How long should a superhero battle last? This is the main question that was running through my mind as I watched Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. What I mean is, how do the filmmakers know when a battle is over?
It’s mostly just good guys thrashing about a bit with bad guys, then thrashing a bit more, then a bit more, until finally the good guy does something special that exploits the bad guy’s weakness and it’s all over. But how long should that be? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? 15 minutes?
I wonder, and I ask, because Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 is 2 ½ hours long, and at least a good third of it is entirely made up of battle scenes. What would a 2-hour version of the movie look like? Probably not a lot different. And I don’t mean to pick on this movie in particular; this is endemic to basically all superhero movies. And it just gets a little tiresome.
I won’t bother to recount the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 here, because it’s pretty convoluted and ultimately doesn’t matter that much. And I should be clear that the movie is just fine. It delivers exactly what you expect it to deliver when you walk in, with things exploding all over the place and a string of wisecracks from our heroes that give us plenty of safe chuckles. And that’s all pretty fun, in a totally expected way.
But that’s it. It’s just… fine. Anyone who really loved the first Guardians of the Galaxy will probably love this one just as much, as it hits all the same notes, punched up just a little bit because this is a sequel. And there’s nothing wrong with being entertained for a couple of hours in exactly the way you want to be entertained. Not to mention that Marvel superhero movies are essentially the dominant force in Hollywood today. So they must be doing something right.
But I still wonder, when is enough enough? How many explosions is the right amount of explosions? How do they know when they’re done?