Avengers: Infinity War co-director Joe Russo is surprised by news of the film being censored in Indonesia. The beginning of the culmination of the first 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans have already assumed that the upcoming ensemble will have a longer runtime than most films, in order to cater to several narrative threads and countless characters. And that's fine for a lot of Marvel loyalists, considering that Avengers 3 and its still-untitled sequel Avengers 4 will be the last films set in the established lore, before things drastically change come Phase 4.
Amidst the ongoing debacle regarding the official Infinity War run-time, Marvel fans from Indonesia are already guaranteed to see a shorter version of the film, after the country's Film Censorship Institute decided to cut some footage in order for it to adhere to their PG-13 rating qualifications. This news has taken co-director Joe Russo aback, as he learned of the edits during the Singapore leg of the global multi-city press tour for the movie with Karen Gillan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr. and producer Trinh Tran.
The event was live-streamed by CNA Lifestyle (via The Wrap), with Joe Russo responding to the news of Indonesia's cuts to the film in real time. Admittedly surprised, the director candidly said that he has no idea what part of the film could've warranted the changes. It's important to note that he and his brother/co-director Anthony have been busy traveling around promoting the movie, so it's not hard to believe that he first learned about the edits during this press conference.
“I can’t image what seven minutes they would want to cut out of the movie. It’s the first we’re hearing of it so we’re a little taken aback, but yes, of course as an artist you don’t want anybody censoring anything or taking anything out of the film. This is a PG-13 movie, it’s not like it’s some radical piece of content so I’m a little shocked.”
Over the weekend a report from Jakarta Post confirmed that Indonesia’s Film Censorship Institute decided to take out certain parts of Infinity War to guarantee that it follows their storytelling guidelines of having a PG-13 rating. Board chairman Ahmad Yani Basuki revealed that while he hasn't seen the movie yet and is unaware of the cut footage, he did give the decision his seal of approval. He continued that the local distributor of the movie, PT Omega Film, have expressed their compliance with the memorandum, but they are open to a dialogue in case they want the verdict challenged.
Seven minutes may not seem like enough to radically change a film, but for a packed project like Avengers: Infinity War, it could spell the difference between shining a light on a character and casting him or her aside; or setting up a future event that'll help establish a more cohesive overall narrative and not. So naturally, Joe sounds worried about the censorship. It'll be interesting to learn what parts of the movie have been removed and why, considering that the Indonesian censorship board didn't give any clear explanation on what prompted their decision. But Indonesian fans won't have to wait that long to find out, with the much-anticipated Marvel flick hitting theaters on April 25 in the Southeast Asian country - two days before its North American release.