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Avengers: Infinity War (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Maybe you’ve heard of this movie? Haha. What kind of introduction does Avengers: Infinity War need not require? The film is the biggest movie of the summer and probably the most talked about and referenced one as well. And with good purpose, this is not only a big movie, but its a pretty sizeable event too. And its only half the story to boot! Disney is bringing it to 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray on August 14th to help you cope or relive your grieving at home. The film will feature a commentary track as well as some featurettes, deleted scenes and the as usual worthless gag reel. There are also many special versions like steelbooks and the like available at other retailers, but if you don’t care to mess with all that and just want the bread and butter, then pre-order from our Amazon link below.

Film 

Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Guardians of the Galaxy and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet — the evil Thanos. On a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to use the artifacts to inflict his twisted will on reality. The fate of the planet and existence itself has never been more uncertain as everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment.

The first Avengers film lead us in with a buildup of multiple heroes on the promise they would all come together for a movie. Their second film did introduce us to some new superheros within that film but was more of a victory lap/encore on what came before. Now, in the past few years, Marvel has been providing plenty of new ones to build the excitement up once again of seeing all of them, now a pretty sizable collection, come together to take on a villain that had been in the shadows and leading us up to this incredible moment. At any point, this could have gone off course, or lost the public’s interest, but no. Marvel is king. Its the modern Star Wars/Batman/Lord of the Rings/Harry Potter in terms of cinematic franchise royalty. Except, theirs has been with multiple related films and characters over a 10 year period, truly bringing the comic book experience to life in a way we’ve never seen before (Yes, there have been shared canon universes, even in superhero ones – see 1984’s Supergirl, but nothing like what Marvel has accomplished ).

Tapped to direct this gigantic wonder is the Russo Brothers who have done the Winter Soldier and Civil War films in the Captain America sect of this universe. Of all of the series up to this third phase, they’ve had some of the most unique best take on action in the whole Marvel-verse. They definitely bring that craft here, but they vary it up with many different styles and flavors, each suiting to whatever hero is in play. Granted this takes a different form in larger collaborative battles, but I really enjoy the variety to which each planet, character and battle get to showcase conflict.

With so many characters now on the roster AND appearing in this movie, it feels like someone or someones would get the short stick. In another impressive feat, the majority here feel like they get their due. The carousel swings around and every time you might be wondering what happen to X storyline, here it comes right back around to clue you in. And all your Marvel characters really feel right, and that they’ve been done their fair due (Even Peter Quill, dumb dumbs…lets not forget he was taken as a boy and probably has the maturity of Spider-Man still). One wonders if the script didn’t go by the offices of those who previously wrote the characters to polish them up before going to shoot. Thanos, rightfully, becomes one of the leads in this film with his quest being the crux of it and this only helps to develop, deepen and give purpose to his wretch. He’s a force. This villain has a very intimidating and scary presence either by virtue of his physique, brutality or just he haunted conviction with which he delivers his monologues.

There are many other elements in this film that are really groovy. The children of Thanos feel like some fully realized vision of scary monsters from a 1980s kids adventure movie. You know, the one that’s for kids/family, but the creature design and aesthetic is a bit too dark and horrific (Which is why we all are nostalgic for them). There is also the planet Vormir which houses Red Skull and the Soul Stone. Something about it is just haunting and the design of Red Skull is quite awesome.

Avengers: Infinity War is the ultimate Marvel cinematic experience taking it to its own “dark chapter” heights in impressively iconic fashion. This film has hit the pop culture lexicon in a major way, even the likes of which Marvel hasn’t yet. The film features all your favorite heroes losing to the most memorable and dynamic villain they’ve ever faced. Being on the up and up with filmmaking experience and studio news knowledge, the impact of the ending doesn’t really hit as hard as it does for some, but boy am I jealous of those who aren’t tainted in the fashion that I am. What a rush!

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Avengers: Infinity War see a nice jump from standard Blu-ray to 4K Ultra-HD. While the film was shot at a higher resolution, it was mastered with a 4K digital intermediate. A lot of the difference come with the glowing HDR effects, motion and more prevalent details that come through. One of the unfortunate side effect here, is that the CGI effects become more apparent from time to time. Things like a CGI Spider-Man, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, etc become a little more obvious. Though, Thanos is always pretty strong and almost lifelike looking. And in some rarer situations, the backgrounds can look a little bit like it was clearly shot in front of a green screen. Always brief and never deters the enjoyment, but I did notice a few times.

Depth:  This is a confident image with really fluid and smooth movements. Spacing is quite good and there is a nice 3 dimensional look to anything with a sweeping camera and floating/flying character. No distortions with an rapid movements, either.

Black Levels: Blacks are natural and features good saturation here. Details hold up strong. I think even Black Panther’s uniform is more discernible and texture here than on his on movie’s 4K UHD disc. No crushing occurs at all.

Color Reproduction: Colors are pretty strong here. This one actually struts its stuff moreso when it is in space. There are excellent glows from ships, starts, planets and the like that the HDR loves. Everything Thor & Guardians feature wonderful glows and colors. Scarlet Witch’s powers are also friendly the HDR. The Wakandan women’s armor really comes off as striking here too. There are loads of colors on display here and the palette is well saturated and applies the right amount glow and burst (Explosions look quite awesome).

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features such as dirt, wrinkles, stubble, dried blood, lip texture, sweat, Vision’s features and more look very discernible from any reasonable distance. And while they are mo-capp’d characters, the textures on the children of Thanos are very impressive.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, Japanese 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Mandarin

Dynamics: Ah, here we go, the always complained about Disney Dolby Atmos track (Or “Atmouse”, kudos to the clever individual who came up with that). Truth of the matter is, this one is once again set to a lower volume. But, I only had to turn my volume up a couple ticks for this and it sounded pretty terrific. You may also want to turn your subwoofer up a little bit. Its not as intricate mix as it could have been, but overall this works very well and much better than I prepared myself for. A movie like Avengers: Infinity War SHOULD be one of the best Atmos tracks ever, however, it settles for just being pretty top notch for the most part.

Height: This aspect might be where I was most disappointed in this mix. Its used a lot of filling out the score and some ambiance. Unique things from above (not a part of a combined speaker movement) are either set really low or don’t occur much at all.

Low Frequency Extension: Overall, the subwoofer gives one of the better Disney Atmos performances.  Its a little inconsistent in spots where you may be expecting something to land harder and it comes off soft. A lot of the bigger rumbles come from score, ships rush, big things crashing to the ground and sweep soundscape moments like Doctor Strange looking into the many possibilities.

Surround Sound Presentation: As a whole, this is a rock solid mix, leaving all the speakers to handle 360 degrees of chaos. However, its not as intricate and individual as it could have been. There is some fun attention paid to the rear speakers at times, but this really feels like a front loaded track that keeps the other speakers helping to beef up what’s going on there. I’m probably nit picking a bit, because overall I did quite enjoy the experience this one delivered.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are a hair lower than everything else, but when turned up it sounds plenty present and never drowned out. Plenty audible during any big wreckage or battle.

Extras 

Avengers: Infinity War comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a digital copy of the film. All bonus features are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Audio Commentary

  • By Directors Joe and Anthony Russo and Writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

Featurettes (HD, 32:18) – While this is lengthy, its a pretty fluffy look back at the Marvel universe with cast/crew interviews about the making of this film that gives you details you already know or are pretty well explained or conveyed in the film.

  • Strange Alchemy
  • The Mad Titan
  • Beyond The Battle: Titan
  • Beyond The Battle: Wakanda

Deleted Scenes (HD, 10:13) 

Gag Reel (HD, 2:05)

*Please note, there is a digital-only exclusive Director’s Roundtable featurette that I am currently unable to access at this time.

Summary 

Even if this summer had been hit after hit, Avengers: Infinity War would have still made the biggest impact in possibly Marvel’s most iconic film yet. It arrives on 4K Ultra-HD with a terrific performance in both video and audio. Though, once again, the Atmos track is a bit low, but not as much as before. And once properly set, Thanos will rock your viewing room. The extra featurettes are pretty softball and fluffy, which is disappointing, so head right for the commentary if you’re looking for a more fruitful experience. Yes, this is the best way to view the film, so if you’re set for 4K, add this Infinity Stone to the Gauntlet.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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