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Captain America: The Winter Soldier (3D)


Stars: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Samuel L Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Cobie Smulders, Dominic Cooper, Hayley Atwell, Frank Grillo, Jenny Agutter, Toby Jones, Garry Shandling

Director: The Russo Brothers

So many superhero movies are with us these days that they tend to pass in a blur of comic-strip action. This one, however, is, like its predecessor, worth seeking out, and not just because you don't expect the ecology-conscious Redford to appear in this sort of thing.

The first reel is admittedly unpromising, with jumbled plot, some nasty, even vicious action and a stickily sentimental scene thrown in. Then the central theme kicks in, and does so with some sensational action sequences, including one of the best car chases yet put on celluloid.

SHIELD, the serve-and-protect agency for which Capt America (Evans), the un-ageing supersoldier created in World War Two, works, is in danger of being overthrown by HYDRA, an organisation seemingly dedicated to re-shaping the world by removing a few million of its population.

Bureau chief Nick Fury (Jackson) suddenly finds himself with a target on his back, at first in that thunderingly good chase, led by a mysterious long-haired assassin (Stan), then in America's apartment, where a thrice-shot Fury's dying words are 'Trust no one'. Does this include the wily secretary of state (Redford)?

America and fellow agents 'Black Widow' Natasha (Johansson) and the flying Falcon (Mackie) are soon to find out.

It's action all the way once directors Anthony and Joe Russo get any idea of a coherent plot out of their system. There's nice camaraderie and banter between our heroes during hairsbreadth escapes from the bad guys, and on-the-mark individual blasts of pyrotechnics that made the preview audience cheer.

The villains are personable (rather more so than the stolid Evans), Call the Midwife fans will be suitably amazed by the martial arts skills of Agutter (alias Sister Julienne) at the end, and there's the inevitable cameo by the comic strip's creator Stan Lee, here as a museum guard.

Even if you don't like 'this sort of thing', you'll find that this new superhero adventure is, like Iron Man 3, worth a journey to see.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Walt Disney. Colour by deluxe.
136 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 23 Mar 2014