The Earth's Mightiest Heroes must protect the earth as they are confronted by their most powerful villain yet, the mad Titan Thanos, as he unleashes the power of the Infinity Gauntlet and its six stones upon the planet.
For more about Avengers: Infinity War 4K and the Avengers: Infinity War 4K Blu-ray release, see Avengers: Infinity War 4K Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on August 3, 2018 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, George Pérez
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle
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Codec: HEVC / H.265
Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p)
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Two-disc set (1 BD-66, 1 BD-50)
4K Ultra HD
Slipcover in original pressing
Region A (B, C untested)
The included screenshots are sourced from a 1080p Blu-ray disc. Watch for 4K screenshots at a later date.
Avengers: Infinity War's UHD release offers less a dramatic increase in visual excellence over the Blu-ray and instead delivers a mild, but appreciable and very welcome, boost to basic textural clarity and color saturation. The UHD image appears a slight bit more glossy than the companion Blu-ray image. The net result is deeper and more intense colors, modestly more balanced blacks, slightly improved shadow detail, and a firmer accuracy to skin tones, though there are, in the latter's case, some drastic alterations (look at a shot of Captain America standing ready on the Wakandan battlefield at the 1:39:31 mark; the character's skin transitions from a fairly flat and a little creamy appearance on Blu-ray to a shade of near-gray, and makeup application is very easy to see). Little in select scene comparisons, or in simply watching the movie the entire way through, really stands out as a major benefactor of the HDR-10 color grading beyond the aforementioned various and incremental improvements. But natural greens do enjoy a little more depth, colorful clothes in Wakanda see improved saturation, and various Superhero odds and ends (Strange's and Wong's wizardry, laser blasts, even conventional weapons like explosions that are result of War Machine dropping bombs on the battlefield, which yield more darkly orange fireballs rather than the Blu-ray's yellow-dominant presentation thereof) enjoy a boost in color intensity.
Textural improvements are relatively minor as well. Though the movie was reportedly photographed at a resolution of 6.5K, it was finished at 2K (UPDATE: several days after posting this review the IMDB spec page was updated to list this as a native 4K digital intermediate, and several days later the page was again updated to re-list the 2K DI). Skin tones and costumes are both modestly more firm and slightly more revealing of intimate pores or fabric textures, not to mention generalized wear and fabric density. Overall image sharpness is improved, and distant details enjoy an increase in firmness and clarity even well beyond the near field. Make no mistake, this is a very impressive image. Grading it on its own it's a very positive viewing experience, though not necessarily a format standout. Compared to the Blu-ray, the UHD improves in all areas but rarely to any drastic degree. But the solidified colors, image stabilization, and increased sharpness do make this the version to watch amongst the two, without question.
Like the companion Blu-ray's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack, Avengers: Infinity War's UHD Dolby Atmos audio presentation suffers Disney-itis, meaning a generalized low volume and reduction in low end output. At normal reference listening levels, the sound plays low. Dialogue sometimes approaches a hush, music and action are not dynamic, and there's barely an appreciable low end response. Increasing the volume helps, allowing the listener to more fully appreciate the movie's dynamic sound design. That said, the track is a lot of fun with the volume cranked, imperfect as it may be. All of that surround information truly flies around the listener, and battle scenes in particular are invigorating with not only the sheer volume of activity but the precision and clarity of delivery as well. The additional overhead channels don't often deliver fully discrete sound details but do add a helpful layer in the sonic playground, a complimentary boost that enriches the listening experience. Low end response lacks the dynamic intensity and chest-pounding thump one might rightly expect of a movie like this, where action is just as critical as the more intimate story-driving character moments. It's a shame, because there's ample opportunity for legendary low end extension that is instead more timid than track defining. Music largely follows suit. Less demanding atmospherics are nicely integrated and immersive and dialogue does present with solid, but sometimes a little boomy and chunky, front-center positioning. Again, be sure to turn it up, because the spoken word will likely be a little challenging at one's normal listening levels.
Perhaps in the future Disney would be wise to prominently include a track labeled "Family" in the audio options -- default to it, even; home theater aficionados are wise enough to choose and more than capable of selecting their desired sound presentation from a menu screen -- that's more appropriate for the living room sound bar while still leaving the unblemished and full-throttle lossless tracks to their full capabilities for those with proper home theater setups and listening environments, because in franchises like Marvel and Star Wars Disney certainly has some of the most sound-intensive films on the market. It's a shame to neuter them and rob them, and their listeners, of the full experience and sonic excellence.
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