DirectorAnthony Russo, Joe Russo
Release Date(s)2018 (August 14, 2018)
Studio(s)Marvel Studios (Walt Disney Pictures)
- Film/Program Grade: A+
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: B
When Thanos attacks the surviving Asgardians in space, he defeats Hulk and Thor, kills Loki, and takes the Space Stone from the Tesseract—he means to collect all the Infinity Stones so that he can use the Infinity Gauntlet to wipe out half the life in the Universe, thus restoring its balance. Hulk survives and crash lands to Earth in the New York Sanctum, where he warns Stephen Strange, Tony Stark, and Wong that Thanos’ henchmen are coming to take the Time Stone (from Strange) and Mind Stone (from Vision, who’s with Wanda on Earth). With the help of Peter Parker and some of the other Avengers, they manage to fend off this first attempt. But when the Guardians of the Galaxy rescue Thor and attempt to stop Thanos from taking the Reality Stone from Nowhere, they not only fail but Thanos takes his daughter Gamora too, in order to acquire the Soul Stone. Back on Earth, the Avengers gather in Wakanda to rally a massive force to defend Vision and the Mind Stone. In space, Strange, Stark, and Parker regroup with the remaining Guardians on Thanos’ homeworld, Titan, and try to formulate a plan to stop him from getting the Time Stone. But Thanos is coming for both and the cost of stopping him could be high indeed... if he can be stopped at all.
It is, honestly, astonishing that a movie of this scale—and with this many A-list actors in its cast—could be mounted in this day and age. Given the ever-growing cost of these big screen superhero films, it’s amazing that even Marvel’s success could justify the risk associated with making a $400 million+ two-part epic (for Avengers: Infinity War is only the first of a two-part story that continues in Avengers: Endgame, reviewed here in 4K) that serves as the capstone for everything that’s come before in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The ongoing “Infinity War” storyline spans 18 films to this point, and all of them have been leading viewers (and these characters) to this moment. Infinity War is also a gruelingly intense and desperate story—149 minutes of high stakes and terrible losses culminating in one of cinema’s most ballsy and jaw-dropping cliffhangers. This film really is a helluva thing to behold.
Avengers: Infinity War was shot digitally in the ARRIRAW codec at 6.5K, using the Arri Alexa 65 IMAX camera (and in Redcode RAW at 8K using the Red Weapon Dragon and Helium cameras) with Ultra Panavision 70, Panavision Sphero 65, APO Panatar, Leica Summilux-C, and Angenieux Optimo lenses. It was finished as a 2K Digital Intermediate, but the higher-resolution capture, combined with the clarity offered by the 70 lenses, renders an absolutely stunning image, rich with organic detail and texture. The one drawback is that for this 4K release (as with previous Marvel UHDs), it’s only available in the 2.39:1 scope ratio rather than the 1.9 of IMAX exhibitions. I don’t think it negatively impacts your viewing experience, but the IMAX framing would surely have added to it. (It’s available on the Blu-ray 3D release only.) As usual, the color grade is HDR10 only, but it’s quite good—the highlights are brighter, the shadows are darker, and the wider gamut makes all the hues in between more nuanced and natural. The film’s palette is a bit muted by design, but regardless, this is a strong image.
The film’s soundtrack is offered in English Dolby Atmos. The presentation sounds full and muscular even without increasing the volume. When you do it’s even better, with strong dynamics, firm low end, and wonderful atmospherics. Dialogue is exceptionally clean and clear, panning and movement are smooth and expansive, creating a wide soundstage, and the overheads engage often in set pieces and to lend the film’s environments sonic uniqueness. What’s more, Alan Silvestri’s score is absolutely tremendous. Additional audio options include English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, and French 5.1 Dolby Digital. Optional subtitles are available in English SDH, French, and Spanish.
There are no extras at all on the 4K disc itself, but the package includes the film on Blu-ray as well. That disc adds the following:
- Audio Commentary by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely
The Blu-ray is essentially movie-only other than the commentary, which means the package includes a second Blu-ray disc of special features. That adds the following, all in 1080p HD:
- Intro (1:32)
- Strange Alchemy (5:08)
- The Mad Titan (6:34)
- Beyond the Battle: Titan (9:36)
- Beyond the Battle: Wakanda (10:58)
- Deleted Scene: Happy Knows Best (1:23)
- Deleted Scene: Hunt for the Mind Stone (1:24)
- Deleted Scene: The Guardians Get Their Groove Back (3:20)
- Deleted Scene: A Father’s Choice (4:00)
- Gag Reel (2:05)
There’s a nice introduction by directors Joe and Anthony Russo to set the stage. We learn how all of the characters (and the actors who play them) were assembled for a story of this size and get a look at the film’s surpringly grounded and well-rounded antagonist. We see how the two major battle fronts (Thanos’ former homeworld of Titan and Wakanda on Earth) were staged and came together. There are also a few good deleted scenes and the usual gag reel. As always, there’s a Movies Anywhere Digital Code included in the package too.
Avengers: Infinity War is a breathtaking, edge of your seat entertainment. Even if you’re not a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s hard not to admire and be captivated by the sheer audacity of the filmmaking effort here. Infinity War redefines the big screen cinematic epic for modern times. And if you are a fan of the MCU, and are seriously invested in these characters… bring a box of tissues; this film is gonna go Jimi Hendrix on your heartstrings. (And the 4K experience ain’t half bad either.) Highly recommended.
- Bill Hunt