Justice League was always going to be big. It is, after all, the crown jewel of the DCEU so far; the culmination of Zack Snyder’s unofficial trilogy following the introduction, death and resurrection of Superman that establishes three new heroes and brings back three more all while setting up a myriad of future DCEU movies.
The recent trailer only hammered this home. Along with some unexpectedly strong character beats that really highlighted the core cast’s chemistry (and in particular how strong a presence Jason Momoa’s Aquaman is), it featured action set pieces with serious scope. And, while the epic, Lord of the Rings-esque showdown of Atlanteans and Amazons against parademons may come from the film’s prologue, there’s still a lot of the League in action on show, suggesting a big adventure. Although even with that scale in mind, that’s nothing on the size of the film itself.
IMDb has listed Justice League‘s runtime as 170 minutes or 2 hours 50 minutes. That’s a good 20 minutes longer than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice‘s theatrical cut which came in at a little more than two-and-a-half hours.
That’s a long movie, even by modern blockbuster standards. The average tentpole release tends to run a little over two hours and massive events like The Avengers closer to two-and-a-half, but at almost three hours we’re in quote-unquote epic territory. In fact, at 170 minutes Justice League will be the longest theatrically released superhero movie of the modern era, inching past The Dark Knight Rises on 165 minutes.
In the context of the DCEU, its size is a little less extreme. Man of Steel was comparable in length to BvS on 148 minutes, while the much smaller Suicide Squad still broke 2 hours. It’s also worth noting that Batman v Superman‘s Ultimate Edition ran just over three hours, ten minutes longer than Justice League is set to be. In fact, this sort of length is typical of the director when you consider his tendency to expand movies for home video; Watchmen‘s longest cut, complete with all deleted scenes and Tales of the Black Freighter comic book animation comes in at a staggering 215 minutes. If there is no extended cut for Justice League, it sounds like Snyder as usual.
This potentially overblown length will still be rather daunting for those not won over by the DCEU. Length is always a stickler with popcorn movies and, between this and the very Dawn of Justice visual palette shown in the trailer it looks like, despite rumors of major changes behind-the-scenes, Warners are continuing very much on the same track creatively. Given the overwhelmingly negative critical reaction to Batman v Superman and general divisive nature of the DCEU, that’s not going to fill many people with confidence.
It’s worth noting that, as it’s an IMDb update and the film is still over half a year from release that the reliability and permanence of this runtime is unclear. That said, it’s still worth reiterating that Justice League is going to be a big movie and Snyder really does have a lot of plates spinning, especially as, unlike Marvel parallel The Avengers, half the team hasn’t been established beyond QuickTime videos (and another is currently six feet under). There’s also the matter of the film’s Part Two being pulled back and the director confirmed to not return; it may be that he’s working in what was two movies’ worth of ideas in there. With that in mind, then a runtime in this ballpark would be expected.