Whoa! Did you see that secret extra scene at the end of Thor: The Dark World?!? No, not the first secret extra scene at the sorta end of Thor: The Dark World, but rather the second secret extra scene at the very, very end of Thor: The Dark World. The one that we were treated to after what seemed like 38 minutes of special-effects credits. The one that forced you to hang out in your seat while theater cleanup crews milled around you picking up half-eaten boxes of Junior Mints. The one that…well, kinda sucked. Okay — SPOILER ALERT! — the big reveal that had nerds like me in a tizzy of anticipation turned out to be nothing more than Thor beaming down to Earth again on what appeared to be an intergalactic booty call to suck face with Natalie Portman while some monster ran around in a parking lot.
But what did I expect? The wait-to-reward ratio has become more and more suspect when it comes to these post-credits scenes that are seemingly all the rage. It wasn’t always this way. My first experience with the phenomenon occurred back when I was a kid in 1983. After persuading my dad to take me to see Strange Brew — and really, God bless my dad for taking me to see that — I had to persuade him to stay just a wee bit longer so I could catch a bit more of Bob and Doug McKenzie’s unique blend of Canadian-themed hilarity.
But these days it is not enough to give us one bit near the top of the credits. Now we have to wait through the key grips, best boys, gaffers, and personal assistants to get yet another secret scene. And that would be fine if it were worth the wait. But is it? Nobody loves the Evil Dead franchise more than this guy, but was the six-minute interval worth it just to hear Bruce Campbell say exactly one word (granted, a pretty great word in “Groovy”)? I am convinced Iron Man 3 had the longest credits sequence in the history of cinema, or maybe it just felt that way after I waited an eternity to hear a bit of unfunny banter between Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. At least nobody suffered through the extra post-credits scene at the end of The Smurfs 2, but that’s mostly because nobody bothered to go see The Smurfs 2.
Even worse than some of these disappointments is the fact that the mere possibility of a bonus post-credits scene has now forced morons like me to sit around hoping for extra material in movies that never comes. It’s like chanting a band’s name at a concert while waiting for them to come back out and play an encore, only for the venue lights to go up, thereby making you feel even stupider than you did a few moments earlier for chanting a band’s name over and over.
Look, I’m not in the business of complaining about getting extra stuff for free, but — and I cannot believe I am about to write these words — other movies should look at Fast & Furious 6 as the gold standard for how to properly do a secret post-credits scene. The action started approximately 15 seconds in (as opposed to 15 minutes) and was a juicy addition that both shed light on a past film in the franchise and set up the next one with new baddie Jason Statham. The scene actually happened fast, and nobody left the theater furious.