Marvellous superhero

"Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier"''. l''� 2014 Marvel.
"Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier"''. l''� 2014 Marvel.

In Captain America: The First Avenger the Marvel superhero was fighting in the Second World War and now his second adventure takes place in present day Washington.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Cert 12A) finds Cap/ Steve Rogers (Chris Evans, pictured) trying to adjust to life in the 21st century (having spent the intervening years on ice) and working for Colonel Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), under the command of SHIELD head Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford).

In the basement of SHIELD command he is shown three giant “helicarrier” gunships that are aimed at anticipating and destroying threats to security before it has happened. “This isn’t freedom. This is fear,” protests old school Cap.

Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo The Winter Soldier thus boldly taps into contemporary political issues like the use of drones and the extent of state surveillance.

But there is little time to go too deep into the subject as Cap finds himself the target of deadly assassin the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) complete with robotic arm.

“Don’t trust anyone,” implores Fury after being gravely wounded in a frantic car chase ambush which indicates that SHIELD has been infiltrated by sinister forces.

Cap decides the only ones he can trust are the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and a a former paratrooper (Anthony Mackie), who can don a giant pair of wings and turn himself into The Falcon (and provides the most pleasing spectacle to justify the 3D).

There is engaging banter between all three and although The Winter Soldier may not stand out as a pure action movie at least it runs with its complex plot all the way taking its conspiracy theory linking current US foreign policy with Nazism into the third movie trailed in the final credits.

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi follows his award-winning A Separation with another film, The Past (Cert 12A) which likewise explores the complications and divided loyalties of family relationships.

After four years away Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) returns to Paris from Tehran at the behest of his French wife Marie (Bérénice Bejo, star of The Artist, pictured) who wants to finalise divorce procedure.

Ahmad finds himself plunged into domestic chaos once he discovers Marie has a new partner, Samir (A Prophet’s Tahar Rahim), which has caused conflict in her relationship with her daughter Lucie (Pauline Burlet).

As Ahmad does his best to smooth things over tensions start to boil over and alarming truths begin to emerge. Another multi-layered intimate drama from the director who, despite not speaking French, has produced an atmospheric understated movie with fine performances from the principals.

Ian Soutar