SALT LAKE CITY — Megaplex Theatres hosted a 59-hour marathon of all 22 Marvel Cinematic Universe films, and I survived it.
I kept track of my experiences in the theater, my thoughts on the films, the food I ate and everything else that came up. This article was updated about three times per day during the small breaks we got for eating and walking around.
Send your thoughts my way.
You can see even more thoughts at #HerbScribnerEndgame for more coverage.
8:01 a.m. — The "Avengers" theme song is still stuck in my head. Will I ever escape it?
9:06 p.m. — I am home now and the marathon is over.
It's over. I survived. I made it. I am too tired to write words (but I will). It was worth it. It was great. But at what cost? We'll find out the rest of the week and this weekend. I smell. I ooze of butter. The fact that they make you spend 60 hours in a theater and end it with "Endgame" is just mean. Like, hey, go through this big thing and then watch the most emotionally wrenching thing in your life. Oh, OK. That movie...
Well, let's get into it.
"Avengers: Endgame" — No words. Just see it.
3:49 p.m. — The endgame is upon us.
We just finished our final two movies. 21 down. It's been a long ride. We're tired. We're exhausted. We're out of it. Our brains are gone. We've absorbed the feet smell. We are all smelly feet. We are the popcorn we've consumed. We are the trash we've thrown away. We are the imprints in our chairs. We are here, and we are ready to finish this marathon.
One more movie — "Avengers: Endgame" — to go. We waited more than a year for this. We watched 21 movies in 58 hours in the same theater for this. And now, it's here.
Going into the final film, my stomach feels better. I've read up on the best times to take a bathroom break so I might embrace that. Otherwise, I think the full bladder will keep me awake.
I will be updating this story once "Endgame" is over with whatever final thoughts I have. Look for my full report tomorrow.
Anyway, here are the two movies we watched before "Endgame."
"Captain Marvel" — OK. So. "Captain Marvel" is such a warm, easy-to-watch film, which is just what you want before the big "Endgame" and toward the end of a 22-movie marathon. I love how Marvel went back to a traditional origin story before its climactic "Endgame" tale. There are still some awkward moments — like how she's named Captain Marvel, which is based on Mar-Vell, which doesn't even sound the same. And I'm not sure she's the total answer to Thanos since she's basically an infinity stone personified. But it's such a fun movie akin to "Iron Man." It's refreshing to go back to the basics after spending some time in the crazy worlds of "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Infinity War" and "Ant-Man and the Wasp." I'm down to watch anytime, and this will certainly be one I watch again when this is all said and done.
"Ant-Man and the Wasp" — This movie was definitely better than I remember it being the first time. It's better than the first "Ant-Man," I'd argue. One thing that stands out is Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and the suit he wears when he jumps into the Quantum Realm. They look a little too familiar to the ones we see the Avengers wearing in the trailers. But they are slightly different. Is the Avengers production team trying to throw us off? We'll see shortly.
10:36 a.m. — We're in the endgame now.
We just had one movie for this little spell, "Avengers: Infinity War." Now we're on to a lunch break. My stomach is rumbling. It's either hungry or mad at me for the bad food I've been eating. I can't tell. But I'll have a healthy lunch hopefully to quiet it down. Naps are coming now with "Ant-Man and the Wasp" followed by "Captain Marvel." Need to rest up before the big show later.
Also, someone must have taken their shoes off during that show because the smell of raw foot odor WASHED over me.
I can't believe I've watched 19 Marvel moves in 51 hours already. Insane. Just another 10 or so hours left. I can make it. I know it. Cue the cheesy superhero music.
"Avengers: Infinity War" — After watching that movie, I could not be more stoked for "Endgame" later tonight. Watching all of these movies back to back has totally enhanced "Infinity War." Watching "Guardians of the Galaxy" so recently made THAT scene with Gamora all the better. And don't get me started on how great the Wakanda scenes and "Black Panther" were, given how close we were to watching that movie.
7:11 a.m. — My plan was to sleep during “Dr. Strange” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming” so I could see “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Black Panther.” Did it work out?
Nope, not at all. I slept through “Dr. Strange” and “Spider-Man,” plus an hour of “Ragnarok.” I was awake for “Guardians” and “Black Panther” though.
Our crowd got progressively quieter. I spoke to a family earlier who said they wanted to be awake for “Thor” but they were passed out by the time the movie came. Just knocked out catching those zzz's.
I had some conversations at 2, 4 and 6 a.m. with some Megaplex Theatres employees. “There’s my guy,” one of them said. We bonded over comic books and “Avengers.” So that was fun. They made me feel better for getting Diet Dr. Pepper at 4 a.m.
To give you a taste of what my experience was like last night, here’s a video I filmed of myself during last night’s adventure. As you can see, pretty tired, right?
This is the true test. I am reaching deep into my soul. The air reeks of feet and butter. The snoring now echoes throughout the theater. Trash bins are full and stinky. But we will finish this test. Whatever it takes.
Here’s a breakdown of the movies:
“Black Panther” — I don’t know how anyone could dislike this movie. The scenery, the battles, the fight sequences, the music, the outfits, the coordination — it’s just so good. One of the best Marvel movies, no question. I didn’t sleep at all during this one. Stayed awake the entire time. Other than its post-credit scene, it doesn’t totally get you pumped for “Infinity War.” But it’s still a great film to enjoy as you know the war with Thanos is near.
“Thor: Ragnarok” — Man, I love this movie. The comedy works from end to end. The Hulk-Thor interactions are priceless, and I love how well they make Thor vulnerable in this one despite being a god. The interesting thing too is that Thor LOSES in this movie. It's a tragic ending with the loss of Asgard and having to leave his realm. Oh, and don’t forget Jeff Goldblum. Comedic gold. I will admit I dozed off for about an hour in the middle. But I saw the important parts, including THAT mid-credits scene where the Asgardians run into Thanos’ ship, setting the stage for “Endgame.”
"Spider-Man: Homecoming" — I fell asleep. I saw the first 15 minutes and it did interest me a little bit. Then I woke up toward the end. My thought: Spider-Man dies in “Infinity War” so who cares, right? Yikes. Insensitive, I guess.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” — I remember liking this movie when I first saw it. But this time around it was even better. So many pretty colors, you could call it “Colors: The Movie” if you wanted to. Brilliant humor, a solid storyline and perfect pacing make it a great film. Sometimes it feels a little long, but not in an annoying way. Maybe the length was getting to my head because I’ve been doing this for years. Er, hours.
“Dr. Strange” — Honestly, I was awake for the first 20 minutes or so. I forgot Rachel McAdams was in this movie. And I forgot Stephen Strange is such a jerk. That said, I fell asleep right after. Woke up right before the credits rolled. Not gonna lie — sort of happy. I want to be awake for “Thor: Ragnarok” tonight at 2:25 a.m. And, you know, “Guardians Vol. 2.”
6:16 p.m. — I am writing this on a full bladder as the credits to "Captain America: Civil War" roll. We're less than 24 hours away from our showing of "Avengers: Endgame." I am in a haze of confusion. I got some sleep during "Ant-Man," and found a way to stay up for "Civil War," which gives me hope that I will be awake for "Endgame."
Now comes the toughest part of the schedule. We have a dinner break now. Then we have "Doctor Strange," "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," "Spider-Man: Homecoming," "Thor: Ragnarok" and "Black Panther," all before breakfast. I seriously don't see any nap-worthy movies there. I may just try to watch them all and if I fall asleep, I fall asleep. If not, well, just let it be.
This will be the toughest test. It will require the strongest of wills and the most caffeinated of drinks. It will require ignoring of the snoring and embracing of the soda tasting. Let's do this.
OK. I'm tired. I'm going to go find some dinner. I hear it's BBQ pork sandwiches.
Here are my reviews of the last two films.
"Captain America: Civil War" — So I watched most of this with a full bladder, which kept me awake. My eyes are red and dry. But this movie still slaps. I mean, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) makes his first appearance and he is everywhere. Spider-Man (Tom Holland) makes his debut in the MCU as well. And we get all the heroes fighting each other? Wicked cool. I always thought it was weird Tony Stark aligned with the government in this movie. It doesn't seem characteristic of him, especially after seeing all the Marvel movies back to back. But still, what a great movie. Not boring anywhere. Just a solid Marvel film.
"Ant-Man" — Not gonna lie to you. I slept through 40 minutes of this movie and I do not regret it. Got a solid nap in and I caught the final 30 to 40 minutes or so, which was really the important part. It did show me that once again we have this movie where the "hero" finds a tech/costume/device/skill and uses it, while the "villain" looks to use the same tech/costume/device/skill, and that's really the driving force of the plot. It's in a lot of these movies. But it wasn't until "Ant-Man" that I noticed it.
1:24 p.m. — I had a few Twitter followers complain about my vegetable intake. Thankfully, the lunch served on Wednesday morning was a salad bar. So, that's good news, right?
12:41 p.m. — Ugh. My brain is a mess. In the words of Captain America, I really need my thoughts to... "assemble."
So I had another bucket of popcorn. That, plus a cup of coffee and Barq's Diet Strawberry Creme Soda, has my stomach in all kinds of messy scenarios. Butter is oozing from my pores. The air reeks of feet and human musk. People are sleeping all over the place. In the hallways, on the floor, in their chairs, across chairs. For me, the sweatpants are helping. But for how long? And at what cost?
"Ant-Man" and "Captain America: Civil War" are up next. The former is a nap hour, but I'd like to see the second. I don't like my running history of falling asleep in "Avengers" movies. It may be foreshadowing what happens to me during "Endgame." Maybe I need a full bladder to survive it.
Some thoughts — a lot of these movies don't have as much nostalgia vibe. They all have futuristic technology. So no callbacks to MySpace or flip phones. It's all new. But they all do have a focus on Tony Stark. It's amazing when you watch these films back to back how much of it is still Tony Stark's story, and how skillful Black Widow is. Her character has seriously become one of the best in my eyes. Hulk has his moments, too, when you see his story played out. And I've warmed up to Captain America. Hawkeye? Still trash.
With that, here are some quick thoughts on the movies we just watched.
"Avengers: Age of Ultron" — I fell asleep early on the first time I watched it when it dropped in 2015 and missed almost all of the plot. I didn't see the Hawkeye farm scenes or the dream sequences. So I loved all of that since I was seeing it for the first time. This movie is smooth, hilarious and full of chemistry between the heroes. But I fell asleep at the end of it — right before the final battle. I think my brain was telling me, "You need sleep and you've already seen this, so nighty-night." I didn't write down any notes, and I think that was because I was engrossed with the film and because I fell asleep.
"Guardians of the Galaxy" — It was absolutely fantastic. It was the thrill ride I remember it to be. I was nervous when the film first came out that it would be a stinker, but it is no such thing. The soundtrack remains undefeated. Lots of replay value. And there are layers more interesting after watching "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Captain Marvel." So much more context for everything.
7:06 a.m. — Wow. What a night. I finally have a chance to log some info about everything. Everyone waking up now has a zombie-like quality to them. Bags under the eyes, wrinkled T-shirts and pale faces. It doesn't look good. I'm about to head out to the breakfast scene.
One big takeaway for me so far — Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) gets a lot of screen time in these movies and she's slowly becoming one of my favorite heroes of the bunch. She's such a stud. Smart, intelligent, savvy, always throws a twist in here or there. Love it.
Here's a breakdown of the movies we watched overnight.
"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" — I woke up just as this movie was starting. Fell back asleep for the first 30 minutes or so. Then went out and brushed my teeth, recorded some video, cleaned my contacts. All the grind work. But I watched the movie when I got back and it was so good. Definitely one of the top five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, if not the best. I will say there's a point where a congressman mentions that there's a "young blonde" waiting for him at home who "wants to be a reporter or something" and it just feeds into the female journalist trope that is extra annoying. Here's an Atlantic article on that for more information. Otherwise, a great film with a perfect ending that leads into "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "Captain America: Civil War" very well.
"Thor: The Dark World" — I remember being awake for the opening five minutes where they mention the character Malekith, who is now wreaking havoc in the Marvel comics. Otherwise, I slept all the way through this movie. Like I literally don't remember anything. It's that bad.
"Iron Man 3" — I was in and out of this movie. There was more Tony Stark dancing. And a lot of Christmas references. Is it a Christmas movie? Do we ever talk about that? Otherwise, I felt like I was listening to an audiobook of the first two "Iron Man" movies and that's totally fine.
12:05 a.m. — "The Avengers" just finished up. Going to grab some water in case I get thirsty for the night.
"The Avengers" — OK, so I fell asleep briefly during the point where Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) goes from good guy to bad guy and I think that's why I fell asleep. Never been a huge Hawkeye fan. Let's see. There was a subtle reference to "Captain Marvel" in this movie (Bruce Banner says he could swallow the Tesseract, which is something we see a character do in "Captain Marvel"). Oh, and Thanos, who appears in the mid-credit scene, got CHEERS at the end. That's right. Cheers. Claps. Whoops. People LOVE Thanos.
6:26 p.m. — Well, here we are again. Time for a dinner break. The room still smells like feet and popcorn. I don't think that the smell will go away. It dawned on me midway through "Thor" that people are going to be snoring later, which will cause so many problems for my sleeping habits.
Here are my thoughts on the movies we watched during the last period.
"Iron Man 2" is a lot worse than I thought it was originally. I mean, we get a dancing Tony Stark and a dancing Justin Hammer. Just so much dancing and totally unnecessary. The congressional hearings at the beginning are way too real and familiar in 2019, which is interesting since this came out in 2010. There are also a lot of cybersecurity issues, which is also a problem in 2019. At least we get a little more advanced in technology with smaller touch-screen phones and an old-school version of YouTube.
"Thor" is super slooowwww. I nodded off for a few minutes in the beginning. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is really aggressive and toxic. He's smashing things, yelling at people, waging war. Good thing he's changed to the man we know now. Funny, one of the characters, Darcy Lewis, mentioned she misses her iPod. Same here, Darcy. The film also has another reference to Tony Stark (when a monster comes to a small New Mexico town, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents ask if it's "one of Stark's," a reference to Stark's drones). Funny how much Stark pops up in these movies.
Well, that's all for now. Dinner time. When I get back, it's a full run of “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “The Avengers,” “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World," and “Captain America: Winter Soldier." All in a row before breakfast tomorrow morning. That’s where my strength will be tested.
1:10 p.m. — Heading to lunch. Let’s see how the buzz is after the first two movies.
12:29 p.m. — Just had a chance to post an update here. The theater has begun to stink a little bit of butter and feet. You can imagine what that’s like. But there is still an excitement. So far, both “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk” have received cheers and applause when they began.
So here are some thoughts on the films so far.
“Iron Man” is still the GOAT. Like, there’s no touching it. But the movie is sooooo 2008 that it hurts. I mean, there’s a MySpace reference literally in the first five minutes. There’s a weird flip LG phone too. They read newspapers. Also, Robert Downey Jr.’s hair is a little weird. He’s got heavy bangs. It’s strange seeing Terrence Howard as James Rhodes (Don Cheadle later took on the role). And, interestingly, the end credits are wicked short compared to the more recent movies. When did we decide to have longer end credits?10 comments on this story
8:47 a.m. — So I finally have my ticket and I’ve just checked in. There’s a huge buzz in the air right now for the event. People are talking about comics like crazy.
“The Incredible Hulk” is still pretty terrible. It would be super weird to see Mark Ruffalo in this role instead of Edward Norton. R.I.P. Norton as an Avenger. It’s also just a weird origin story to have right after “Iron Man.” Like, we really get no scenes showing us how Banner became the Hulk. So weird. In fact, our cultural obsession with the Hulk character is kind of strange since he’s not that interesting.