If Captain America: Civil War was a bigger superhero film compared to its predecessors then Avengers: Infinity War is the biggest. As Ant-Man would be quick to retort: bigger isn’t always better. At least when you’re not talking about aspect ratios on the Avengers: Infinity War 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.
I don’t envy the Russo Brothers and the challenge bestowed upon them; to wrangle 10 years worth of Marvel Cinematic Universe films and characters into a single penultimate event. The pressure must have been astronomical to deliver a solid narrative and appease ballooned fan expectations.
You can’t have an Avengers film face increased stakes without raising the action ceiling. In Civil War, the Russos limited their biggest set piece between two factions of superheroes with different ideals yet still kept it fresh and memorable.
Infinity War starts small with intimate skirmishes that culminate in a massive CGI-fueled war sparking immediate memories of The Phantom Menace. Everything about Infinity War’s climatic battle blows away the Star Wars prequel, but there’s a shallowness to watching and endless stream of CGI aliens being beaten up.
We’ve watched that song and dance before — albeit not without half the universe’s lives on the line. Had the Russos not gone big then they would have been called out for not taking advantage of a massive superhero roster.
In this respect Infinity War is the victim of its own circumstance.
In every other respect, including a confrontation on Titan that parallels the battle of Wakanda, Infinity War is a hugely gratifying sequel that takes chances where previous Marvel films had not. Characters die in expected and unexpected ways. Callbacks to numerous early Marvel Cinematic films are hugely gratifying as plot threads planted years ago finally bear fruit. The franchise feels like it’s evolving in a new and exciting direction.
Home video fans have been crying out for Disney and Marvel to evolve when it comes to their 4K Ultra HD releases. Low Dolby Atmos audio levels have been an issue, while the implementation of Dolby Vision HDR has been inconsistent.
For whatever reason Disney chose to employ Dolby Vision for the Digital 4K version of Infinity War but not the physical disc version. Go figure. That’s the buyer’s loss, not theirs, and frankly unacceptable when a company like Lionsgate is including Dolby Vision on comparatively obscure titles with a fraction of the built-in audience and sales projections.
That said, the HDR10 presentation is pretty solid and befitting a film of Infinity War’s stature. The final battle on the Wakanda countryside bursts with colors, while character close-ups show all kinds of neat little details. Like the rainbow colored Infinity Stones that villainous Thanos seeks, Infinity War is teeming with a vast color palette and HDR10 does not disappoint in improving over the standard Blu-ray release.
Where the transfer falls short is in the lack of an IMAX aspect ratio. I’m not here to defend or criticize IMAX versus the traditional 2.39:1 aspect ratio. If IMAX exists then I’d like to have it as an option on the disc. Sadly this release does not.
If no IMAX is two steps backward then Disney and Marvel’s work on the Dolby Atmos audio track is one step forward. The “low” volume issue that has plagued each Marvel 4K release to date appears to have been resolved; there’s no more upping the volume to get to a normal listening level.
The audio mix does feel a little light in directional effects considering how much is going on when Avengers take on Thanos or his goons. I would have expected this Atmos mix to be one of the best ever. Instead it’s merely above average with some nice moments, but never reaches that “wow” potential it could have.
On the flip side, there’s no bombastic score or other effects overcoming dialogue at any point. When superheroes or objects thud to the ground, bass responds with a welcoming rumble.
There are many bonus features listed for Avengers: Infinity War and most of them are over in 10 minutes or less. The best of the bunch, a Marvel director’s round table, is exclusive to Digital — the second shade thrown toward the physical disc version by Disney. At least the audio commentary is engaging and virtually impossible to step away from once fired up.
- 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.
There’s no denying Avengers: Infinity War sets a new high bar for the superhero genre. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray does not for the format, but don’t let that deter you from owning the current jewel in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. And to think there’s another one due in less than a year.
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