‘Things have started to feel a little episodic,’ muses Chris Pine’s Captain James T Kirk at the start of the third adventure in the rebooted Star Trek series.

But happily, the movie, co-written by Simon Pegg who also returns as engineer Scotty, proves a playful, spirited tonic for anyone left jaded by Starfleet routine or by the prospect of yet another sci-fi sequel.

Much of the fun simply comes from watching the crew giving new spins to old routines. As ever, Pine’s Kirk is recklessly daring, while Zachary Quinto’s Spock remains imperturbably calm, even when marooned in the company of Karl Urban’s comically dour medic Bones. Equally reliably, Pegg delivers his customary quota of droll jokes and miraculous technical fixes.

All play their part when the Enterprise crew end up in their latest jam after they are lured to an alien planet by the fearsome and sadistic Krall (Idris Elba).

Fortunately, our heroes find a resourceful new ally on the planet in the shape of Jaylah, played by Sofia Boutella. A kick-ass fighter in black-and-white war paint, she forms a delightful double act with Scotty after the pair team up.

When it gets to the action scenes, however, things prove slightly disappointing, with Justin Lin’s blurry, fast-and-furious direction often making it hard to work out what is going on.

Nevertheless, the film has more than enough humour and heart to forgive its flaws.