Off the Shelf…’Avengers: Infinity War’

Avengers: Infinity War hits Blu-Ray this week, and it is just as thrilling as it was in theaters. An event ten years in the making, Avengers: Infinity War is the best Marvel movie to date. Like the events in the story, the success of Infinity War is a team effort for which you can credit the studio, the producers, and the directors they trust with these dense narratives to ensure that each new story will top the previous effort. Joe and Anthony Russo have outdone themselves and raised the bar for all future MCU endeavors.

Each of these iconic characters have grown in the last decade, and you really can feel that the progression of time has affected them – more than their outward appearance and new costumes, it is the motivations and interactions with each other that chart their growth. Even their powers/skills are affected by previous episodes and solo outings, and as such, things feel earned. The payoff to the groundwork which has been laid is both satisfying and thoroughly entertaining.

Herein, the Russos, again, have been asked with juggling and exhibiting literally dozens of characters. And it could have easily been a mess. Just look at the poster. Doesn’t it look essentially like all previous Marvel movies thrown in a blender? Good news friends, that is so not the case. One of the only ways this would’ve worked would be to split the characters up into separate tasks/side stories, much like the comic books do – the Russos never put (unless absolutely necessary) more than six or seven superheroes in the same action sequence. This keeps the action lively, the stakes high, and the tension more than palatable. After all, those small character moments are what make these movies so special.

For more of our thoughts on the story, you can check out our full theatrical review here.

This Blu-Ray edition looks stunning, sounds fantastic, and is healthily stocked with features. As expected, the visual transfer is brilliant – Disney has always been one of the three best companies when it comes to clarity and spectacle on the BD home video market. With such rich and lavish CG (for the more than 2,900 effects shots) you tend to forget just how much is done in the computer until you see imagery like this. The climactic battle with the Mad Titan is 95% digital effects. Sure, it’s motion captured, but it speaks to the vision of the creative team, and the efforts of the digital armies that make it all look so convincingly photo-realistic.

Avengers: Infinity War Blu-Ray offers fans standard supplement fare such as featurettes, deleted scenes, a commentary track, and gag reel. The featurettes play like extended trailers (which clock in at 32 mins total), and most enjoyable and insightful is the one that focuses on Thanos, played by Josh Brolin. As the antagonist, he’s not just a one-dimensional foe. This segment goes into his history and impetus for balancing the universe, Brolin’s approach to the character, and more. The others discuss the ever-expanding universe of characters, and the climactic set-pieces that serve as the back drop to this story’s riveting finale. It’s been months since this was in theaters, and the ending still knock the wind out of you.

For a film that’s 2-1/2 hours, the deleted scenes were cut to keep things moving. However they do offer exposition that would make the plot a little clearer. The Russos have their reasons why they got the chop, but for once it’s nice to have deleted scenes worth hanging on to. And it’s fun to see Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan. Since he helped usher in the Marvel cinematic age, it’s a good bet he’ll take over for Stan Lee when it comes to cameos. Finally, the commentary from the Russos and writers Christopher Markus/Stephen McFeely is quite eye-opening. The four share tales from the set, how they interweave characters, and the steps they have and continue to take to push the series forward.

G-S-T RULING:

This film obviously breaks away from the source material, yet it’s still an amazing adventure. After a second and third viewing, some plot points do seem thin and lacking, so it’s great the above-mentioned deleted scenes connect the dots better. But no matter, this story will leave you clamoring for the follow-up. Avengers: Infinity War is a straight up blockbuster, and wonderful escapism at the cinema. That will be news to no one. But here’s something you might not expect…it’s a damn good film, full of real narrative weight and tangible character arcs. Bring it on, Thanos. We’re ready for what’s next.