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Tuesday, August 14 2018 11:08

Blu-ray & Digital Review - Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War

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"Still absorbing." Those were the first two words that I shared on Twitter upon exiting the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood back in April, having just experienced Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War at the World Premiere. In my formal review, I would declare the film to be a "non-stop barrage of action that pushes the boundaries between Earth, space and the unknown." I desperately wanted to see it again, calling it "an experience that managed to excite and upset, captivate and frustrate, all while eliciting a range of emotional response from its audience that runs the gamut from celebration to sadness... often trying to find balance, much like that which Thanos seeks." Now, four months later, I've seen it again and have even greater appreciation for the massive undertaking of crafting the biggest movie of all time... right on top of what could claim that title next year - 2019's Avengers 4. With Infinity War now available on Digital and Blu-ray, there's a treasure trove of bonus features that will answer many questions about the production, while dropping subtle crumbs for what's yet to come from the Marvel Cinematic Universe...

One of the biggest questions that fans have had is in regard to how the directors chose who would stay and who would go when Thanos would finally make the infamous "snap" that would wipe out half the population of the universe. The first to go is Bucky Barnes, tying things directly back to Captain America: The First Avenger, while more recently-introduced characters like T'Challa (The Black Panther) would literally turn to dust. In the bonus features, directors Joe and Anthony Russo share some background on how it all went down. See a clip from that discussion below...

Still, many questions remain unanswered (as they should). While the Russos make it clear how diligently they worked to avoid leaks and throw the audience off the trail during the production, there's still some oddities that present themselves. During the discussion on crafting Infinity War to seamlessly connect to the next film, along with how the battle of Wakanda was laid out, it's never addressed that Hulk was seen present in that battle during the trailers - something that never happened in the film. As Bruce Banner maintained his internal struggle with the green beast while piloting Tony Stark's "Hulkbuster" armor, audiences received several hints that he was about to break free - something that did occur in toy form, held back and unveiled after Infinity War had hit theaters. Those looking for answers to the "how" and "why" of this curiosity will still be looking.

Behind the Scenes

Avengers: Infinity War Bonus Features for Blu-ray & Digital Include:

  • Strange Alchemy (5:08)– Share the thrill of characters from across the MCU meeting for the first time—and discover why some were teamed up together.

  • The Mad Titan (6:34) – Explore the MCU’s biggest, baddest villain, his trail of influence through the stories, and the existential threat he represents.

  • Beyond the Battle: Titan (9:36) – Dive into the climactic struggle on Thanos’ ruined world, including the epic stunts and VFX, to uncover the source of its power.

  • Beyond the Battle: Wakanda (10:58) – Go behind the scenes to find out how the filmmakers pulled off the most massive and challenging battle Marvel had ever attempted.

  • Deleted and Extended Scenes (10:07)

  • Happy Knows Best (1:23) – Tony and Pepper spar over the details of their upcoming wedding—until a hassled Happy Hogan pulls up with an urgent request.

  • Hunt for the Mind Stone (1:24) – On a darkened street, Wanda Maximoff and the wounded Vision attempt to hide from Thanos’ brutal allies.

  • The Guardians Get Their Groove Back (3:20) – As Peter Quill and Drax quarrel over their failed mission to Knowhere, Mantis interrupts with news.

  • A Father’s Choice (4:00) – Thanos confronts Gamora with a vision from her past—and with lying to him about the Soul Stone.

  • Gag Reel (2:05)– Watch your favorite Super Heroes make super gaffes in this lighthearted collection of on-set antics.

  • Audio Commentary (approx. 149 min.) by Anthony and Joe Russo, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

In my eyes, the best bonus feature isn't on the Blu-ray disc itself - but a digital exclusive accessible to all who've purchased either a digital copy or have picked up the Blu-ray + Digital Code combo pack. The Director's Roundtable is a 32-minute conversation between Anthony and Joe Russo, Jon Favreau (Iron Man), Peyton Reed (Ant-Man), Ryan Coogler (Black Panther), Taika Waititi (Thor Ragnarok, humorously via FaceTime), Joss Whedon (Avengers), and yes - James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy). Bringing together these eight directors, we get a sense of the respect that all have for one another and how they work together. There's also indication that the MCU is not necessarily as meticulously mapped-out from the start of each project as it might seem - with Gunn revealing that the screenplay for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was completed before discussing all of the details with Marvel, and that it was after the script was in-hand that he and the Russo Brothers were able to compare notes and see how to make it all work together. All of the directors were in agreement that Marvel would allow them to create their own thing, but in "the hand-off" it would all be connected. Still, if there is one "God" beyond the likes of Thor and Thanos, it's very likely MCU chief Kevin Feige, who has ensured the lineage for the first 10 years of Marvel Studios, overseeing Easter Eggs laid years before that will one day pay off. 

Pick up Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War - available now!

Infinity War Blu-ray

In “Avengers: Infinity War,” members from every MCU franchise must sacrifice like never before in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe. The film stars Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Don Cheadle as Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Paul Bettany as Vision, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, Idris Elba as Heimdall, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Peter Dinklage as Eitri, Benedict Wong as Wong, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Dave Bautista as Drax, featuring Vin Diesel as Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, with Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, with Benicio Del Toro as The Collector, with Josh Brolin as Thanos, and Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord.

Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” is directed by Emmy® Award–winning directors Anthony and Joe Russo from an original screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. Kevin Feige produced the film, with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo, Trinh Tran, Jon Favreau, James Gunn and Stan Lee serving as executive producers.

James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, has contributed to The Toy Book and writes a regular Star Wars column - Transmissions from a Galaxy Far, Far Away for The Pop Insider. He also regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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