time instead of making everyone wait. Especially when Thor: The Dark World‘s scene was almost as bad at the 3rd Pirates of the Caribbean‘s scene.

Post-Credit scenes can still be used properly. A comedy skit can work. But to set up the next film, there is literally no point in it not being at the end of the main film. An intelligent director, editor or producer would find a way to wind up the film whilst also showing there are lose ends instead of finishing the film and then reopening it up to claw at any potential sequel they can find. Admittedly it doesn’t really matter, it’s a fad. If everyone did what Muppets: Most Wanted did then people wouldn’t stay so long.

Feel free to discuss how you feel about post-credit scenes. Do you stay regardless to watch a scene or do you refuse to watch?

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