Avengers: Endgame Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War, the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to reverse Thanos’ actions and restore balance to the universe. Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Avengers: Endgame from Disney Home Entertainment.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

92

Details:

Studio and Year: Disney – 2019
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 181 minutes
Genre: Fantasy

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, English/Spanish Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, 1080p Blu-ray: DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Paul Rudd, Don Cheadle, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Elizabeth Olsen, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jeremy Renner, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper, Brie Larson, Rene Russo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Josh Brolin
Directed by: Anthony and Joe Russo
Music by: Alan Silvestri
Written by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: August 13, 2019

“Nothing Can Prepare You for the End”

Synopsis:

“The fourth installment of the Avengers series is the once-in-a-lifetime culmination of 22 interconnected films and the climax of a journey.” – Disney Home Entertainment

My Take:

Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark sends a message to Pepper Potts as his oxygen supply starts to dwindle. Meanwhile, the remaining Avengers — Thor, Black Widow, Captain America and Bruce Banner — must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies for an epic showdown with Thanos — the evil demigod who decimated the planet and the universe. With the help of elements from the past, thanks to the return of Scott Lang from the Quantum Realm, The Avengers are ready to stand together in the hopes of restoring balance and defeating the universes largest threat.

I have reviewed each of the Marvel Studios Blu-ray releases connected to the characters/events depicted in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame and, wanted to incorporate some of my comments from those reviews.

I used to love reading comics and seeing some of my favorite figures from their pages brought to life on the big screen has been well executed and pretty thrilling. I dabbled a little bit in DC comics but my heart belonged to Marvel. Spiderman was my first Marvel favorite, followed by Thor and then I picked up an Iron man comic. There was always something about Iron man that I found intriguing. I can’t say for certain whether it was Tony Stark’s money/fame/brilliance or Iron man’s vulnerable side that showed that underneath the armor was a man who was fallible but couldn’t show it. I guess it might have been the idea that potentially anyone could be Iron man once they donned the armor. For me I always thought that his armor was just so freakin’ cool.

Captain America isn’t among the more dazzling superheroes however he has been a Marvel staple that has continued to thrive. I was familiar with his origins, powers etc. and appreciated the attention to detail that went into developing the character for the purposes leading up to his connection with The Avengers. My connection with Thor started from reading about his exploits with The Avengers and then sporadically catching issue of his own comic. He remained a personal favorite though and I was anxious to see how he would translate to the big screen. I enjoyed the first Thor film and the integration of the elements that would carry over into The Avengers.

For fans the handwriting was on the wall as the various Marvel Universe film installments introduced narrative threads that would segue into the release of The Avengers film series. I had high hopes for the first Avengers film and needless to say I wasn’t disappointed in it or its sequel. Along the way we have releases from the MCU that have introduced a host of characters leading into Avengers: Infinity War which set the stage for the finale Avengers: Endgame.

As the final chapter in a ten-year journey, expectations for Endgame were extremely high among fans. The various events both large and small that served as stepping stones along the way would need to be fleshed out in a cohesive and scalable story that would be required to carry not only a gratifying finish but, an emotional as well. “Earth’s heroes will finally understand how fragile our reality is and, the sacrifices that must be made to uphold it, in a story of friendship, teamwork and, setting differences aside to overcome the impossible.”

As with its predecessor I went to see Avengers: Endgame when it hit theaters earlier this year. There was much talk about the film’s bloated runtime but, I was all in. This is a film that covers a lot of ground, stitching together multiple plot points in furtherance of culminating its epic conclusion. I walked away from it feeling wholly gratified, a bit emotionally drained and appreciative of the effort that went into balancing and executing an overtly monumental undertaking.

Written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and directed by The Russo Brothers Avengers: Endgame turned out to be exactly what I’d hoped for. No, it’s not a cinematic gem that all audiences will revel in but, it lives up to the promise of what we have come to expect from fantasy films that brought some of our favorite characters from the pages of comics to the live-action big screen stage. The production elements are everything you would expect from a big budget film and compliment the proceedings. The returning members of the cast reprise their roles naturally with each providing an enriching element to the film. I was every bit as engaged by Avengers: Endgame this time and, found that I was affected by and, enjoyed it, even more. Avengers: Endgame was a long time coming. For me, I found that the journey was a fruitful one.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

Avengers: Endgame comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Disney Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD Avengers: Endgame was rendered from a 6.5K source and finished on a 2K DI.

Avengers: Endgame is a fantasy/action-based film that was shot with a specific visual aesthetic in mind and that comes through in this presentation. The Ultra HD presentation bests the 1080p version in every respect. This isn’t an overtly colorful film, especially during the scenes that take place in the present, where primary and secondary colors are tamped down. My initial impressions were that there was a flatness to the image that I didn’t necessarily recall when seeing it in the theater. Once things begin shifting to the various time travel sequences the image becomes noticeably warmer with well-chosen moments where sepia tones and rich chromatic variants are used for thematic emphasis. Over the course of the film the presentation’s earth toned and primary colors benefited from UHD’s wider color gamut but, not to a defining degree.

The added dimension in blacks, and shadows during the low-level scenes, such as those that take place in the crippled space ship carrying Tony and Nebula, the rubble beneath The Avengers destroyed base, or the planet that serves as the home of the Soul Stone is immediately noticeable. The cinematography makes use of shadows, streaming light and a mix of light/dark elements. The blend of shadow detail/depth of field offset by the presence of light at varying levels looked great.

The film has a variety of sequences that make use of close up camera angles that show off its ability to render detail. In general, I found the image to be sharp but, conversely, there were times when close ups were lacking in truly defining delineation. The same was true of wide-angle shots. There were instances where images onscreen looked terrific, the ones that take on Asgard are a good example. I found that some of the sequences early in the film, such as when the team travels to the far planet to confront Thanos in the “Garden”, appeared somewhat softer by comparison.

There is intermittent use of visual elements that utilize high dynamic range. There isn’t much happening in this regard in the early parts of the story but, once things kick off, especially during the last hour, there is gratifying use of HDR where bright/fiery elements looked appreciably vibrant, with low-level sequences having excellent depth of field and emboldened contrast.

Avengers: Endgame’s visual style made evaluating its performance across the board difficult. As I gave it more thought I came to realize that its presentation in the theater was similar. Be that as it may, there is an unevenness to the presentation that discerning viewers will question. With a three-hour runtime and Dolby Atmos soundtrack perhaps a BD-100 disc would have given the video more breathing room.

At the end of the day I enjoyed the Ultra HD presentation finding that its pluses outweighed my minor complaints. There is no question that it shines brighter than its 1080p counterpart but, it falls shy of the best Ultra HD presentations available on the format.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety, which was welcomed. Its use of audio objects placed above is comprised of a mix of atmospherics, panning fills and discrete sounds. This is done to good effect when implemented and creates an enriching level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. Nearfield sound placement is noteworthy, providing an involving listening experience that emboldens the “being there” effect when applied.

During the various sequences where the teams time jump and contend with elements from the past, such as in New York in 2012, or deep space in 2014, the track features environmental cues and discrete sound effects that extend the soundstage. Everything comes together in the large set piece in the finale, where the Avengers square off against Thanos and his army. There are a host of explosions, nearfield pans, and weapon fire that rotate around the soundstage, shifting overhead, passing by at ear level and coming directly at the listening position. It all makes for a resplendent blend of room traversing, and well-balanced sound. I had a great time with this superb audio mix.

NOTE: I did find that a minor increase in volume, approximately 4db, was required to derive the most from it. Once there, it kicked nicely with no signs of dynamic compression or anemic bass. Speaking of which, I ran direct comparisons to several sequences between the Atmos track and DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio track and found that the Atmos track hit harder and deeper.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

Audio: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Avengers: End game comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound.

This film essentially utilizes two distinct visual styles to convey its thematic content. One makes use of darker/monochromatic color schemes, while the other features richer contrast and vibrant colors emboldened by warm accents. Each provides the look that the filmmakers strove for to drive the narrative components. Close ups reveal crisp definition and perceptible detail that reveals the presence of fine detail, including the minutia visible in the costumes and make-up worn by the members of the cast. The texture on the surfaces of objects is just as defining which give them visibly apparent structure and lifelike quality. Black levels are slightly elevated, leaving only the darkest scenes lacking in dimension and, contrast is spot on which delivers bright punchy whites and appreciable depth of field when mixed light/dark elements are present onscreen. The video has a noticeably clean and pristine quality that appears devoid of video related anomalies and artifacts.

I had high hopes for this soundtrack on Blu-ray, especially given the disappointing tracks on some of the recent home video release from Disney. I am happy to report that this 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio/Dolby TrueHD (Atmos core) presentation didn’t disappoint, and essentially matched what I heard in the theater. This lossless soundtrack is dynamically supported which accents the active nature of the sound design. Dialog has excellent presence with clear, defining vocal character and noteworthy room penetration. The mix makes involving use of the surround channels as multi-layered sound effects are appropriately placed within the soundfield so that they coincide with the events transpiring onscreen.

The surround mix utilizes the subwoofer to accentuate the action-based sequences which feature a palpable and occasionally room shaking low end. Throughout the presentation the quality of the bass is excellent, as it fills the room with clean, resonating, low frequency detail.

* Note: As with other recent Disney releases on Blu-ray I found that I needed to set playback at volumes above where I normally listen. In this case I found it to be less of an increase, only requiring a 4db boost. Once there, it played back as expected with no signs of unwanted dynamic compression, allowing me to become immersed in the film without distraction. Let’s hope this trend continues.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Avengers: Endgame Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Avengers: Endgame Blu-ray
  • Disc 3: Bonus Disc (Blu-ray)
    • Remembering Stan Lee – Filmmakers and cast honor the great Stan Lee in a fond look back at his MCU movie cameos.
    • Setting The Tone: Casting Robert Downey Jr. – Hear the tale of how Robert Downey Jr. was cast as Tony Stark in the original “Iron Man” — and launched the MCU.
    • A Man Out of Time: Creating Captain America – Trace the evolution of Captain America with those who helped shape the look, feel and character of this compelling hero.
    • Black Widow: Whatever It Takes – Follow Black Widow’s journey both within and outside the Avengers, including the challenges she faced and overcame along the way.
    • The Russo Brothers: Journey to Endgame – See how Anthony and Joe Russo met the challenge of helming two of the biggest films in cinematic history … back-to-back!
    • The Women of the MCU – MCU women share what it was like to join forces for the first time in an epic battle scene — and be part of such a historic ensemble.
    • Bro Thor – His appearance has changed but his heroism remains! Go behind the scenes to see how Bro Thor was created.
    • Six Deleted Scenes – “Goji Berries,” “Bombs on Board,” “Suckiest Army in the Galaxy,” “You Used to Frickin’ Live Here,” “Tony and Howard” and “Avengers Take a Knee.”
    • Gag Reel – Laugh along with the cast in this epic collection of flubs, goofs and gaffes from set.
    • Visionary Intro – Intro by directors Joe and Anthony Russo.
    • Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by directors Anthony and Joe Russo, and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
  • Digital Code

Final Thoughts:

Avengers: Endgame is a thrilling and engaging film experience that successfully brings the current Avengers film series to its epic conclusion. It comes to Blu-ray in this Cinematic Universe Edition from Disney featuring solid Ultra HD video, excellent lossless surround sound, including a complimentary Dolby Atmos immersive listening experience and a fair supplemental package that is worth exploring. Avengers: Endgame is an entertaining film that fulfills the legacy of the best Marvel Cinematic Universe films that preceded it. It comes highly recommended.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems