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Avengers: Endgame Ready for Immortalisation

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The official runtime for Avengers: Endgame has been confirmed by directors Joe and Anthony Russo. They had been teasing for a while that it would be longer than three hours, and now we know for sure that it is. Let’s unpack the significance of that a little.

 

The Fabled Three-Hour Mark

Running for longer than 3 hours is, in Hollywood, a sign of greatness. Think Lord of the Rings, Avatar, Gandhi and Dances with Wolves. These are films that we come back to again and again, to fill us with wonder and often to teach us a few life lessons.

Since Endgame is the close of Part Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the culmination of 22 films and 11 years of weaving plots together, it’s hardly surprising that its producers wanted it to join the illustrious list of movies that last for longer than 180 minutes.

A rumour was even floated for a while that the final Avengers adventure was 182 minutes. However, we have now been reliably informed that our band of heroes will be assembling for the last time for   180 minutes and 58 seconds exactly.

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Perfect Length Myth Dispelled

While it’s clear that audiences understand the significance of the three-hour milestone, it seems that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige might not. He has publicly explained that for him, and his massive employer, the top priority is crafting a release that is its own, individual “perfect length”.

There were some serious edits that cut the Endgame time down, Feige says, until every moment was compelling and there was no “good time to run out to the bathroom”. With so many storylines to conclude, and so many characters to give screen time to, this cannot have been an easy task.

Now that it is done, and in a way that Feige, the Russo brothers and co-writers Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus feel happy with, it’s understandable that they’d want to talk more about the quality of each movie minute, and not about their overall quantity.

The Three-Hour Mark for Marketing

So, the Powers That Be over at Marvel are not interested in the length of their final Avengers epic. Or are they? Since significance of this running time has a huge impact on audiences, it can make them more compelled to watch a film.

The first two films in The Hobbit trilogy, for example, go for longer than three hours. Arguably, that entire escapade could have been concluded in one, much shorter release. Let’s not forget that Tolkien wrote one Hobbit book, and it was intended to introduce Lord of the Rings.

The cinema franchises are almost the same length, but they don’t draw on nearly the same amount of content. In an effort to, as Feige might have put it, ensure there was no good time for a bathroom break, the Hobbit team had to draw on a lot of material from the appendices to Lord of the Rings books.

Was that a good thing? You might have intuited by now that this writer doesn’t think so. But did it draw the crowds? The answer to that is yes. Combined with general fondness for hobbits, Tolkien and Sir Ian McKellen, it was enough to make most even the most in the closet geeks turn out. So it seems entirely plausible that the Marvel team had the same idea. We’re luckier this time though; there seems to be more than enough meat to Endgame to justify its length.