Avengers: Infinity War – 4K UHD Blu-ray Review
Film Title: Avengers: Infinity War
Release Date: 2018
Runtime: 149 minutes
Region Coding: Region Free
Studio: Marvel (Disney)
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos
High Dynamic Range: HDR (HDR10)
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Formats Available: 4K UHD Blu-ray | Blu-ray
Versions Available: 4K Blu-ray | Blu-ray | 4K Steelbook
Street Date: 8/14/18
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Cast: Josh Brolin, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Paul Bettany
“Avengers: Infinity War”, is the third film featuring all of the “Avengers” in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), which now spans across a decade: starting with “Iron Man” (2008) and all the way up to “Black Panther” (2018). In fact, that’s the time period that the film all takes place – after the events seen in the past six (specifically) MCU films.
This film was directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, best known for also directing two other Marvel Studios films: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014) and “Captain America: Civil War” (2016). This also marks the first “Avengers” film not to be directed by Joss Whedon, who served as director on the first two.
This film, as mentioned takes place after the events of the films “Captain: America: Civil War” , “Doctor Strange” , “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” , “Spider-Man: Homecoming” , “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Black Panther” – a total of the past six Marvel Cinematic Universe films. So, some folks might be a little lost in some ways if they haven’t seen those films. Just dishing that out, because it actually does matter, as these MCU films Marvel Studios releases really do play episodic, even down to their hidden scenes after the credits of each film.
In “Avengers: Infinity War” you will get to see the largest assembling of superheroes in the MCU to-date. One could definitely say that the “Avengers“ assemble here, or perhaps disassemble? Just kidding. What I mean is, after the events of “Captain America: Civil War” not all of the superheroes official members of the “Avengers” were on speaking terms, to put it bluntly. However, a new threat has emerged, a really serious threat. A force to be reckoned with by the name of “Thanos” (Josh Brolin). Thanos is determined to destroy as many planets as he has to, all to collect the “Infinity Stones” for his glove. Once he collects all of those infinity stones, things get “not so good.” So, it’s pretty important that our heroes attempt to stop him.
With a great new threat now in the mix, the superheroes have to overlook their differences and “get the band back together” so-to-speak, as well as bring in some new talent. Along the way you’ll get to see the usual Avengers you’ve become accustomed to in the first two films. Those characters being: “Tony Stark / Iron Man” (Robert Downey, Jr.), “Thor” (Chris Hemsworth), “Bruce Banner / Hulk” (Mark Ruffalo), “Steve Rogers / Captain America” (Chris Evans), “Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow” (Scarlett Johansson), “James Rhodes / War Machine” (Don Cheadle), and “Sam Wilson / Falcon” (Anthony Mackie). Some of the heroes that join forces with the Avengers here include: “Peter Parker / Spider-Man” (Tom Holland), “Vision” (Paul Bettany), “Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch” (Elizabeth Olsen), “Doctor Strange” (Benedict Cumberbatch), and “T’Challa / Black Panther” (Chadwick Boseman).
That’s not even the end of the characters included here, and those that assemble with the Avengers. Next, you have the “Guardians of the Galaxy” crew: “Peter Quill / Star-Lord” (Chris Pratt), “Gamora” (Zoe Saldana), “Groot” (Vin Diesel), “Rocket” (Bradley Cooper), “Drax” (Dave Bautista), and “Mantis” (Pom Klementieff).
So, that’s a lot of characters coming together. That being said, I won’t even begin to really talk much at all about the events that happen or anything here. I’ll let you enjoy the film, as I certainly did. Trust me, it’s a very enjoyable film, and it did extremely well at the box-office. In fact, it ended up grossing globally the fourth highest amount at the box-office ever as a film during its theatrical run. It also did pretty well among the critics, earning itself a “Certified Fresh” rating over at Rotten Tomatoes, with a 83% score (at time of writing this). I really enjoyed “Avengers: Infinity War” from start to finish.
Movie Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
According to the technical specifications listing on IMDb, the film was shot digitally in 6.5K resolution using the Arri Alexa IMAX camera. It was then mastered at 4K for its digital intermediate. Note: this home video presentation is entirely in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, and does NOT shift aspect ratios (to what would be 1.90:1) for sequences. The aspect shift missing would have almost filled the entire screen during the IMAX intended scenes, as seen during the IMAX theatrical showings. Sadly, this is something absent that fans, including myself, have expressed some disappointment about.
The 4K UHD Blu-ray also lacks the option of Dolby Vision as a variety of HDR (High Dynamic Range). It only offers the standard HDR10 form in its presentation, and debut here to 4K. That also has caused some fans to be displeased, who prefer DV (Dolby Vision) over the HDR10 standard format.
Despite all of these things that already had some fans upset about the release, it has turned out to really leave me pleased with its visual presentation in 4K. The high-end 6.5K digital source really seems to make things look even more crisp than you would regularly see in most films these days.
Regardless of anything lacking or such, this looks impressive, making early benefit of HDR in some very dim lighting conditions within the opening moments of the film. Even in darker scenes like those you’ll notice how solid the black level is, and how the colors seem to pop a bit more than just the standard Blu-ray high def (HD) presentation. Once the scenes start to be in brighter (daylight) conditions, you’ll really start to see how the colors pop with high dynamic range thrown in. “Hulk” is the almost right shade of green, “Spider-Man” in his suit jumps almost off the screen, but feels a bit subdued. Flesh tones appear to be more accurate as well – all of this thanks to HDR. It could be perhaps a bit brighter even with the HDR10 presentation, and even more-so if Dolby Vision were an option here.
This was a very hard decision, because deep down I know that they could make this look a considerable bit more impressive if they were to release it with Dolby Vision. That being said, I have to say “Avengers: Infinity War” looks downright impressive all throughout, and almost is what I would consider to be reference material. However, for now I can only give it a next to perfect rating. It’s something that I’ve thought about. To me, it is obvious that when it is eventually re-released on 4K that this film will look better. It’s a given. So, I am just saving room for the video quality rating to go up when that happens. Room for improvement. I just have to be truthful to my readers, you the consumers. No Dolby Vision, no IMAX sequences shifting in aspect ratio: no perfect score.
Video Quality Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
Audio on this 4K UHD Blu-ray release is presented in Dolby Atmos. During its theatrical run it was given not only Dolby Atmos treatment for sound, but also received both DTS: X and Auro 11.1 atmospheric mixes. It’s safe to say that the filmmakers intended this to be experienced with atmospheric sound.
I want to first state that I listened to the Dolby Atmos mix found on this 4K UHD Blu-ray release twice and once partially in the DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio mix found on the Blu-ray Disc, for comparison purposes.
The Dolby Atmos mixes on previous Marvel Studios films in their 4K releases have also drawn some major criticism from reviewers and especially consumers. This sadly is not that over-the-top Atmos mix you’ve all been waiting for – to make things all better. However, it manages to be a bit more impressive than some previous efforts from the studio. It has a decent, but not at all sufficient, amount of low-end that you’ll be slightly feeling (via your sub woofer) in the early first half of the film. Still, it’s not the most extreme amount of bass that I’ve heard, especially in comparison to some of my favorite Atmos mixes out there (so far). I knew things weren’t perfect when I first started watching the film and it felt like I needed to perhaps amplify just my sub woofer settings if I wanted more “oomph” to the mix, not the actual volume level overall. That much I cannot go without saying. So, I did. I found the mix to be more pleasing once I had done that, but still it felt lacking extreme low-end roar in terms of bass.
The next bit that I felt wasn’t perfect about the mix was the height speakers. They get used primarily for the sound effects, and used at times to help give the music (Score) a larger sound, reflecting around the room. This is mostly in an attempt to set a 3D sound stage of sorts. Use of the height speakers can be downright subtle at times, to a bit more lively at other times, during the bigger action sequences. They also are subtly used to set the vibe of the environment where the scene takes place with ambient noises, such as echoes. The real problem is that the height speakers are not used as effectively as they could be, and as effectively as I’ve heard in some other Atmos and DTS: X mixes. Height speakers just seem to be only used when there’s a huge amount of action going on. Sometimes in that attempt their use can get covered a bit up by the action coming out of the other five (or seven) speakers, losing their effectiveness even more.
On the positive side of this mix, it’s worth noting that there is an effective use of the rear channels here, in some action sequences especially. Sound effects panning from the rear to front channels at one point, pretty early on in the film, will leave you feeling a bit in the action. Just as a surround sound mix is supposed to do. The sound effects, score, and such are primarily delivered through the front left and right channels, as well as through the rear channels. Dialogue is delivered distinctly and primarily through the front center channel, but some of the off screen dialogue at times can be heard in the left and right front channel speakers. Never once is dialogue overwhelmed by the action. Rest assured of that. Dialogue is spot on throughout the film.
In comparison in terms of audio of that DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio mix included on the Blu-ray Disc, both the amount of bass and rear channel use was equal to that found in the Atmos mix – to my findings. The Atmos seems like a better mix than that found on the Blu-ray. I’ll give it that, for certain. Having the height speakers does add a bit to the mix. You will notice how much less the room is filled when not listening to the Atmos and opting for the standard lossless surround mix found on Blu-ray. Sadly, that mix (mentioned) isn’t included on the 4K disc to do comparison without changing discs.
I’m sure some folks will complain a bit more than I have about this mix, but I personally found what I heard to be at times impressive. It sure got the job done. However, yes, it felt to be lacking a bit in terms of bass, especially via the sub, and didn’t have the most extensive use of height speakers that I’ve heard. The action just didn’t really feel to have enough intensity to it, as it felt that it could, and should have. Don’t get me wrong here though, the film sounds great at times, and is done justice, for the most part. It has its issues, and that’s something most folks expected who owned the Marvel Studios films so far out on 4K. Is the Atmos mix horrible? No. Is it perfect? No. I would say that it is just enough to leave you somewhat impressed. I really have to look at it that way, especially after two times listening through it on the 4K, and once partially through on Blu-ray (as mentioned).
Admittedly this mix feels it has some definite room for improvement. Still, it’s what you’ve come to expect. Is it not? Will the problem with the lackluster sound mixes in Atmos on Marvel and Disney 4K titles change anytime soon? It sure doesn’t look like it. I hate to say that, I really do, because I absolutely love this film, and the other MCU films. Ten years ago I was amazed by the sound mix on the 2008 Blu-ray release of “Iron Man” – the film that started the MCU. Sadly, ten years later, and (admittedly) I am not as amazed now by this sound mix. Marvel Studios should really look back to what they were doing right back then (circa 2008-2014) with their surround mixes. They started out downright amazing, and to most everyone’s disappointment they have sadly declined in quality over that decade period.
Audio Quality Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
- A Digital Copy of the film is included via Movies Anywhere, which is compatible with iTunes and Ultraviolet formats such as Vudu, and so forth. You get a paper insert included in the packaging with a URL and code to redeem. You also get a digital exclusive here. Maybe it’s because they ran out of storage space on the BD-50 (dual-layered Blu-ray Disc), or maybe it was a marketing decision, but you will have to use your digital copy to watch the “Director’s Roundtable” featurette. This is sadly something that I cannot even access at time of writing the review, because Movies Anywhere is not yet letting me redeem my digital copy. So, I’ll have to wait until street date (August 14th) until I’m able to base judgement and fully decide my rating for bonus materials. I’m sure it’s worth the score going up, it’s just I can’t guess. I’ll leave my rating as it is until I can see the featurette.
Bonus Materials are not on the 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc, but instead are included on the Blu-ray Disc. These are all presented in 1080p HD video with Dolby Digital 5.1 (@640kbps) sound, unless otherwise noted below. They are comprised of the following:
- Play Movie with “Intro by Directors Joe and Anthony Russo” (1:32 – HD) is very cool option, ONLY ON the Blu-ray Disc, but should have been included on the 4K disc as well. C’mon, seriously. This proves to be worth watching, but a lot of consumers that only watch the 4K disc might not even ever see this or hear the next thing I’m going to discuss. Think, Disney, think.
- Audio Commentary by Directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, as well as Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. What a sigh I have to make yet again. This is yet another feature that did not get included on the 4K disc, that obviously could and should have been. I mean, seriously, do you think I’ll watch the Blu-ray in 2K when I could watch it in 4K and get an audio commentary? It’s actually possible, Marvel (Disney), I’ve seen major studios include bonus materials on their 4K discs like audio commentaries. Studios like Universal, Sony, Lionsgate and such. I mean, again, c’mon! Get with the times. Lastly, for those wondering, Christopher and Stephen wrote the screenplay for the film. The description ran out of room, I guess, for them to tell you.
- “Featurettes” are comprised of four total, with a “play all” function available. Instead of just summarizing the overall runtime of them all here, I’m going to first discuss what all you’ll see in these featurettes. These have behind-the-scenes footage on set of the film, be it on location, in the studios or such and give you a glimpse what it was like making the film. There is some very cool mo-cap footage of Josh Brolin (“Thanos“), Robert Downey Jr. (“Tony Stark / Iron Man“), and Tom Holland (“Spider-Man“) here. A lot of interviews with the film’s directors brothers Anthony Russo and Joe Russo are to be found here throughout. In fact, the Russo brothers pretty much serve as your guides throughout all four of these featurettes with their interviews. Interviews can also be found from stars Robert Downey, Jr. (“Tony Stark / Iron Man“), Josh Brolin (“Thanos“), Chris Evans (“Steve Rogers” / “Captain America“), Chris Pratt (“Peter Quill / Star-Lord“), Chadwick Boseman (“T’Challa / Black Panther“), Chris Hemsworth (“Thor“), Mark Ruffalo (“Bruce Banner / Hulk“), Paul Bettany (“Vision“), Zoe Saldana (“Gamora“), and Benedict Cumberbatch (“Doctor Strange“).The four featurettes included are listed below:
- “Strange Alchemy” (5:08 – HD)
- “The Mad Titan” (6:34 – HD)
- “Beyond the Battle: Titan” (9:36 – HD)
- “Beyond the Battle: Wakanda” (10:58 – HD)
- Deleted Scenes (10:13 – HD) and Extended Scenes are also included. These scenes feature Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (@320kbps) sound, unlike the other bonus materials. I’d name the scenes included, but they may contain “spoilers” in their titles. Rest assured you’ll see some things that give you more details to the whole story.
- Gag Reel (2:05 – HD) includes the cast and crew goofing off, as you’d expect. This proves to be funny for maybe a couple of seconds. These all, honestly, seem like they were provoked and not actual screw-ups of lines or anything so much sometimes. They don’t seem as candid as they should, is my point, and they’re not very lengthy.
Overall, the bonus materials are really a disappointment. Yes, this is the section I actually get a tad bit upset. I mean, upset especially for the consumers. Let’s be real, there’s ONLY 47 MINUTES roughly of actual featurette or video bonus materials. The audio commentary with the directors and writers is cool, as I said, sure, but it’s ONLY ON the Blu-ray Disc. If you’re a 4K consumer, you own a 4K television, you prefer to watch things in 4K. So, you’d think you would want to watch the film in 4K and listen to the audio commentary. Just because you’re listening doesn’t mean your brain is only capable of handling 2K images. Come the hell on!
Also, I’m sure that Digital EXCLUSIVE “Director’s Roundtable” is great, but until the release date comes and I can redeem my digital copy, I can’t tell my readers what the thing is even like. I mean, realistically, they can just buy it digitally, and tell me? That’s sad. That roundtable is ONLY 32 MINUTES too, when I get access to it. So I add that all up and I get roughly like 79 MINUTES total of bonus materials. I’m sorry but the 159 minutes length of the film as an audio commentary, that’s on the wrong disc (for me), does NOT count as “OVER 2 HOURS OF BONUS” – as the package sticker promises the consumer.
I’m giving this a 2 out of 5 stars for bonus materials, and that’s me being generous. Disney, just because you send me a title doesn’t mean I’ll pretend it’s amazing bonus content. It’s not. It’s way, way, way too short. Sorry. I literally sat at the menu for a minute or two, re-read the press release and thought to myself: “Are you kidding me?! That’s all?!” If anyone finds the missing bonus materials that should be here to maybe make it seem less like a rushed EPK (electronic press kit), let me know.
Bonus Materials Rating: 2 (out of 5)
“Avengers: Infinity War” proves to be a very enjoyable and impressive film. It was a definitely great way to celebrate 10 years of Marvel Studios bringing us the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) of films. In terms of a film it’s really great, not perfect, but great. Perhaps I’d say it’s Almost MARVELOUS. The very same can be said about the film’s video and audio presentations. They both have some issues, and could have looked and sounded better. Everyone knows this. I’m not the first to say it, but Marvel Studios has a problem with delivering those “demo material” level surround sound mixes on their home video releases like they were able to back in 2008, a decade ago, with their first effort (“Iron Man”) on Blu-ray Disc. Those were the good ole days. Maybe we need to all get Mickey Mouse together and have an intervention? I don’t know, kidding aside.
Still, overall this release is going to leave a large, large majority of the consumers happy, and only a small few will complain about the extremely now controversial audio mix. In terms of a release it’s apparent that there are some things that are a tad bit problematic here, that most (those who usually are the first ones to complain) were expecting. I hate to say this problem still exists in the audio department, but it does. The mix is a bit better than the previous mixes, but it’s not perfect, by any means. Visually this looks remarkable at times and all, it just could have looked better if it had received a true 4K master, and Dolby Vision as an option for high dynamic range (HDR).
Perhaps in the eventual re-release on 4K they’ll get all those things fixed. Maybe they’ll even include that actual 2 hours of bonus materials that they promise on the sticker. I’d suggest ditching that sticker, folks, before it hits shelves. Then you’ll really see the fans get upset. I don’t think they’ll mind so much this only has less than an actual hour of bonus content, on the disc itself. The digital exclusive bonus content thrown in, fans will probably watch because they are fans. Most consumers don’t even watch bonus materials, that sadly is a fact.
In terms of 4K UHD Blu-ray release, this gets:
4.5 (out of 5) for video quality
4.5 (out of 5) for audio quality
2 (out of 5) for bonus materials