‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Director Joe Russo Explains That Extensive Runtime

Joe and Anthony Russo attend the Avengers: Infinity War premiere
Charley Gallay / Getty Images

It’s been revealed that the runtime for Avengers: Endgame is 182 minutes, making it 22 minutes longer than the second longest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Infinity War. Of course, fans don’t think three hours and two minutes is long enough as they would sit through a 10-hour film if they were given the chance.

Director Joe Russo recently sat down with Box Office Pro to discuss the lengthy runtime and explained why it was necessary this time around.

“We try to create a density in storytelling that makes them feel compulsive, irrespective of the length. We’re very rigorous about storytelling points, and we spend months in the edit room twisting and turning the narrative a bunch of different ways until we think we’ve unlocked the best one. We’re vigilant about using test audiences to tell us whether we’re on the right track or we’re making bad decisions. With Endgame, it had one of the most incredible audience responses in Marvel history. Irrespective of the length, it’s been consistently embraced by the test audiences.”

Joe went on to explain that the specific time (which he did not clarify was 182 minutes at the time) they chose for the film was done on purpose and not something that just happened. Joe and Anthony came from a television background where they were forced to cut hours and hours of footage into 22-minute segments and they mastered their craft, which was very much the case with Endgame.

The Captain America: Civil War director also contributed the runtime to the legacy of the Infinity Saga. The brothers were tasked with creating one of the greatest and biggest movies of all time, that was a culmination of 10 years of filmmaking and 21 total movies. That’s not something that can be done in a traditional two-hour movie. Joe also admitted that through the editing process the movie always stayed at the same runtime, from adding and removing scenes the film always seemed to balance itself out.

The director also mentioned the emotional weight Endgame will carry and how it follows the stories of so many characters, that using a shorter cut would not only be a disservice to fans, but to the heroes themselves. Joe said that he and his brother don’t necessarily like longer runtimes, it was just something that had to be done this time around.

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Endgame marks the fourth film for the directing duo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The brothers began their career with the MCU with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, followed by Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. Lengthy films tend to be the trend for the pair, with Infinity War and Civil War having the second and third longest runtimes in the MCU. The Winter Soldier doesn’t fall too behind at No. 7 in a list of 22 films.

Avengers: Endgame debuts on April 26.