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Avengers: Endgame is here -- How I survived Marvel's 59-hour movie marathon

I holed up in a theater this week watching 22 MCU films back to back, culminating with Endgame. The experience can be summed up in one word: awesome.

Abrar Al-Heeti Video producer / CNET
Abrar Al-Heeti is a video host and producer for CNET, with an interest in internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. Before joining the video team, she was a writer for CNET's culture team. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
Expertise Abrar has spent her career at CNET breaking down the latest trends on TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, while also reporting on diversity and inclusion initiatives in Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Credentials
  • Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has twice been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.
Abrar Al-Heeti
14 min read
Marvel Studios

My 59-hour Marvel movie marathon is here. Yes, I'm watching 59 hours of Marvel movies, back to back (to back). 

For two and a half days, I'm essentially confined to a chair at an AMC theater in San Francisco as I attempt to watch all the movies from start to finish, beginning with Iron Man and wrapping up with Avengers: Endgame on Thursday (read our CNET review of Endgame here). I'll sleep in a theater chair and eat way more popcorn than I probably should. It's been nice knowing you, everyone.

I slept well Monday night, the night before the big race, but not for very long since I got home late. My bags were packed with (hopefully) everything I'll need to keep me going: toothbrush, toothpaste, neck pillow, leggings, socks and battery packs. Lots of battery packs. 

Watch this: How I survived the Marvel Studios 22 Movie Marathon

I'll add to this story (latest updates at the bottom) and share Twitter updates about my dwindling state of mind, so be sure to follow me there to see how I'm holding up.

Before this, I'd seen only three MCU movies: Spider-Man: HomecomingBlack Panther and Captain Marvel. I liked them, but I wouldn't call myself a giant Marvel fan... yet. Here's to hopefully becoming one.

The movie rundown: 

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Day 1

Tuesday, 9:23 a.m. PT: I'm standing outside the AMC Metreon waiting to get in. There are seven other people waiting. I'd figured the theater would've opened the doors by now. First meal of the day: lemon cake from Starbucks. A needed sugar rush.   

Tuesday, 9:58 a.m. PT: I'm in my seat! These chairs are seriously nice. Plenty of space between rows, which is great for getting in and out and stretching your legs.  

Tuesday, noon PT: Just finished Iron Man! I'm pleased to say I enjoyed it, as pretty much everyone told me I would. The plot was fun to follow and there wasn't too much crazy action (which can be a deterrent for me). And I'm actually -- dare I say it -- excited to watch the sequel in a few hours. 

Also, these seats are amazing. I can totally see myself taking some incredible power naps in here.

Watch this: Preparing for a 59-hour Marvel movie marathon

Still not hungry enough for lunch -- I had some lemon cake at around 9:30 and that's kept me full. Maybe I'll get some pizza when I do get hungry, though. Tony Stark ate some in the movie and it looked delicious. Next up: The Incredible Hulk. 

Tuesday, 2 p.m. PT: Stepped out of The Incredible Hulk for a quick prayer break (I'm Muslim and I pray five times a day). Was going to wait until the movie was over but figured it wouldn't kill me to miss some of it....  

Tuesday, 2:30 p.m. PT: Iron Man 2 is starting and I'm eating delicious BBQ chicken pizza.

Tuesday, 4:30 p.m. PT: Iron Man 2 just ended. It was fun, I just didn't get as into the plot as I did for the first movie. To be fair, I don't know if I should blame the movie or my brain. 

It was pretty cool to see pieces of (what I assume to be) other Marvel movies start coming together, with what I believe to be Captain America's shield appearing in one scene and Scarlett Johansson's character showing up (I don't know the character's name without Googling it, I'm afraid to say).

I'm starting to feel sleepy but I wonder if that's because I've been in a dark room for six hours. Thor is next. Let's see if I doze off.

Tuesday 7:44 p.m PT: Just finished grabbing dinner with my friend and colleague Alexandra Able. We had some delicious burgers and garlic fries from Super Duper that totally hit the spot (sorry to the guy sitting next to me in the theater). 

I'm enjoying an hour-and-a-half break between Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. I tried to sleep during Thor but it turns out that's easier said than done, as I was woken up by loud sound effects throughout. Still, it's safe to say that movie was lost on me. Based on feedback from many folks on Twitter, though, I didn't miss much. 

Watch this: Nine-hour check-in at the 59-hour Marvel movie marathon

I'm charging my phone in the hallway, but a few folks are napping in the theater. Rest will be much needed, as the next long break isn't until around 10:30 a.m. PT tomorrow.

Tuesday, 10:14 p.m. PT: I loved Captain America: The First Avenger. It's my favorite of the films I've seen so far. I think part of it has to do with the fact that I enjoy stories set in the past, but I also just loved the plot. I can't wait to see the other Captain America movies.

Also, Captain America is absolutely gorgeous. Just saying.

Seems like just about everyone in the theater is still awake. Let's see how long we all last tonight. The Avengers is next! I'm excited.

Day 2 

Wednesday, 12:48 a.m. PT: My descent has begun.

I was looking forward to The Avengers because of the praise it got from my friends and colleagues, but this is when the sleepiness really kicked in. I tried resting my head on a pillow for comfort but it quickly became clear that was a sure way to knock out in no time. Even when I sat upright, I inadvertently dozed off a few times. 

But I think it's OK. Each time I woke up from my mini naps (maybe about four times), they were still fighting Loki. There's a lot of fighting in this movie. Like, really a lot. I wouldn't mind if there was a little less. After a while, I start to just block it out. 

Turns out my short naps weren't that deep, though, because I could still kind of hear everything happening. 

Iron Man 3 is next. I'm planning to just knock out during this one. Based on what I've been told on Twitter and heard here in the theater, I don't think it'll be a loss to miss it. 

Wednesday, 3:28 a.m PT: Just woke up to find Iron Man 3 had ended. I did it! I slept through the entire film! I'd say a little less than half the theater is also asleep right now.

Thor: The Dark World is next. Hoping that's also OK to skip, because I'm planning to. More sleep is probably needed.

Wednesday, 6:57 a.m. PT: Just finished taking my fourth prayer break. I'm glad I slept well during the last two movies. Thor was unnecessarily loud at some points, but that didn't deter me from my mission to energize. 

I looked at the list of movies to check what's next (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and then asked myself: Do I even care? What's the difference at this point? They're all movies I know nothing about and will most likely end up watching anyway, because I'm here. When you're a total newbie and you watch them all back to back to back, this whole concept of setting them apart (at least for me) starts to go out the window. Am I becoming cynical? Maybe. But can you blame me?

Still, I'm otherwise feeling good about the rest of this. I can do it! I'm also excited to see what that charming Captain America is up to now.

Wednesday, 8:21 a.m. PT:  OK, let me amend the tone on my last update. Captain America: The Winter Soldier totally deserved my time and interest. I'm starting to feel like this may be the story I'm most interested in, at least so far. I missed the beginning (these 15-minute breaks really aren't long enough), but I felt I could still pick up the plotline when I got back in the theater from my prayer/filming/bathroom break.

When Bucky showed up, I gasped. That was such a good plot twist. What I love about the two Captain America movies I've seen so far is how they work in emotion. In the first one, when Captain America said "I had a date," my heart broke. In The Winter Soldier, I almost lost it when he told Bucky during the fight scene, "I'm with you til the end of the line." So good.

Guardians of the Galaxy is next. Not sure if I should be excited.

Wednesday, 10:14 a.m  PT: I couldn't really get into Guardians of the Galaxy. The fantasy element was a bit too strong for my taste, I think. It did have good humor, which was a redeeming quality. But honestly, I was hardly paying attention. I think I was also distracted by the fact that I have a TWO-HOUR break now!

I think I'm going to walk outside and get an acai bowl (I know, I'm such a Californian. But I could use something healthy and refreshing). I'm pretty hungry. It'll also be an opportunity to get some steps on this Fitbit Versa the folks there were nice enough to loan me. I set it up almost three hours ago and as of now, I have 869 steps. Let's bring that number up.

Wednesday, 12:47 p.m. PT: That two-hour break went by fast. Grabbed my acai bowl and did a little on-camera stuff before heading back, only to find they'd brought McDonald's for us. I picked the Captain America Happy Meal, because ... duh.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is on now, but I'm sitting outside the theater working on posting updates and admiring my Happy Meal toy. I'll head inside in a bit.

Wednesday, 1:42 p.m. PT: I think I'm getting dehydrated. I need to drink more water.

Wednesday, 1:56 p.m. PT: Also, the Fitbit Versa lent to me by the company tells me I reached 5,195 steps! Walking during that break was helpful.   

Wednesday, 2:41 p.m PT: Afternoon sleepiness is starting to kick in, but I must resist. 

I caught the last 40 minutes of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which means I understood nothing. There were a few new faces among the main characters that I need to learn about. 

Ant-Man is next. I want to watch this one start to finish, but I'm getting sleepier by the minute. Maybe eating will help. 

I picked up some Korean food for later during my break. An Acai bowl can only hold you for so long. 

Watch this: 24 hours into the 59-hour Marvel movie marathon

Wednesday, 4:58 p.m PT: I started to get into Ant-Man and thought it was really fun (plus, points for being based in San Francisco). But my energy started to run low, and I realized if I didn't take a nap, I ran the risk of dozing off during Captain America: Civil War, which is up next. So less than halfway through Ant-Man, I let myself sleep.

I'd like to go back and watch it in full sometime, without having to watch 21 other movies, too.

Wednesday, 7:35 p.m. PT: I loved Captain America: Civil War, to no one's surprise, I'm sure. It was really entertaining and fun to follow. Good jokes, too. Spider-Man gets a lot of credit for that. He and Tony Stark make an epic pair. 

I actually had to check the schedule a few times to make sure I wasn't watching an Avengers film, because Captain America doesn't appear that much more than the other characters. 

Also, I have a buddy now! My friend and colleague Alexandra Able is here. She brought me earplugs for tonight. Bless her soul.

Wednesday, 9:45 p.m. PT: I wish I was tired enough to sleep through Doctor Strange.

I need to try to sleep so I can be awake for Thor: Ragnarok at 3:20 a.m. PT. I've been told it's a good one. After that, we get a 1.5 hour break before Black Panther, which I've already seen twice. If I need more sleep, I can get it then. 

I'm curious to see the sleep stats from my Fitbit after. Goodnight for now.

Day 3

Thursday, 1:21 a.m. PT: It's officially day three! I managed to sleep through Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which I imagine is impressive given there are apparently some major battle scenes. Woke up a little earlier than I'd planned since Spider-Man: Homecoming (which I've already seen) is on.

My Fitbit says I slept for 2 hours and 1 minute. Don't forget that one minute. I think it was really critical. I didn't hit any stages of sleep -- REM, light, deep -- apparently. It just says "No Stages."

Thursday, 2:59 a.m. PT: I managed to fall asleep again for an hour and half during Spider-Man: Homecoming so I could have energy for Thor: Ragnarok. For the most part, I tend to miraculously wake up just as films wrap up, which is great. 

This may be the end of my nighttime rest, which totals a whopping 3 hours and 37 minutes, according to my Fitbit. Only six more movies to go! I can't believe we're almost there.

Thursday, 5:25 a.m. PT: Thanks to everyone who urged me to stay awake and alert during Thor: Ragnarok. I really enjoyed it. I could still get into it even after having slept through the first two movies, and I enjoyed the humor.  (Yes, I'm still capable of laughing at this point.)

The Hulk and Thor seemed like an unlikely pairing, but they complement each other pretty well. 

I'm sensing 3.5 hours of sleep probably isn't sufficient for the day. The most important thing, of course, is that I'm wide awake for Avengers: Endgame tonight. I have a 1.5 hour break now, but I'm planning to close my eyes during Black Panther afterward even though I love that movie. I've seen it twice already. It's all about the sacrifices.

Time to get something to eat. 

Thursday, 7:47 a.m. PT: Just changed my clothes for the first time since this started. The first outfit lasted longer than I expected. I feel refreshed and ready for the last five films!

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think I'm going to miss this when it's over. The theater and its long hallways, quiet corners and comfy seats have become home to me these last few days. It's amazing how quickly your body can adjust to things and how seamlessly you can adapt to new routines. I've gotten into the rhythm of: watch movie, tweet and update live blog when I can, drink water, get up to use the bathroom during breaks, eat something, repeat. It's been really fun. I think I'll come out of this experience unscathed.

As you can see, I haven't yet fallen asleep during Blank Panther like I said I might. I guess there's still time. Either way, I have to be awake for Avengers: Infinity War, which is next. I'm excited. 

Thursday, 12:12 p.m. PT: I'm not OK. This is not OK.

No, I'm not dehydrated or sleepy. That's nothing. Avengers: Infinity War just ended, even though THAT IS NOT AN ENDING. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? 

I don't know how everyone else has been faring leading up to the release of Avengers: Endgame. How have you been going on with your day-to-day lives with an "ending" like that??? As folks on Twitter have pointed out, though, at least I have to wait only five hours for a resolution. My deepest sympathies to the rest of you who have undoubtedly suffered for far too long.

On another note, this movie really makes me want to go back and watch both Guardians of the Galaxy films. Those characters were responsible for much of the humor in Avengers: Infinity War, so I think I'd really enjoy them. Let's give it a week.

I also loved seeing Wakanda in this film. It was cool to essentially have a follow-up to Black Panther. Great to see those characters again.

One of my favorite quotes in the movie: 

"There's an Ant-Man AND a Spider-Man??" I definitely laughed out loud. But that was when I was young and foolish and thought there were things in this world to laugh about. Now I'm just upset.

Let's just get through Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel. I don't know how I could care about anything else right now. I need it to be 5 p.m. I need closure and answers.

Thursday, 2:16 p.m. PT: I was on Twitter during most of Ant-Man and the Wasp (and I also grabbed some chicken tenders from the concession stand), but the parts I did see were funny and entertaining. This is another one I'll need to go back and watch in full sometime. 

Captain Marvel is next. Another movie I've already seen, but I'm looking forward to watching it again. 

I can't believe we've reached the last two movies. Less than three hours until Avengers: Endgame. 

Thursday, 2:35 p.m. PT: Update: Checked my sleep stats again from earlier today, and there's now a breakdown of time spent in each stage of sleep. Looks like it was 27% REM, 49% light and 15% deep. The rest was awake time. Sounds about right.

Thursday, 4:40 p.m. PT: The time has come, folks. We made it. Captain Marvel is done, and Avengers: Endgame starts in about 20 minutes. I'm excited, but I don't want this to be over. 

Yes, I really said I don't want a 59-hour movie marathon to be over. It's safe to say I've lost it.

It's going to be a struggle not to use the bathroom, since I'm feeling kind of dehydrated and would love to just chug some water. But I have to pace myself. This is important.

Before we get to the last movie, I just want to say thanks for following along. I've had so much fun hearing from people on Twitter and sharing this journey with you all. You'll hear from me again after it all wraps up. Stay tuned.

Thursday, 8:15 p.m. PT: We've reached the end.

Avengers: Endgame just finished. I have so much to think about, and so much to take in. That was so incredible. I loved every minute. It didn't feel like three hours. The time flew by. 

What an incredible story. I've really grown to love these characters. It's amazing how over such a short period of time (59 hours -- let's call that short for these purposes), I feel like I've come to know them so well. Yes, there are things I missed between naps and movies I'll have to rewatch. But what made this film so enjoyable, other than the incredible plot, was that at this point I've built up an understanding and fondness for these characters and their stories. My questions and concerns after Avengers: Infinity War have been resolved. The ending was, for lack of a better word, very satisfying. 

This is my favorite movie in the MCU. I'll share my rankings for favorite movies in a bit. I'm being kicked out of the theater right now.

Watch this: How I survived the Marvel Studios 22 Movie Marathon

Thursday, 10 p.m. PT: I'm home now. I should be more excited about this than I am. I already miss the theater and the movies, which is slightly concerning. 

I may be crazy, but can you really blame me? I was introduced to this universe of awesome films and now I'm supposed to just go home and sleep? That's not possible. 

Then again, I didn't think surviving 59 hours in a theater was possible, and here we are.

OK, time for rankings. I wanted to just do my top 5 (top 10 is too much to process right now. I think I need to rewatch Guardians of the Galaxy before I can make an informed decision there). But there were still three films I couldn't figure out how to work in. Determining the order was also tricky. No. 1 is definitely my top pick, but the others are harder to place because I loved them all so much. But I tried:

No. 1: Avengers: Endgame

No. 2: Captain America: The First Avenger 

No. 3: Avengers: Infinity War

No. 4: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

No. 5: Black Panther

Bonus picks (do I get those?): 

No 6: Captain Marvel

No. 7: Thor: Ragnarok

Ugh, but I also loved Captain America: Civil War. These rankings are subject to change, so don't hold me to them.

I'm going to lay down after I settle in a bit. I threw my bags on the floor and sat down at the foot of my bed when I got home to write my final thoughts ASAP. I think I'm going to spend the next few hours reading through Marvel Marathon-related tweets.

How to watch every Marvel Cinematic Universe film in the right order

See all photos

This story originally published April 23 at 10 a.m. PT and will be updated often over the course of the marathon.