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Case Study: Marvel Films/Series Runtime & How Long It Takes To Watch

The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment for four billion dollars in 2009. Disney bought the distribution rights to Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger in 2012 from Paramount Pictures. Since then, Marvel Studios has fully come under Disney, and they are one of the biggest and most valuable assets of Disney.

Though there are highs and lows, no other cinematic universe is near it. After becoming the president of production at Marvel Studios in 2007, Kevin Feige played a pivotal role in building this massive empire.

Feige is now not only the President of Marvel Studios but also the Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Comics, Television, and Marvel Animation. Marvel Studios has nourished under his tutilage.

Marvel films started their journey with Ironman with a runtime of 2 hours and 6 minutes, which was a standard movie length for most films. But the last movie in the MCU’s Phase-I, The Avengers, was the longest movie between Phase I and II. But after this, everything changed, as most of the Marvel films started to hit more than 2 hours of time length.

Though the first film of Phase III has the title of Captain America, it was a kind of Avengers film with lots of superheroes featured in this particular film. Captain America: Civil War was the third longest film in Marvel Studios’ Phase III of their cinematic universe.

Even though this was just the beginning of something new, everything broke with the movie length of Avengers: Endgame, which was almost 3 hours long. The amazing thing was that it was the biggest film in the world to this date, and the audience had no complaints about such an unusually lengthy film.

There is no doubt that Phase III is the best phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to this date. But many fans have complained about the Phase IV movies being shorter than the other films from the former Phases.

Despite all these issues, Marvel has also introduced Disney Plus series like WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Hawkeye, Moon Knight, and Ms. Marvel, which have more content to consume than the films. Among all these Disney Plus shows, Loki is the most breathtaking series to binge on, and this series has played a vital role in introducing the next big villain of the upcoming events of the MCU. 

At the end of the first Avengers film, Marvel teased their big bad supervillain, Thanos, who would be the biggest threat to the Avengers, and summed up everything in Avengers: Endgame movie. They started building a cinematic universe with the introduction of Robert Downey Jr.’s Ironman film in 2008 and have expanded their universe since then. Currently, Marvel Cinematic Universe is the most popular and successful cinematic universe on Earth.

MCU Runtime Report

Phase-1Iron Man2 hours 6 minutes
Phase-1The Incredible Hulk1 hour 52 minutes
Phase-1Iron Man 22 hours 4 minutes
Phase-1Thor1 hour 55 minutes
Phase-1Captain America: The First Avenger2 hours 4 minutes
Phase-1The Avengers2 hours 23 minutes
Phase-2Iron Man 32 hours 10 minutes
Phase-2Thor: The Dark World1 hour 52 minutes
Phase-2Captain America: The Winter Soldier2 hours 16 minutes
Phase-2Guardians of the Galaxy2 hours 2 minutes
Phase-2Avengers: Age of Ultron2 hours 21 minutes
Phase-2Ant-Man1 hour 57 minutes
Phase-3Captain America: Civil War2 hours 27 minutes
Phase-3Doctor Strange1 hour 55 minutes
Phase-3Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 22 hours 17 minutes
Phase-3Spider-Man: Homecoming2 hours 13 minutes
Phase-3Thor: Ragnarok2 hours 10 minutes
Phase-3Black Panther2 hours 14 minutes
Phase-3Avengers: Infinity War2 hours 29 minutes
Phase-3Ant-Man and the Wasp1 hour 58 minutes
Phase-3Captain Marvel2 hours 4 minutes
Phase-3Avengers: Endgame3 hours 1 minute
Phase-3Spider-Man: Far From Home2 hours 9 minutes
Phase-4Black Widow2 hours 14 minutes
Phase-4Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings2 hours 12 minutes
Phase-4Eternals2 hours 36 minutes
Phase-4Spider-Man: No Way Home2 hours 28 minutes
Phase-4Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness2 hours 6 minutes
Phase-4Thor: Love and Thunder1 hour 59 minutes
Phase-4Black Panther: Wakanda Forever2 hours 41 minutes
Marvel - Phase 1 - Case Study Marvel Films Runtime & How Long It Takes To Watch

As we see, Phase I movies of the MCU have a total of 12 hours and 24 minutes of content. Phase-I ends with The Avengers, which was released on 4th May 2012. The Avengers is also the longest among all the Phase I films.

Marvel - Phase 2 - Case Study Marvel Films Runtime & How Long It Takes To Watch

After the massive success of Phase I, Phase II began with Iron Man 3 in 2013 and banged at the Box Office. The sequel to the biggest film of Phase I, Avengers: Age of Ultron, was the longest film of this particular phase, with 2 hours and 21 minutes runtime. Phase II offers a total of 12 hours and 38 minutes of content, which is a little more than the previous phase.

Marvel - Phase 3 - Case Study Marvel Films Runtime & How Long It Takes To Watch

Now comes Phase III, which has entirely changed not only Marvel Cinematic Universe but also the Hollywood film industry. We also found a shift in the stories of the films of this phase, where the plots started taking darker turns with lots of deaths of our favorite characters. 

Captain America: Civil War began this phase, which was a massive team-up movie under the Captain America title. Phase III also presented us with the longest MCU film, Avengers: Endgame, which lasted for 3 hours and 1 minute. This mammoth phase ended with Spider-Man: Far From Home in 2019. The whole phase contains 24 hours and 57 minutes of content.

Marvel - Phase 4 - Case Study Marvel Films Runtime & How Long It Takes To Watch

From Phase IV, things started to get more complicated as Marvel Studios introduced their first Disney Plus Series, Wanda Vision. Though Wanda Vision was the first show of Phase IV, Black Widow was the first film of this complicated phase. This phase is still ongoing and will end with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. 

Despite all the complaints about the short runtime of movies in this phase, Phase IV has already introduced the MCU’s third longest movie, Eternals, which was 2 hours and 36 minutes long followed by the second longest, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which is 2 hours 41 minutes and it is a crucial movie for both the fans and the studio. This phase is still the latest one and has a total run time of 16 hours and 16 minutes.

Marvel films runtime Data Infographic

All Marvel films offer around 66.15 hours of content. Phase I is 12 hours and 24 minutes; Phase II is 12 hours and 38 minutes; Phase III is 24 hours and 57 minutes; and finally, Phase IV consumes 16 hours and 16 minutes of content. 

If we calculate in minutes, Phase I is worth 744 minutes, Phase II will take 758 minutes, Phase III is about 1497 minutes, and Phase IV is 976 minutes and counting. In total, it is 3975 minutes of content.

Calculations tell that Marvel Cinemas offer a total content of 2.76 days, or 2 days and 76 hours, but it will take approximately 3-4 days or so for any audience to watch all the films in an ideal world.

So, in short, Here are the total viewing hours of all four phases in the MCU.

  • Phase I = 12 hours 24 minutes (744 minutes)
  • Phase II = 12 hours 38 minutes (758 minutes)
  • Phase III = 24 hours 57 minutes (1497 minutes)
  • Phase IV = 16 hours 16 minutes (976 minutes).
  • All Phases = 66 hours 15 minutes (3975 minutes) [2 days 76 hours]

As we can see, the difference in runtime between Phase I and II movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not that much, but Phase III has taken double the runtime of Phase I and II. Phase IV has already beaten Phase I and II in the race for runtime.

Phase I and II offer 6 films each; Phase III has produced 11 films, and Phase IV has 7 films in total. So, Phase III is the biggest in the case of the film’s release and the runtime. 

Despite all the complicated mathematics, we also like to mention all ten Disney Plus series, first introduced in Phase IV, which offer 35 hours 31 minutes (2131 minutes) of content.

Disney+ Marvel SeriesRuntime
WandaVision322 minutes
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier302 minutes
Loki286 minutes
What If…?283 minutes
Hawkeye279 minutes
Moon Knight287 minutes
Ms. Marvel271 minutes
I am Groot20 minutes
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law288 minutes
Werewolf by Night53 minutes

In total, Marvel offers 6106 minutes or more than 4 days of content with all the Disney Plus series and movies.

In reality, Phase IV has already bested Phase III in terms of offering content to the audience. 

Despite most fans acknowledging the films in four phases, Marvel Studios separates them into two sagas: The Infinity Saga and The Multiverse Saga. 

The Infinity Saga consists of all the films from Phase I to Phase III. The Multiverse Saga has begun with Phase IV and may end with Phase VI. Thanos was the main antagonist of The Infinity Saga, and Kang or Doctor Doom will be the possible main villain of The Multiverse Saga.

Fans are already excited for Phase V and Phase VI, as Kevin has already teased the next two Avengers movies at San Diego Comic-Con. Upcoming Phase V will kick off with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and will meet its end with Captain America: New World Order. The phase will last around 2 years with 5 movies and 6 Disney Plus series. More details about Phase VI are expected to be released at D23.

We hope you feel better informed after going through such in-depth research, and we hope that we could shed some light on any confusion or questions you might have had before reading this article. 

Please feel free to visit averagebeing.com for more awesome case studies and learn more about anything related to Marvel, DC, and Anime.


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