I never really believed the story about how late-19th-century audiences, when they saw “The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station,” ran from the screen, afraid the cinematic choo-choo would squish them. (If you’re not familiar with the 50-second film, here’s the plot: A train pulls into a station. People get on. People get off. The end.)

If any of the ghosts of those early filmgoers were at my screening of “The Avengers,” they were probably laughing at me, the silly woman desperately clutching the armrests and ducking while a battle between aliens and superheroes raged. The 3-D and IMAX technology tapped into the reptile part of my brain, and that part was screaming “IT’S THE HULK! RUN!”

Sometimes it’s not worth paying extra for 3-D and IMAX, particularly since the name “IMAX” now means almost nothing. (The reasons why are for another column. A boring, nerdy column.) But when you see “The Avengers,” go to the best theater you can find. Pay for the 3-D. Pay for the IMAX. Pee beforehand, and don’t get a drink. It would be a shame to miss any part of this film, a marvel that takes technology that, until recently, has been superfluous at best and distracting at worst and makes it integral to the experience.

Drive a little farther, pay a little more, and take this ride in the best possible circumstances.