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CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
3D Blu-ray Edition

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson
Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo
Audio: DTS HD 7.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Studio: Marvel/Disney
Features: See Review
Length: 136 Minutes
Release Date: September 9, 2014

You’re going after him.”

You don’t have to come.”

I know. When do we start?”

Film ***1/2

2014 has far and away been the best year yet for the Marvel movie universe! Not only did we get the absolute best Marvel film to date with Guardians of the Galaxy, but one of the Avengers dished out what is thus far the best solo effort from the clan with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I never thought I’d see the day where The Incredible Hulk got surpassed by any other solo Avenger installment, but here we are!

Though I found it entertaining enough, I wasn’t really enthralled by 2011‘s Captain America: The First Avenger. By the point of that film’s release, I was kind of worn out by the frequent turn out of superhero movies in this series, fully acknowledging that it all served as build up to The Avengers. The Winter Soldier, however, is a vastly superior movie that flawlessly blends intense action and conspiracy thriller into one edgy package I didn’t really expect from the Marvel universe.

Following his introduction, leap from the past to the present and his first mission alongside the rest of the Avengers, Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans) has been carrying out various missions for S.H.I.E.L.D. Eventually, he becomes a fugitive on the run after being accused by the organization of conspiring to kill one of its prime leaders, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). This places him and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) on the lam from S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives while figuring out who’s behind the conspiracy at hand.

There’s also a new deadly enemy in Rogers’ path, who is known as The Winter Soldier. He’s a fast and lethal match for Rogers, and as added bonus, may bare the resemblance of someone from his past. And his presence might be the result of an experiment not unlike the one performed on Rogers when being transformed into the ultimate super soldier.

To look at this film, you’d think it was the work of a seasoned action movie filmmaker. But surprisingly enough, this comes to us from brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, who’ve directed many episodes of Arrested Development, something myself and Michael here at DMC consider to be one of the greatest achievements in comedic television, if not THE greatest! This is their first foray into the action/adventure realm, and all I can say is they have got a big bright future on the basis of the action bits in this movie (particularly a bravo early car chase involving Nick Fury).

In addition Chris Evans’ solid work in the lead role, we get terrific supporting work from the always alluring and glamorously butt-kicking Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow (there couldn’t be a better girl for the part. We also get a welcome addition to the mix with Anthony Mackie as Captain’s new sidekick, Falcon. And seasoned pro Robert Redford gets a nicely tailor made role as a top S.H.I.E.L.D. representative.

Without question, I am now more of a Captain America fan than ever thanks to the bad ass of an installment that is The Winter Soldier. The tight script and fantastically solid, non stop action bits help in making this one the absolute best of the solo Avenger movies to date! Already looking forward to the future installments!

Video ****

The movie is one of the biggest visual spectacles of the year, so it was only inevitable that it was given a Blu-ray presentation of the highest order, which is exactly what Marvel has delivered! Both 3D and 2D presentations are visually glorious, although the bright colors shine even better in the 2D version. The image remains crisp and vibrant throughout in both versions (the 3D displays amazing depth of field consistently throughout).

Audio ****

Talk about a knockout! The 7.1 DTS mix is nothing but lossless sounding perfection from beginning to end. The epic scale action scenes provide a great deal of standout sound, while dialogue delivery and music playback are terrifically balanced in the best form possible. High up on the best sounding releases of the year list!

Features ***

The extras are all located on the 2D disc, and they include a commentary with directors Anthony and Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. along with three featurettes; “On the Front Line: An Inside Look at Captain America’s Battlegrounds”, “On Set with Anthony Mackie: Cut the Check!” and “Steve Rogers’ Notebook”. Rounding out the extras are Deleted Scenes (with optional commentary) and a Gag Reel.

Summary:

The Marvel movies are at their hottest point ever, thanks in part to the solid and action packed Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Whether you’re a dedicated comic book fan or action movie enthusiast, you are going to find plenty to love with this movie! The 3D Blu-ray release from Marvel is an all around must have!

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