San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Despite growing criticism, the length of movies aren’t getting too long

If a film is entertaining, its runtime shouldn’t matter
Illustration by Daisy Garcia.

Movies have entertained people for over 100 years since the Kinetoscope, which allowed audiences to view moving pictures. People were once mesmerized by rapid images moving across the screen, which lasted just a few minutes. A century later, people are complaining that movies are getting too long. 

However, movies have always been long. And if it’s good, then who cares? 

Runtimes in movies have been a hot topic of discussion recently, but some of the best ones are long. The top 10 grossing films in 1981 averaged close to 110 minutes. The average film length in 2001 was 126 minutes. In 2021, it was 131 minutes.  Long movies have always been around and people didn’t always whine about it.  

Some of the most critically acclaimed movies in film history were longer than two hours. “Gone with the Wind,a romance movie taking place during the Civil War, was released in 1939 and was nearly four hours long. It’s not historically accurate and romanticizes slavery, but it was a popular movie for American audiences during the great depression. The movie won eight Academy Awards, including “Best Picture.” 

Another example is “Schindler’s List,” released in 1993. It was over three hours long, but told a story that was important and reminded us of a dark time in history. The runtime allowed the director to immerse the audience in the tragedy and pain that occurred during WW2. 1997’s blockbuster hit “Titanic” was over three hours long as well and left an everlasting impression on pop culture. Its story captured audiences’ hearts and is a favorite for many. 

A huge movie franchise that is notorious for long movies is Marvel. 

If you’re a fan of comic book movies, then you’ll remember the worldwide excitement about 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War.” The movie was over two hours long and was talked about for months after its release. The movie took the audience through a spectacular journey from start to finish. 

I agree to a certain extent that some long movies do not push forward the narrative enough, which makes the story boring. Movies have to entertain to work and be successful. But if a movie still does all that, then it doesn’t matter how long it is. 

The impact of “Avengers: Infinity War” would have not been the same if it had been shorter. The length of this movie allowed the audience to immerse themselves in the story through the brilliance of the character interactions across the CGI-generated different worlds. The battle scenes also had audiences at the edge of their seats. This story needed its length to connect the different stories happening all at once to make chronological sense.

Many argue that long movies aren’t worth it. Sadly, people are missing out on epic stories simply because social media has caused many to have short attention spans. Going to the theaters and watching a movie with others or on your own is an experience like no other. 

Killers of the Flower Moon, released in 2023 was over three hours long. The story takes place in 1920s Oklahoma where the Osage people were killed for their oil money. The storytelling is heartfelt, and you feel for the Osage people who were taken advantage of. This was a dark period in Native American history and it’s shown through the film. 

The film’s length allows for great dialogue between characters and acting which helps immerse the audience into the tragedies and backstabbing that occurred in their community. It forces the audience to learn about this story but also symbolically represents how long this reign of terror occurred. People I spoke to missed out on this important piece of history that isn’t talked about enough because they didn’t want to sit down for it. 

Luckily, a recent blockbuster hit has shown that a good and powerful story with incredible visuals can bring many back to the theaters.  

The much anticipated Dune: Part Two came out this year has been a box-office hit that has made over 630 million dollars worldwide. And it’s still in theaters today. “Dune: Part Two” has a runtime of 2 hours and 46 minutes. 

It’s a continuation of Paul Atreides’s story who is plotting revenge against those who ruined his family while preventing a terrible future. The film has mesmerizing visuals that showcase the most peculiar world and storytelling that captures your attention.   

With an incredible story, no one will question whether a movie should be watched. Movies can be powerful and not just entertaining but culture-changing and on a personal level life-changing.      

In the end, movies, like any work of art, are up to your interpretation and liking. If you think a movie’s length is too long, luckily streaming services are a thing and you can pause. 

But if you’re like me and you love to watch a good movie in theaters, then just sit back and enjoy it, whether it’s one, two or three hours.