Captain America: The First Avenger appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This wasn’t a killer presentation, but it was very good.
My only minor complaints related to blacks and shadows. Dark tones could be a little inky, and low-lights shots occasionally appeared a bit dense. These tendencies weren’t significant, but they kept the image from “A”-level consideration.
Otherwise, everything about the presentation excelled. Sharpness looked terrific, as the movie appeared crisp and concise. No issues with jaggies or moiré effects materialized, and I saw no edge haloes or print flaws. Colors tended toward the sepia feel typical of period flicks, but the movie still exhibited some warm, rich hues. Despite the modest concerns with blacks/shadows, I felt pleased with the image.
I felt even more impressed with the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. As expected from an action movie like this, the soundscape provided a frequent assault on the ears. This was most obvious during the battle sequences, of course, as those used all five speakers to form an engrossing sense of place. Bullets zipped around the room, various vehicles moved cleanly and blasts exploded into our faces. Quieter scenes delivered a nice sense of ambience, but the louder sequences brought the best punch and created a sensational soundfield.
In addition, the mix boasted solid audio quality. Music was rich and full, with crisp highs and taut lows. Effects followed suit, as the various military elements delivered strong and accurate reproduction, with some bold bass response. Speech was also concise and crisp throughout the film. This turned into a strong soundtrack.
Plenty of extras occupy this set, and we open with an audio commentary from director Joe Johnston, director of photography Shelly Johnson and editor Jeffrey Ford. They deliver a running, screen-specific look at sets and locations, cast and performances, props and vehicles, various effects, story/character topics, costumes and makeup, music, stunts and action, editing, and a few other areas.
While we get a lot of information here, I must admit I think the commentary feels a bit flat. Although the participants cover a lot of ground, the discussion tends to seem somewhat dry and technical. We learn a reasonable amount but it can be a slow ride.
A new short film called Marvel One-Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer lasts four minutes, three seconds. It shows Agent Coulson’s attempts to thwart a convenience store robbery. It’s a fun diversion – especially since it lets us see the normally buttoned-down Coulson kick some butt.
Under Featurettes, we find seven programs. These include “Outfitting a Hero” (10:52), “Howling Commandos” (6:07), “Heightened Technology” (5:43), “The Transformation” (8:50), “Behind the Skull” (10:24), “Captain America’s Origin” (3:55) and “The Assembly Begins” (1:46). Across these, we hear from Johnston, producer Kevin Feige, Captain America suit developer/visual development supervisor Ryan Meinerding, co-producers Victoria Alonso and Stephen Broussard, Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, comic book editors Ralph Macchio and Axel Alonso, comic book publisher Dan Buckley, executive producer Louis D’Esposito, costume designer Anna B. Sheppard, writers Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus, suit modeler Patrick Whitaker, property master Barry Gibbs, visual effects supervisor Christopher Townsend, lead vehicle designer Daniel Simon, body double Leander Deeny, visual development supervisor Charlie Wen, prosthetics designer David White, character co-creator Joe Simon, and actors Chris Evans, Dominic Cooper, Sebastian Stan, JJ Feild, Bruno Ricci, Kenneth Choi, Derek Luke, Neal McDonough, and Hugo Weaving.
The featurettes cover the design of Cap’s suit and shield, cast, characters and performances, various props, vehicles and technological choices, training and various effects, aspects of the original comic book Cap, and the connection to The Avengers. That latter element is really just a glorified trailer, but the other six segments offer some good info. We find a nice array of subjects and the featurettes explore them well. I especially like the programs that show us how the filmmakers turned Chris Evans into the scrawny version of Steve Rogers. Expect some quality pieces here.
Four Deleted Scenes occupy a total of five minutes, 32 seconds. We see “Attack in Norway” (0:42), “The Battle at Azzano” (1:36), “Steve Rogers Gets His Medal” (1:02) and “Steve Rogers Meets Nick Fury” (2:12). The first two deliver more with the soldiers Cap eventually supports, while “Medal” and “Fury” expand sequences in the final film. All four give us some interesting footage, but none of them seem crucial.
Except for “Meets”, we can watch the deleted scenes with or without commentary from Johnston, Johnson and Ford. They give us pretty mediocre notes and don’t reveal a whole lot of interest.
The disc finishes with four trailers. We find both the teaser and theatrical promos for Captain America, a video game ad plus a clip for an animated Avengers program.
A second disc supplies a DVD Copy of Captain America. This provides a bare-bones version of the film without extras.
Captain America: The First Avenger delivers a mostly satisfying superhero flick. While it’s not as good as the Nolan Batmans or the Raimi Spider-Mans, it tops most others in the genre and provides a fun action effort. The Blu-ray comes with very good picture, excellent audio and a reasonably informative set of supplements. I like First Avenger and look forward to the film’s 2014 sequel.