Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Captain America: The First Avenger (Limited 3D Edition) (Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
8.5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8.5 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Chris Evans as Captain America / Steve Rogers
Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter
Sebastian Stan as James Buchanan 'Bucky' Barnes
Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Chester Phillips
Hugo Weaving as Johann Schmidt / Red Skull
Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark
Richard Armitage as Heinz Kruger
Stanley Tucci as Dr. Abraham Erskine
Toby Jones as Dr. Arnim Zola
Neal McDonough as Timothy 'Dum Dum' Dugan
Derek Luke as Gabe Jones
Kenneth Choi as Jim Morita
JJ Feild as James Montgomery Falsworth
Bruno Ricci as Jacques Dernier
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Directed by Joe Johnston

Special Features:
- Includes Digital Copy
- Deleted Scenes
- Behind-The-Scenes Featurettes
- Marvel One Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer - Go deeper inside the Marvel Universe and unveil secret plans to assemble the ultimate superhero team, the Avengers.
- And more!

Other Info:
Widescreen
DTS-HD MA 7.1 Surround Sound
Spanish, French and Portuguese Languages
Spanish, French and Portuguese Subtitles
Running Time: 123 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Captain America leads the fight for freedom in the action-packed blockbuster starring Chris Evans as the ultimate weapon against evil! When a terrifying force threatens everyone across the globe, the world's greatest soldier wages war on the evil HYDRA organization, led by the villainous Red Skull (Hugo Weaving, 'The Matrix')."

"Captain America: The First Avenger" is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action

Mini-Review:
"Captain America" was one of the movies I was most looking forward to this past summer. I am a major fan of Joe Johnston from his work on "Star Wars" and "The Rocketeer." I'm also a big fan of the Captain America comics. I have been reading them for years. So when I finally got the chance to see it, I was generally happy with the results.

I was particularly happy that it stuck so closely with the comics. They kept the scrawny Steve Rodgers. They kept his origin story almost spot on. They set it almost entirely in WWII which I thought was important. From top to bottom it was pitch perfect. And the areas where it did depart from the comics, I thought they were improvements. The costume looked better than the one from the comics while still being faithful. The Red Skull was still a Nazi, but they downplayed that while building up the Hydra organization. Then Bucky was closer to his more recent "Winter Soldier" roots than a plucky kid sidekick. They were the right choices across the board. And like with the other Marvel movies, they tied together with the rest of the Marvel Universe well. The Cosmic Cube neatly tied with "Thor." Howard Stark neatly tied with "Iron Man." And there were other Easter eggs here and there like the cameo by the original Human Torch and Stan Lee. It was just a great treat.

I admit that I was a little wary of the casting of Chris Evans as Steve Rogers. Having seen his performance in "Fantastic Four," I liked him but I didn't see him as Cap. Fortunately he did a great job and he sold the character well. I think a lot of that is due to the fact that they spent so much time emphasizing his heroic characteristics before he ever got his powers. Liking him then made him likable when he became the super soldier. The supporting cast was also excellent. Hayley Atwell made a great love interest as Peggy Carter. Tommy Lee Jones provided some laughs as Colonel Chester Phillips while Hugo Weaving was great as the Red Skull. I also particularly liked Stanley Tucci as Dr. Abraham Erskine. He gave some real heart to what otherwise could have been a throw away character. He's essentially the Obi-Wan for Steve.

My only gripe with "Captain America" was the montage of battle scenes in the middle. We see Cap at the beginning of WWII and the end while the middle is quickly skipped over. In all honestly, THAT is the movie I wanted to see - Cap in the heart of WWII. But this movie really had to set things up for Captain America to re-appear in present day in "Avengers," so I think Johnston and Co. did the best they could with the little running time they had.

Overall "Captain America" was everything I hoped it would be - a fun period action-adventure that did justice to the comic character. And it was fun for both kids and adults. Not even the comics are appropriate for multiple demographics like that anymore. This Blu-ray is well worth adding to your collection.

The Blu-ray 3D set is actually a pretty good deal. You get the 3D Blu-ray, a regular Blu-ray, a DVD, and a digital copy. I don't even have a 3D TV yet, but it's nice to have this disc when I am ready to get one. The highlight among the bonus features is the short Marvel film entitled "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thor's Hammer." It stars Agent Coulson and shows him stopping at a gas station on his way to New Mexico in "Thor." While he is choosing between powdered donuts and chocolate ones, the store gets held up. You then see why he's an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. I thought this one was a lot better than the Marvel One Shot featured on the "Thor" Blu-ray. It was a lot funnier, built on the character, and didn't rehash footage from the previous films.

Also among the extras is a batch of deleted scenes. Most notable are some additional battle scenes featuring the ridiculously large tank that the Red Skull used. Along with this you'll find a series of 'making of' featurettes covering the creation of the costume, how they made Chris Evans look scrawny, how they made the makeup for the Red Skull, the Howling Commandos, and more. One notable featurette shows Captain America co-creator Joe Simon discussing the creation of the character. You also find out the rather surprising inspiration for the Red Skull - a cherry on a sundae. Surprisingly absent from the bonus features are Tucci, Jones, and Atwell, but overall these are really good bonus features.

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