Film Theory: The Rat That Beat Thanos! (Marvel Endgame)

Film Theory: The Rat That Beat Thanos! (Marvel Endgame)


(Rat Noises) Hello Internet! Welcome to Film Theory! The show that doesn’t ask you to sit through three hours of content, with no bathroom break. I mean, don’t get me wrong, you are more than welcome, nay, ENCOURAGED to watch three straight hours of content on this channel. YouTube would love me for it, and I would be rewarded with riches beyond compare. But, unlike “Endgame”, if you need to run to the most in-demand throne in the universe, with me, you get the bonus of letting my soothing voice accompany you on your phone. While you’re sitting there, doing whatever it is that you’re doing. So, there was a lot to unpack in Avengers Endgame, and while I have plenty of thoughts on future theories, Most of them involve time travel, or 21-movie deep lore, or figuring out what size clothes the Hulk-Banner combo is wearing, because his sweaters go way beyond husky. Where’s he getting those things? Half of the population was snapped out of existence. There are not enough people around to do bespoke tailoring of your monstrous new figure. So today I wanted to start off with something a bit more basic, something a bit more fundamental, to the entire premise of this movie. The fact that it’s RIDICULOUS. You heard me right, the entire idea of this movie happening in the first place seems impossible to me. And no, I’m not talking about time travel, I’m not talking about Doctor Strange portal battles, or Tony Stark inventing time travel in less than 5 minutes! No, I’m not talking about his miraculous rescue from the middle of space, or Thor becoming existential crisis Santa. I’m talking about THIS moment right here. A rat walking across a keyboard and setting Ant-Man free. When I was sitting there in the theater and I saw this scene, I’m like, “Are you kidding me?” “You expect me to believe this?” I don’t care how much you love the movie, this of all things is how Scott Lang is getting out of the Quantum Realm? I mean, I’m on board with everything else in this movie. Marvel, I can’t get enough of character reunions! A visit to the Thanos retirement home? Beautiful. Poetic main character deaths? Heartbreaking! But you’re telling me that all of that, everything that we see in the entirety of “Endgame” is based on a random rat, stepping on a random button in some storage parking garage? And I’m in no way exaggerating here, this isn’t me trying to make this sound more important than it is to hype up this episode. Don’t forget, this single rat button press is the ONLY thing that leads to the return of Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man, For those of you who forgot, he’s been hanging out in the Quantum Realm, an interdimensional kind of space-time soup for over 5 years leading up to this movie. This rat tripping over itself on this car is the only reason he’s rescued from time-space exile. Which, in turn, is the only reason that he introduces the idea of time travel as a possible solution to the Snappening. Which is the only reason Tony Stark and the rest of the Avengers get involved in the first place, the only reason he and Captain America bury the hatchet, the only reason they succeed in travelling back in time, retrieving the stones, and saving the universe, and everyone who was snapped away. It literally starts HERE. And only HERE. You have got to be kidding me! This entire 22-movie franchise, the epic conclusion to over a decade’s worth of movies, ultimately hinges on an act of rodent randomness saving half the living universe. So rather than be annoyed this, which, honestly, was what I was when I left the theatre after “Endgame”, I decided to put my theory where my mouth was, and figure out whether this was even remotely possible in the real world. What are the odds of that rat stepping on that panel? “And when you stop and think about it, it shouldn’t seem like that weird of a thing to do,” (I say to myself trying to justify my own self-imposed insanity.) But seriously, this entire movie is predicated on the whole idea of the Avengers having 1 chance in 14 million to beat Thanos. This entire franchise is just one massive statistics puzzle. “Endgame” is all about that 1 chance in 14 million to win when the odds are definitely not in the heroes’ favour. But I’m telling you going into this theory, that I don’t think these odds have much to do with time travel, and infinity stones, and intergalactic battles, and Tony Stark taking the infinity stones for himself, No, I think that 99.9% of those are all just wasted trying to get a single rat to step on an effin’ button. But, to be sure, let’s find out, shall we? The first question is: Why are you not subscribed to this channel? We cover ridiculous questions like this all the time. Secondly, though, and more to the point: How in the world do you calculate the odds of something like this? This is like the world’s worst Google interview question. And, to be fair, as we go this, we need to make a couple of assumptions, that’ll allow us to actually reach some conclusions, and have a hope of finishing this episode in less than 20 minutes. So, let’s start with the rats. There are obviously tons in a city like San Francisco, where Scott Lang lives, but we’ll need to estimate how many there are in the area around his van, how much ground they can cover, and also the odds that one would step on a particular spot over the course of 5 years, because remember, that’s how long Scott waits to be rescued before the magic moment happens, and this entire plot of the movie can get underway. Luckily for Scott, and the rest of the universe, San Francisco happens to be completely overrun with rats. This is not a joke. In 2018, there were news reports that people had to wait weeks for an exterminator, because there were so many rats, and not enough people to wipe ’em all out. In fact, San Francisco is the fourth most rat infested city in America! I’m assuming number one is Washington DC- BA-DOOM, CHING! Political humour, ladies and gentlemen! Get dunked on, politicians! In New York, a 2014 survey estimated that there are about a fourth of the number of rats in New York as there are people. So, applying this ratio to San Francisco with about 900,00 residents, we get 225,000 rats, which is just a heck of a lot of rats. If you live in a big city, maybe just don’t think too much about how many rats you share your block, or your apartment building with right now. The maximum range a rat is willing to travel from its nest is 50 to 150 metres. So we’re gonna take average here at a 100 metres, bigger than the length of an entire football field in every direction. That translates to 31,415.9 m² when you πr² it out. That is a huge amount of ground to cover, when we want the rat to just step on a button that’s like, an inch square, (or about 6.25 cm²). San Francisco proper is about 46.87 miles² (or 121.4 km²). 225,000 rats, each technically able to cover 31,415.9 m² in their territory means that they’re TECHNICALLY able to cover over 7 million square metres, and as a result, could be covering the entire open space of San Francisco hundreds of times over. This is especially true when you consider that they have to stick mostly to the outdoors, sewers, and yes, storage facilities and garages. Rat ground zero is likely to be right in the area that Ant-Man was last seen in “Ant-Man and The Wasp”. That last scene, where we see Dr Pym send Ant-Man into the Quantum Realm, takes place here, with the Coit Tower to the right, and the Transamerica Building due south. This gives us a pretty much 100% likelihood that Scott Lang’s car actually falls within the territory of plenty of rats. Which, I already thought was a stretch when I started this theory, but I was wrong. There are a lot more rats in San Francisco than I thought. But, okay! Saying that Scott’s car falls into the territory of a few rats doesn’t guarantee that one will ever step on a very small button. Realistically though, we’re not just dealing with one rat. You see, unlike Youtubers, rats aren’t loners. They enjoy things like socializing and sharing. They live in groups. Rat colonies have a population of up to 100 rats, in fact. So if this van is in the range of some rats, it’s actually gonna be in the range of a LOT of rats. But remember, that at the end of “Infinity War”, half of all living beings in the universe got [SNAP] snapped away. That means that at the beginning of the five years, we’re dealing with fifty-ish rats in Scott Lang’s area. So how much ground are these 50 rats covering? Well, it actually depends on how fast they’re going. Once we know that, we’ll be able to know how many places they could randomly step in the course of a typical rat day, and then statistically, how long it would take them to step on this one button. We can estimate an average walking speed of 3.5 cm/s for a rat. Rats can actually move a lot faster than that, because their gait, (or their walking/running speed) can range from 3.5 to 8.5 cm/s depending on how exciting that 4-year-old Twinkie on the other side of the dumpster’s looking, but we’re interested in what it’s average speed would be across its entire day. Also, knowing that a rat’s stance (or the distance between its feet) is about half an inch wide, lets us take the walking speed, the linear distance covered per unit of time to the area the rat is physically covering during that time. Think of the rat as a moving rectangle, that’s trying to fill in all the spaces of this giant circle, that is its territory. Right, so knowing its walking speed and knowing it’s average foot placement, we’re able to calculate how much area it’s covering per unit of time, and that translates to 4.44 cm² per second. So the question now is: How long is a rat actually out there wandering around searching for food, versus sleeping, or doing stuff around the nest, like learning cool rat tricks, or, I dunno, giving birth to the next generation. Well, rats tend to be nocturnal, which means that they’re usually taking the night shift and scrounging around for food for about 8 hours a day, from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m, no weekends off. so, calculating out how long they search, and the area that they’re covering per second, on any given single rat day, a rat would cover 12.8 m². That’s a teeny-tiny fraction of it’s
31,415.9 m² territory in total, and the rat has a teeny tiny chance of finding Scott’s button on any given day. To be exact, that rat would have a 0.0407% chance. To be clear that is not 4%, that is 0.04%. Let me pull out my Doctor Strange “looking into the future” effects, that is 1 in 2,454. If we give this rat the ultimate benefit of the doubt that we can, and say that he never goes to the same place twice in his lifetime, which isn’t entirely realistic, but hey, just for the purposes of a thought experiment, it would take him or her 2454 days to completely cover the entire search area. That is 6 years, 8 months and 21 days of constant rat searching, never covering the same area twice. Now, I feel okay about this assumption because it’s kind of like a big average. Realistically if the van was
close to the rat’s nest, well, this button would actually have an enormous likelihood of getting hit early on. If it’s on the edge of a rat’s territory on
the other hand, well, the odds become incredibly low. So, by spreading out the area that the rat’s walking, we know we’re not accurately representing real traffic patterns, but instead we’re averaging things out, based on the fact that we have no idea where the rat is actually starting from. So all you “but actually” people, take it easy. I’m trying to take as much into account as possible. And no, I’m not taking into account that the van is elevated, and he’s got to climb up there and all that, yeah, I get it, we’re talking pure surface area. So if the rat searches the whole area of it’s territory, and the very last bit of it happens to be the button that he’s walking over that frees Scott, it would take almost 7 years. It’s a lot, but it’s nowhere close to what I was actually expecting, I was expecting this to be on the probability of like, never. In order for the rat to come across Scott’s button in 5 years like the movie shows, he would need to hit that button within the first 1825 days. Based on our calculations, there’s actually an unbelievable 54.7% chance that it could do that. I can’t believe I’m saying it, but it’s
better than a coin toss, that a single rat would step on a button that frees a guy from the Quantum Realm! But that’s not all! If we keep factoring things in, we can actually do a lot better. Remember, Scott is not just counting on one rat, he’s counting on 50 covering the same territory because they share the same nest. So if we rerun our calculations, based on the idea that 50 rats are each searching independently, our 5 year search actually gets a lot more optimistic. If a single rat’s odds of randomly freeing Scott are a little over 50%, the odds of 1 of 50 rats rambling, stumbling into freeing Scott are a
staggering 99.9999 7%. I suppose you could say that THE RAT IS ENEVITABLE. even if we are less optimistic about the future of the rat population, and decide to Thanos snap the number used in our previous estimate, and do the calculations based on a smaller number of rats, like 10 rats, traveling at their slowest speeds, and only hitting this spot once in their lifetime, the odds of him getting found in 5 years is STILL 99.94%. and that is with us repeatedly taking
the low estimates on every step of this process. Doctor Strange might have seen 14,000,605 futures, and only one path to victory, but out of those 14,000,605 futures, 14,000,601 of those futures involves Scott
being freed by a rat, and only 4 of them with Scott trapped forever in the Quantum Realm, or just freed by a hippie looking for a new van instead of a rat. I mean, this is San Francisco we’re talking about. So at the end of the day, the odds might not have been on the side of the Avengers, but they were certainly on the side of Ant-Man! But hey! That’s just a theory – a Film Theory! Aaaaand… looking at the Avengers lineup, you know what’s missing? I mean, we’ve got ourselves Arrow Man, Thunder God, Tiny Man, Large Man, Living Tree, and Mr. America 2.0, it seems like you got most of
your bases covered, But oh no my friends, you’ve got yourself one key weakness with the team as it’s currently set up. You’re missing a hacker! I mean we just lost our tech genius, and that sentient laser computer guy died shortly before that, ’cause here’s the thing my friends, without the proper online protection, all the super strength in the world isn’t gonna help, when your identity gets stolen and your bank account gets cleaned out. Luckily, you don’t need to be on Earth 616 to find an appropriate hero, he already exists here, in this universe, via our sponsor for today’s episode: NordVPN. Nord is a superhero in lots of different ways. Nord uses thousands of super fast
servers across 60 countries, all working to circumvent firewalls, encrypt your data usage, and ultimately keep your activity invisible online, regardless of whether you’re using a tablet, a phone or a computer. If you torrent, or do any sort of peer-to-peer sharing, a VPN is a must in order to de-identify your IP address. Nord is basically like Aquaman, except instead of fish, it’s able to summon the power of international servers to rescue your data! But Nord is also no longer
just about online protection. With the passing of Article 13 over in Europe, a VPN is actually going to become more important than ever before, because a VPN will help you get around region specific restrictions, so you can still watch content like this show, content that uses other people’s IP and Fair Use-y ways, even if the Governments of their respective regions don’t necessarily see it that way, Thanks to Nord VPN, a few clicks and your internet connection
suddenly looks like it’s in a completely different part of the world, a part of the world that’s not subject to such strict rules around IP usage. One subscription to Nord gets you coverage across 6 different devices with unlimited bandwidth. So go to NordVPN.com/FilmTheory right now, and get yourself 75% off a 3-year subscription, and then, once you’re checking out, you can use the code FILMTHEORY again and get yet another month completely free. It’s an investment in yourself, it’s an
investment in your online security, and also your support of Nord is an investment in us, because it means that they still want to partner with us, which helps us cover the bills, so thank you so much, and thank you to Nord for their continued support. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a few more thoughts on “Endgame” I got to start scripting out, ’cause like I said, this movie had a lot to
cover, but more on that next episode.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. To everyone asking whether I calculated the rats repopulating, I did and just cut it before the final draft because it got too pedantic and lost in it's own numbers. Also, we wind back up at 50 rats anyway. Here's what got cut in case you were curious:

    "That means that at the beginning of five years, we're dealing with 50-ish rats in Scott Lang's area, which would replenish to their population carrying capacity in the course of just a few generations. Given that rat food supplies might be lower now that there are only half the people on the world, let's assume that they don’t get back to the full 100 rat population in Scott's immediate area, but that they make a good 50% surge back up to 75 rats roving all over Scott. Realistically it's almost impossible to know for our specific area exactly how many rats would be here, but we're making our best assumption right now and I'm trying to at least give Scott a fighting chance.

    So over the course of the six months after the Great Snap, rats would have pretty much bounced back, given that a new generation of rat babies is ready to go every six weeks. To get our final number, we’ll assume that an average-sized rat community would have at most around 50 rats out searching for food at any given time, since about a third of them are statistically in the nest at a given time."

  2. is no one going to talk about how when the avengers snap in endgame they technically snapped out half the universe cuz they can't just snap out thanos

  3. The odds of one rat pushing the bottom might be mayor.
    It's never mentioned what lifeforms disappeared with the snap, it could be the half of the universe living organisms and considering the extension of the universe the earth could not even been afected, the we know it did but it might not erase any rat!!

  4. I’m not gonna lie, when me and my brother walked out of the theater, we were discussing our favorite parts, and I was like “the rat that saved the universe”

  5. I can live with the idea that one rat randomly saves the universe, but the thing I really can't get behind is that out of the 14m-1 possibilities where Thanos is victorious, there isn't one Thanos aware of the fact that someone tries to stop him via time travel (as we see in Endgame). Let's say there is one version of the final battle in Endgame with Thanos winning. Wouldn't he make sure by using the IS that no one use time travel?

  6. Rats reproduce extremely fast. Their natural predators have also been half snapped away without the extreme breeding capability. With half the humans as well, you can see the city going into disarray. I prime breeding ground for a plauge of rats. 5 years isnt enough time to deplenish the food supply of such a huge city so exponential growth in that time would be expected.

  7. 6:05 what an interesting way to estimate pi, using rats and football fields. My favorite way to estimate pi is shown on a video by "3blue1brown" called "The most unexpected answer to a counting puzzle"

  8. The real question I would ask is, "If you previously got stuck in the Quantum Realm and got out by having one of Hank Pym's size altering discs, why would you EVER enter the realm again without having the same back up method in reserve?

  9. I mean, it could've been anything, so long as it was a freak accident. Maybe a power surge could do it, or anything. I assume it took a press of a button to release Scott, so statistically it could happen.

  10. Well, there are several movie that start with tiny events. Take the Lego movie, which starts only because Emmett just so happened to lose his pamphlet (his instructions), fall into a hole, and finding the piece of resistance.

  11. Here's an interesting thought. If you lived in the MCU, where would you have been at the time of the snap? I've worked it out to be 26 April, 2018 at 4 pm GMT.

  12. Legitimately watched you for 3 hours yesterday 😂 work is crazy boring and I'm here for theories while its slow, padding mad Pat's stats.

  13. You didn't take rat breeding into account. There would have been growth in five years. It improves the odds as you've calculated them, but there's another problem you're going to run into.

    The problem here isn't whether the event would happen somewhere in five years – you need the fat part of the bell curve to land close to or directly on five years for all of the rest of the necessary intervening events with everybody else's characters to happen. That's going to substantially affect your likelihoods. What you need to be solving for here is the necessary initial rat population required to construct a curve where maybe 85+% of the possible outcomes fall around 4 to 6 years. Once you have that number, you would then have to calculate what the odds are that that number of animals would end up in San Francisco subsequent to the snap. The problem you solved is both trivial (even including the dozens upon dozens of confounding factors you left out, the chances of something reasonably plausible happening within the span of five years approaches 100%) and not particularly relevant to the question at hand.

  14. If you kill half of the rats it takes them not more than half a year till they have had so many childs that the rat population is at 100 again.

  15. Am i the only one who forgot that he usually does sponsors, and thought he was going to say that Peter Parker was the new tech genius?

  16. I mean, to be fair… It took five years for a mouse to set Antman free. 5 whole years. Endgame could have happened 1 or 2 years after infinity war, but it didn't. Because it took 5 years for Antman to get out.

  17. sorry , but as i know rats would reproduce very fast during the 5 years so i think you should have calculated that as well

  18. What about the fact that the life expectancy of a rat is 2 years. What if no boys or girls were left alive in the colony. Then the likelihood would be very low.

  19. Chances get even higher when you factor in rats short gestation period. There would be be more rats and half the humans…And cats, to kill them.

  20. Hey, a rat learned Ninjutsu from his owner and mutated then taught his adoptive, mutated, turtle sons. So… Why not? 😂😂😂

  21. Stephen: comes back from looking at the possibilities
    Quill: thinking He looks shocked. I wonder what he saw…
    Stephen: thinking The fate of the universe depends on a rat what the fuck

  22. If you factor in the rats reproductive capacity in the span of 5 years….. no, their food supply is primarily shot too ….. okay carry on

  23. mice can breed within 21 days tho and with less exterminators around the mice population probly thrived and possibly has more than 100 per colony

  24. This is why I quit watching Marvel movies. Because back to back highly unrealistic things happen just because the plot demands it and.. its a highly predictable plot. You know whos going to die, when they are going to die, how they are going to die and you stop caring because they all come back anyway. The only time a main character good guy is killed off is when their contract is about to expire.

    And heres a thing? Why didn't Hulk just punch Thanos in the throat?
    Why didn't Ant Man just go inside him and then expand?
    Why didn't Captain America use one of the jagged halves of his broken shield to slit Thanos's throat.
    Why did they keep going for body shots on Thanos?
    Why didn't Hulk kick him in the nuts?
    If Ant Man had really grown to that massive size, he would have blown away in the wind

    Rat happened because the plot demanded it.

    And here is the most confusing thing that also proves Thanos to be a complete idiot.
    Why did he not snap away the Avengers as well when he did the snap.

    Thanos when he was on Earth he was so ineffective at getting rid of all life on Earth as he said.

    More people were born on Earth during the time that he was on Earth than he killed.

    The smartest person in the entire movie was the guy who said they should go back in time and kill Thanos as a baby. He was so dangerous to fight as an adult that the ONLY way he could possibly be beaten was by luck. And that is why you had so many because the plot demands it moments in Endgame.

  25. The whole rat thing is what ruined the movie for me. It basically means that Dr Strange's big move was hoping the rat would step on a button and thus taking the agency from the Avengers. If the only thing they were lacking was a chance at Scott coming back then it should have been something set in motion by Dr Strange and not just a fingers crossed this works.

  26. I just want to say that Dr Strange predicts all of the futures and they only win in 1 out of 14 million or whatever, so this is that 1 in 14 million chance where Antman gets released by a rat. Therefore meaning they just stumbled into that one possibility through random chance.

  27. I really appreciate how you did this but if there are lots of tables/vans/sewers then they can go under and over it so it is actually even less likely but you are right that this is the best way to figure it out

  28. Don't worry Mat! The Avengers not only have Black Panther's techy sister/relative (can y'all tell I haven't seen the movie?) but S.H.I.E.L.D. has Daisy/Skylar or whatever her name is now (can y'all tell I haven't kept up with the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show?)

  29. There's a LOT of human SHIT on the streets of SF… So why wouldn't there be a lot of rats eating this human shit? Can you do a film theory on that???

  30. That's something I never thought about how devistating it would be to the planets economy to have 3.5 billion people vanish and how impossible it be to accommodate them all returning instantly 5 years later WITH NO WARNING they would of had to adjust production and inflation to have survived the vanishing and hard as that be it be impossible to switch it back INSTANTLY to power there stuff have meds for them FOOD AND CLEAN WATER they don't grow food for 3.5 billion people that no longer exists and haven't for years I mean that's something I don't think the earth economy or government or civilization as a hole could survive really think how much of an effect it have on rich and POOR country's lolol earth still ends up loosing millions of not billions of people except from starvation and war instead of thanos thanks avengers lolol

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