The 'Avengers: Endgame' Survival Guide: How to sit through over three hours of cinema with your sanity intact

In a world of dwindling attention spans, here's how to make the most of the final chapter in the current Avengers saga

A scene from the 2019 motion picture 'Avengers: Endgame'. Walt Disney Studios
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Avengers: Endgame clocks in at a whopping three-hours-and-one-minute in length. That in itself makes the film something of a marathon, and don't forget that, especially at the rapidly selling early screenings, you'll probably want to get there early to get a seat, sit through the trailers out of necessity, and will, of course, need to stay until the very end of the credits for Marvel's trademark post-credits scene(s).

Then you’ve got the ordeal of getting there. If you’re taking the family, you have the pain of getting the entire group organised, into and out of a car, and into the cinema at the same time, while keeping everyone on script throughout what could easily be at least a four-plus-hour commitment. And that’s assuming you don’t decide to eat before or after the screening.

Despite the effort required, judging by the hype, expectation, and early tracking figures, not too many have been put off by the film’s marathon length and sold-out screenings.

So, by way of a public service announcement, The National attended Tuesday night's Mall of the Emirates preview screening to offer a handy survival guide for the Endgame experience.

First, here's the official trailer, to get you in the mood:

Book ahead

If you want to see Endgame in the first few days, this is a no-brainer. Tickets to screenings at unimaginable hours of the early morning were sold out when the film went on release in the UAE on Wednesday, with eager fans probably planning days off to enable their elongated cinematic experience as early as possible.

So if you want to watch the film before the real spoilers are all over the internet, rather than the imagined ones of fan communities, book. You'll get in, and hopefully you'll manage to avoid the terrible sight lines of the front couple of rows that lead to a chronic neck injury after three-and-a-bit hours of action.

Choose your cinema wisely

You may have a favourite cinema. It may be your closest. It may be the cheapest. It may be the most luxurious. If ever a film screamed out for the latter, it is Endgame. You're going to be in there for a while, and that's assuming you arrive the second the film starts, foregoing the trailers, and leave the second the credits roll. If you only use a "luxury cinema experience" once this year, this should probably be the time.

Think about it: certain cinemas in the UAE give the impression they could double up as a supermarket freezer compartment with their air-conditioning settings set so low. You get a blanket. You might want to eat, particularly if you’re watching after work in the evening – save time queuing by having it delivered to your seat. Also, use a few extra dirhams on a reclining chair with a head rest and pillow.

We tried Theatre by Gary Rhodes at Vox, courtesy of Disney, but many other luxury cinema experiences are available.

If you do go cheap, go prepared. Take a coat, a travel pillow, and make sure you go to the bathroom before the film starts.

Plan ahead

If you have kids: will they be able to sit still and concentrate for over three hours? If not, consider going alone first, and taking them at the weekend, if viable, so you can leave when they get restless, safe in the knowledge you know what happens anyway.

Even if you yourself think you might struggle to make it through over three hours without a trip to the bathroom, checking your phone, or conversation with your film-going companions, think twice. There is not a single point in this film that would enable you to switch off without missing some crucial plot twist, relationship development, or character arrival. Plus, it annoys other cinema-goers.

If you can't make it through three-and-a-bit hours sitting relatively still while looking in one direction and paying attention, wait till it comes onto streaming, most likely on Disney+.

Disney may not thank me for that advice box office-wise, but they know it’s for the best experience-wise.

The little things

By this, I mean little things you wouldn’t normally consider when going to a typical, 90-minute film. Let’s take parking: many malls institute charges after a certain length of time. This length of time is usually designed to allow you to see a film, have a shop, eat a meal, and go home.

This film takes up the length of time it takes to do all of those things. I arrived at MoE in time to be in the theatre five minutes before the film started (don’t point me to my own advice – I had a seat reserved). I still managed to get out only eight minutes before my allotted four-hour free parking expired, to find the ticket machine in my section of the car park wasn’t working. It’s a tiny thing, but if you’re a family of 10 that just had food and a film, those extra dirhams matter.

Enjoy it

For all this talk of preparation, I want to also point out that this isn’t an Arctic expedition or an attempt to climb Everest. It’s a very enjoyable film that happens to be somewhat longer than others. And I can promise you the time flies by. So, ultimately, get whichever seat you like/can afford/end up with. Eat or don’t eat, and go to the bathroom as much as you want, while causing as little disturbance as possible to your fellow viewers. Don’t use your phone, though. That is just barbaric.


Read more:

Review: 'Avengers: Endgame' ties up loose ends, and unties many more

Marvel's 'Endgame': How the studio changed the movie industry with its superhero series

Fans in the UAE will see 'Avengers' film two days before those in the US