It seems like some people are looking for reasons to dunk on The Marvels before it’s even hit theaters. Those who want the MCU flick to fail are even pointing at its truncated runtime as an issue, but in reality, it’s actually a good thing.
With a runtime of 105 minutes, the next entry in the MCU is the shortest film of the entire franchise. But, instead of celebrating how kind The Marvels will be to their bladders, there are some who fear this upcoming Marvel movie will suffer by trying to cram a bunch of plot and character development into a relatively short space of time.
Nia DaCosta, the director of the Marvel Phase 5 movie, has played this down in a recent interview with Digital Spy. “I really wanted it to be under two hours. I always think about the runtime actually, when I go into a film,” she said. “I just feel like there’s no need to have it long if you don’t need to, because 1 hour 45 minutes is pretty average for a movie, so we were all really excited.”
I don’t know where this idea came from that superhero movies need to be at least two hours long to have any kind of credibility. Sure, bumper events like Infinity War and Endgame more than warranted a massive runtime, but for something like The Marvels — which looks like a light and playful intergalactic action movie — there really is no need to go big for the sake of it.
DaCosta didn’t even register the fact her new movie was doing anything out of the ordinary, either. “I just think you do what’s right for the movie. I didn’t even know about this runtime thing until I think it was reported on. You have to do what’s right for the movie,” she added. And that’s exactly how it should be.
In no world does a shorter runtime equate to a lack of quality in a film. If a movie works, it doesn’t matter if it’s 60 minutes or 600 minutes long. Every movie is different. If you look at our list of the best movies of all time, you’ll find incredibly long films like The Godfather (2 hours 55 minutes) and The Lord of the Rings movies (which are all around three hours long), but you’ll also see classics like Back to the Future and Raiders of the Lost Ark, which both come in under two hours.
Anyone concerned that The Marvels won’t be able to play out a fun, body-swap story in 1 hour 45 minutes should look at the above films for the answer: if Marty McFly can master time travel in less than two hours, I’m sure a bunch of Marvel characters can save the universe in a similar runtime.
A recent report from Variety suggested The Marvels was in trouble of flopping, with talk of reshoots and disappointing test screenings. Honestly, with a talented director like Nia DaCosta behind the camera, and The Marvels cast boasting the likes of Brie Larson, Teyonah Paris, and the endearing young star, Iman Vellani, I reckon we’re going to get exactly what the MCU needs right now: an injection of energy, and pure, popcorn entertainment.
The Marvels is a film which is largely unburdened by the pressures of the wider MCU and seemingly will have very little bearing on Marvel’s Phase 6, aside from us getting to know the central trio of heroes a little better. I’ll be taking my teenage daughter to see it at the cinema, as has been our tradition with every one of the Marvel movies in order, but to be honest, were The Marvels on the wrong side of two hours, I don’t think I’d have been able to persuade her to keep up that tradition.
So, thank you, Nia DaCosta, for keeping your film short and (hopefully) sweet. Speaking of, if you can’t handle the big movies anymore, maybe a look at our ranked list of every Marvel series will be more digestible. Or, perhaps you’re feeling especially mean today and want to take inspiration from the best Marvel villains. Alternatively, you can look ahead to other Marvel movies, like Deadpool 3 and Spider-Man 4.