Top positive review
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A Good Follow-On to 'The First Avenger' With a Heavyweight (TOO heavy ?) Plot/Lots of Action - Great Audio, Blemish-Free 3D
on 4 April 2017
Having already bought/watched (and reviewed !) 'Captain America: The First Avenger' on 3D Blu-ray and been impressed with the character, but slightly under whelmed by the 3D presentation, I was still keen to see how things developed for this 'Avengers' personality. I'd also seen 'Iron Man', 'Avengers Assemble', 'Guardians of the Galaxy' and 'Deadpool' in 2D on Blu-ray and enjoyed all of them.
Not being an Avengers aficionado, whilst I had also already seen 'Avengers Assemble' it was BEFORE 'Captain America: The First Avenger' (they were released the other way around) so by the time I got around to this viewing experience I had forgotten some of the plot detail from 'Assemble', which is quite pertinent to this 2nd 'Captain America' film of the 'sub-series'.
Unfortunately, this error on my part did make appreciating all the plot/character aspects of 'The Winter Soldier' a little tricky, as almost every facet of this film was for me on the 'heavy' side (arguably TOO heavy) so my viewing experience did get a little muddled by trying to keep up with all the action/dialogue....
Add the copious action scenes onto all that plot and it means I'm really going to have to have to re-visit this chunk of the Avengers series and view in the right order, as that way I should be more able to fully appreciate that 'The Winter Soldier' is what I think it in reality is - a VERY superior action film, presented very well in 3D HD with only a few pitfalls.
[Although relevant, I think that's it less important that I STILL haven't seen the Avengers films 'Iron Man 3' and 'Thor: The Dark World', both of which also precede this film...!]
Having said that, as 'The First Avenger' was fresh in my memory it DID mean that the Captain America aspects in this movie were more readily appreciated and understood.
As hinted at, the Captain America plot details in this movie are not just related to what was 'introduced in 'The First Avenger' but also the Avengers 'world' as a whole, meaning we get a VERY thick plot 'sandwich' involving more personal Captain America issues, a previously seen main 'adversary', some new Avengers characters and a reprise for some previously seen ones....
Add the driving factors of conspiracy, subversion, betrayal and attempts at world-dominance to flavour all that occurs in 'The Winter Soldier' and the final ingredient of a heap load of fight/combat scenes makes this one VERY eventful action flick !
A warning - it might be short, but if you read the Amazon synopsis for this film it will spoil things as it reveals too much.
So, despite being a little confused by all the goings-on I still enjoyed the numerous details of the storyline and, again, ultimately found the whole film a good watch. The copious action scenes were well presented and the production-values ensured that the CGI wasn't overly artificial-looking.
The lead-cast is massive and nobody particularly stood-out as giving a superior performance, all were 'just' competent. My only other small gripe was that I was often reminded of the 'Bane' character from 'The Dark Knight Rises' film whenever I saw the Winter Soldier....
On 3D Blu-ray (viewed on a 4K/UHD resolution TV) the film looks great and whilst it was only the 3rd I'd watched in 3D, that (post converted) aspect still didn't impress me as much as I was hoping BUT it was suitably active and didn't present any picture flaws; I did notice some depth to the image but more noticeable were the almost 'cartoon' like images that appeared rather too often instead, in contrast to the 3D 'fly out' effects which were present in 'The First Avenger'. Maybe that pending second viewing to more properly appreciate the plot will reveal a greater appreciation for the 3D aspects.....?
*** My feelings about the 3D are significant because I've since watched several more 'normal' movies in 3D (eg 'Max Max Fury Road') and I felt some weren't very effective, but 'Fury Road' was very good, and I also found presentation issues - most notably with 'Captain America: Civil War'. In contrast, ALL the animation films I've watched in 3D have been exceptional.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack was clear and active.
Like most big features the 3D version is on a dedicated disc with no extras, so you also get the 2D disc (the one sold separately) to include the standard Blu-ray bonus material. The notable extras consist of a director's commentary and a selection of featurettes (a smaller selection compared to 'The First Avenger', running time barely 14mins) and some deleted scenes.
So, like it's predecessor I found 'The Winter Soldier' to be well-made BUT less entertaining, not just because the plot was more intense/confusing but also because everything is more slanted towards various aspects of conflict than characterisation; however, I still felt the personality of Steve Rogers/Captain America coming through.
I didn't find the 3D THAT exceptional but definitely noticed some 3D aspects (not all good) BUT am hopeful that opinion might be more positive on a repeat-viewing when the plot intricacies will be less of an imposition to my viewing; the picture is thankfully free of fault, unlike some other 3D releases. The extras count on the included 2D is OK, but it is a pity that you have to watch in 2D to hear the commentary.