Marvel Studios and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) didn’t create the button, mid-credit/post-credit scene but they sure made it popular. Ever since Iron Man was released in 2008 and all the way to the latest release of Doctor Strange there have been 22 mid- and post-credit scenes in all 14 of these movies. Let’s breakdown all the scenes in all the movies and rank them from worst to best!
22) Captain America: The First Avenger: Fury Has a Job for Cap
This mid-credit scene is essentially a trimmed down version of what we get to see in The Avengers. Nick Fury approaches Captain America in the gym and tells him that he needs him for a mission to save the world. At the time it was a nice tease for The Avengers but these scene doesn’t age well and, watching it now, they feel superfluous; easily the least memorable of the credit scenes.
21) Thor: Loki’s Reflection
This post-credit scene was a set up for The Avengers and sees Dr. Eric Selvig being escorted by Nick Fury in an unknown S.H.I.E.L.D. facility where he holds the Tesseract. Selvig is asked if he’ll study the object and an invisible Loki instructs him to agree, which he does. The scene was mysterious and ominous at the time and hints at the control that Loki will eventually have on Selvig in The Avengers. It ends up being just slightly less forgettable than Fury/Cap/Gym scene in The First Avenger.
20) Ant-Man: I Know a Guy
Much like Number 23, the post-credit sequence in Ant-Man was a scene from the next film in the MCU; in this case it was Captain America: Civil War. The scene is basically where Falcon and Captain America have Bucky prisoner and it seems his conditioning is wearing off. Cap says they need help and Falcon states he knows a guy. It’s cool because we know he’s talking about Ant-Man (who kicked Falcon’s butt in the film, mind you) and it’s neat that it’s a scene from Civil War but, ultimately, this scene loses a lot of its luster even after the second time you watch it.
19) Captain America: Civil War: Spidey’s New Tech
Civil War was a big film with a lot going on in it. One of the most anticipated elements was getting to see our new Spider-Man after the landmark deal between Sony and Marvel Studios. This new Spidey also promised a new solo film that would cement his place in the MCU and the post-credit scene in Civil War was a tease to that. Not much really happens in this part other than we see a present that Tony Stark left for the man who can do whatever a spider can. It’s a nice tease but, like the last few entries, it loses its magic with repeat viewings.
18) Thor: The Dark World: Cootie Time
The life of a superhero can be a lonely one and often, in order to protect the ones they care about, they end up pushing them away. It’s pretty amazing to think about how deep of a connection Thor and Jane Foster had in the first film but how little they actually connected (physically, is what I’m saying). This post-credit scene sees these two get that smooch that some viewers were waiting to see… and we get to see that Jotunheim creature chasing birds. It had something for everyone, I guess. It’s touching and amusing but doesn’t really have the kick of a great credit scene.
17) Captain America: The First Avenger: Avengers Assemble
Let’s be honest, when we all waited for that moment after the credits when we first saw Captain America’s first film we all freaked out when we saw the short teaser for the Phase 1 culmination that was The Avengers. However, since then, we’ve all seen Joss Whedon’s film several times over and the teaser just isn’t that exciting anymore. Still, it’s a good memory and that’s why this post-credit scene isn’t at the bottom of the list.
16) Thor: The Dark World: Meet The Collector
Honestly, as much as I like Thor’s films I don’t think he’s gotten the best bits for his credit sequences. In this mid-credit sequence from Thor’s second film, we see Sif and Volstagg delivering the Infinity Stone that is the Aether into the hands of The Collector in order to ensure that in doesn’t get into the wrong hands. The only issue is that he was the wrong hands. It’s a great setup for Infinity War and a nice introduction of Benicio del Toro’s role but it’s a setup that only feels immediately satisfying because of seeing Collector; everything else about it feels like it will pay off too far off into the future.
15) Avengers: Age of Ultron: If the Glove Fits
It was a bit of a shock when Joss Whedon stated that there wasn’t going to be a post-credit sequence in Age of Ultron and some, including me, thought he was lying in order for it to be a surprise. It was a surprise because there was literally nothing after the credits. However, it did give us a mid-credit sequence where we see Thanos taking matters into his own hands—and that hand would be covered with the Infinity Gauntlet. It’s cool as hell to see the Mad Titan putting on the gauntlet but since this is setting up events that are still pretty far down the road for the MCU it ends up leaving an impact that is too easily filled up and forgotten about.
14) Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Field Trip to the Museum
While it’s cool to see a credit scene set up the next film in the MCU, it’s also nice when they have a sequence that advances the story and development of the characters in the current film. In its post-credit sequence, The Winter Soldier shows Bucky Barnes visiting the Smithsonian’s exhibit on Captain America. Is he there to try and remember his past life or he is there for another reason? It was a great setup for things to come with him in the next Captain America film and still holds strong as one of the better post-credit scenes.
13) Iron Man 3: Nap Time
Sometimes a post-credit scene doesn’t need to set up anything and can just be fun. Marvel Studios doesn’t do this often but they sure nailed it in Iron Man 3. In this scene, we learn that the events we just witnessed was actually Tony doing a little storytelling to Bruce Banner… unfortunately, Banner wasn’t too invested and fell asleep along the way. It’s a cute, charming and fun little button to close out the film!
12) Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Age of Miracles
In another landmark deal (but on a smaller scale than the one involving Spider-Man), Fox and Marvel Studios were able to reach an agreement that centered on a bunch of loopholes that would allow both Fox’s X-universe and the MCU to have their own version of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch (they were, after all, both X-Men and members of the Avengers). The Winter Soldier introduced these non-mutant versions in a mid-credit sequence where Wolfgang von Strucker (who never got the time to shine like he deserved in the MCU, in my opinion) debuted them and declared that it is now the time of miracles. It was a nice set up for Age of Ultron and it was cool to see the twins together in movie form. Too bad Scarlet Witch was the only one who continued to have a presence in the universe.
11) Doctor Strange: Have a Drink
I’m not too concerned with Spoilers for most of these since they’ve been out for some time (if you haven’t watched some, why are you reading this article?) but since Doctor Strange still hasn’t even been in the theaters for a month, I’ll respect the Spoilers rule and tip-toe around this mid-credit scene. The bare bones of it all is that it sets up another film in Phase 3 and what Doctor Strange has to do with it. It’s a simple sequence that involves some great back-and-forth between two characters and has a great gag involving tea and beer. It’s simple, fun and, since it’s the latest teaser of what’s to come and it’s fresh enough to get us excited and it kinda works better than other scenes that are comparable. Granted, this one might have the same shelf life as something like in Entry 19 or 20 but, as of right now, it’s pretty high on the list.
10) Captain America: Civil War: A Visit to Wakanda
One of the films I’m most excited for that is coming up is Black Panther’s solo film. His introduction into the MCU during Civil War didn’t disappoint and this mid-credit sequence that teases his homeland of Wakanda is not only a great setup to his film but gets me all geared up to see what is going to come next for the man! Plus, how cool was it when the camera pans out to that imposing statue?
9) Ant-Man: Hope’s Hope
Even with Agent 13, Black Widow, and Scarlet Witch, the MCU can be a bit of a sausage party; so that’s why this next mid-credit sequence is so cool. Ant-Man shows us that Hope’s parents once fought side-by-side as Ant-Man and Wasp so when Hank Pym reveals that he made a new Wasp suit specifically for Hope things get awesome and sets up the Ant-Man sequel where we’ll see Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne fight evil together.
8) Guardians of the Galaxy: This Ain’t Lucas’ Duck
To me, this was the most surprising of all the post-credit sequences because it marked a cameo from one of Marvel’s most goofy characters they’ve ever had and one that might be in one of the worst comic book adapted movies to ever be produced. If you avoided the Spoilers, seeing Howard the Duck (and voiced by Seth Green, no less) was pretty fun and a great cameo choice from James Gunn.
7) The Avengers: Shawarma, Anyone?
Here’s another one of those post-credit moments that is just played for the LOLs. This isn’t setting up the next film but just wrapping up the events of The Avengers and cashing in on a punchline that Tony Stark set-up earlier in the film. It’s just a simple, hilarious shot of the team eating some food and looking absolutely exhausted from the battle. Each character has their own amusing quirks going on that make this a stupidly entertaining moment. Cap is so tired he won’t take his head out of his hands, Hawkeye has his leg perched on Black Widow’s chair, Tony is looking far off into space as he loudly wipes his hands on a napkin—hell, my favorite aspect of it all is how Thor genuinely looks like he is enjoying the food. It’s just a terrific scene.
6) Iron Man 2: If I Had a Hammer
Sure, the two films in the MCU prior to this did a nice job of teasing up the future for the shared cinematic universe but this one was a bit on the next level. When the camera pulls out and you see Mjolnir sitting in the crater you knew this concept of all these movies tying together to create something huge was on. Sure, we’re coming up to our third Thor film but it still is a goose bumps moment when you see that hammer for the first time.
5) The Incredible Hulk: Reload
There’s not much going on in this scene and I won’t deny that it is a fairly inconsequential button scene but the only reason that this moment where Tony Stark enters the bar where General “Thunderbolt” Ross is drinking away his failure over the whole Banner/Blonsky incident is because this is where it gets real. Iron Man could have been a fluke and nothing could have been built from it but instead this moment shows us that this shared universe means business.
4) The Avengers: The Mad Titan Revealed
There’s no getting around it, The Avengers is an awesome film! Joss Whedon made a masterpiece of comic book action and it only got better when the mid-credit sequence hit. Here it is revealed who is pulling the strings and we find out it is the cosmic baddie Thanos! Holy crackers that was cool! Not to mention that wicked smile we see on his face when he hears the word “death” mentioned. This moment showed just where the MCU was going to go and it was going to go big.
3) Doctor Strange: A Villain is Born
Once again, I’ll walk on eggshells to avoid the nefarious Spoilers but the post-credit scene in Marvel’s latest film really showcases what these moments are all about. While the fact that this is the latest film and the excitement is still farm fresh (and, like some others, might go down as forgettable with repeat viewings) and adding to the fact that this scene isn’t about pimping the newest Marvel movie but rather it’s all about developing a character in this film and setting up the sequel. Marvel Studios has a lot of issues with developing their villains and this scene did something that pretty much made the next bad guy slightly deeper than some of the other films they’ve done.
2) Guardians of the Galaxy: Dance, Baby Groot, Dance!
I may be biased because Guardians is my favorite films in the MCU and one of my favorite comic properties from Marvel but the mid-credit sequence that has Baby Groot dancing to The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” is just adorable and fun. This scene does nothing to set up the crew’s sequel film or establish the next entry in the shared universe but you can’t beat the sentient tree’s moves and can’t help but laugh when he freezes the second Drax looks in his direction.
1) Iron Man: The Avengers Initiative
There’s no way around this. This moment after the credits of Iron Man was the granddaddy of them all because it kicked this whole beast into motion. Seeing Nick Fury—played by Samuel L. Jackson, no less—was incredible and really set the bar high for the potential the MCU would be. It was hard not to geek out when I heard Fury mention the words “Avengers Initiative.” This was the first and continues to be the best!
This wasn’t an easy list to compile and quantify. Marvel has done so much with all their movies and trying to rank all the credit scenes was a Herculean task—okay, not really but it was still difficult. Now, few of you will agree, some will disagree and everyone will have their own ranking. How do the credit scenes rank for you? Let us know in the comments.
Rev. Ron is that friend of yours who never gives a definitive answer when you ask them to hang out because he suffers from a dangerous combination of laziness, poverty and social anxiety. However, he’s in a Shakespeare troupe for some reason and likes to review movies on his blog. You can read all his stuff at RevRonMovies.BlogSpot.com and you can follow him on Twitter (@RevRonster).