A24 Just Debunked A Juicy Civil War Rumor, And To Be Honest, I’m Bummed

Dear readers, it’s time to get serious about the upcoming 2024 movies, as the new year is about to become our current reality. Concerns like running times and release windows for forthcoming release are about to be hotly discussed, and that first category recently came up in connection to Civil War. A rather juicy rumor about the length of writer/director Alex Garland’s latest film arose and was quickly debunked. It was suggested that a pretty long running time would be in play for the upcoming A24 film. While I’m glad all was revealed in a swift manner, I’m actually kind of bummed about what the truth entails.

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The Civil War Cast

<span class="credit">(Image credit: A24)</span>

Let’s Talk About Civil War’s Runtime Rumor, And How It Was Debunked

We’re getting closer to seeing the weaponized panic attack from Civil War’s first trailer in its full glory in April. Amid that though, it was unclear just how long this hypothetical nightmare scenario would run. That was thanks to an initial rumor suggesting that this Kirsten Dunst-fronted ensemble thriller would clock in at a length of 3 hours 15 minutes. 

Cards on the table, I’ll admit that I’m someone who’s defended long movies after John Wick: Chapter 4joined the ranks of pictures that make the most of near/over three-hour odysseys. However, don’t go spouting, “Sweet Killers of the Flower Moon!” because, as mentioned, that claim was in fact debunked. 

Studio A24 quickly confirmed, in a statement to Variety, that this flick is actually running at an hour and 49 mins. So we don’t need to get into the discussion of, “Will my bladder be able to withstand Civil War’s massive run time?’, as that’s apparently not the issue. Now to be fair, what we know about Civil War has come through careful and measured revelations. 

As always, Mr. Garland’s work has been kept “under wraps” from the word go; so no one really knew what to expect. However, considering the previously epic sized running time rumored, I’m a little upset that isn’t the reality.

Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina

<span class="credit">(Image credit: A24)</span>

Why I’m Kind Of Bummed Civil War Isn’t Over 3 Hours

While I haven’t always been on board with what Alex Garland has to offer in his stories, I will always show up for his work. As a fan of his since he collaborated with director Danny Boyle on 28 Days Later, I believe the gentleman has proven that his concepts — both adapted and original — are way out of the box. 

Anticipation is part of what makes a Garland movie an event, for better or worse. In fact, despite the rather grounded tone we’ve seen in the picture’s promotion, I’ve overheard secondhand rumors from other critics in the field that Civil War is going to be weirder than expected.

A near-future thriller about a second civil war, written and directed by Alex Garland, which could be weirder than expected? How am I not supposed to be excited? Especially when star Nick Offerman recently shared the trailer as well as this endorsement, on his Instagram:

Simply another powerful masterwork from Alex Garland. If you like this trailer, please seek out DEVS on Hulu.

The phrase “powerful masterwork” can equally be applied to a movie over three hours long, or one that’s just barely under two. Just as Roger Ebert said, the lengths of bad and good movies never happen to be quick or long enough to really make a difference. So, if A24 has a three-hour epic that could sustain some 28 Days Later/Ex Machina weirdness, I’ll gladly take it! 

At the same time, as an Alex Garland fan of a certain stripe, I can also see why the movie’s brevity could also be a potential gift. Not to mention, Mr. Offerman has reminded me that I need to finally watch Devs, and see where I land on that show’s events. 

That point brings me to the other side of this potential Civil War coin. Because while I’d love a three-hour adventure that digs into these not so United States, two of the director’s more recent pop culture offerings were tales that I just couldn’t get behind.

The main stars of Annhilation.

<span class="credit">(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)</span>

What Are The Alex Garland Movies That Make Me Glad Civil War Is Under 2 Hours?

For every Ex Machina, there’s an Annihilation or a Men to remind me of the fact that in the worst of times, sitting through an Alex Garland movie can definitely be a slog. I’ll debate that fact with anyone else who’s familiar with those projects another time, as I know CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg offered a perfect five-star recommendation in his Annihilation review.

Whereas I feel that in his last couple movies since Ex Machina, Alex Garland has become a bit self-indulgent as a writer/director without another party to help balance things. Again, 28 Days Later comes to mind, as Danny Boyle’s directing style fit Garland’s story like a hand in glove and, 20 years later, I’m still in love.

Something else Annihilation and Men have in common is the fact that they both run under 2 hours in length. As such, while a three-hour experience akin to Ex Machina would be very welcomed, a movie that inspires the same feelings I had during Men’s ending for that same amount of time would be absolute hell. 

If I haven’t totally angered Alex Garland fans, or even the man himself, I’d like to clarify that my feelings are more positive than anything else. Civil War’s trailer definitely hits the right buttons for me to be amped up for the latest A24 panic attack, and the mystery surrounding the movie is definitely intriguing to me.

Perhaps if this picture’s release is a successful one, we’ll be given word that there is a three-hour cut that we can all enjoy. I’ll probably still anxiously await the future if such an announcement happens, as the extra weight might sink what could be a swift and slim slalom of political terror. 

That’s a problem for another day, as Civil War’s terrifyingly divided landscape will be unveiled in full, only in theaters and IMAX, on April 26th, 2024. In the meantime, maybe I need to revisit Men or Annihilation, in hopes that maybe time has given me a new outlook on either story. Seeing as they’re both available using a Paramount+ subscription at the time of this writing, anyone else who is curious to do just that has an easy way to do so.


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