Today’s multiplex offers numerous premium format choices, with each taking a bigger bite out of your wallet. Still, I believe some films shouldn’t just be viewed but be truly experienced. Avengers: Endgame is one of them. Before tickets even went on sale, I decided I couldn’t choose and needed to experience Endgame in every available format to determine the true champion. Like Captain America says, whatever it takes. Let’s get started.
The cheapest format is exactly that: cheap. Honestly, some home theaters can match or, dare I say, surpass the experience of your standard two-dimensional, run-of-the-mill theater viewing. The only benefit here is freedom from at-home distractions. I think we can do better.
Next is the standard-size screen 3D format, where I was pleasantly surprised by how great this overall experience was. Most of the 3D works and looks great, though it’s not for everyone. There were instances when the motion onscreen looked choppy in 3D. Also of note: If you’re like me and you like to look at other details and characters aside from the main focal point, you’ll see a blur or double vision of something that was meant to add depth to the scene and not be directly stared at. If you prefer 3D, I’d suggest sticking with this format and not venturing further to IMAX 3D. You’ll understand why soon.
What can I say about the IMAX 2D experience? It’s literally in your face! It boasts enhanced audio, higher screen resolution, and a larger screen that takes up nearly your entire field of vision and adds picture to every scene. Particularly, shots of the gorgeous spacescapes are even more breathtaking with the increased real estate that IMAX provides. IMAX is a great experience and, if you can’t stomach 3D, should be considered a go-to format for films with magnificent visuals such as Endgame. But IMAX is not the clear winner.
I was looking forward to my IMAX 3D viewing, as I’ve always enjoyed IMAX and presumed the 3D would only enhance the experience. I was wrong. What’s usually a benefit of IMAX became a disadvantage when adding 3D. The enlarged screen meant all that glorious superhero ass-kicking caused visual overload –– the motion blur in IMAX 3D nearly made me cross-eyed, a problem I didn’t encounter in standard 3D. Would not recommend.
And then there’s Dolby Cinema. The picture quality here is unrivaled and is noticeably spectacular in Endgame, with its vivid colors splattered onscreen frequently. Dolby touts the highest screen resolution, contrast ratio, and deepest blacks of any format. Add to that more than 100 speakers that move the audio around you. For instance, a certain axe hurtling from offscreen and into Thor’s outstretched hand sounds like it just flew across your theater. Rounding out the full immersive experience is the ultra-comfortable reclining rumble seat that pulsates with the action unfolding onscreen, truly engaging you in the film. One particular scene stands out: When a ship enters via the bottom of the screen and is quickly swallowed into the vastness of space, you’ll swear that ship just zoomed under your quaking feet. This format has it all. Every other premium format is just contending for second place behind Dolby Cinema, the clear winner.
After spending more than 13 hours in a theater over the course of five days, I feel about as exhausted as Tony Stark while he’s lost in space, but I enjoyed every second. Now that I’ve determined the best premium format(s), I encourage you to experience Avengers: Endgame (again?) in one of them.