Immediately following the events of THOR: RAGNAROK, the ship containing what remains of Asguard is under attack by Thanos’ ship Sanctuary II. Almost everyone on board has been killed and the ship is in shambles. Thanos’ most trusted warriors called The Black Guard is on board with The Mad Titan to punish Loki for his failure on Earth years ago. After torturing Thor with the Power Stone, Loki reveals that he took the tesseract before Asguard was destroyed and also that the Hulk is on board.
After some punches are thrown, Heimdall sends The Hulk to Earth and he crashes into the Sanctum Sanctorum. As he changes into Banner, he warns Doctor Strange & Wong that Thanos is coming, and he is bringing war with him.
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR is directed by Joe and Anthony Russo or as they’re also known: The Russo Brothers. This is the pair who directed both CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER and CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. They really know how to make a comic book movie with a story that references so much from the source material. With this, it is more than double the story when it’s compared to CIVIL WAR. The way that the characters work together has them separated in 3 groups so that the audience can follow what’s happening and not lose track of plot lines or the characters.
The event is based on the two comic book miniseries: INFINITY GAUNTLET and INFINITY WAR. The plot unfolds almost like a parallel telling of the story with some things changed to keep some mystery. The moments that are the most similar to the comics may have been told with a different character or a different location. For the nerds like me who know the books like I do, these moments are made to make the fans smile, nod, and feel elated.
10 years and 18 movies of pure comic book love: that is the culmination of what Marvel Studios has done since Tony Stark was in the back of the “Fun-Vee” and Back in Black is heard blaring on the radio. Fans are not only getting to see their favorite characters on screen but follow them as they change and grown as they have panel by panel for years. I think this might be the best quote to explain the Marvel Studios’ thought process:
“There was an idea, Stark knows this, called the Avengers Initiative. The idea was to bring together a group of remarkable people, see if they could become something more. See if they could work together when we needed them to fight the battles we never could.” – Nick Fury
Robert Downey Jr. – Tony Stark / Iron Man
Chris Hemsworth – Thor
Mark Ruffalo – Bruce Banner / Hulk
Chris Evans – Steve Rogers / Captain America
Scarlett Johansson – Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Benedict Cumberbatch – Dr. Stephen Strange
Don Cheadle – James “Rhodey” Rhodes / War Machine
Tom Holland – Peter Parker / Spider-Man
Chadwick Boseman – T’Challa / Black Panther
Paul Bettany – Vision
Elizabeth Olsen – Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
Anthony Mackie – Sam Wilson / Falcon
Sebastian Stan – Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier
Tom Hiddleston – Loki
Peter Dinklage – Eitri
Benedict Wong – Wong
Pom Klementieff – Mantis
Karen Gillan – Nebula
Dave Bautista – Drax the Destroyer
Zoe Saldana – Gamora
Vin Diesel – Groot
Bradley Cooper – Rocket
Gwyneth Paltrow – Pepper Potts
Benicio del Toro – Taneleer Tivan / The Collector
Josh Brolin – Thanos
Chris Pratt – Peter Quill / Star-Lord
Danai Gurira – Okoye
Letitia Wright – Shuri
William Hurt – Thaddeus Ross
Winston Duke – M’Baku
The video is a 2160p HEVC presentation that has a beautiful look to it. The worlds that have been created by both real locations and soundstages look incredible on the home theater screen. Exotic locations such as Wakanda and the various planets do rely on CGI to flesh things out. These settings have to look excellent on the big screen and be filled (mostly) with real people in them and not come off as cartoonish or it may pull you out of the experience. With there also being some darker scenes like on Knowhere and on the spaceships, the blacks have a solid look and the HDR definitely comes into play. There are a couple of instances where the contrasting doesn’t have the clearest definition but the moments are few and far between. Details are important and the images maintaining a level of sharpness is key. The intricacies in the backgrounds look clean and impressive. The textures in the skin and fur of some of the alien characters also have a well-rendered and realistic look. When it comes to coloring, things such as magic and energy weapons are bold as well as bright. The brilliance presented from the UHD stands out beautifully.
The video is a 1080p AVC presentation that is another flawless release from Disney. Coloring, sharpness, and contrasting all make for the perfect picture that the format will allow.
The audio is a Dolby Atmos mix and it will default to a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix depending on your equipment. This movie does sound great but like the last several Marvel releases, this has a low-volume issue. The volume has to be turned up past the normal listening level to get the same experience as some of the previous releases in the MCU.
That being said, the sound has as strong presence with the large effects throughout the film. The overhead speakers come in to play with the sweeping effects such as the blowing wind in New York as the ship is landing. Also during the big fight in Wakanda, the sound field is alive with battling and works all of the speakers. Its both immersive and chaotic like the scene should be. The LFEs are consistently strong and doesn’t let the subwoofers rest. The dialogue along with Alan Sylvestri’s heartfelt score and mixed effects are all prioritized so well.
The audio is a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix that is very similar to the Atmos mix. There is the same low volume issue but, again, it sounds excellent after some minor adjustments. This is also a very immersive mix with effects such as being on the various ships having their mechanical sounds while moving through space.
SUPPLEMENTS & PACKAGING
-Audio Commentary: with both directors Joe and Anthony Russo and both writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
-Intro: This is something that Marvel has been doing for the last few releases. This has directors Joe and Anthony Russo thoughts about making the movie and their joy of bringing this latest installment to the fans.
-Strange Alchemy: This featurette looks at the many characters from all over the MCU.
-The Mad Titan: This looks at Thanos, his plans, and his place in the cinematic universe.
-Beyond the Battle: Titan: This looks at the creation of Titan and how the heroes take the fight to The Mad Titan’s home. They have to create a whole world from concept art and comic book references to get the visuals right.
-Beyond the Battle: Wakanda: This featurette focuses on creating the battle on Wakanda and adding the visuals for the film.
-Deleted Scenes: These deleted scenes are some that would’ve fit well in the movie is time wasn’t already a constraint.
2-disc set w/ 1 4k UHD and 1 Blu-ray
A reflective slipcover with embossed and debossed art
2160p HEVC H.265
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Spanish Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1
Japanese Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
1080p AVC MPEG-4
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
THE BOTTOM LINE:
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR can be fun, surprising or sad at any given time and this is what keeps the film interesting. This also marks some very big changes that will rock the MCU to its very core. I totally get that since its announcement, there have been fans that have been waiting for this movie to happen. I have personally been waiting ever since someone put into my head that movies can be made like stories in comic books with origins, arcs, and deaths.
This release has a stellar video transfer and a solid audio mix. This applies to both the 4k UHD and the Blu-ray. The extras are also really good and I would’ve liked to see a big Marvel featurette about the MCU 10 years in the making but maybe they will on the next installment. This is one that I highly recommend on both the content and technical merits. Definitely pick up your copy to be a part of the event.