Avengers: Endgame hit theaters last weekend, and by now a lot of us have caught it at least once. If you are thinking about a second viewing, there are options to trade up from a regular screen and try IMAX, 3D screenings, DLX screenings and more. While I can't give you all of the nitty gritty details about every single one of the viewing options out there, I can capably answer whether or not it's better to 3D or not to 3D.
Please note this isn't a traditional review for Avengers: Endgame. If you are looking around for our review, you can head over to our detailed, yet spoiler-free review. This column is all about watching in 3D and the mileage you'll get compared to a regular screening of Marvel's biggest event movie so far.
So, if you haven't already, throw on some comfy clothes, grab some popcorn and make sure you have your 3D glasses handy as we figure out together whether or not it's worth shelling out some extra moolah for a 3D ticket. You'll be helping the movie hit $2 billion at this point, after all.
Avengers: Endgame is exactly the type of movie you'd expect to get a 3D conversion. It's an action movie with lots of eye-popping digital effects and it had a giant budget to play with, so there are no concerns about skimping on the 3D here. If you are a fan of 3D, this is likely exactly the type of movie you would see in 3D, other than something specifically shot for 3D, like Avatar or the upcoming Gemini Man. Barring those, this is a high tier candidate for seeing a movie in 3D. That said, while the 3D conversion is pretty admirable, there are scenes in this movie that don't really beg for 3D effects, so I'm dropping this to a 4--still a strong score.
In terms of planning and effort, obviously, as noted prior, Avengers: Endgame was conceived as an action movie and not a 3D feast for the eyes first. Despite that, care was absolutely taken with the 3D; if anything it just means that certain scenes didn't lend themselves as much as other scenes to a 3D narrative. A scene with Hawkeye chasing bad guys (really too vague to be a spoiler) who break through glass windows may stand out in 3D while a few seconds later a showdown with the same character has much less noticeable 3D value. This seems like it has more to do with a lack of planning specifically for 3D than a lack of effort. So, I'd say very good here, but not great.
Again, while I could argue not every scene in Avengers: Endgame has great "Before the Window" value, aka, the ability for objects to come off the screen, the stuff that works really works. In particular, anytime there's a heavily reliant CGI scene -- like the space scene teased in the trailer -- the 3D also pops. In particular, there's also a scene where Tony Stark is working in his home and the camera is at an angle from above on a stairwell. There's a pole that jumps out onscreen that gives real spacial dimension. Small details like that stand out without ever feeling goofy.
Real backgrounds don't lend themselves to 3D depth as much as animated or CGI backgrounds do. While there are a few scenes that work particularly well in the "Beyond the Window" category, I wouldn't say this is anywhere close to Avengers: Endgame's 3D strength. Backgrounds are not consistently blurry or anything, but Endgame is often a stark and not a lush movie; it's just not really exciting to make 3D walls or cars parked on the street in the background stand out.
Brightness score is a tough one, because certain scenes in Avengers: Endgame are notably dark. However, despite this, I never felt as if my 3D experience was too dark due to the format or the 3D glasses. Plus, a lot of scenes in Endgame both lend themselves to 3D and are really bright in 3D. So, I’m going to give this category a 5, but know that the movie is not the same consistent level of brightness throughout and please factor that in.
While we don't want blur while watching a 3D movie with glasses on, consistent blur when taking the glasses off, you know to wipe the tears off your face during particularly sentimental scenes or whatever, is a good thing. I periodically took my glasses off during Avengers: Endgame, not to cry (OK maybe to cry), and I found the blur factor to be consistent and to be prevalent over most of the screen, giving the movie a satisfying level of depth and consideration. Do not try watching this movie with your glasses off.
Having seen Avengers: Endgame once before, this was actually the category I was most dreading. There's a lot of action in this film, and scenes with a lot of movement typically have the most trouble in this category as action in 3D can often make people queasy. Avengers: Endgame is unlike some of the earlier Marvel movies in this respect, as its action, even during scenes with a lot of characters moving at once, is very smooth and engaging in 3D. There is one scene early on in the movie that did feel too jiggly for a hot second, but it was during a quick moment of action and it was the only time I noticed this being an issue during the whole film. If we gave half scores in this column, I might bump it to a 4.5 because of that, but that's not enough of an issue for me to grade a 4 in this category, so 5 baby!
|3D Scores Recap|
|3D Fit Score||4|
|Planning & Effort Score||4|
|Before the Window Score||4|
|Beyond the Window Score||3|
|Glasses Off Score||5|
|Audience Health Score||5|
While not perfect, I really did enjoy Avengers: Endgame in 3D and would see it again in 3D if someone wanted to go with me to another viewing. I should note I also saw the film on a Superscreen DLX (similar to IMAX but a little smaller), which meant I had a bigger screen than some 3D moviegoers, and your experience could vary a little because of that.
Ultimately though, if you like 3D, there really should be nothing stopping you from seeing this in 3D, particularly given the myriad screenings as well as the quality of the 3D conversion. While I wouldn't say you 100% absolutely must see this movie in 3D, I wouldn't shy away from recommending it, either. I will say, no matter what option you choose, see it on the biggest screen possible. It's the endgame, after all.