Captain America: The Winter Soldier appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While I thought much of the film looked good, a few elements seemed a bit lackluster.
For the most part, sharpness appeared positive. However, fine detail was lacking in some shots. Although these instances were minor, they meant that the delineation wasn’t quite as consistent as I’d like. I noticed no issues with shimmering or jagged edges, and edge haloes were not a factor. Source flaws remained absent,
As one might expect from a flick like this, Winter Soldier provided a stylized palette. Colors tended toward a green/blue feel, with a restrained sense of hues across the board. These never looked dynamic, but they came across as intended.
Blacks showed good depth and darkness, while shadows usually were solid. A few shots seemed slightly dense, but those occurred infrequently. Though most of the movie provided solid visuals, the occasional lapses dropped it to “B” level.
No inconsistencies affected the excellent DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Winter Soldier. With a variety of action and ambient elements, the audio brought the events to life in fine fashion. Fight sequences added the greatest punch, and the pieces used all the speakers to great advantage. Quieter scenes contributed good breadth and smoothness as well. All of this meant the audio filled out the spectrum in a nice manner.
Sound quality satisfied. Speech was natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music demonstrated good range and clarity as well. Effects worked the best of the bunch, as they were consistently dynamic and vivid. All in all, this was an active and engaging soundtrack.
When we look at the set’s extras, we open with an audio commentary from directors Anthony and Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of story/character areas and influences/inspirations, stunts and action, cast and performances, sets and locations, various effects, music and editing, and connected subjects.
From start to finish, this becomes an engaging chat. I like the emphasis on story issues, as we get a nice overview of narrative domains. We also learn a lot about general movie-making in this thorough and likable discussion.
A few featurettes follow. On the Front Line: An Inside Look at Captain America’s Battlegrounds runs 10 minutes, 11 seconds and includes notes from the Russos, Markus, McFeely, producer Kevin Feige, co-producer Nate Moore, stunt doubles Heidi Moneymaker and Samuel Hargrave, stunt coordinator Thomas Robinson Harper, special effects coordinator Daniel Sudick, and actors Chris Evans, Georges St.-Pierre, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sebastian Stan. “Line” examines stunts and action, sets and locations, and camerawork. Though it rushes through these subjects, it gives us a decent take on the topics along with some good footage from the sets.
On Set with Anthony Mackie: Cut the Check! lasts a quick one minute, 55 seconds and offers info from the Russos, Evans, and actor Anthony Mackie. The short looks at a phrase Mackie likes to utter at the end of a shot. It’s cute but insubstantial.
For the last featurette, we get the two-minute, 26-second Steve Rogers’ Notebook. It features Moore as we learn more about the list of cultural icons about which Steve wants to learn. Moore covers changes made for different countries, and that adds a fun twist.
Four Deleted and Extended Scenes go for a total of three minutes, 36 seconds. We find “Hill and Sitwell Talk Loyalty” (1:00), “In Pursuit of Captain America” (1:04), “Nick Fury’s Circle” (0:49) and “Widow Reveals Her Past” (0:41). These tend to be small character moments and don’t add much; they’re eminently forgettable for the most part.
We can view the deleted scenes with or without commentary from the Russos, McFeely and Markus. They tell us a little about the sequences as well as why the segments got cut. We find some decent notes.
Finally, we get a two-minute, 37-second Gag Reel. It delivers the usual roster of mistakes and laughs. It’s mostly banal, but a few amusing improvs show up along the way.
The disc opens with ads for Guardians of the Galaxy, Agents of SHIELD and various Marvel movies. These also appear under Sneak Peeks along with promos for Avengers Assemble and Hulk and the Agents of SMASH. No trailer for Soldier appears here.
As a follow-up to the highly enjoyable First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier doesn’t quite match up to expectations, mainly due to too many characters and a somewhat convoluted plot. Nonetheless, it delivers enough action and charm to turn it into an entetaining film most of the time. The Blu-ray presents generally good picture along with terrific audio and a set of supplements highlighted by an informative commentary. Despite a few issues, Soldier largely works.