A legendary film critic had a famous quote: “No good movie is too long, and no bad movie is short enough.” We thought about that perfect summation as rumors started to swirl that the final cut of Joe and Anthony Russo’s AVENGERS: ENDGAME would hover near (and possibly over) three hours. There’s a lot of ground to cover in the culmination of the story that started last summer in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. And yet, how much is too much?
Would you actually sit through a three-hour cut of AVENGERS: ENDGAME?
Marvel Studios junkies likely would scream, “Yes!,” without a moment’s hesitation. AVENGERS: ENDGAME is being described by the Russos as the closing of the current chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR certainly left audiences dangling off a cliff, with half of the known superhero population snapped away into the ether.
We haven’t seen much in the footage from the first two AVENGERS: ENDGAME teasers, but we can tell that the surviving members of the Marvel team are going to mount a counterstrike against Thanos (Josh Brolin) and hopefully figure out a way to get their “dusted” colleagues back.
No Marvel Studios movie has approached the three-hour mark to date. The longest film on the roster is AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, with a two-hour and 29-minute runtime. The AVENGERS movies, in general, run longer than the standalone solo hero films, though CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR clocked in at 2 hours and 27 minutes (and basically served as a mid-level Avengers story).
How long should AVENGERS: ENDGAME be? Our answer is it should be absolutely as long as it needs to be to tell its story properly. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR feels like it runs about 90 minutes, because it’s so expertly paced and packed with mind-blowing action set pieces and brilliant character development. You’re barely given the chance to settle back into your seat before the Russos step on the gas, and they never let up.
If the brothers are able to maintain that passion and intensity for a three-hour cut of AVENGERS: ENDGAME, why wouldn’t Disney and Marvel give them the benefit of the doubt and know that they’re just trying to deliver the best possible conclusion to the story?
From a business perspective, there is a downside to a longer cut of AVENGERS: ENDGAME. Theatres can only show a three-hour movie so many times over the course of a day, so that cuts into the number of people who will be able to see it on opening weekend and could lead to sellouts for weeks. Still, seems like a good problem to have.
We don’t know yet how long AVENGERS: ENDGAME will be, but we do know that it’s opening in theatres on April 26, and we’re ready to absorb everything that the Russos are ready to throw at us.