Captain America: The Winter Soldier (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
September 7, 2014 by Dennis Amith
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is thrilling, action-packed and a damn good superhero film! And for the Blu-ray release, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is one of the better looking and sounding Blu-ray releases in 2014. A reference Blu-ray release that is highly recommended!
TITLE: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
TELEFILM RELEASE: 2014
DURATION: 136 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio), English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, SUBTITLES: English SDH, French and Spanish
COMPANY: Marvel/Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Screenplay by Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Concept and Story by Ed Brubaker
Based on the Comic Book by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Produced by Kevin Feige
Co-Producer: Nate Moore
Executive Producer: Victoria Alonso, Alan Fine, Michael Grillo, Stan Lee
Associate Producer: Mitchell Bell
Music by Henry Jackman
Cinematography by Trent Opaloch
Edited by Jeffrey Ford, Matthew Schmidt
Casting by Sarah Finn
Production designer: Peter Wenham
Art Direction by Steve Christensen, Beat Frutiger, Kevin Ishioka, Gary Kosko, Thomas Valentine
Set Decoration by Leslie A. Pope
Costume Design by Judianna Makovsky
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier
Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow
Maximiliano Hernandez as Jasper Sitwell
Emily VanCamp as Kate/Agent 13
Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter
Toby Jones as Dr. Arnim Zola
Steve Rogers continues his journey as the super-powered American soldier who’s grasping to find his place in a modern world after being frozen in ice since WWII with this Marvel Studios sequel. Chris Evans returns to star, with Community director/producers Joe and Anthony Russo helming.
With the box office success of Marvel films, especially with the 2011 film “Captain America: The First Avenger” (which earned over $370 million in the box office), there was no doubt that another film based on the superhero would be released.
Fastforward to 2014 and the sequel “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was released in spring and the film did magnificent in the box office, making over $714 million.
And now “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” will be released on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD in Sept. 2014.
For those not familiar with “Captain America”, the first film introduced us to Steve Rogers (portrayed by Chris Evans) in 1942. Steve is a young man who tried to enlist for World War II military recruitment but failed due to health and physical issues. And his friend Sgt. James “Bucky” Barnes (portrayed by Sebastian Stan) convinces him to keep trying.
As Dr. Abraham Erskine hears their conversation, he gives Steve a chance to enlist by recruiting him into the Scientific Strategic Reserve as part of the “super-soldier” experiment. As Steve is injected with a top secret serum that only Dr. Erskine knows and dousing him with “Vita-rays”, Steve becomes taller and more muscular. But an assassin kills the doctor and the secret formula is lost.
During a mission, Steve Rogers crashes into the arctic and he is thought to be dead. When he reawakens, he finds out that he is not living in the 1940’s but it is present-day New York and that he has been sleeping for nearly 70 years.
He is recruited by Director Nick Fury (portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson) of S.H.I.E.L.D. and takes on the persona Captain America.
For the sequel “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, the setting takes place two years after the “Battle of New York” in which the Avengers took on an alien race.
Steve is working with S.H.I.E.L.D. and he is working with Agent Natasha Romanoff (a.k.a. “The Black Widow”, portrayed by Scarlett Johansson) and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s counter-terrorism S.T.R.I.K.E. team to free hostages from a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel from Georges Batroc and a group of mercenaries.
Steve learns about Project Insight and how three helicarriers are linked to spy satellites and are designed to eliminate threats. As Nick becomes suspicious about the project, he goes to S.H.I.E.L.D. official Alexander Pierce (portrayed by Robert Redford) to delay the project.
While Nick goes to meet with Maria Hill, he is attacked while driving and is nearly killed by the assassin called the Winter Soldier. When Steve returns home, he finds a bloodied Nick Fury who tells him to trust no one and that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been compromised. And he gives him an encrypted flash drive.
While the two are talking, a sniper shoots through Steve Rogers window. As Steve goes after the fugitive, he comes in contact with the Winter Soldier who manages to escape.
Meanwhile, Nick Fury is taken to S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ to undergo surgery and dies and S.H.I.E.L.D. becomes a mess.
Alexander Pierce calls Steve to meet with him and discuss the final conversation he had with Nick Fury but Steve gives Pierce hardly any information. As Steve is about to leave S.H.I.E.L.D., a group of S.T.R.I.K.E. agents try to kill him, but Steve with the help of Natasha Romanoff, are able to escape and Pierce has branded Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff as wanted fugitives.
Now Steve, Natasha and with the help of Sam Wilson (a.k.a. The Falcon, portrayed by Anthony Mackie) try to uncover the treachery that has gone on behind the scenes at S.H.I.E.L.D. and who may be responsible.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is presented in 1080p High Definition. And once again, another Marvel film that is reference quality with wonderful detail and no picture quality issues at all.
While the colors are not vibrant as the film is intentional but the film looks impressive with its magnificent presentation!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1. And similar to the magnificent picture quality, the lossless audio are also reference quality. Crystal clear dialogue, beautiful musical score and with the high amount of action, you get one heck of an immersive soundtrack. Vehicles, weaponry and with every crashing sound, every gunshot shot, every form of destruction, everything is immersive with surround and rear surround channels being utilized, especially the LFE. Definitely one of the coolest and most immersive soundtracks I have heard on Blu-ray in 2014, I was very impressed and also didn’t expect anything lower than perfection for this Marvel film.
Subtitles are in English SDH, Spanish and French.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” comes with the following special features:
- On the Front Line: An Inside Look at Captain America’s Battlegrounds – (10:11) The action and special effects featured in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”.
- On Set with Anthony Mackie: Cut the Check! – (1:52) A short featurette with Anthony Mackie (who plays the character, Falcon).
- Steve Rogers’ Notebook – (2:18) What’s in Steve Rogers’ notebook.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes – (3:34) Featuring four deleted/extended scenes with optional audio commentary.
- Gag Reel – (2:36) Gag reel for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”.
- Audio Commentary – Featuring directors Anthony & Joe Russo and Screenwriters Christopher Markus & Stephen Mcfeely.
While “Captain America: The First Avenger” was an entertaining action film, you couldn’t help that with the success of “Thor”, “The Avengers” and the “Iron Man” films, that Captain America would receive a wonderful storyline to go along with the awesome visual effects.
For me, all I cared for was an entertaining storyline after the major introductions have been made and hopes that the film would be as successful and entertaining as the other Marvel films post-2012.
And for the most part, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was much better than I expected.
Having read the comic books, the fact is that as long as I have read the Captain America comic books, the way Marvel has used Bucky Barnes in the past, was not the greatest storyline and if anything, the storylines played off like Batman and Robin, in this case, Captain America and Bucky.
But after doing some research about today’s current Marvel Comics, the Winter Soldier has been an integral character, a violent character and one that no one wants to mess with.
And sure enough, seeing Sgt. Barnes transformed into this killing machine was rather interesting but also to see the incorporation of characters such as Natasha Romanoff, Nick Fury, Maria Hill and the newest and coolest character, the Falcon was pretty awesome to see. But for long time Marvel fans, to see the criminal organization Hydra make its move!
As one can expect from a Marvel action film, the film is eye candy when it comes to visual effects. Many things blow up, many forms of destruction can be found in this film and the action was non-stop that surprisingly, there is a storyline that is not hidden and easy to follow.
S.H.I.E.L.D. has been compromised, Nick Fury is dead and Captain America must team up with the Black Widow with the help of the Falcon to get into the bottom of things and find out who this Winter Soldier is.
And if you didn’t leave during the credits at the movie theater, you will want to make sure you watch what happens during the mid-credits and what happens after the credits are done as the film transitions to an appearance of Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.
But this is a much better film than the first. There is so much happening in this film, so many characters and the film definitely sets up for a highly anticipated sequel to “The Avengers” and also for a third Captain America film.
The chemistry between Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson is fantastic, the inclusion of Anthony Mackie as the Falcon is awesome and Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders is a must for Marvel films and Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter/Agent 13 is also another fantastic addition (despite her screentime being a bit short). It was also interesting to see Robert Redford play an antagonist. Also, to see the Frank Grillo as the character Brock Rumow (a.k.a. in the comics as “Crossbones”) and Sebastian Stan return as Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier.
With that being said, because of the many characters, for those who have never followed the comic books and the characters, may feel lost. But because of the film’s action-heavy storyline, I do feel the film is accessible and I enjoyed the more modern feel of the film and nothing too cheesy.
As for the Blu-ray release, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is one of the highlights of Blu-ray releases in 2014. This is a reference Blu-ray release in terms of picture quality and lossless audio. Picture quality is fantastic, lossless audio is amazingly immersive and you feel every boom and because of its chaotic action sequences that keep coming at you, audiophiles will no doubt be in glee over its awesome soundtrack. There are a good number of special features included as well.
Just remember that if you have a 3D enabled receiver, Blu-ray player and television, there is a Blu-ray 3D version of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” also available.
Overall, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is thrilling, action-packed and a damn good superhero film! And for the Blu-ray release, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is one of the better looking and sounding Blu-ray releases in 2014.
A reference Blu-ray release that is highly recommended!
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