Avengers: Infinity War - 4K Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray / Media Reviews' started by Michael Scott, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    Avengers: Infinity War


    [​IMG]
    Movie: :4.5stars:
    4K Video: :4stars:
    Video: :5stars:
    Audio: :4.5stars:
    Extras: :3.5stars:
    Final Score: :4.5stars:



    [​IMG] Movie

    I can’t believe that it’s been 10 years since the inception of the Marvel Cinematic universe. Back in 2008 NO ONE thought that Marvel could pull off a cohesive blending of over a dozen different films, all consisting of (almost) all the same actors, and sharing a universe together in an overlapping manner. Up until that point all of the “Marvel” franchises had been single one off movies, or locked in their own “universe” due to different studios licensing them under their own banner (The Fantastic 4, Spiderman, Blade, etc). However, Marvel had decided that they were going to start producing their OWN movies under their own label, and consolidated all their efforts under Kevin Feige to make one cohesive universe. With the start of 2008’s Iron Man they had a plan, a vision, and with the massive success of the movie, the popularity to continue on. Since then there have 19 other films (including the kind in, kind of out of timeline film The Incredible Hulk with Ed Norton) in the shared universe and they have all lead up to this very moment. The culmination of all the introductory and explanatory stories about countless Marvel super heroes. The lead up to one of the biggest and most powerful Marvel story lines to ever have been invented. The all powerful Thanos and the terrifying destruction that is Infinity War.

    I was initially a RABID supporter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iron Man is still probably my favorite of the bunch (even though I have to admit that it does have it’s flaws, most notably a weak villain), and have enjoyed a vast majority of the rest of the 19 films throughout the 10 year run. Sure, Thor 2 and Ironman 2 were rather weak, but I still had fun with them. They introduced some cool villains, and had some great humor in them. A lot of people consider them abominations, but I enjoy them on a guilty pleasure level. However Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardian’s of the Galaxy brought them up to a whole new level of awesome. They became complex, emotional, and even impressive on a directing and cinematic level. However, I started noticing a pattern in Marvel movies after that. They were becoming cookie cutter, with the same tired formula throughout all of them. A great first act, a muddled second act, and then a giant CGI mess at the end. Still fun, but the rabid fan base started hyping them up a bit much. Age of Ultron was the first one to show some cracks. Especially considering how big the budgets were getting. Ant Man started to renew my faith in the franchise (hilariously fun side movie), but Captain America: Civil War once more started to slide back into the repetitious pattern of Marvel movies. Doctor Strange blew my socks off, but then came Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Spiderman Homecoming and the ENORMOUSLY over hyped Black Panther (the hype behind that movie was incredible for what turned out to be a mediocre, middle of the road Marvel movie). So, I actually bypassed seeing Infinity War in the theatrical run as everyone was fawning over the product as they did with Black Panther, so my review of this film was completely fresh in my viewing eyes. With all of my doubts and frustrations with Marvel’s later films, I ended up flabbergasted at how good The Avengers: Infinity War ended up being. It was like all of the effort, all of the mis steps of the recently preceding films had all been carefully weeded out and left only the good things, creating a film that is nearly as epic as my precious Lord of the Rings films.

    The film opens with the ending credits scene of Thor: Ragnarok. The ship that escaped Asgard’s destruction has been waylaid by Thanos and his flagship, ending with the utter destruction of half of the survivors. Loki had sadly been the focus of this attack, as he had stolen the Tesseract from the Asgardian vault and Thanos wanted it for his gauntlet. With that in hand he now had TWO of the six infinity stones and the mad Titan is on his way to Earth in order retrieve then next three Infinity Stones to add to his gauntlet of power. Transported to Earth to warn them, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) is sent to Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to warn them of Thanos’s arrival, but it is too late. Thanos (Josh Brolin) is here, and he wants those stones, and will destroy anyone and anything in order to get them.
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    For a movie that lasts 2 hours and 29 minutes, Infinity War moves at a lightning pace and doesn’t let go until the last after credit’s scene rolls. This movie is the amalgamation of 19 films and 10 years of effort, putting nearly every big name star of the entire universe into one film. Not only put into this one film, but running three consecutive story lines at once and NEVER letting the viewer feel like the characters are shoe horned in there just for fan service. Everyone has a purpose in the film, whether it be Spidey, the insanely grating Tony Stark, down to Mantis and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). The largest boon to the film is that there is almost NO origins story for our heroes. We’ve seen them in several films by now, and their backstories, motivations and demons are already known. This way we can fully enjoy them plunging head first into the battle with Thanos. In fact, the only “origins” story that we have here is Thanos. We finally get to see just what he was before he became a monster, what makes him tick, AND what his final end goal actually is (for those not aware of his comic book origins).

    This brings me to one of my biggest fears I had for the film going in. I had heard from multiple sources that Thanos was changed for the movie. His motivations are much different from the Infinity War comics, and that the Russo’s had made him a bit of a sympathetic villain. This worried me greatly as movie have a propensity for trying to soften and make the viewers empathize with villains, robbing them of their cruelty and evilness. It’s a trend that seems to have been around forever, but with a villain as vicious and monstrous as Thanos I was worried that it would backfire on them. However, I have to eat some crow here, as they did a magnificent job at changing certain parts of the character, but keeping the essence of the monster still intact. Looking back I can kind of understand WHY they did it too. Death herself had never been introduced into the films, and without her using Thanos as her pawn, it would have been very difficult to make Thanos actually more than a cardboard cutout villain. With his devotion and love for her missing, certain elements had to be changed in order to make it work, and I actually liked them. I honestly didn’t think it would work from what I was hearing, but the end result was fabulous.

    The other characters are just as important too. There was the ability for the Russo brothers to just drop all of these characters into the film and have them attack at will, but they delicately balance the dynamics and pairings of the characters so that they play to each other’s strengths. Sometimes the pairing seems a bit weird, but they all have their purpose, and a role to play in furthering the story line. What seems like a joke teaming up of Rocket, Groot and Thor turns out to be a critical role in restoring Thor’s weapon destroyed by Hela in Ragnarok, and The Guardian’s teaming up to take out Thanos ends up being the undoing of their chance to stop Thanos before he can finish his plan. it’s a balancing act, and one that actually relies on setups from a dozen different movies over the years. Endings that seemed neat in the end credits scene, but innocuous, finally make sense. Little arguments that set up characters for what seemed like failure create some of the most poignant moments in the film, and even some of the flops for the series allow for technology and friendships t hat work together for the common goal.

    I’m being intentionally vague on what Thanos’s end plan is, and many of the plot points, but that is done on purpose. The film is literally LITTERED with spoilers throughout, and if I give away too many, the entire conclusion of the movie is diminished. Which brings up my last point. Any of us who have read comics, or have a basic knowledge of the Infinity War saga knows the general outcome of this movie. We know who wins, and we know what Thanos actually does at this point. That being said, they were able to make it so that even though you KNEW what was coming, it hit you like a ton of bricks in the gut. Deaths, betrayals, and the victor were all known to me, but somehow I started snuffling like a sap during the final 15 minutes of the movie.




    Rating:

    Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, language and some crude references





    4K Video: :4stars: Video: :5stars:
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    The 4K UHD disc was sourced from a native 4K master by IMDB, and it is a nice upgrade over the picture perfect Blu-ray disc. The upgrades aren’t night and day, but there are plenty of textural and color related upgrades that make this a step above the 1080p Blu-ray. The backdrop of the Black Order ship that Tony and Spidey commandeer are more detailed and nuanced, showing off little bits of background that you can’t see in the Blu-ray. Colors range from lusciously green (Wakandan landscape), to brightly colored with deep purples, blues and grays in the depth of space with Thor and Rocket traveling to make Stormbreaker. Earth is more neutral, interspersed with the unnatural colors of Dr. Strange’s magic powers, and the bright red of Ton’s nano suit. Blacks are deep and inky, showing nuanced details in the battle armor of War Machine, as well as the enhanced colors from the HDR in the battle sequences (watch as War Machine drops bombs on the Black Order minions, as the red flame appears more red and orange than the dusky color on the Blu-ray.





    Audio: :4.5stars:
    [​IMG] Disney/Marvel have a history of botching their home video releases, giving listeners a neutered audio experience that really doesn’t stress the limits of the format.
    Age of Ultron was the one that REALLY shocked listeners, but most of their newer ones are GOOD, but never really get great in the audio department. While Infinity War is a bit hushed in volume and constrained on the low end, it feels a lot better than most of their other tracks. The mix is decidedly hushed, and needs a boost of about 3 Db’s to really get going, but once you raise that volume level the track is a lot of fun. Action is near non stop, and the surrounds get full use of the opened up sound stage. Action is fast and furious, with Peter’s blaster shots ricocheting off the corners, as well as the thud and roar of the Black Order’s minions slamming against the Wakandan’s shield barrier. Overheads get some awesome use (such as when Tony drops a fragment of Titan airship on Thanos’s head), the LFE can get quite powerful. That being said, the LFE is a LITTLE milder than I would have hoped for a film of this pedegree, but it’s still an excellent sound track for sure.





    Extras: :3.5stars:
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    • Strange Alchemy (5:08)– Share the thrill of characters from across the MCU meeting for the first time—and discover why some were teamed up together.
    • The Mad Titan (6:34) – Explore the MCU's biggest, baddest villain, his trail of influence through the stories, and the existential threat he represents.
    • Beyond the Battle: Titan (9:36) – Dive into the climactic struggle on Thanos' ruined world, including the epic stunts and VFX, to uncover the source of its power.
    • Beyond the Battle: Wakanda (10:58) – Go behind the scenes to find out how the filmmakers pulled off the most massive and challenging battle Marvel had ever attempted.
    • Deleted and Extended Scenes (10:07)
    - Happy Knows Best (1:23) – Tony and Pepper spar over the details of their upcoming wedding—until a hassled Happy Hogan pulls up with an urgent request.
    - Hunt for the Mind Stone (1:24) – On a darkened street, Wanda Maximoff and the wounded Vision attempt to hide from Thanos' brutal allies.
    - The Guardians Get Their Groove Back (3:20) – As Peter Quill and Drax quarrel over their failed mission to Knowhere, Mantis interrupts with news.
    - A Father's Choice (4:00) – Thanos confronts Gamora with a vision from her past—and with lying to him about the Soul Stone.
    • Gag Reel (2:05)– Watch your favorite Super Heroes make super gaffes in this lighthearted collection of on-set antics.
    • Audio Commentary (approx. 149 min.) by Anthony and Joe Russo, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely









    Final Score: :4.5stars:


    Honestly, I have no idea how Marvel is going to actually go about remedying the situation that they’re in, as certain things from the comics have been twisted and changed for movie purposes. And honestly, that’s a great thing as the predictability and rote nature of some of the later Marvel movies have been thrown out the window. For all of the frustrations and issues I have had with recent Marvel movies, The Avengers: Infinity Wars knocked it out of the park and left me speechless. Disney also didn’t skimp with the technical specs, as they upped their game in the audio department (they’re known for weak audio mixes on the Marvel movies for some weird reason), and the extras are really good for being so few. Definitely a highly recommended release.



    Technical Specifications:

    Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr., Paul Bettany, Chris Pratt, Josh Brolin
    Directed by: Joe and Anthony Russo
    Written by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
    Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
    Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), Spanish, Japanese DD+ 7.1, French (Canadian) DD 5.1
    Subtitles: English SDH, French, Japanese, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin (Traditional), Thai
    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Rated: PG-13
    Runtime: 149 Minutes
    Blu-ray Release Date: August 14th, 2018






    Recommendation: Must Buy

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    #1 Michael Scott, Aug 6, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
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  2. tripplej

    tripplej AV Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the review. Great movie. We saw it in the theater. Worth getting that is for sure. :)
     
  3. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    Alright Michael... I'm not a superhero kind of fan. Its the rare hero flick that captures my attention, but most have me nodding off.

    Does this one really re-write the playbook and open it up to larger audiences?
     
  4. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    yes and no. It's not more complex CHARACTER wise than most other Superhero films, but it does an amazing job tying all the other films together seamlessly and mixing in an ensemble cast that DOESN'T feel shoehorned in with too many characters. They gave enough room for the characters to breathe and flex without being 5 hours long either. I won't say it reinvents the wheel, but it certainly does a great job of handling a million different angles and wrapping things up beautifully.
     
  5. JBrax

    JBrax Senior AV Addict
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    Thanks for the review. I’m kind of like Todd and just feel over saturated with all of these movies. I was excited for Black Panther and it just didn’t do it for me. I think I’ll give it a rental this weekend and go from there.
     
  6. Ralph Potts

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    Greetings,

    Nice review Mike! I am glad you enjoyed this one as well. I am taking some heat for my review but, given the audience and Disney's penchant for flubbing these releases I suppose that's a given. I am happy to see that your review is more in line with my experience.
     
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  7. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    It’s hard to believe these superhero flicks aren’t always 6 stars out of 5 in the audio department.
     
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  8. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    lol, I saw that Ralph. I think that the criticism is VALID (Marvel is known for these issues), but the AMOUNT of outrage seems to be disproportionate to the quality. I mean, the track is NOT as dynamic as others, but it is also not a bad one either. In fact, it's quite good. Personally I think it's because it's the most anticipated Super hero movie of the last 10 years and people were expecting 100% perfection. There's some issues, sure, but it holds its own with other highly regarded tracks. It just isn't a 100% perfect stunner. That's just me though. People are of course welcome to their own opinions.
     
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  9. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    it seems to be something Disney is in control of, because as soon as Disney took over Marvel, the audio mixes have suffered. Age of Ultron was the biggest offender IMO. However, this release is still quite a good track. It's just not 6/5 ...
     
  10. Ralph Potts

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    Greetings,

    In many cases Todd they are but, Disney doesn't seem to want to let these tracks play out at full throttle. Not sure why.

    Agreed Mike. Once folks start getting their hands on them we'll see some of it settle down, although there are some that will NEVER be pleased, and maybe with justification.
     
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