Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes to DVD, Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray and digital download on August 18th.
An investigation into the assassination of a SHIELD agent leads Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) to uncover an unlikely betrayal and a conspiracy which could result in the death of thousands.
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo deliver all the thrills and stunts required of a superhero film but this entry in Marvel’s ongoing franchise is far more than a standard action flick.
Look beyond the comic-inspired costumes and fantasy elements and it becomes clear that Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s script is a first rate, solidly plotted political thriller with a believably tormented hero at its centre.
As the film opens, Rogers is a man struggling to adjust to life in the modern world and increasingly contemplating his place in it.
With his jingoistic name and oh-so-patriotic outfit, Captain America could easily have wound up being portrayed as a wise-cracking parody. Instead Evans presents the character as a complex, conflicted man trapped by his inability to let go of the past and yet destined to remain completely cut off from it.
Providing backup is Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), whose seemingly endless ability to lie and deceive represents much of what Rogers finds discomforting about the contemporary age.
The certainties of the Good V Evil world from which he comes have left Rogers unprepared for an era in which loyalties shift and truths change in the blink of an eye.
Yet the script torments the Captain by firmly anchoring him to Romanoff in his quest to untangle the conspiracy.
Our two flawed heroes are joined by former Marine Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) who, donning the mantle of Falcon and taking to the skies with a winged flight pack, is the nearest the film comes to offering a standard, dependable, “let’s go get ’em” good guy.
Unlike Natasha and Rogers, Wilson knows his place in the world and is sufficiently settled that he can reach out and support others by working as a PTSD counsellor at the local military hospital.
He’s also one of the few Marvel cinema universe characters to willingly sign up for hero duty and the first to do so since Avengers Assemble’s Battle of New York when the full horrors of the universe became an undeniable reality.
As the trio unravel the mystery before them they expose a truth which fans of the Agents of SHIELD TV series will have seen play out in the second half of the show’s debut season.
Considering it’s the 9th film in an ongoing series, The Winter Soldier is more accessible than Marvel’s latest film, Guardians of the Galaxy, which felt like an entry aimed more at the comic book faithful than cinema audiences.
This remains Marvel’s best film to date.
In addition to the main feature, the Blu-ray includes a host of extras including deleted scenes, cast interviews and a blooper real.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is available from August 18th. Pre-order your copy from Amazon.co.uk