Though 2022 is wrapping up, there are still some of the year’s biggest films awaiting release, including the beautiful-looking Avatar: The Way of Water. There’s no better film that 2022 could end with that’s representative of how long movies have been this year. While films have seemingly been getting longer with each passing year, which is only natural as these cinematic universes continue to expand, 2022 has been surprisingly full of 2.5-to-3-hour epics.
Between a grueling war epic, a semi-autobiographical Steven Spielberg movie, and a spectacular musical biopic, studios clearly haven’t been worried about the effect that longer movies would have on box office grosses this year. By comparison, there were only two studio movies released in the whole of the 2010s that were over three hours, and there are two in 2022 alone.
10/10 All Quiet On The Western Front – 147 Minutes
All Quiet on the Western Front is the newest Netflix movie with major awards potential. The film is about a young German soldier with ambitions of becoming a war hero until he sees the reality and atrocities of war. The drama does such a great job of being faithful to the source material instead of obscuring it for entertainment, and it has a powerful anti-war message that few others of its peers have achieved as effortlessly.
As is the case with most war epics, it’s on the longer side of the average movie runtime. The 2022 war movie is just shy of two and a half hours, and while it’s a grueling 2.5 hours, it’s totally worth it and tells an important part of World War I that generally gets glossed over, especially as Hitler banned the original book in Germany (via Time).
9/10 Triangle Of Sadness – 147 Minutes
Interestingly, despite winning the Palme D’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which is generally considered the most prestigious award a film can win, Triangle of Sadness only has a 70% on Rotten Tomatoes. It has gotten generally positive reviews, but it has ironically been criticized the most for being too long in the tooth.
The black comedy follows a wealthy celebrity couple who join a cruise for people with elite wealth, and absolute unrest and uproar unfold. However, at almost 2.5 hours, the film’s edgier sequences could have been more hard-hitting if it was a little tighter. But it’s still one of the best movies that satirize the rich.
8/10 The Fabelmans – 151 Minutes
One of the many reasons why director Steven Spielberg is the very best at what he does is because he knows exactly how long a movie needs to be, no matter how long or how short. He doesn’t make epic movies for the sake of it, and whether it’s the 195-minute Schindler’s List or the 116-minute War of the Worlds, Spielberg’s releases are perfectly paced lean prime-cut movies.
And at just over two and a half movies, it seems like that’ll be no different with the upcoming The Fabelmans (released on November 23), the director’s semi-autobiographical movie that follows a child’s obsession with cinema. The upcoming movie is a promising awards contender, and with the way Spielberg tells stories, it’ll likely feel shorter the most 90-minute releases.
7/10 Tár – 158 Minutes
Tár is one of the most talked about new releases at the minute, as it marks celebrated director Todd Field’s first movie in 16 years, and Cate Blanchett is the frontrunner for Best Actress at the Academy Awards. The new movie follows the titular composer, Linda Tár, as she goes on a downward spiral when she tries to maintain her power and status in the music world.
The movie is an emotionally exhausting two hours and 38 minutes, as it follows Tár making one tragic mistake after the next. It has quickly become a must-watch movie about tortured artists, and it’ll be mentioned in the same breath of the likes of Black Swan and The Wrestler.
6/10 Elvis – 159 Minutes
Though most of the year’s longest movies can account for their runtimes, Elvis didn’t necessarily need to be almost two hours and 40 minutes. The movie is full of performances from the King of Rock and Roll, and while every one of them is spectacularly shot and has the glitz and glam that’s typical of director Baz Luhrmann, few of them add anything to the narrative.
However, some viewers would also argue that they were the far superior moments in the film and that the dramatic moments were lacking due to Tom Hanks’ criticized performance and the screenplay not being historically faithful. But as the film failed to adapt some of Elvis’ most iconic moments in his life, it could just as easily have been longer too. And Luhrmann agrees, as he plans on releasing a four-hour version.
5/10 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – 161 Minutes
Where 2018’s Black Panther was two hours and 14 minutes, which has become the standard for Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, its sequel is almost a full half-hour longer. However, there are many reasons why Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is so long, as the film has so many things to cover.
First, it has to cover the devastating passing of Chadwick Boseman and set up a new heir to the throne and Black Panther, so it’s essentially another origin movie. It also has to cover how Wakanda coped with the five-year Blip that happened in Avengers: Endgame. And on top of all that, it has to introduce Namor, tell a new story, and wrap up Phase 4 of the MCU. But according to critics, director Ryan Coogler miraculously pulled it off.
4/10 Blonde – 166 Minutes
If there was any 2022 movie that was more undeserving of its runtime, it was the critically slammed Marilyn Monroe biopic, Blonde. While Ana de Armas completely disappeared into the role, the movie surrounding the character was criticized for being way too exploitative and indulging too much in the sex scenes.
Those very sequences take up a surprising amount of the runtime, and if the movie was at least 30 minutes shorter, it wouldn’t have lost any of its impacts, and it would have even been more effective. It would have gotten a much better reception from critics too. Given that Blonde was 10 years in the making, Netflix probably regrets pulling it out of development hell.
3/10 The Batman – 176 Minutes
The Batman moves at a snail’s pace, however, that runtime was necessary to depict the Caped Crusader as the World’s Greatest Detective, and it sees the masked vigilante actually carrying out detective work.
It shouldn’t go without mentioning that Warner Bros. was so brave to greenlight a three-hour Batman movie as dark as this. The studio must have known that a two-hour Batman film that isn’t quite as pitch-black dark could have made so much more at the box office. Nevertheless, the 2022 movie still made $770 million worldwide (according to Box Office Mojo).
2/10 Babylon – 188 Minutes
While Babylon isn’t a superhero movie or part of a franchise, it’s certainly an event movie. The period movie set in 1920s Hollywood is an epic three-hour drama full of movie stars and scheduled for release on Christmas Day. And as it comes from La La Land director Damien Chazelle, it’ll likely be an unforgettable audio/visual experience.
It almost seems like the spiritual successor to The Wolf of Wall Street, as it sees businessmen indulging in huge drug-fuelled parties, only they work in the movie industry instead of Wall Street. And a lot of the movie’s excessive 188-minute runtime (via Variety) will probably be spent following these inebriated characters too, not to mention that the film also stars Margot Robbie.
1/10 Avatar: The Way Of Water – 190 Minutes
Director James Cameron already warned potential audiences about its long runtime, but it has since been confirmed that Avatar: The Way of Water will be three hours and 10 minutes (via The Hollywood Reporter). At two hours and 42 minutes, the first Avatar was already long enough, but it still managed to become the highest-grossing film of all time.
With an additional 30 minutes, the sequel might have to wave goodbye to breaking its predecessor’s record. However, if there’s one thing anyone can learn from box office results, it’s to never bet against Cameron. After all, the previous highest-grossing movie of all time was the Cameron-directed 194-minute Titanic.
NEXT: 10 Memes That Perfectly Sum Up Avatar (2009)