Avengers: Endgame 4K UHD Blu-Ray Review – Marvel’s Finest Hour
The movie that effectively concludes the first three phases of the MCU hits Blu-ray and UHD this week, following a VOD debut. So just how does the Avengers: Endgame 4K stack up?
Marvel didn’t pull any punches with Avengers: Endgame, and this is easily the studio’s finest hour. It’s not a perfect movie, but it is a pretty rewarding one. The film brings the entire Infinity Saga full circle, and Kevin Feige’s guiding hand is ever-present. On repeat viewings, it becomes very clear that the reason Endgame is so satisfying is because of the love and care taken in crafting this finale.
Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s screenplay does most of the heavy lifting throughout the narrative. While their plotting takes some shortcuts, it’s forgivable because the characters are so compelling. Joe and Anthony Russo enhanced the screenplay with their outstanding direction. This is only the Russos’ seventh feature film, but their command of the medium is staggering. Their fourth Marvel movie feels effortlessly epic, and several steps above any other summer blockbusters. The Russos, Markus and McFeely have changed the game forever, and it’s hard to imagine how the MCU would have fared without them. Endgame is a remarkable achievement that may never be matched.
Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Scarlett Johansson have the biggest roles in the film. And their respective arcs represent the emotional core of the story. All three of them had a purposeful arc, but the real joy of this film is its beautiful character moments. It’s incredible how many small and large beats gave the ensemble cast their own chance to shine. It’s the end of the road for a few heroes, but a new beginning for others.
The final battle alone offers an embarrassment of riches to geek out over. Cap wields Mjolnir, Tony hugs Peter, Wasp and Ant-Man share smile, and the “Avengers Assemble” in easily the most crowd-pleasing shot in the film. These are just scratching the surface of the film’s finale. And several of them are such deep cuts that they wouldn’t make it into another movie.
These moments are everything. They also make the film highly re-watchable. Although it will probably be remembered for its climactic third-act battle, Endgame is a deep and significant character study first and foremost. Those characters just happen to be superheroes.
Avengers: Endgame is genuinely a once-in-a-lifetime cinematic event. It’s exhilarating, heartfelt, and wholly engrossing all at once.
Although Avengers: Endgame is sourced from a 6.5K resolution negative, the film’s home video release features a 2K Digital Intermediate. Shot on the ARRI Alexa 65 IMAX Camera system, this transfer’s ultra-crisp image is a result of this format. The film’s home video presentation features a 2.39:1 aspect ratio, meaning that the larger 1.90:1 IMAX ratio is nowhere to be found here. It’s a bit of a shame because the expanded aspect ratio could have made this an all-time-great 4K transfer. Regardless, the tighter ratio and 2K upconvert don’t hurt this disc as much as they hold it back from being genuinely game-changing.
For the color grade, the 4K Blu-ray of the film features an HDR-10 pass. While the digital version of the film showcases a Dolby Vision grade, there’s no significant difference between the two. The biggest benefit from the HDR pass is easily the contrast. Blacks are bolder, and highlights are much brighter than the 1080p counterpart. Even though the film’s color spectrum becomes more defined through the grade, there’s not a broad enough color palate for it to make a significant difference. Moreover, skin tones are superb throughout, and overall brightness is significantly improved in this 4K transfer.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this disc is the detail in the razor-sharp image. Fabrics remain clearly defined, and facial textures – especially in close-up – are jaw-dropping. Even the digital costumes and fully-CG characters have a level of detail and intricacy that remains unrivaled on the format. In terms of overall detail and sharpness, the 4K transfer easily blows the 1080P version out of the water. This encode is clean as a whistle, with no aliasing, banding, or other artifacts to be found.
The UHD disc for Avengers: Endgame contains a Dolby Atmos soundtrack that is near-reference quality. Naturally, it also includes a corresponding 7.1 mix for those without the capabilities, but the Atoms mix is obviously preferred. The audio presentation for Avengers: Endgame is a high-watermark for audio mixes. It’s a track that is both bombastic and subtle, while providing an audio experience that is extremely dynamic. This track is active right from the start of the three-hour runtime, offering everything that fans could ask for.
Channel separation is clear and distinctive from the start, while dialogue levels land cleanly front and center. Despite being a reasonably active track, it’s also surprisingly clear and concise. There are no audio compression issues to be found, and no volume calibration is required. The environmental ambiance on this track is reliable, providing varied use of surround elements – especially in the final battle. The clarity, positioning, and overall immersion are all outstanding in this mix.
As for the low frequencies, the track strikes early and often, with a girthy presence throughout. However, this mix truly comes alive during Thanos’ attack on Avengers HQ. The subsequent climactic battle is a highlight that offers a relatively bombastic and detailed sonic experience. Alan Silvestri’s magnificent score is also a priority for this audio track, and it perfectly showcases some of the MCU’s most iconic music. It’s easily one of Silvestri’s top five all-time scores, which is saying a lot. Overall, this Dolby Atmos mix is an absolute beast — one that is sure to test even the best home theater setups.
The Special Features
As per usual, the 4K UHD release of Avengers: Endgame contains no supplements. Instead, the duo of accompanying Blu-ray discs includes all of the film’s special features. Despite featuring just over 45 minutes of material, the supplemental materials on these discs are oddly satisfying. There’s some excellent information on this release — topped with a healthy serving of nostalgia throughout.
Disc One (Feature Film) —
Intro by Directors Anthony and Joe Russo (2:33; 1080p): A video introduction from the Russo Brothers. This one plays more like a mini-featurette than an intro. Although the directors quickly run through how Avengers: Endgame concludes the Infinity Saga, it’s also filled with some great B-roll. As a result, they promptly touch on the scale of the film’s production.
Audio Commentary: Directors Anthony and Joe Russo join writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely for another signature commentary track. The creative quartet have provided some excellent commentaries in the past, and this was no exception. As always, the filmmakers added a great deal of insight into the storytelling choices that shaped the film. They also talk about how they developed the story while servicing the film’s large cast, as well as the various performances throughout. This thoughtful, informative, and entertaining track is an absolute delight for both casual and die hard fans alike.
Disc Two (Bonus) —
Featurettes: A lovely group of featurettes that delve into what it took to make the biggest movie of all-time. A play all function is also included.
- Remembering Stan Lee (7:15; 1080p): A fond and touching look back on Stan Lee’s impact on the MCU. While this video focuses on his work in front of the camera, it also touches on his overall influence. The piece features several interviews with Lee, along with a considerable dose of BTS footage from his various appearances. Lee himself also discusses the movies, some of his favorite moments, and much more. It’s a fantastic way for Marvel Studios to pay tribute to Lee.
- Setting The Tone: Casting Robert Downey Jr. (5:25; 1080p): An all-too-brief look back at Robert Downey Jr.’s influence on the MCU at large. It features a nice mixture of interviews and BTS footage throughout the years. The featurette also includes bits from Downey’s first screen test, along with interviews from the film’s various actors praising his influence as the “Patriarch” of the MCU.
- A Man Out Of Time: Creating Captain America (12:18; 1080p): This excellent featurette focuses on Steve’s journey throughout the MCU. Starting with Cap’s essential role as the “backbone” of the universe, it covers the casting of Evans and the complexity of his performances throughout the past nine years. It also delves into the evolution of the character – from Captain America: The First Avenger through to Avengers: Endgame. Featured interviews include Evans, Feige, Markus & McFeely, Ryan Meinerding, The Russos, Sarah Halley Finn, and other filmmakers.
- Black Widow: Whatever It Takes (7:25; 1080p): This focuses on Scarlett Johansson’s presence throughout the MCU, specifically in Avengers: Endgame. Featuring vintage Iron Man 2 interviews and B-roll with Johansson, this piece also traces Natasha’s evolution. Additionally, the featurette explores her heroic arc in the film, along with subtly teasing next year’s Black Widow movie.
- The Russo Brothers: Journey To Endgame (5:01; 1080p): This quick featurette looks on the impact the Russos have had on the MCU. While it also covers their previous efforts with Marvel, the focus is on Avengers: Endgame. It dives into how they got the job of filming two of the biggest movies of all-time back-to-back. Even though this comes across essentially as an extended version of the introduction, there’s a ton of great little BTS moments spread throughout.
- The Women Of The MCU (4:52; 1080p): As the title implies, this featurette focuses on female presence in the film. More specifically, it highlights the big moment in the third act that features the women of the MCU teaming up. All of the actresses involved discussing what it was like to be able to join forces in the epic ensemble. Although this piece is quick, it does an excellent job of justifying this moment in the final battle.
- Bro Thor (3:42; 1080p): Another quick featurette that explores Thor’s arc, along with the decision to change his personality. Perhaps the most significant change is his appearance, which is where most of this short runtime is dedicated.
Deleted Scenes (4:51 TRT; 1080p): A short collection of deleted clips. While these are more like snippets than actual deleted scenes, it’s easy to see why these clips were trimmed. Regardless, the scene of Rocket mocking the Chitauri is absolute gold.
- Goji Berries
- Bombs on Board
- Suckiest Army in the Galaxy
- You Used to Frickin’ Live Here
- Tony and Howard
- Avengers Take a Knee
Gag Reel (1:58; 1080p): A standard Gag Reel that features members of the cast having some fun between takes on set.
Steve and Peggy: One Last Dance (5:54; 1080p): This digital exclusive takes a look at the evolution of their relationship. The actors and filmmakers discuss Peggy’s impact on Steve’s transformation into Captain America, as well as how she informs Cap’s character. It’s a nostalgic look back at the way Peggy really was Steve’s endgame all along.
The Avengers: Endgame 4K UHD Blu-ray is pretty outstanding. While the lack of the IMAX Ratios and a native 4K transfer keep the picture from being genuinely epic, there are several reference-quality portions in the image. Similarly, the sound mix is a highlight of the technical aspects. While not entirely in-depth enough to match the massive scale of the production, the special features make for a sentimental goodbye to this era of the MCU. This release is highly recommended, especially for die-hard MCU fans.