Taking place after the alien invasion in New York from THE AVENGERS film, Steve Rogers — or better known as Captain America — is now in Washington, DC. He still feels out of place, but he knows that the only direction he needs to go now is forward. He still works as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., but he leads a black ops team named S.T.R.I.K.E. His team is solid and includes his friend Natasha Romanoff (AKA Black Widow) and Brock Rumlow.
Steve reports to Director Fury, who explains that S.H.I.E.L.D. is working on a program to eliminate threats before they happen called PROJECT: Insight. Rogers doesn’t agree with this tactic, saying, “This isn’t freedom, this is fear.” When an assassin known as The Winter Soldier targets Fury, Steve somehow ends up not being trusted by the very people that he works with. Now, with the help of Natasha, he is a fugitive trying to put the pieces together and find the assassin.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo or better known as The Russo Brothers. They’re best known for their work on the TV shows ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT and COMMUNITY. They’re also attached to direct the third CAPTAIN AMERICA film coming in 2016. The pair are visionaries when it comes to creating a movie that feels like it is jumping off the comic book page. The movie is written by screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. They wrote both THOR: THE DARK WORLD and CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, so Markus and McFeely are deeply rooted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and their work has been phenomenal. You can tell that they took a lot influence from Ed Brubaker’s work in the comics (and he even did a cameo in the movie).
Honestly, I’m very surprised that this is the directors’ first time doing a movie in the comics realm because the attention to detail is key. Trust me, comic book fans are nit-picky with the details and accuracy when it comes to any other media than print. I don’t know why, but as a comic reader and a fan, I’m guilty of it as well. I also think that this film has shown that Marvel Studios has grown as a company. They’ve made a movie that if it didn’t have the name of a superhero in the title, this would be an excellent politically themed action movie.
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers AKA Captain America
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff AKA Black Widow
Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes AKA Winter Soldier
Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson AKA Falcon
Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow
Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter AKA Agent 13
Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter
Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
To be thorough and because I’m such a fan, I watched the film in both 2D & 3D and I’m impressed with both versions.
Disney’s 3D post-conversion is one of the best in the business and it looks incredible here. There is excellent depth and movement, creating that extra exciting motion that this type of movie demands. The 1080p MVC encode for the 3D is very clean. The colors are bold where they need to be and skin tones look good as well. The picture is a little dark at times and during these scenes there is a little crosstalk, but never enough to really impact the viewing of the film. Like I said, there is excellent depth, but there are times when some of the people or objects a little bit further in the background look like flat people passing by. But that is completely forgivable due to how close the picture looks to the source theatrical 3D. The part where the 3D just absolutely shines is about 2/3 into it at the last stand against Hydra. Between the helicarriers having staggered heights in the air, Captain America jumping from ship to ship and especially the Falcon taking flight, it’s just awesome.
The 2D version is transferred in a 1080p AVC and, like the 3D version, it looks excellent. The first thing I noticed is the near perfect contrasting. It creates smooth, distinguishable lines and accentuates the details in each frame. The blacks are deep and inky and that also helps with the contrasting. The colors are vivid in a way that, being a comic book fan, I love to see in a film. The skin tones are also very natural without being too warm or artificial.
There is nothing like being able to feel the film and THE WINTER SOLDIER delivers. The audio mix for the film is, hands down, one of the best out there. It’s immersive with all of the channels working hard in the 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix. The LFEs are thunderous and shake the room during action scenes with explosions and great highs when there is gunfire. There are excellent multidirectional effects that sweep across the channels. An example of this is during the flight to the S.T.R.I.K.E. team’s first mission. The jet does a fast sweep from the right to the left that creates the effect of how fast they’re going. Overall, it’s more like an experience than a movie.
-Audio Commentary with Directors Anthony & Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely: This is one of the more interesting commentaries that I’ve heard on a release that isn’t a special anniversary edition or director’s cut. The team discuses the various influences and every facet of the film in detail. I definitely recommend checking it out.
-On the Front Line: An inside Look at Captain America’s Battlegrounds: This featurette is a look at the film with insight from the directors, cast, crew, and even the man himself Kevin Feige.
-On Set with Anthony Mackie: Cut the Check!: This featurette is a looks at the character Falcon and Anthony Mackie. He now has a phrase he likes to use at he end of a scene…cut the check!
-Deleted and Extended Scenes: These are a set of scenes with the option of commentary from the Russo Brothers.
-Steve Rogers’ Notebook: With the film being screened worldwide, Rogers has a notebook of things to check out in pop culture. The filmmakers made small changes to the list depending on the country or region the film was shown.
2 Blu-ray Disc: Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray
iTunes digital copy
1080p MVC MPEG-4 for 3D
1080p AVC MPEG-4 for 2D
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
Canadian French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Amazing… simply amazing. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is really the best sequel so far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it solidifies that this studio is here to stay. These movies pull the most out of the comics and keeps close to the source material. Like the film, the Blu-ray release is awesome. The picture on both the 2D and 3D are flawless. On top of that, the audio mix is practically reference. This movie is not to be missed, so now that you’ve finished reading this, get up and go buy it because this is a must own, CUT THE CHECK!