Although 2022 is drawing to a close, some of the year’s biggest films are still awaiting release, including the beautiful looking one Avatar: The Way of Water. There’s no better movie to end 2022 that’s representative of how long movies have been this year. While movies seem to get longer with each passing year, which is only natural as these cinematic universes continue to expand, 2022 was surprisingly full of 2.5- to 3-hour epics.
Between a grueling war epic, a semi-autobiographical Steven Spielberg film, and a spectacular musical biopic, the studios clearly weren’t worried about the impact longer films would have on box office earnings this year. For comparison, only two studio films longer than three hours were released in the entire 2010s, and two in 2022 alone.
10/10 All Quiet on the Western Front – 147 minutes
nothing new in the West is the latest Netflix movie with big price potential. The film is about a young German soldier who has ambitions to become a war hero until he sees the reality and horrors of war. The drama does such a good job of staying true to the source material rather than covering it up for entertainment, and it has a strong anti-war message that few of its peers have achieved so effortlessly.
As with most war epics, it’s on the longer side of the average movie runtime. The 2022 war film lasts just under 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 is generally glossed over, especially since 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 widely regarded as the most prestigious award a film can win, triangle of sadness only has 70% on Rotten Tomatoes. It has received generally positive reviews, but ironically it has been criticized most for being too old.
The dark comedy follows a wealthy celebrity couple who take part in a cruise for people of elite wealth, and absolute unrest and turmoil spreads. However, at nearly 2.5 hours, the film’s edgier sequences could have punched more hard if it were 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 director Steven Spielberg is the best at what he does is because he knows exactly how long a film needs to be, no matter how long or how short. He doesn’t make epic films for their own sake, and whether it’s 195 minutes Schindlers List or the 116 minutes war of the WorldsSpielberg’s releases are perfectly timed, lean prime cut films.
And at just over two and a half films, it seems that the upcoming ones will be no different The Fabelmans (released November 23), the director’s semi-autobiographical film that follows a child’s cinema obsession. The upcoming film is a promising contender for an award, and with the way Spielberg tells stories, it will likely feel shorter than the 90-minute releases.
7/10 Tar – 158 minutes
tar is one of the most talked about releases, as it is acclaimed director Todd Field’s first film in 16 years, and Cate Blanchett is the front-runner for Best Actress at the Academy Awards. The new film follows titular composer Linda Tár as she finds herself caught in a downward spiral as she tries to maintain her power and status in the music world.
The film is emotionally draining two hours and 38 minutes as follows Tár makes one tragic mistake after another. It’s quickly becoming a must-see film about tortured artists, and it’s mentioned in the same breath as people like Black Swan and The wrestler.
6/10 Elvis – 159 minutes
Although most of the longest films of the year can explain their running times, elvis didn’t necessarily have to be nearly two hours and 40 minutes. The film is packed with performances from the king of rock and roll, and while each is spectacularly shot and has the glitz and glamor typical of director Baz Luhrmann, few add anything to the narrative.
However, some viewers would also argue that these were the vastly superior moments in the film and that the dramatic moments were lacking due to Tom Hanks’ criticized performance and the script not being historically accurate. But since the film didn’t adapt some of Elvis’ most famous moments in his life, it might as well have been longer. And Luhrmann agrees, as he plans to release a four-hour version.
5/10 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – 161 minutes
Where is 2018 Black Panther was two hours and 14 minutes, which has become the standard for Marvel Cinematic Universe films, its sequel is almost a full half hour longer. However, there are many reasons for this Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is so long because the film has so many things to deal with.
First, it has to cover the devastating death of Chadwick Boseman and establish a new heir to the throne and Black Panther, so it’s essentially another original film. It also needs to show how Wakanda dealt with the five-year-old blip that happened Avengers: Endgame. And to top it all off, it must introduce Namor, tell a new story and complete phase 4 of the MCU. But according to critics, director Ryan Coogler miraculously pulled it off.
4/10 Blonde – 166 minutes
If there was one 2022 film less deserving of its run, it was the critically acclaimed Marilyn Monroe biopic. Blond. While Ana de Armas completely disappeared from the role, the film surrounding the character was criticized for being far too exploitative and over-indulging in the sex scenes.
It is precisely these sequences that take up a surprisingly long time, and if the film were at least 30 minutes shorter, it would not have lost any of its impact and would have been even more effective. It would also have gotten a much better reception from critics. Given that Blond was 10 years in development, Netflix probably regrets pulling it out of development hell.
3/10 The Batman – 176 minutes
The Batman moves at a snail’s pace, but that running time was necessary to portray the Caped Crusader as the world’s greatest detective, and it actually sees the masked vigilante doing detective work.
It should go without saying that Warner Bros. was brave enough to greenlight a dark three-hour Batman film like this one. The studio must have known that a two-hour Batman film that wasn’t quite as pitch black could have done so much more at the box office. Despite this, the 2022 film still grossed $770 million worldwide (according to Box office mojo).
2/10 Babylon – 188 minutes
While Babylon is not a superhero film or part of a franchise, it is certainly an event film. Set in 1920’s Hollywood, the historical film is an epic, star-studded 3-hour drama set for release on Christmas Day. And as it comes la la country Director Damien Chazelle will likely make it an unforgettable audiovisual experience.
It almost looks like the spiritual successor The Wolf of Wall Street, as it sees businessmen indulging in huge drug parties, only they work in the film industry instead of on Wall Street. And much of the film’s inflated 188-minute runtime (via diversity) will also likely be spent following these drunken characters, not to mention Margot Robbie starring in the film.
1/10 Avatar: The Way of Water – 190 minutes
Director James Cameron warned potential viewers about the long running time, but that has since been confirmed Avatar: The Way of Water will last three hours and 10 minutes (via The Hollywood Reporter). At two hours and 42 minutes the first avatar was long enough, but still managed to become the highest-grossing film of all time.
With another 30 minutes to go, the sequel may have to say goodbye to breaking its predecessor’s record. However, if there’s one thing everyone can learn from box office results, it’s never bet against Cameron. After all, the hitherto highest-grossing film of all time was the 194-minute film directed by Cameron titanic.
NEXT: 10 Memes That Sum Up Avatar Perfectly (2009)