The Apex Award represents the pinnacle of the last week in pop culture. This week’s winner is…
IRON MAN 3’s Post Credits Scene
Robert Downey, Jr.- “Tony Stark”/Mark Ruffalo-“Bruce Banner”/Shane Black-Director
If you stayed through the end credits for IRON MAN 3, you were rewarded with a very funny scene in which Bruce Banner, aka The Hulk, is revealed to have been the person to whom Tony Stark has been relating the events of the film the entire time… though Dr. Banner obviously didn’t find these events as engaging as many of us did. While the brief scene itself isn’t anything monumental, what it represents most definitely is.
As the film came to a close I looked around at the 580 other fans seated with me. People were leaning over and discussing what we’d just seen with their friends and family members, but no one moved out of their seats and headed for the door. The credits came and went, and when the camera panned over to Bruce Banner the crowd went CRAZY. There was clapping and cheering and laughter. Everybody knew who this character was, and everybody was happy to see him again.
I couldn’t help but think back to the midnight screening of IRON MAN in 2008. When the film ended, there was cheering and clapping, but over 75% of the audience walked out before the credits were over. Those that stayed were of course rewarded with the reveal of Nick Fury, who announced that we’d just become part of a bigger universe… those that left just didn’t know it yet.
Look at what Marvel has accomplished in only five years. Seven films all building on the mythology of the last while retaining their own unique identities and weaving elements of the bigger universe together in ways both subtle and fantastic… and that was just Phase One! The indoctrination of the audience into this universe has been beautifully executed, everyone knows now that when you see a Marvel film it ain’t over until after the credits are done.
But beyond that, Marvel has firmly established what comic book fans only dreamt about 10 years ago. A cinematic world in which superheroes coexist, and the universe you love is faithfully and respectfully brought to life on a regular basis. A cinematic world in which audiences instantly connect with characters they know from separate but equal installments. A cinematic world that has weaved together an intricate mythology with very few missteps and no signs of stopping. When 580 people lose it over a scene that runs less than five minutes long and they stay through the end of a film’s credits just to see this scene, the makers of that film have done a lot of things right.
For what it represents… the absolute success of Marvel’s cinematic universe and the fervor it inspires in the hearts and minds of ApexFans everywhere, IRON MAN 3’s post credits scene is the winner of this week’s Apex Award. Excelsior!