“Holding out for a hero till the end of the night,” Bonnie Tyler sang back in 1981. Oh how prophetic those words turned out to be, for the end of the night is exactly when we’ll be trudging out, bleary eyed, from the upcoming hero flick “Avengers: Endgame.”
According to an official run-time revealed Tuesday, the follow-up to “Avengers: Infinity War” will be 3 hours, 2 minutes. You read that right. If you bring your kids to the 8 p.m. showing of the film, which comes out April 26, with previews you’re not leaving that theater until at least 11:20 p.m.
A 3 hour, 2-minute superhero movie. That’s 182 minutes of capes. 10,920 seconds of lightning shooting from hands. 0.13 days of Oscar-winners spouting bad dialogue and cashing checks. “Avengers: Endgame” may very well last till the end of days.
Is this Marvel Cinematic Universe story orgy’s running time 7 minutes longer than that of “The Godfather”? You bet it is. It’s also the equivalent of three dentist appointments, six InstantPots full of chili and 91 Gettysburg Addresses.
Why, God, why?
“We’re gonna release the movie at the exact right running time,” co-director Joe Russo told Collider recently. Russo argues that there are just too many characters to do justice to and too many storylines to resolve. Correct.
“I’m telling you this,” he adds. “It’s gonna be perfect.”
“Citizen Kane” was perfect, Joe. Marvel movies are fine, sometimes fun, often ho-hum. But it’s exactly that attitude — going about thinking that your movie starring The Hulk and Dr. Strange is “Madame Butterfly” or “Crime and Punishment” — that has turned so many Marvel films into such arduous chores since the delightful “Iron Man” came out 11 years ago.
Beyond the run-time, the trailer for “Endgame” (not to mention to the entirety of 22 minute shorter “Infinity War”) suggests a preposterously self-serious, dark movie with the levity of an anvil. So that’s more than three hours of brooding pomposity.
A lot of beloved, ginormous properties have been turned into movies. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” is 870 pages, but a very fine 2 hour, 18 minute movie. “Boyhood,” Richard Linklater’s original film, was filmed over 12 years, chronicling the life of a kid growing up. More than a decade of events and it’s still 17 minutes shorter than “Endgame.” Even James Cameron had the uncharacteristic good sense to cut an alien sex scene from “Avatar” to keep his epic to 2 hours, 42 minutes.
Part of creation is being edited. Every single desire can’t make it into the final product. If we allowed artists to go completely unchecked, the world would look like a combination of “Pee Wee’s Playhouse,” the creepy boat ride in “Willy Wonka” and the Springfield tire fire. Editors, dramaturges, producers, etc. keep artists’ childish whims in check. And if you’re above that, Joe, save it for the director’s cut.