Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review
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Much of the country may still be hoping and praying for the arrival of spring, but summer has officially hit your local movie theater, thanks to the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Marvelís first big superhero thriller of the year. And while it may still be cold outside, the latest adventure from S.H.I.E.L.D.ís first Avenger heats things up on the big screen.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier finds Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) struggling to adjust to life in the twenty-first centuryóand to his role within S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) calls the shots, and Steve is expected to follow orders without asking questionsóbut heís not sure that he can trust his commanderís decisions.

After Fury comes under attack, however, everything changes. Steve and fellow agent Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) find that S.H.I.E.L.D. has turned on them. And when theyíre confronted by a deadly threat from Steveís past, they enlist the help of a new friend.

Like 2011ís Captain America: The First Avenger, The Winter Soldier is a different kind of superhero movie. While itís every bit as action-packed and explosive as other Marvel movies, the Captain America sequel still manages to retain the classic, old-fashioned style of the original. More than simply taking on the bad guys, it tackles issues of right and wrong as Steve Rogers brings his 1940s perspective to Nick Furyís Age of Information. For that reason, the film doesnít have the same sharp witóor the same one-linersóas an Iron Man movie. The overall tone is just slightly more serious, with a greater sense of heart-swelling heroism.

Perhaps, though, that heart-swelling feeling is simply a result of the filmís intense action sequences. From high-speed car chases and massive shootouts to good, old-fashioned hand-to-hand combat, itís absolutely thrilling. Thereís rarely a break in the Captainís latest battle.

Itís during those few breaks, however, that things get messy. The story is definitely a game-changer for the franchiseóand itís anything but simple, juggling various plotlines involving old enemies, new threats, modern technology, and advanced weaponry. It seems as though almost everyone but Steve has hidden agendas and deep, dark secrets. And thatís a lot to digest in the limited amount of time between action sequences (all while youíre trying to catch your breath). Fortunately, you donít really need to follow every minute detail in order to enjoy the movieóand it does manage to come together in the end. But, at times, you could very well find yourself hopelessly lost in the minutiae of the needlessly convoluted story.

Despite its complex story, though, Captain America: The Winter Soldier still offers a thrilling preview of a cinematic season full of big-budget action and adventure. Itís big and bold and heroic, with a charmingly old-school hero and a subtle message that will give you something to think about as you leave the theater.

Blu-ray Review:
The summer of 2014 wasnít exactly a memorable time for movies. In fact, one of the summerís most thrilling adventures didnít even come out in the summer; it came out in April. And now that summer is behind us, itís time to revisit this game-changing superhero adventure on Blu-ray.

The Blu-rayís special features menu includes many of the old stand-bys: a commentary track, a blooper reel, and four deleted scenes with optional commentary. But youíll also find a trio of making-of features. Two of the three are quite short. Steve Rogersí Notebook offers a closer look at an image that gets just a second of screen timeóand the Internet campaign that helped determine what would make the list in various regions of the world. And On Set with Anthony Mackie: Cut the Check! turns the spotlight on the energetic actor who plays Sam Wilson (A.K.A. The Falcon) and his favorite catchphrase. Itís an amusing little extra thatís a must-see for fans of this lovable star.

The longest feature, On the Front Lines: An Inside Look at Captain Americaís Battlegrounds, meanwhile, offers a more in-depth look behind the scenesówith a focus on the filmís action and stunts. Here, youíll learn more about the locations, the training, the stunt doubles, and the choreography without getting too bogged down in the picky details.

The ho-hum adventures of this summer are sure to give you an all-new appreciation for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Itís definitely worth another lookóand, while youíre at it, be sure to take some time to go behind the scenes with the special features, too. If you have just a couple of minutes, go for some laughs with On the Set with Anthony Mackie. But if youíve got a little more time, go straight to On the Front Lines.

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