Comic Book movies have started following a trend of ever-exceeding runtimes.
“Avengers: Endgame” clocks in at about three hours and two minutes. The longest comic book movie, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is even longer than “Endgame.” It clocks in at a whopping four hours and two minutes.
As these movies get bigger, so does their runtime. So much so, in fact, that viewers have come to expect studios to make a movie that’s at least longer than 120 minutes. There are exceptions, like “Venom,” which released in 2018 and ran for one hour and 52 minutes.
When the sequel to “Venom” was announced, it was shown to feature the Symbiote’s greatest enemy, Carnage. Fans want a lot from this but are disheartened to hear the movie is only going to be 90 minutes long.
Let’s get something out of the way first: short movies are just as valid as long ones. I can see why fans would be disappointed at a 90-minute runtime when Venom’s archnemesis is going to be at the center of this film, but a shorter runtime doesn’t equal less story.
Movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are big on purpose. There’s a lot going on in those films, especially in “Avengers” movies or origin story films like this month’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”
“Endgame” was as long as it was due to the time travel plot and the explaining the movie had to do regarding it. That, coupled with the multiple character arcs, overarching narrative, and setup for the next series of films, most MCU movies follow a strict formula.
The first “Venom” didn’t have to worry about all that. It’s not a part of the MCU, so its story wasn’t shackled by turning it into a piece for a bigger puzzle. The first movie was as long as it was to get all that exposition out of the way, which is essential for the first film in a series.
Generally, sequels have the opportunity to skip all that exposition and get to the good stuff, which is hopefully what lies in store for “There Will be Carnage.”
Spoiler alert for the first “Venom”: we see Carnage’s host, Cletus Cassidy, in the post credits scene. This gives fans an idea on how the next film is going to start and skip all the filler.
I don’t expect “Let There be Carnage” to be a metaphorically deep film, I just see it as something audiences can have fun with.
But is the addition of Carnage enough to warrant a two or more-hour film? No. Creators should make it a point to keep their works condensed as to not make them drag out. This plays a heavy part in what is commonly called “rewatchability.”
My two favorite movies have differing runtimes, almost a full hour difference. “Drive” and “Blade Runner 2049” each tell a condensed story, but the “rewatchability” is still there because they said what they needed to say with little to no filler.
These are in contrast to the “rewatchability” of, say, “Endgame” which is bogged down by the time travel exposition.
Of course, movies can be three to four hours long and still be masterpieces. Take the “Lord of the Rings” movies as an example. What can I say that hasn’t been said about them already? They’re the basis of the entire fantasy genre.
Movies that are even less than 90 minutes can be masterpieces too. I consider “Borat” to be a masterpiece, but take that as you will.
I don’t think “Let There be Carnage” being only 90 minutes is a bad thing. If anything, I’m impressed they were able to make a story that fits that timeframe for one of the most intense Marvel villains.
No matter the runtime of a movie, if it can tell a cohesive and engaging story, it’s succeeded in doing its job. I don’t expect “Venom 2” to dwell too long on itself.
It, like the first film, will most likely use its time wisely, and by wisely, I mean in showing us freaky alien beasts beating each other up relentlessly for an hour and a half.