Review: Thor: Ragnarok (12A)

VILLAINESS: Cate Blanchett as Hela in Thor: Ragnarok. PA Photo/Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios/Film Frame.

Three is the magic number for Marvel Comics’ dreamy incarnation of the hammer-wielding Norse god of thunder.

Portrayed on screen since 2011 by Chris Hemsworth with laid-back Antipodean charm, Thor finally gets into an otherworldly groove in this third solo outing directed to the comic hilt by Taika Waititi (Hunt For The Wilderpeople).

The celebrated New Zealand film-maker and a trio of screenwriters adhere to a classic three-act structure for their heady brew of rip-roaring action adventure, bone-dry humour and dazzling spectacle that positions this closer to Guardians Of The Galaxy than its brawny predecessors.

In front of the camera, a holy trinity of Oscar winners chews the scenery with fervour, including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Cate Blanchett and an uncredited Hollywood star serving up theatrical ham in extremis. Three members of the Avengers also make appearances to whet appetites for next summer’s superhero smackdown, Infinity War.

The heavenly convergence of direction, writing and performance would align perfectly if Blanchett was allowed to fully inhabit her snarling villainess, who sets in motion the Ragnarok: a prophetic downfall of the kingdom of Asgard. Instead, her merciless and supposedly unstoppable goddess of death is clueless and impotent for extended periods.

On general release

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