"It’s not the biggest Marvel movie to hit theaters, but with a timely narrative, deeper exploration of fan-favorite characters, a strong cast and unforgettable action set pieces, Captain America: The Winter Soldier makes a compelling case for being one of the studio’s best adventures."
- 1 Blu-Ray Disc
- 1 3D Blu-Ray Disc
- 1 iTunes Digital Copy
- Standard Blu-ray case with slip cover
- Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
- Sound Options: English (DTS-HD High Res Audio), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Subtitles: Spanish, French
- Joe Russo (Director)
- Anthony Russo (Director)
- Stephen McFeely (Writer)
- Christopher Markus (Writer)
Bottom Line: Although the Russo Brothers, McFeely, and Markus aren't the most lively of commentators, they do provide some great insight into The Winter Soldier's development, its inspirations, and how various scenes/sequences evolved over time. If there were any fans out there who wondered how much planning or collaboration goes into a Marvel movie, this commentary proves that the studio has come a long way since Iron Man.
Marvel fans will also enjoy the Russo Brothers' musings on how they chose which characters to cast in particular scenes and how best to hit the right tone in a superhero movie. Some highlights from the track include the revelation that Haley Atwell's old age "makeup" was all digital, explanations for why Black Widow (and not some other Avenger) was featured in the story, brief mention of a cut WWII opening for the film, and a fairly detailed discussion about staging the climactic sequence to minimize collateral damage (sorry Man of Steel).
Overall, the commentary track is certainly worth a listen for Marvel fans or even filmmaking fans (The Russos are true cinephiles), but it doesn't deliver too many surprising anecdotes. Fans of the film will absolutely want to listen to the track, but whether or not it will change someone's perspective of the movie is another issue.
Behind the Scenes (12:08):
- On the Front Line: An Inside Look at Captain America's Battlegrounds (10:12)– Most would agree that The Winter Soldier's greatest strength is its action, and this short featurette provides a closer look at how the filmmakers designed the set pieces and how they were eventually brought to life. It's a fascinating watch that highlights how dedicated the actors were to getting the stunts right and the impressive practical effects.
- On Set With Anthony Mackie: Cut the Check (1:56) - This featurette ultimately boils down to a series of scenes where Mackie, after finishing a take he likes, will yell out, "Cut the Check." It's funny to see the always-charismatic actor in action, but the bit is far too short. It would have been nice to hear a little more about what Mackie brings to the table as Sam Wilson and to see him interact with his fellow cast members since he is absent from the 'On the Front Line' featurette.
Bottom Line: Captain America: The Winter Soldier is ultimately very light on making-of featurettes, but the behind the scenes content is worth recommending for fans of the film's action sequences. Seeing how the Russo Brothers envisioned Captain America as a fighter and then how they brought those ideas to life is actually one of the more intriguing elements of the whole disc, and makes the 'On the Front Line' featurette a personal favorite. However, it's rather disappointing that the disc doesn't include a true behind-the-scenes documentary focused on the entire filmmaking process.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier Extended Scene #1
Deleted/Extended Scenes & Gag Reel (5:58):
- [Deleted] Maria Hill and Agent Sitwell talk loyalty with regards to Captain America and Nick Fury (1:00)
- [Extended] Alexander Pierce labels Captain America a traitor and a S.H.I.E.L.D. unit tracks down a Cap decoy (1:05)
- [Deleted] Nick Fury and Black Widow share a moment before the final sequence (:50)
- [Extended] Alexander Pierce talks Black Widow's past (:42)
Although each deleted and extended scene includes commentary from the Russo Brothers, there's nothing on the disc too revelatory or, for that matter, interesting. It's mostly just short bits that either tie into other scenes or were cut for time considerations. In other words, don't expect to see any greater details about HYDRA's plot or the Winter Soldier's story here.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier Gag Reel Preview
- Gag Reel (2:38) - A rather short blooper reel overall, but still packed with enough out-of-character interactions from all the main actors. Even Robert Redford gets in on the action, confusing Marvel's universe with DC's.
Bottom Line: Since the deleted scenes do little to enrich the final film, the appeal of the disc's bonus content rests largely with the gag reel. If you're the type of person who likes a decent blooper reel, especially on a film that's not meant to be comedic, then The Winter Soldier's reel will generate a few laughs. That being said, it would have been nice to see a little extra Marvel content on the disc, either some rough mock-ups/descriptions of Hawkeye's cut scenes or a bit focused on the Winter Soldier's place in the comics. Anything to make this package feel a little meatier.
One of the more interesting featurettes in the film highlights Steve Rogers' notebook, which contains some of the cultural touchstones Cap missed while frozen in ice. As some may remember, the items in Captain America's notebook changed based on the international territory and this clip shows what those differences were. It also explains why specific items were chosen for specific regions, like Shakira for Spain or Yuri Gagarin for Russia.
So, rather than going through the disc and hitting pause on the notebook, viewers can watch this 2-minute clip to see what exactly each notebook entry said. It's a fun little Easter Egg that provides a little insight into how the production envisioned Captain America as a global figure.
While Marvel fans will likely be sold on the disc simply as the next piece of their MCU collection, there's still plenty of worthwhile elements to the Captain America: The Winter Soldier disc. The commentary provides genuine insight into the filmmaking process, from early script work to staging intricate fight sequences. While the 'On the Front Line' featurette puts an even greater spotlight on that action, revealing how much effort when it to delivering some genuinely unique sequences. And the gag reel and Anthony Mackie clips are good for a laugh, even if they are completely disposable.
There's no question that The Winter Soldier Blu-Ray as a whole is lacking in some key areas, but it hits enough of the right notes to be worth a casual recommendation, especially to those who haven't seen The Russo Brothers' excellent film or want to watch it again with commentary. However, those who were looking for a robust package filled to the brim with behind the scenes content, comics comparisons, Winter Soldier backstory details, or even just more interviews with the cast will find themselves very disappointed.
**For Fans Only**
Captain American: The Winter Soldier is out now on DVD/Blu-ray and Digital Download.
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