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Mad Titan Thanos has begun his quest to obtain all six Infinity Stones and wipe out half of all life in the universe. Now it’s up to Earth’s mightiest heroes to sacrifice all in order to save the whole world.
It’s amazing that it’s been more than ten years already since we got our first taste of what was bound to become one of the biggest commercial and financial endeavors in recent cinematic history. But let’s take a small trip back in time to see how everything started. The time goes back to 2008 and the release of the first Iron Man movie. Marvel was not in good shape back then and certainly not the big name they have become since then so when the first Iron Man movie was released people didn’t know what to expect. After all there had been more than a few tries in the past to bring Marvel superhero movies to the big screen and the results were pretty much catastrophic.
We all remember the 1986 Howard the Duck and 1990 Captain America and how bad these films turned out. It seemed that filmmakers just couldn’t find the right formula to bring these action figures to the big screen. A first glimpse of hope appeared in 1998 with Blade, a Marvel character not very known compared to Marvel’s finest but mostly known among the fans. The result was very good with the film enjoying financial success but what was more important was that if a relatively unknown character like Blade can be a success then with the right care the top names should be able to do the same.
But the first film that really started it all was X-men in 2000 since it was a film that brought visual effects in a superhero film front and center and it was evident that with a good script, experienced actors to back it up and spectacular visual effects would mean a recipe for success. The film was a big success for it’s time gathering $300 million and spawned many more movies in the X-men universe. Between that and 2008 many more films were made with some of them being big hits like Spiderman and Spiderman 2 while others failed to have the same success like Hulk, Punisher and Electra.
All the above brought us to 2008 when Marvel decided to self-finance their first film, Iron Man. With Jon Favreau as director and Robert Downey Jr. as the eccentric billionaire Tony Start the film was something of a revelation in the superhero films. It seemed they finally managed to find the right recipe that would make this films both approved by fans but also bring in people that didn’t know the superhero characters.
The film was destined to become a huge success and the first film that officially started the colossal project that was bound to become the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) bringing all Marvel’s mightiest heroes in the same universe with individual films but also team them up together to take on bigger enemies. The project had been split into phases with each phase consisting of individual films that would develop each hero and would end with an Avengers film. We have now finished phase 3 of the MCU timeline and this time we were bound to get the biggest Avengers film to this today.
Avengers: Infinity War is the first part of a two films storyline and this time our superheros had to face the toughest enemy they had encountered until today. After being in so many difficult situations it would be very hard to find an adversary big enough for Earth’s mightiest heroes and I think it was natural that this could only be Thanos, the Mad Titan. After all Thanos has been voted as one of the greatest and most famous villains in Marvel’s comics history and it was almost a given that he would make an appearance at some point in the MCU timeline.
Plans for Thanos had begun many movies before Avengers: Infinity War since we had seen glimpses and hints of him in many Marvel movies before this one. And all movies were slowly converging their stories to reach this point. But the filmmakers didn’t want to bring only more muscle into the mix. Thanos would go against all the top heroes so he had to be strong enough to pose an almost unbearable challenge for all of them. So they decide to follow a storyline that comes straight from the comic books and involves Thanos taking procession of the Infinity gauntlet and the Infinity Stones making him almost invisible to the whole universe.
The Infinity stones are immensely powerful gems that control various aspects of our reality being Mind, Soul, Space, Power, Time and Reality.Anyone who possess all of them is the most powerful creature in the universe so this was very obvious a great story to bring on screen and one that would culminate the efforts and stories of more than ten years of Marvel films.
Usually when you bring such a story to the screen many problems can arise. One of the most obvious one is with so many characters and storylines that bind together there is the problem of spending enough time with each character in order to properly develop them all. With Avengers: Infinity War Marvel had bypassed this problem as almost all their characters had enough screen time in previous films in order to know them and develop them in a proper way in order for the audience to connect and care about them. So it was a matter of telling a new story without worrying so much in letting any character undeveloped.
In our humble opinion Avengers: Infinity War felt more like a film for Thanos than any of the other heroes that we had already seen time and time again. And this seems like it was a good move from Marvel’s part as they had the time to develop a villain and try to make the audience understand his motives and decisions. Otherwise we would get a mostly empty shell of a character with just enough strength and no purpose to kill anyone in his path.
We may not agree with Thanos but at least we are given a chance to hear his story and his side for doing what he is doing and in a way this helps to sympathize with him even if his actions are totally insane. In a way Marvel introduced another of their characters and hopefully he will not be consumed in favor of our heroes success as we would definitely want to see more of Thanos even after the second part of the Infinity War storyline.
In no other villain in the previous films did Marvel spend so much time developing their character so getting to know Thanos so much in a way has bind him with the end of the other superheros and we are very intrigued to see what end the filmmakers have decided for him and if there will be any kind of continuation for him in future MCU phases.
As for the actors not much can be said as almost everyone from all the previous films return and most of them give an excellent performance as we got used to by their individual films. Special mention has to be made about Josh Brolin that gave his voice for Thanos character and also performed motion capture on set for his movements.
The result is top notch as Brolin really gives a heart and soul to the Mad Titan and he makes you feel like he is a real person with thoughts and emotions. We have seen very convincing CGI characters in the past few years and now that technology seems to be mature enough it is more the performance of the actor that matters than the technologic limitations that can make or break how realistic a character can be.
As for the visual effects not much can be said as the film is a CGI driven extravaganza that may offer ample eye candy spectacle but it doesn’t make this it’s driving force but a helping force to elevate the film even higher. A film like this could not but offer the very best but in our opinion Thanos character is the center piece as far as visual effects is concerned and he may be a fake character but is one so well made that through CGI they managed to pass all emotions of Thanos to the audience in a believable way.
The same can be said about music and sound effects that accompany the film giving it a more grand scope, one that deserves a film of this magnitude. The soundtrack uses music from all the previous films but also uses original tones in order to bring something new and fresh and not feel like you hear the same all over again.
In total what Marvel created is more than ten years of experience gathered in a single film. Not many companies have the chance to fine their craft over so many years and so many films in order to create such a fine product. Marvel should feel proud but also very lucky that they were given the chance to do that and they really rewarded us with a film that offers everything the fans would dream but also a great experience for everyone else. Their efforts really paid off with more than $2 billion in the box office making Avengers: Infinity War one of the most successful films of all time. And for a superhero film this means a lot.
With such a grand scale of a movie, anticipation for the 4K UHD disc was very high. So now that the film has been released both in Full HD Blu-ray and 4K UHD it is time to test if the new format can make this gargantuan effort any justice. Coming in a 2160p, HEVC / H.265-encoded UHD disc with an aspect ration of 2.39:1 the UHD release offers spectacular image clarity, very good colors and dazzling highlights as well as a very good Dolby Atmos sound track that creates an immersive cinematic experience.
For the picture specifically things are not as clear cut as we would like them to be. For such a film you would expect a release that would be of reference quality but what we get is a mild but welcome improvement over an already very good Bluray release. There is a clear improvement in clarity and sharpness and this can be seen in various scenes on the skin of the actors as well as on their clothes as textures look more refined and well defined. There seems to be some differences in color palette compared to the Bluray release but we guess this has mostly to do with the Wide Color gamut of the UHD disc.
One very strange omission from the UHD release is the inclusion of Dolby Vision and instead Disney decided to include only the basic HDR10 protocol. Given that Black Panther included Dolby Vision it seems a very strange backtrack more reinforced by the fact that the streaming version of the film includes Dolby Vision. Disney has not given any official explanation on the matter but many believe this to be either a strategic or technical decision and it only remains to be seen in the future which of the two is true.
But even like this HDR10 clearly improves the final image offering more vivid colors and more intense highlights creating a more three dimensional image. As we said above the improvements are not huge but are enough to be obvious in most cases making the UHD release the superior version.
As for the soundtrack Avengers: Infinity War comes with a very good Dolby Atmos track but in a strange way it feels like Disney has lowered the volume of the track and you will need to raise the volume of your AV receiver to keep it in satisfactory levels. But nevertheless there is so much acoustic information flying around the viewer that will keep you on the edge of your seat from the first moment till the very end.
Sound separation between the speakers is very good and overhead channels offer additional information that may not be fully discrete but add to the overall sound field creating more depth and height. The end result is very good and will obviously offer a very pleasant experience but is not the spectacular audio track that some would expect from such a film. Maybe expectation were so high that they could never be reached. Maybe Disney will make it perfect next time.
As it is right now the UHD release is very good, offering small but obvious improvements in the visual department making the 4K UHD the best format to watch the movie to this day.
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