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Norse play

The fantastic Thor, starring Chris Hemsworth, draws on the crazy brilliance of the early 1980s version of Flash Gordon

27 October, 2017 — By Dan Carrier

Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Ragnarok

THOR: RAGNAROK
Directed by Taika Waititi
Certificate 12a
☆☆☆☆

THE world inhabited by the Marvel comic creations The Avengers is multi-layered, with a group of leading Hollywood box office stars turning up to support one another as each character takes the lead in a new adventure.

It creates a seemingly endless churn of releases and has the capacity for becoming extremely dull. How many times do we see Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Nick Fury and friends counter some whacky baddie’s plan for whatever is floating their boat this time?

But wait! While this week’s film is the third one to focus on Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, and the umpteenth Avenger flick, it is absolutely fantastic, and throughout boasts all the reasons why Marvel persevering with this box office phenomenon is fine by me.

It feels silly trying to write you a synopsis, because frankly, who cares what nonsense is poured in our direction when it is as good-looking at this – but if you insist: Thor and his adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) are still bickering, and their dad, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) has gone from their heavenly realm to wherever it is gods go to die.

Meanwhile, their evil sister Hela (Cate Blanchett, on panto-baddie duty) has appeared with the aim of wrecking their home planet, Asgard. Thor and Loki find themselves banished in a futuristic steampunk planet, overseen by the flamboyant Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and it is here they meet the Hulk , who has become a gladiator for his entertainment.

So they need to escape and sort stuff out, OK?

And that is that, of course, as far as plots go – but so what? The effects will fry your mind, the costumes give all a lovely sense of high camp hilarity and the script is there just to push the actors from one gag to the next.

This film draws on the crazy brilliance of the early 1980s version of Flash Gordon. Jokes start the moment Thor first raises an eyebrow and opens his gob in the opening scene. It is delirious fun. I had entered the cinema with some trepidation, assuming I was about to lose two hours of my life to yet another CGI-drenched superhero fest. But no: it is both a silly action film and a very good comedy to boot, with a wonderful sense of fun.

Take a bow, Marvel.

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