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Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther

While January isn't the most exciting month at the movies, February is right around the corner, and with it comes Black Panther and the beginning of 2018's superhero onslaught. Ryan Coogler's entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the year's most anticipated films, and for good reason. Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther was a standout in Captain America: Civil War and now we're getting a whole movie featuring the warrior king. The early trailers have teased an amazing-looking movie that introduces audiences to the magnificent country of Wakanda. Now we have an idea of just how much time we'll get to spend with these new characters in the fictional African nation, as Black Panther may clock in at 135 minutes, making it longer than the last MCU film, the 130-minute Thor: Ragnarok.

This is not an official runtime yet, but the Event Cinemas listing for the film clocks it at 135 minutes. There are several films in the MCU that are longer than Black Panther but this runtime is one of the longer ones. A couple of films hover around this mark but the only films that are noticeably longer are the team-ups. The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War clock in at 143, 141 and 147 minutes, respectively. Being over two hours is neither a good or bad sign, and whether it feels long or breezes by depends entirely on the content and pace of the film. It actually makes sense that Black Panther would be this long because of what it is and where it fits in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

While not a traditional origin story, Black Panther has to operate on a number of levels. We were introduced to T'Challa in Civil War, but here is where we will really get to know him. And unlike the other Earthbound MCU films, where the setting is more or less irrelevant, Wakanda is incredibly important. This is a mythical country full of secrets and super advanced technology, and Black Panther will be our first opportunity to see it up close and explore it. Not to mention that Wakanda is a country that is entirely distinct from the rest of the world. There is a level of exposition that comes when a film has to introduce an entirely new setting. Carrying this load can take a little extra time.

There is also the fact that this is the last chapter in the MCU before the universe coalesces in the massive Avengers: Infinity War. Judging by the trailers for Black Panther and that cosmic culmination, Wakanda will be important to holding back the flood of Thanos' forces. So in addition to T'Challa's own battle against Killmonger, this film has to spend some time moving the final pieces into place for the biggest movie of the year. If I had to gues,s Black Panther will have some serious mid-credits teases to get people even more hyped (if that's possible) for Infinity War, and these would be included in the film's runtime.

Black Panther hits theaters on February 16. For all the year's biggest releases, check out our guide.

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