James Gunn has clearly put a lot of care into his films. The level of thought, love, and attention to detail in projects like Guardians of the Galaxy or The Suicide Squad is a cut above many other contemporary action blockbusters.
With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that Gunn extends that same level of thoughtfulness to those who choose to watch the movies he makes on streaming.
Gunn Makes a Case for Widescreen on Guardians 3
Marvel Studios’ latest film, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hit Disney+ recently.
With it came the option to view the movie in two different formats: Widescreen (cropped with black bars on the top and bottom of the screen) and IMAX Enhanced (with no black bars and extra parts of the scene visible).
Several MCU movies have this option available, allowing viewers to see even more of the frame on films like Avengers: Infinity War, Endgame, and more.
According to Vol. 3’s director James Gunn on Threads, he prefers the film to be seen in widescreen and lightly advised against taking it in through the IMAX aspect ratio:
"The 'widescreen' version is mixed aspect ratio and would be my preferred way to watch in your home."
Gunn expanded on his remarks, noting that particular moments in Guardian 3’s narrative actually correspond to the specific aspect ratios that were used and that Disney+’s Widescreen option is presented in a mixed ratio, meaning that how much of the shot getting shown will jump back and forth:
"Lots of directors shoot in 2.35. Those sections in 'Vol. 3' were composed for 1.90 and 2.35 respectively, and the changes come at specific points in the storytelling, so it’s my preferred way of watching the film on TV. But it’s fun to watch the different versions. I liked the 3D version too!"
For comparison’s sake, here is the widescreen version of the movie against the IMAX Enhanced view of the exact same frame. It’s plain to see that many more details in the movie are visible in IMAX, such as the top of Groot’s head.
To that point, James Gunn clarified on social media that since Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, when watched in IMAX Enhanced, isn’t cropped at all, the aspect ratio is unable to switch back and forth during those “specific points in the storytelling.”
James Gunn isn't the only MCU director to express concern over Disney+'s home viewing options, with Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson previously explaining that he never intended for his film to be viewed in its IMAX format at home.
James Gunn Is a Passionate Filmmaker
Oftentimes, professionals in the movie industry are all about IMAX, stating that their films are meant to be viewed in the format with certain shots and scenes being specifically geared towards the giant, uncropped theater screen found in those types of theaters.
Optimized visuals aren't the only aspects getting highlighted by filmmakers though, as Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse producer Phil Lord similarly pushed for theaters to ensure that the film's audio was turned up loud enough for moviegoers.
So to have someone like James Gunn come out and advertise the merits of watching his movie in plain ol’ widescreen, at least in the comfort of one’s own home, speaks to his character as a filmmaker and how much attention he puts in as well as how much he values fans being able to get the most out what he makes.
Marvel Studios‘ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is available to stream on Disney+, and purchase on digital VOD or physical media.