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The 6 Shortest And 6 Longest Marvel Movies

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been around for nearly two decades and fans of the franchise have gotten to enjoy dozens of superhero movies since it launched with "Iron Man" in 2008. That amounts to days worth of movie-watching, with some installments meeting the standard action-movie mark around 90 minutes and others spanning hours.

Of course, that's just counting the MCU. As fans of comic book movie adaptations know, there are plenty of other Marvel legacy movies out there from before Marvel Studios' decision to consolidate Earth's mightiest heroes into one mega-franchise with shared canon and continuity. Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man might have finally landed in the MCU with "Captain America: Civil War," but he had two separate incarnations produced by Sony Pictures before that; Tom Holland became the third actor to play Peter Parker on the big screen in the last two decades. Of course, teams like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four have gotten plenty of non-MCU action as well, with the former receiving seven films and three "Wolverine" spinoffs; the latter got two films before being rebooted, though the Fantastic Four will join the MCU in the future, ostensibly with another reboot. Sprinkle in some "Blade" films, "Deadpool," "Daredevil," "Ghost Rider," "Hulk," and "The Punisher" and the list gets quite a bit longer.

With all of these Marvel properties being adapted for the big screen — both inside and outside of MCU canon — it's easy to forget that there have been several feature-length TV movies as well. Here are the 6 shortest and 6 longest Marvel movies that have been made.

6th shortest: The New Mutants — 1 hour and 34 minutes

One of the most recent non-MCU Marvel flicks is among the shortest. From beginning to ending, "The New Mutants," which came out in 2020, clocks in at 94 minutes, or just a bit over and hour and a half, according to IMDb. The film, adapting an "X-Men" spinoff of the same name, sported a talented cast of young actors, including "Game of Thrones" star Maisie Williams, "Stranger Things" star Charlie Heaton, and Anya Taylor-Joy of "The Queen's Gambit" fame.

The story is pretty straightforward: Dr. Cecilia Reyes (Alice Braga) gathers five teenaged mutants in a hospital; Sam Guthrie (Heaton), aka Cannonball, can launch himself into the air and kind of fly with explosive power; Illyana Rasputin (Joy), aka Magick, has some fairly complicated powers of sorcery and is the sister to X-Men member Piotr Rasputin, aka Colossus; Bobby da Costa (Henry Zaga), aka Sun Spot, has the ability to absorb and channel the energy of the sun; Rahne Sinclair (Williams), aka Wolfsbane, can transform into a wolf; and Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt), aka Mirage, can manipulate a person's fears or desires to create illusions. Dr. Reyes leads them all to believe that they're training to become the next generation of X-Men; spoiler alert: they're not.

Rather than managing a roaring finish for 20th Century Fox's X-Men film series, "The New Mutants" kind of went out with a whimper. It sports a mediocre 36% critics score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and its $44.6 million worldwide gross failed to even recoup the film's production budget of $67 million (via The Numbers), solidfying the film's status as a box office bomb.

5th shortest: Dr. Strange — 1 hour and 33 minutes

Fans of 2016's "Doctor Strange" starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the title character could be forgiven for thinking the movie lasted longer than 93 minutes — because it did. They could also be forgiven for not remembering the above image from the movie — because it isn't from the Sorcerer Supreme's origin story and epic throwdown with cosmic threat Dormammu. Rather, it's from "Dr. Strange," a 1978 television film that originally aired on CBS. According to IMDb, that version of the story, as peak '70s cringe as it is, clocked in at an hour and 33 minutes, as opposed to the one hour and 55 minutes of the MCU offering.

Unlike Cumberbatch's version of the character, and the one from the Marvel Comics source material, 1978's Stephen Strange (Peter Hooten) is a psychiatrist, one who is drawn into the mystic arts when his patient, Clea Lake (Anne-Marie Martin), becomes possessed by the evil sorceress Morgan Le Fay (Jessica Walter), a Marvel character based on the sorceress of the same name from the Arthurian Legendarium. Strange must defeat Le Fay and rescue Ms. Lake, in addition to deciding if he wants to take up the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme from its current holder, Thomas Lindmer (John Mills).

As Twitch Film reported in 2011, the "Dr. Strange" TV movie was developed as a pilot for a live-action series in the vein of "The Incredible Hulk." However, it did not fare well enough with audiences and was not picked up.

4th shortest: Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer — 1 hour 32 minutes

Having seen "Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer," we're certainly glad it's among the shortest Marvel movies out there (sorry, not sorry). At least the second outing of Marvel's equivalent of the first family was better received than the first film in 2005. Mercifully, "Rise of the Silver Surfer" clocks in with the brief runtime of just an hour and 32 minutes, according to IMDb

The second Fantastic Four movie sees the titular team continuing to protect the Earth from cosmic threats, though at first two of them — Reed Richards (Ioan Grufford), aka Mr. Fantastic, and Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), aka The Invisible Woman — are just trying to get married. When the Silver Surfer arrives on scene to unintentionally crash the nuptials, the team springs into action to protect the guests, with Johnny Storm (Chris Evans, pre-Captain America), aka the Human Torch, in pursuit. The Fantastic Four are dismayed to learn that the Surfer is simply a herald to the world-consuming cosmic entity known as Galactus. In Marvel Comics, the Surfer agrees to play this role in exchange for Galactus sparing his home world.

"Rise of the Silver Surfer" has a dismal 37% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, though that's a fair bit better than its predecessor's 27% score. Both films fared better with critics than the 2015 "Fantastic Four" reboot, which fell to single digits with its 9% rating. The MCU's "Fantastic Four" is in the works, though details are scarce currently.

Tied for 2nd shortest: The Punisher — 1 hour and 29 minutes

If you were watching an action movie in the mid '80s or '90s, there's a fair chance Swedish actor Dolph Lundgren was in it. If you were watching the first cinematic adaptation of Marvel's "The Punisher" from 1989, you got to see the brilliant, hulking action star blowing bad guys away for an hour and 29 minutes in the Marvel film tied for second-shortest (via IMDb). Lundgren played the title role, the alter ego of former police officer Frank Castle, whose family's murder sends him on a violent search for justice and revenge. But as he's wreaking havoc on the New York City underworld, he gets caught up in something bigger than his private war on organized crime; elements of New York's Yakuza syndicate want to take over the mafia's holdings and kidnap the children of several prominent mob bosses in order to force their hand. Only the Punisher can save the children of the city's worst criminals so that they don't end up paying for the sins of their fathers.

Like later cinematic versions, 1989's "The Punisher" altered Castle's background from being a Vietnam veteran in the comic books. The 2004 movie featured Thomas Jane as Castle, an undercover FBI agent and former Army special forces operator with counter terrorism experience. Ray Stevenson's take on the character for "Punisher: War Zone" — with Castle's as a special operations Marine with a force reconnaissance background — is a bit more in keeping with the original comic book character. 

Tied for 2nd shortest: Red Sonja — 1 hour and 29 minutes

While not all comic book movie fans may be aware, 1985's sword-and-sorcery fantasy flick "Red Sonja" adapts the title character's Marvel comics series of the same name. As IMDb has it, "Red Sonja" ran for a total of one hour and 29 minutes, good enough for a tie as the second shortest Marvel adaptation on record. Danish actor Brigitte Nielsen took on the title role, an unnaturally powerful warrior woman whose heightened strength comes from the gods — specifically, the goddess Scáthach — who answered Sonja's prayers for vengeance.

Why, you ask, is Sonja out for blood? The evil Queen Gedren (Sandahl Bergman) ordered her family killed. It just so happens that Gedren is also trying to lock down a powerful object called the Talisman, which Sonja's sister Varna (Janet Agren) and host of other priestesses are trying to get rid of. Varna manages to escape Gedren's forces and comes across Lord Kalidor (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who tracks down Sonja just in time for her to speak with Varna before the latter dies. Now the real mission begins.

Nielsen's portrayal of Red Sonja is largely in keeping with the character's appearance in Marvel Comics — flaming red hair and not much in the way of clothing, though the comic version's outfits are typically more like a chain mail bikini. The character is set to appear on the big screen again in the upcoming "Red Sonja" film, which is currently in development and set to star MCU actor Hannah John-Kamen, who played Ghost in "Ant-Man and the Wasp."

Shortest: Generation X — 1 hour and 27 minutes

Just like "The New Mutants" sought  to bring a younger generation of X-Men to the big screen, "Generation X" sought to bring the next bunch of mutant heroes to the small screen. Much like the "Dr. Strange" TV movie was a pilot that did not get picked up as a series, "Generation X" similarly failed. It did, however, manage to set the bar for the shortest runtime of any Marvel movie with a total of one hour and 27 minutes on air, according to IMDb.

"Generation X" adapted the X-Men spinoff title of the same name, which was first introduced in 1994 (via Marvel.com). While the property introduces some new characters, there are plenty of familiar faces as well. The film kicks off with Jubilation Lee (Heather McComb) running into trouble at an arcade, with her mutant powers to create fireworks acting up — which pulls directly from the '90s "X-Men" animated series. She's rescued by Emma Frost (Finola Hughes), aka the White Queen, and Sean Cassidy (Jeremy Ratchford), aka Banshee, who are running Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. The three of them grab Angelo Espinosa (Agustin Rodriguez), aka Skin, and head off to the school to train under safe conditions. Sounds like a dream come true, up until the point that their actual dreams are haunted by Frost's old colleague Doctor Russel Tresh (Matt Frewer).

6th longest: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 — 2 hours and 22 minutes

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" has two major distinctions. According to The Numbers, it's the lowest-grossing live-action "Spider-Man" flick — not that $708 million in box office earnings is bad, by any means, it's just the lowest. As IMDb reveals, it also has the longest runtime of all the Spidey live action movies — and sixth-longest among Marvel movies as a whole — with 2 hours and 22 minutes of web-slinging action on the big screen. While movie fans might think the more Spider-Man, the better, the film's lengthy runtime was among the complaints of its detractors. Such was the experience of The Atlantic's Christopher Orr, who said "The fundamental flaw with 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' — and easily the most amazing thing about it — is how much dissonant material the filmmakers managed to cram into its already-swollen, 142-minute running time." Ouch.

As viewers know, Andrew Garfield's second outing as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man featured Jamie Foxx in the role of Max Dillon, a loser engineer who experiences a tragic accident at Oscorp and is granted amazing powers over electricity. He takes on the mantle of Electro, a totally shocking supervillain who's joined by Peter Parker's old friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), the son of Oscorp founder Norman Osborn who's falling prey to the same genetic disorder as his father. Just like James Franco's Harry in Sam Raimi's original "Spider-Man" trilogy, this version of Harry goes to the dark side, though at least it's to save his own life, rather than some misplaced quest for revenge against his best friend.

5th longest: The Avengers — 2 hours and 23 minutes

Audiences assemble! Earth's mightiest heroes set the high-water mark for Marvel movie runtimes in 2012 with "The Avengers" and it's two hours and 23 minutes of action (via IMDb) — though, as one might surmise from its fifth-overall placement, it's been eclipsed more than once in the years since. To say the Joss Whedon-helmed ensemble movie was ambitious is akin to saying the world's oceans are slightly moist, though that aspect of the film has been one-upped multiple times as well.

When the villainous Loki (Tom Hiddleston) comes to Earth in search of the Tesseract — which contains the Space Stone, as we later learn — after SHIELD's work on the cube alerts him to its presence, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) activates the Avengers Initiative. He brings together super soldier Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), aka Captain America, billionaire tech wiz Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), aka Iron Man, master assassin Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), aka the Black Widow, brilliant scientist Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), aka the Hulk, and SHIELD agent and archery enthusiast Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), aka Hawkeye, to battle the Asgardian god of mischief's army of Chitauri warriors. Mind you, Loki's brother, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Asgardian god of thunder, shows up and starts playing for Team Earth, though we wonder how much initial thought Fury had given to him actually being a part of the team.

Of course, we learn in the "Avengers" post-credits scene that the Mad Titan, Thanos (Josh Brolin) is the man behind the man who supplied Loki with his army.

4th longest: X-Men: Apocalypse — 2 hours and 24 minutes

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" isn't the only non-MCU movie among the longest of the entire Marvel slate. At two hours and 24 minutes, the penultimate "X-Men" prequel film, "X-Men: Apocalypse," is the longest of the X-Men film series and the fourth longest among all Marvel films (via IMDb). 

While the bulk of the film takes place in the 1980s, the prologue is set in ancient times and sets the scene for the world's first mutant, En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac), who has multiple powers that have let him build an empire in ancient Egypt. As he about to transfer his consciousness into a new vessel, enabling him to live for who knows how long, he is betrayed and buried beneath the pyramid in which is transformation was taking place, though his vassals were able to shield him within a cocoon, preventing his death. So of course, since people can't leave well enough alone, some idiot doomsday cultists awaken En Sabah Nur in 1983, which coincides with fugitive mutant Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), aka Magneto, losing his family after being recognized. 

Meanwhile, Raven McCoy (Jennifer Lawrence), aka Mystique, has become the cultural equivalent of a mutant Che Guevara, serving as a symbol of liberation. As En Sabah Nur draws a new set of followers to his side, seeking to build a new world under his reign, naturally, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and his students, the titular X-Men, have something to say about that. The extended prologue and further world-building to introduce the film's new characters contributed to the film's lengthy runtime.

3rd longest: Captain America: Civil War — 2 hours and 27 minutes

"The Avengers" held the title of longest MCU movie for four years until Captain America's third solo outing — "Captain America: Civil War" — came out in 2016. The movie in which the Avengers broke up — yes, Bruce, like the Beatles — ran for a total of two hours and 27 minutes (via IMDb), making it the third-longest Marvel movie to date. The film is based on the Marvel Comics "Civil War" crossover event, during which heroes fight against heroes over the Superhuman Registration Act, with Iron Man on the yea side of order and Captain America on the nay side of individual liberty. The movie plays out much the same over the Sokovia Accords, which the United Nations ratified in order to limit the powers of the Avengers after the disastrous events that took place in Lagos, Nigeria. 

While Tony Stark isn't usually one to fall in line and march to the beat of the government drum like a good little soldier, he's wracked with guilt over the innocent lives lost in the Avengers' wake. While Steve Rogers is very much the good little soldier, not prone to marching to his own drum, he understands that placing the Avengers under control of an outside party becomes a slippery slope and may prevent them from doing good where they're needed or worse, doing something evil against their better judgment — World Security Council anyone? "Civil War" saw the introduction of Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa, aka the Black Panther, and saw Sebastian Stan reprise his role as Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier.

2nd longest: Avengers: Infinity War — 2 hours and 29 minutes

The creative team behind "Civil War" — directing brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, who made their MCU debut with "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" — also gave us the second-longest film, "Avengers: Infinity War." At 149 minutes, it's just shy of two and a half hours long. Just as the brothers Russo oversaw the Avengers tearing themselves apart in "Civil War," they oversaw another set of heroes banding together to fight Thanos, the Mad Titan, and his forces, the Black Order. When Thanos makes a mess of the Statesman, also known as the spaceship USS Asgard — we're pretty sure no one calls it that — Heimdall (Idris Elba) uses his powers to send the Hulk to New York City, where he crashes into the New York sanctum of the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Stephen Strange, and reverts to Dr. Bruce Banner. Strange brings Tony Stark into the mix and they do battle with Ebony Max and Cull Obsidian, who seek the Time Stone, which is housed with in Strange's Eye of Agamotto relic.

Elsewhere, Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight try to take the Mind Stone from the Vision (Paul Bettany), much to the ire of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen). It looks like the unlikely lovers are outmatched until Captain America, Black Widow, and the Falcon, aka Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) show up to turn the tide. They make a long-awaited return to Avengers headquarters while Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man meet up with the Guardians of the Galaxy on Thanos' home world, Saturn's moon, Titan. For MCU fans, movies have not yet begun to get long.

Longest: Avengers: Endgame — 3 hours and 1 minute

Naturally, the Infinity saga's epic climax film ranks as the longest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. According to IMDb, "Avengers: Endgame" clocks in at an impressive three hours and one minute, more than half an hour longer than any previous entry in the franchise, making directors Anthony and Joe Russo responsible for the three longest movies in the MCU. Another feather in their caps, "Endgame" was the highest-grossing film in history for a bit, before director James Cameron's disaster epic "Titanic" retook the global box office throne upon being re-released overseas.

It should seem self-evident, upon a cursory analysis, that "Endgame" would tower over other entries in the MCU franchise once you realize that Tony Stark said those four immortal words — "I am Iron Man" — and snapped his fingers two and a half hours into the proceedings. Given the film's extended denouement, with multiple plot threads needing to be resolved to set up future movies, it all makes sense. Interestingly, Tony's death scene lasted quite a bit longer than his funeral, which brings us to a pet theory. Iron Man's entire timeline in the MCU is a result of the tongue lashing Steve Rogers gave him in the first "Avengers" film, saying he's not the one to make the sacrifice play and that he should stop pretending to be a hero. Tony was so desperate to prove him wrong that he flew into an inter-dimensional wormhole a little while later and eventually gave his life to save the universe.