Film review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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SOMETIMES superhero movies feel less like films and more like shiny treadmills with Halloween costumes. Exhibit one: barely months after we waved off Thor 2, The Wolverine and Iron Man 3, Chris Evans is back as Captain America, powered by super-serum and a sense of loss.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (12A)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Star rating: * * *

The Captain is literally a man from a different age: frozen in ice after fighting Nazis, then chipped out a few years ago. It’s an intriguing premise – have his attitudes to women, civil rights, and equal marriage also been in suspended animation? – but not one this film explores when teaming him up with Scarlett Johansson’s slinky Black Widow, below, Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and new black S.H.I.E.L.D operative Falcon (Anthony Mackie). Instead, the film merely paw-swipes changed times with a visit to the Captain’s geriatric sweetheart Peggy (Hayley Atwell) and a reflection that the Captain once fought for freedom, not a climate of fear.

Battling the forces of good, and our sense of action movie déjà vu, is the Captain’s oldest pal, Bucky Barnes (Stan Sebastian), who has been re-engineered by bad guys. As the Winter Soldier, his powers include a cybernetic arm and the eyes of a wounded puppy: although for some of us his most impressive act is to jump 
off something very high and 
land flat on his feet without emitting a yell of pain that could be heard in China.

The other notable addition is Robert Redford, as senior S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Alexander Pierce, who doesn’t have any superpowers except a suspiciously full and youthful head of hair for a man of 78. n

• General release from Friday