Empire (UK) - - ON.SCREEN -

WHERE THE FIRST two Thor movies ping­ponged the thun­der-wran­gler be­tween Earth and As­gard, the lat­est one goes full cos­mic. In the words of pro­ducer Brad Win­der­baum, it’s an “in­ter­ga­lac­tic ad­ven­ture” which has al­lowed Mar­vel “to try some­thing new and send him off into space in a very lin­ear plot”. Up un­til now, space has been the ter­ri­tory of the Guardians Of The Galaxy on screen, but in the Thor comics the hero of­ten headed off to the stars. “And that’s where a lot of fun, trippy stuff that we’re bring­ing to the screen has come from,” says Win­der­baum.

For di­rec­tor Taika Waititi, re­cruited fresh from 2016 fave Hunt For The Wilder-peo­ple, that meant go­ing “over the top — but not in a neg­a­tive way”. So not only is Thor re­united with his As­gard-desta­bil­is­ing brother Loki (Tom Hid­dle­ston), but he also winds up on a worm-ho­lerid­den trash-planet run by a com­bat-arena-own­ing Jeff Gold­blum (as the Grand­mas­ter), where he dis­cov­ers the star gla­di­a­tor is an old, green and very an­gry frenemy. Mean­while, his lat­est neme­sis is none other than Hela, queen of the un­der­world (above), played by Cate Blanchett, with huge, elab­o­rate Cg-antlers of dark­ness.

All of that sounds like a lot to get to grips with. Will it be too much weird­ness to han­dle? “It’s what it needs to be,” in­sists Waititi. “Es­pe­cially to live up to a name like Rag­narok, you know? If we’re gonna do Rag­narok, we gotta do it prop­erly. We just gotta throw it all in there.” DAN JOLIN

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