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We’re Very Conflicted Over The Fact That Avengers 4 Might Be Three Hours Long

The cast of 'Avengers Infinity War' from Marvel Entertainment

We’re in the end game now for Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, and the other original Marvel lineup. Each passing day brings us closer to the end of an era with Avengers 4, and so naturally we are obsessed with finding out as much news as we possibly can beforehand to ready ourselves for the onslaught of tears and feels. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo certainly are helping keep the hype high, teasing the upcoming finale with cryptic pictures and the occasional other hint. Recently, when doing an Instagram chat to promote his new bar, the topic of Avengers 4 came up and Joe Russo dropped some hints.

Joe Russo said, when asked about the runtime of the film: “The running time on Avengers 4 is currently sitting right at three hours. We’ll see if that holds. …  We’re about halfway through the editing process. We’re really just scratching the surface on our VFX shots. There are more than 3,000 VFX shots in the movie; those require a lot of time and thought and energy and effort, and we’re very early in the phase of getting VFX done. We’ve just started work with Alan Silvestri on the score, and we’re still editing picture at this point.”

There’s nothing too surprising there. It would be shocking to have the picture locked so soon after shooting wrapped, and this film will undoubtably be a CGI fest for the eyes. What is interesting is the current runtime. That’s a lot of superhero action. We’re talking Titanic or Lord of the Rings or (god forbid) Avatar length here.

This runtime might change, as they are only halfway through the editing process, but it does beg the question. How long should this film be to wrap up all the loose plot threads?

Avengers: Infinity War ran on the longer side at around 2 1/2 hours. While I found it long in stretches, I also struggled to see what they could have cut (well, maybe a tiny bit off the Thor and Rocket and Groot adventures). There was a lot of set-up that needed to happen to make the final loss stick, and set up the stakes for the sequel. Russo was happy to chime in on those stakes, saying “Will the stakes be higher in Avengers 4? Absolutely. 100 percent. The highest of any of the films to date, without question.”

He’s not wrong: the fate of the half of the galaxy turned to dust hangs in the balance, as well as those who survived. Others say that there’s a rumored other threat out there, which like… guys, save Galactus for Phase 6 or something. If the stakes are that high, we might need a longer runtime to resolve a variety of plot threads.

There is also the fact that it’s the swan song for many Marvel mainstays. The Russos might be hesitant to trim down too many scenes featuring Soon-To-Be-Dead Heroes so they can get their last grand hurrah. For some, spending a lot of time with their favorites before the credits roll is the best way to say goodbye.

On the other hand, there is such a thing as bloat, and Marvel movies have suffered from it in the past. Infinity War felt long, and to add an extra thirty minutes to that runtime that could be cut doesn’t sound good. If the film overstays its welcome, it won’t land with the intended impact. Audiences will be checking their watches (or sneaking a glance at their phones since people don’t really do watches any more) rather than remaining engaged with the story.

A streamlined runtime really depends on what the purpose of the film is. A grand finale could probably be paired down, but if they’re focusing on setting up the future of the MCU beyond Cap and Iron Man, then things could get a little heavy. I understand trying to make sure the audiences stays once all of their friends are dead, but we don’t need the film to also function as a trailer for the MCU. At this point, if you’re in, you’re probably still in until the heat death of the universe. Just focus on the plot at hand and the rest of us will happily still shell out the money for the next twenty phases.

Personally, I don’t mind the idea of a long runtime if the runtime is earned. A three hour long film might be necessary, but it also could be overlong and drag down a huge event film. So, Mary Suevians, I leave the question up to you. Would you enjoy a three hour long Avengers movie, or will you be done around the two hour mark?

(via The Hollywood Reporter; Image; Marvel)

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Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.