Chris Hemsworth returns for his second solo adventure as the hammer-heaving Norse deity.

He whizzes between the realm of the gods and touristy spots in London (the iconic Gherkin is the backdrop for an epic showdown) as he battles Christopher Eccleston’s vengeful elf, who’s plotting to plunge the cosmos into everlasting darkness.

This lacks the first film’s sense of cheeky fun, especially as the endlessly watchable Tom Hiddleston, as Thor’s wily brother Loki, is banged up in a celestial prison cell for a long stretch. Still, when he emerges his scenes with Thor have plenty of spark and the good cast also includes Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård and Rene Russo.

There are enough flashes of wit in the script to keep us engaged – a fleeting cameo by another famous face from the roster of comic-book superheroes provides a laugh, as does the sight of Thor hanging up mighty hammer Mjölnir on a coat peg – while the action set pieces are fast moving and deftly edited.