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5 Best Movies To Watch On A New 4K TV

4K TVs are quickly becoming the norm for most households. While 1080p televisions are widely prevalent and still effective at delivering quality images, 4K TVs are the most exciting models on the home media market. The benefits of these new, thinner, brighter, and more technologically advanced televisions can't be understated. With more viewers focused on staying at home and streaming as opposed to heading out to theaters, 4K TVs are growing more appealing. 

They offer a much sharper image than typical 1080p sets, which leads to more life-like colors and a more immersive cinematic viewing experience. While the feeling of watching a movie on a 4K set won't compare to seeing it at a multiplex, it's the closest thing to replicating that theater experience.

Today, there are plenty of budget 4K TVs that won't break the bank, making the barrier of entry into the 4K ecosystem extremely minimal. While 4K TV sets are being adopted all around the world, many viewers aren't taking full advantage of their brand-new television sets. Audiences should specifically be seeking out content that's available in 4K, as opposed to the standard 1080p. To fully appreciate your brand new home viewing experience, here are the five best movies to watch on a new 4K TV. The films chosen were based on overall image quality, how they take advantage of 4K technology, ease of purchase/viewing, and their general rewatchability. 

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)

Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy are considered to be some of the best fantasy films of all time, which is why it shouldn't surprise cinephiles and 4K purists that the franchise is on this list. While many fondly remember their breathtaking journey to Middle-earth, the films debuted over two decades ago, which means viewers can't exactly recreate their first theatrical experience unless their local multiplex is showing reruns of the trilogy. The best way to recapture those moments of awe is to watch the "LOTR" trilogy in 4K.  

The benefit of watching the films in 4K is that the image is extremely clean, meaning the world of Middle-earth will pop more, allowing you to pick out minuscule details in the background. If you have a large set, ideally more than 55", you can put your detective skills to work and try to spot details that you might have missed in your initial viewings. Colors are far more lush and rich, allowing viewers to fully feel the diversity of the landscape that Frodo (Elijah Wood) and the gang are navigating. 

When it comes to films to watch in 4K, we're particularly looking for visually arresting films, and there's nothing more stunning than watching the final moments of "Return of the King" on a large screen. Watching "The Lord of the Rings" in 4K isn't particularly difficult, either. The films are available on Max in 4K, though the best way to watch them, particularly the extended versions, is by purchasing the films on 4K UHD from storefronts like Amazon. 

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

When looking for a visually astounding movie for your 4K TV, it's hard to imagine a James Cameron picture not being on the list. While all of his films are aesthetically pleasing, audiences should definitely be testing out their new 4K TVs with his 2022 flick "Avatar: The Way of Water." When audiences saw the release in cinemas, they were taken aback by the rich visual storytelling of Pandora, the film's emotional narrative, and its breathtaking third act, which features mind-boggling action sequences. With an unrelenting momentum and fascinating set pieces, "The Way of Water" is one of the most rewatchable films in recent memory. 

When it comes to taking advantage of 4K technology, "Avatar: The Way of Water" is a great showcase. Regardless of what size your TV is, the film will pop with every frame, especially as the film opens with Pandora's lush jungles. The visuals are unparalleled, especially in the meticulously captured, photo-realistic underwater sequences. The lighting in those sequence will make great use of 4K display, showing just how detailed those moments are. Because so much time was spent on motion capture and getting accurate facial details for the characters, viewers who get up close and personal with their screens will see things they likely missed in theaters. 

"Avatar: The Way of Water" was an incredibly expensive film to make, and every dollar shows in the 4K version. Those who have a Disney+ subscription can watch a 4K version of the film. It's also available for Max subscribers and on home video. 

Joker (2019)

At first glance, it might seem like the inclusion of "Joker" on a must-watch 4K list is strange. Most films that take advantage of 4K screens are typically large-scale genre fare that put an emphasis on visuals and action sequences. What makes "Joker" particularly noteworthy is how rich and clean the billion-dollar grossing R-rated flick looks. Director Todd Phillips and his creative time initially wanted to shoot "Joker" on 70mm film cameras, hoping to give the world of Gotham a more grainy, lived-in look. Due to budget constraints, they decided to film the picture with high-res digital cameras. Despite the crisper resolution, "Joker" still has that old-school grainy vibe that's present in classics like "The King of Comedy" and "Taxi Driver," which notably influenced the comic book film. 

A period piece that highlights the murkiness of big city living, "Joker" shines on 4K TVs because of how intimate it is. Viewers who watch Joaquin Phoenix's transformative performance as Joker in 4K will be blown away by how evocative his facial performances are. The actor spends the third act of the film in full clown make-up, making those scenes particularly pop.

4K owners will also spot tons of background details they missed during their first go-around. "Joker" is available on 4K on Max, though a great way to watch the instant classic is on 4K UHD. 

Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

No 4K collection is complete without at least one Tom Cruise picture. Perhaps Hollywood's last great action star, Cruise continues to pump out crowd-pleasing hits, with none more acclaimed than "Top Gun: Maverick." While all of Cruise's hits, from "Mission: Impossible" to "Edge of Tomorrow," would make for perfectly great viewing experiences, what makes "Maverick" such a compelling choice is its immense rewatchability. The Joseph Kosinski-directed picture is filled with heart-tugging moments, breathtaking action sequences, and out-of-this-world visuals. 

With an unrelenting third act, "Maverick" is the perfect feel-good action film to watch, especially if you have a decent sound system to complement your new 4K TV. Beyond impeccable sound design, "Maverick" is a must-watch because of the aerial flight sequences. Sure, the action sequences with the fighter jets look great, but it's the more intimate cockpit moments that stand out. With a 4K screen, viewers will be able to see the precise facial expressions of the pilots as they communicate with one another, especially in the film's final, emotional moments. 

Audiences will also be able to appreciate the technical aspects of the film as well, noticing little details inside the cockpits. "Top Gun: Maverick" was already visually pleasing, and its achievements are all the more pronounced in the 4K version, which is available on Paramount+ and on 4K UHD. Note that the version streaming Prime Video isn't offered in 4K.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

If you really want to show off your new 4K TV, one of the best ways to test it out is to throw on an animated film. While Pixar succeeds at creating photo-realistic films with timeless visual iconography, it's Sony Pictures' "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" that wraps up our list. The reason is simple: The animated pic is unlike anything we've ever seen before. Beyond its fascinating narrative and interpretation of the Spider-Man mythos, "Spider-Verse" stands out because of its hypnotic and chaotic animation, which shines on a bright 4K TV. 

Meant to appear like a comic book, "Spider-Verse" uses various technical tricks to create an experience that's unlike anything else. The film notably uses a lower frame rate to create a unique atmosphere where the characters are slowly moving through a faded background. With the 4K release, the image quality is extremely clear, making it very easy to pick up on key easter eggs that might otherwise have been missed. This all leads to a 4K version of the film that pops with each new frame. Colors are loud and vibrant, with the sequences set at night glowing especially brightly thanks to the masterful lighting work. 

"Into the Spider-Verse" is the best superhero film, according to Rotten Tomatoes, and it's obvious why that's the case once viewers rewatch it in the best format available. Unfortunately, the animated "Spider-Man" flick isn't on streaming, but fans can purchase the 4K version of "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" from Amazon or other retailers.