Updated: Feb 18
4K ULTRA HD REVIEW / HDR FRAME SHOTS
The Avengers finally unite during the battle of New York City. The upconverted 4K provides excellent detail evident by the bricks in the background.
4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, Digital copy; 2012; PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, a mild drug reference; streaming via Amazon Video, FandangoNOW (4K), Google Play, iTunes, Vudu (4K), YouTube
Best extra: commentary with Joss Whedon, writer, producer, director and comic book geek
THE BATTLE for New York City during the third act of “The Avengers” is still considered one of Hollywood’s biggest and loudest action sequences. It’s nonstop chaos between the team and the alien Chitauri warriors led by Loki (Tom Hiddleston), god of mischief. He’s always trying to best that adopted brother.
Nick Fury’s Avengers Initiative finally comes together with Iron Man, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow, played by Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson. If they don’t prevail, it’s curtains for Manhattan – then the rest of the world. This is no different from what The Big Apple has faced throughout cinema history from King Kong in 1933 to aliens zapping the Empire State Building in “Independence Day” in 1996. A climate change super-freeze/tsunami in 2004’s “The Day After Tomorrow” and “Cloverfield” critters in 2008. Let’s not forget how Spider-Man stepped in to save the city in beau coup outings.
During his commentary, writer/director Joss Whedon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Serenity”) talks about taking the job, even though it was only his second feature film. He wanted to tell a story, “Where being a superhero wasn’t a free pass.” Yes, The Avengers are strong, but are they strong enough?
With a $220 million production budget, “The Avengers” ended up earning a whopping $1.5 billion worldwide making it the sixth highest grossing film to date. It also received an 82 percent rating Rotten Tomatoes from top critics, and Oscar and BAFTA nominations for Best Visual Effects.
“The Avengers” on 4K has a similar visual look to Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 “Pacific Rim,” considered one of the best 2K masters upconverted to 4K discs. Both were filmed in 1.85:1 aspect ratio and mostly in a wide-angle perspective because both were originally intended for 3D viewing. That means for home viewing the maximum number of pixels are actually used for the picture, except for a super-thin strip of black bars on top and bottom. This aspect ratio guarantees the highest level of resolution for 4K and Blu-ray viewing.
Most movies today are captured in the super-widescreen 2.39:1 aspect ratio, which covers about 25 percent of the screen with larger black bars. That’s lost resolution compared to a 1.78:1 or 1.85:1 movie. It’s simple math.
“The Avengers” also features superb HDR toning from Irish cinematographer Seamus McGarvey and Whedon, who used dramatic lighting and vivid colors to add more 3D depth. It translates to a livelier 4K picture. The blacks are also deeper throughout, while the bold primary color palette is even more saturated.
The new upgraded Dolby Atmos track is extremely active, expanding the scope of the soundstage vertically for height speakers – especially during the Big Battle. Composer Alan Silvestri’s score is coded for the center, left and right speakers, just like the DTS-HD eight channel soundtrack found on the Blu-ray. The sound level on the Atmos tracks seems to be 3 to 4 decibels lower, which means keep the remote handy.
Like The Avengers themselves, this Marvel 4K upgrade won’t let you down.
― Bill Kelley III, High-Def Watch producer