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Thor: Ragnarok (3D)


Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Tessa Thompson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeff Goldblum, Anthony Hopkins, Karl Urban, Benedict Cumberbatch, Clancy Brown, Scarlett Johansson, Matt Damon, Sam Neill, Ray Stevenson

Director: Taika Waititi

This new adventure of the hammer-wielding Norse god is certainly an improvement on previous Thor films, but it's also not so much a superhero movie as a comedy with fantasy violence interludes.

The jokes come thick and fast and much of the script is pretty funny. Thor (Hemsworth, cheerfully going along with the fun) is portrayed as an amiable oaf liable to throw a ball at a glass wall and have the flying rebound hit him on the head. You sense this guy would give anything for a quiet life, but that's not the idea of the film, whose inter-character banter and reactions are very much in the mode forged by the Guardians of the Galaxy films.

Odin (Hopkins), king of Asgard, dies, and the place is swiftly taken over by Thor's older sister Hela (Blanchett), sprouting black antlers and an evil nature.

Thor would like do something about it, but the poor guy finds himself pummelled from pillar to post, most notably landing on the planet Surtur, where he re-encounters his double-dealing half-brother Loki (Hiddleston) and the Incredible Hulk (Ruffalo, struggling a bit with a non-part).

The planet's grand ruler (Goldblum, having a lot of fun with sly asides) decrees that Thor must fight in a Tournament of Champions. A friendly rock-man (with a South African accent) hastens to advise on the choice of weapons, discarding a trident with three long pointy prongs. 'Not this fork,' he rumbles. 'Not really useful unless you're fighting three vampires huddled together.'

Escaping from the planet through a flaming hole known as the Devil's Anus (!), Thor, Hulk, Valkyrie (Thompson), Loki and the rockman head for the final showdown.

The special effects are up to par, but it's the humour that makes the film and the preview audience chuckled happily throughout. Cumberbatch is in for one scene as Dr Strange and there's even room for Thor's creator, 94-year-old Stan Lee, as a demon barber.

David Quinlan

USA 2017. UK Distributor: Walt Disney. Technicolor.
130 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

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

Review date: 22 Oct 2017