The size of Avengers: Infinity War has been difficult to quantify. There has been all the talk about the size of the cast. (How many characters will it have again?) Kevin Feige has teased it as a “culmination” of all that has come before. And now, there is one more way to define just how gigantic this film is going to be: run time. At San Diego Comic-Con Joe Russo was on site to discuss a variety of things and had the following to say about how long the movie will be.
The current cut is over two and a half [hours]… Most of it’s a movie you could show, but there’s still a lot of work left to be done, I still have a couple of scenes that we haven’t finished from Avengers 3 that I’m shooting in the next few months with my brother, and it’s certainly gonna be a film that lives in the two and a half hour, two and a half hour-plus range…We have to [make it that long], I mean it’s a culmination event. We’ve gotta take 10 years of storytelling in this Marvel narrative experiment that’s been going on since Iron Man, and we have to take all these disparate tones, disparate themes, motivations, and we have to pull them together in a unified narrative and write the final chapters of the book. There’s no way you could do that with all these characters in under that running length.
That run time seems like it will be required, just to give all 27 characters on the teaser poster some screen time! Thus far the longest MCU film has been Captain America: Civil War, and no MCU movie has made it to the 150-minute mark. While some might jump to conclusions about movie length (“everything over two hours is overstuffed!) the reality is that long movies can feel breezy and short movies can be exhausting. Ultimately it will come down to the quality of the material. Certainly, the Russos should give the movie enough space to breathe. Big universe building movies (Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice comes to mind) can feel too rushed if the elements aren’t given enough space.
Russo went on to talk about Avengers 4 probable length and the comments are very similar.
It’s hard to say because we haven’t shot it yet, but I think again because these are complex movies with a lot of characters, it’s hard to imagine—now look at me I’ll look like an idiot in a couple of months when it’s two hours and twenty minutes, but it’s hard to imagine these movies being short films.
It goes without saying that most fans are expecting these films to be huge sagas. The MCU needs variety in the films. Ant-Man was a great change of pace. Civil War and Doctor Strange were a great one-two punch last year, with their variety of tone and heaviness. But Infinity War isn’t a time for half measures. The whole universe has built up to this movie and it needs to be gigantic. Anything short of monumental just won’t live up to the hype over the years. The real challenge for the directors isn’t how long the film will run, it’s how much they can thrill the audience in however many minutes they make it.
If you’d like to hear more about SDCC, straight from the convention floor, check out this week’s podcast!
What do you think of these longer run times? Do you ever feel like a Marvel movie is too long? What’s the right amount of time in the theater for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.