Image: Marvel Studios

Surprising no one who’s been paying attention to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Infinity War co-director Joe Russo has said that it’s going to be a very long movie. In a new interview with Collider, the man who has already delivered two Captain America movies explained what it’s like trying to make a film that incorporates literally every character and narrative arc that’s taken place over the past decade of the studio’s films. Noting they still have a few scenes left to shoot, Russo nonetheless confirmed that the third Avengers movie is “certainly gonna be a film that lives in the two and a half hour, two and a half hour-plus range.” He also suggested Avengers 4 will be a similar length. The reason for the lengthy running time is, of course, all those damn heroes:

We have to, I mean it’s a culmination event. We’ve gotta take 10 years of storytelling in this Marvel narrative experiment that’s been going on since Iron Man, and we have to take all these disparate tones, disparate themes, motivations, and we have to pull them together in a unified narrative and write the final chapters of the book. There’s no way you could do that with all these characters in under that running length.

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And before you say, “Well, that sounds like a bloated mess,” remember that it’s actually not that far off the length of the last Russo brothers Marvel movie. Captain America: Civil War was two hours, 27 minutes, and worth every frame. (Both previous Avengers films were also longer than two hours and 20 minutes, although both we and Joss Whedon agree that the Thor-goes-swimming scene in Age Of Ultron really didn’t need to be there.) So despite all the material that needs to be included, it doesn’t actually sound like that much of a stretch compared to the other tentpole films of the MCU.

Russo went on to praise Thor: Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi, complimenting the New Zealand’s director’s talent, and then expanding that into the kind of feel-good, happy-family narrative that Marvel publicists probably love to see peppered into these interviews:

I wish people could understand the sort of family atmosphere that we have, this filmmaker’s collective that’s going on at Marvel right now. Everybody’s so supportive of each other, we’re always dropping in to see each other, talk about what’s going on with characters, how things may be changing in stories. It’s amazing to be able to pass things back and forth with people that you really respect and love.

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Noted. This isn’t DC. Avengers: Infinity War comes out May 4, 2018.