MCU’s Iron Man (2008) starring Robert Downey Jr. pushed the domino of live-action comic book adaptations and the concept of an interconnected universe, the effect of which, can be seen on a global scale.
These films are undeniably majestic with their storyline and visuals, but they can be complex at times. These complexities can be due to a number of reasons, such as establishing multiple characters and sub-plots for sequels. For example; Nick Fury appears at the end of Iron Man to push The Avengers initiative.
To encapsulate it all, filmmakers are now pushing the runtimes of such films. Superheroes used to wrap up their origin tale in nearly 120 minutes, but gone are those days. A runtime of 150 minutes and sometimes even more has become standard.
We’ve curated a list of 10 such films spanning over 2 decades that have gripped the audience for nearly 180 minutes; to the fans of Robert Downey Jr., the Iron Man franchise does not top that list.
10. Superman Returns (2006) – 154 Minutes
Brandon Routh as Superman
Superman Returns starred Brandon Routh as the caped Kryptonian and Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane. The Bryan Singer directorial released 19 years after Superman IV: The Quest for Peace closed the chapter on Christopher Reeve‘s iteration in about 133 minutes.
9. Watchmen (2009) – 163 Minutes
Next up is Zack Snyder‘s Watchmen, which is about a group of heroes who uncover mysteries while trying to find the culprit who killed one of their own. The film, set in an alternate 1985 time period, showed elaborate set pieces and themes.
8. Eternals (2021) – 156 Minutes
A still from Eternals
The seemingly cosmic spectacle from Marvel Studios – Eternals, took the audience on a journey into the lives of ancient superheroes sent to Earth by the Celestial entity named Arishem. Stars like Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Salma Hayek, and Kit Harington had diverse storylines; hence, the runtime.
7. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) – 162 Minutes
Shuri as Black Panther
Honoring Chadwick Boseman‘s legacy, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever expanded the Marvel universe with the introduction of the King of the Seas – Namor. Letitia Wright‘s character, Shuri, went on a journey under the ocean, and her buildup to becoming the next Black Panther could have only been done in the said time frame.
6. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – 152 Minutes
Batman v Superman
The epic showdown from DC Studios between the Last Son of Krypton and the Bat of Gotham happened for the first time in a live-action adaptation and it took a great deal of time for Bruce Wayne, played by Ben Affleck, to accumulate enough resources to put down Henry Cavill‘s Man of Steel.
5. The Dark Knight (2008) – 152 Minutes
A still from The Dark Knight
Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight delved deeper into the madness and chaos that the late Heath Ledger‘s iteration of Joker brought to the film. Carefully tailored story of Harvey Dent, played by Aaron Eckhart along with the clown prince building his own grand scheme, Christian Bale‘s Bruce Wayne needed time to sort things out.
4. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – 165 Minutes
The Dark Knight Rises BTS image
The Dark Knight Rises took matters even further with Tom Hardy‘s Bane being a larger-than-life threat to the world. Christian Bale was brought out of retirement by Anne Hathaway‘s Catwoman as she pitted him against Bane who broke his spirit. His journey back into the world from Bane’s personal prison and eventually defeating him pushed the runtime.
3. Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) – 151 Minutes
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman 1984
Gal Gadot‘s Wonder Woman 1984 had director Patty Jenkins showcase the time period in great detail. The introduction and development of Kristen Wiig as Cheetah along with another powerhouse actor Pedro Pascal playing the antihero Max Lord ran simultaneously with the main storyline of Gadot’s Diana reliving her past as her love interest – Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine, returned.
2. Iron Man (2008) – 126 Minutes
Robert Downey Jr. in and as Iron Man
While this may seem surprising, Robert Downey Jr.‘s origin tale in Iron Man didn’t take as long to encapsulate his journey of escaping the terrorists and discovering his true purpose. Iron Man, focusing mainly on Tony Stark’s brewing rivalry with Jeff Bridges‘ Obadiah Stane leading to their ultimate showdown, wrapped up in the shortest possible time frame in the list. Even the sequels, Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3, were 124 and 131 minutes respectively.
1. The Batman (2022) – 177 Minutes
Robert Pattinson in and as The Batman
Topping all the aforementioned entries – The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson as the caped crusader, brought a version of Gotham City on the silver screens that was quite elaborate in terms of the landscape, the characters, and the in-depth storyline of Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne, the runtime was well adjusted to keep the audience hooked.
A Look Into The Batman Franchise
Set in an Elseworlds DC timeline, The Batman has been rebooted by the studios for the fifth time and bagged $770 million at the box office. Actor Michael Keaton brought a thorough characterization of the caped crusader in the first-ever big-budget experience with 1989’s Batman.
Leaving after Batman Returns in 1982 due to creative differences, actor Val Kilmer took on the cape and cowl with Batman Forever in 1995. Kilmer left for other projects and actor George Clooney stepped in with Batman & Robin in 1997. Receiving rave reviews, DC Studios rebooted the character in 2005.
Christopher Nolan, with his own grounded version of The Dark Knight trilogy, gained both critical and commercial success. Soon followed Ben Affleck’s iteration in 2016 with Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman.
Spanning across 3 decades, the live-action Batman franchise is worth over $5 billion. Pattinson’s The Batman sequel, set for a 2025 release, will boost the worth further.
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Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, that kickstarted the big-budget superhero game fell short compared to these 10 films with longest runtimes. Read More