What do we do around here when news is slow and trailers that may or may be packed with clues about big movies (and their attendant franchises) get released? We do this. And so, our attention now turns to “Thor: The Dark World” and its brand-new longer trailer which you can watch here:
The original Thor came out as a Summer movie and did a lot better than people were initially expecting a non-Iron Man Marvel Studios movie to do box-office wise. This one is scheduled for November 8th, likely because fall/winter blockbusters have become a solid business bet but possibly also because its studio didn’t bet on Summer 2013’s other blockbusters having such remarkably short legs for the most part – don’t you bet Disney wishes like hell they could’ve had this for July 4th instead of The Lone Ranger?
Alright, let’s get started. As ever, the timestamps provided are based on the version of the clip linked above and your own mileage may vary:
00:08 – Big Asgardian doors, callback to the first movie
00:13 – 00:19 – Man with long hair, back to the camera or face obscured by shadows, walks through medieval-ish looking dark interiors. Intended effect: the audience is hopefully asking “What is this? Is this ‘The Hobbit 2?’ Is this ‘Game of Thrones?” Unless the familiar voiceover has tipped them off, of course.
00:20 – Prison cell, energy walls. Décor is starting to look a bit more familiar…
00:24 – Whoever is locked up in there, he has magic powers of some significance and doesn’t care much for his furniture.
00:26 – “Oh, cool! They did another ‘THOR!” It may or may not be a harbinger of the tone/stakes of this sequel that Chris Hemsworth’s hair is looking a lot more unkempt and less “styled” in these scenes.
00:30 – TUMBLRGASM! Yes, Tom Hiddleston is back as Loki, God of Mischief. I never would have guessed that Loki, of all Marvel characters, would become a major selling-point of the Marvel movies.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes, I freeze-framed and zoomed the HELL out of this long shot and I honestly can’t tell if those other people/creatures visible locked up in other prison cells across from Loki are supposed to be anyone important or noteworthy.
00:37 – I like that Thor’s patently ridiculous-looking bright, flowing red cape is his signature here with the logo-wipe. If there’s a clear dividing line between the Marvel and DC movie universes (so far) it’s that the sillier the component of a character or mythos is, the more Marvel wants to shove it to the front of the line.
00:38 – As grim Asgardian(?) landscape fades to present-day London, here comes some Anthony Hopkins Narration. Because why the hell else do you want Anthony Hopkins for your supporting cast at this point?
00:43 – Natalie Portman, ladies and gentlemen. Apparently there was some question as to whether or not she, and thus the character of Jane Foster, was going to come back. Supposedly she was rather alarmingly eager to do so when informed that some new girl showed up who could do the part just as well, without a third of the effort, even after staying out all night partying and eating cheeseburgers. That girl also kind of looked just like her if you caught either of them in a reflection from the right angle…
00:45 – 00:50 – A spaceship(?) touches down in London, causing much destruction. I like the design of this thing, it looks at once futuristic and ancient as befits the scifi/fantasy mashup that is the Thor aesthetic thus far. This likely belongs to our new big-bad, Malekith The Accursed (we’ll get to him in a bit.)
00:52 – Thor finally returns to Earth, which is still kind of a big deal because his return in The Avengers was really more of a just-passing-through-on-business thing and he didn’t even run into Jane then. I imagine there’ll be some banter between them about him not even bothering to call, though.
00:55 – 00:59 – Thor and Jane beam up to Asgard via a process that looks at lot like the Bifrost (aka “Rainbow Bridge”) from the first one in that it leaves one of those rune-shaped burn marks behind. Did they fix it? Are they using The Tesseract now?
01:00 – I really do love how preposterous Asgard looks in this series, and I really want them to find an excuse to get the rest of The Avengers up here so we can see Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America running around amid all this (I also want them to do the “bit” from the comics where Cap turns out to be one of the few beings in the universe other than Thor who can pick up Mjolnir, but that’s me…
01:05 – One has to assume that Natalie Portman is really, really hoping against hope that this turns out a lot better than the last time she did scenes on balconies staring out over a greenscreen being told to act like she was seeing something incredible, yes?
01:10 – Based on the dialogue (and its slightly greater presence in the earlier teaser) we can assume that this is the interior of the mystery-ship from earlier and the guy in the armor is Malekith.
01:11 – Everybody pick your preferred Marvel-related apocalyptic-term and crack the requisite joke about canceling it.
01:12 – “Known only to one.” Ah, okay. Now we know why Thor needs to pick Loki’s brain: All that traveling through dark realms he bragged about having done in The Avengers must have included Svartalheim. That’s where Malekith is from.
01:14 – 01:17 – So they’re going to actually take Loki with them to go look for whatever they’re looking for? Yeah, not a single problem with that plan…
01:18 – Explosions in a forest. It hasn’t really been established if there’s more to Asgard’s ecosystem than that big city-state, so no way to tell if this is there, Midgard (Earth), Svartalheim or someplace else. Whever it is, it’s being blown to crap by blue energy-bursts, so there’s that.
01:19 – Jaimie Alexander is back as Lady Sif. In classical Norse mythology Sif eventually becomes Thor’s wife; and in the comics they were an item in their youth, leading to romantic jealousy when Jane Foster enters the picture. Safe bet some of that will end up here.
01:20 – …and so is Ray Stevenson as Volstaag The Voluminous. I really like that, in a movie full of brawny hunks, generally-buff Stevenson (who’s no slouch in the Marvel Hero department himself) commits to playing the surly fat guy with the giant beard.
01:26 – “That was for New York!” And that, my friends, is why this inter-movie continuity thing is good for more than just keeping nerds focused on your product in-between movies. Plus, look at Hiddleston sell that reaction, perhaps thinking about how perfect of a new animated .GIF of him this bit is going to make.
01:34 – Thor, Loki and Jane traveling by boat. We are now on Thor’s third movie appearance, and I’m still not entirely clear as to how he determines a given situation calls for sleeves or no sleeves.
01:36 – The masked fellows in the gold and black armor are, presumably, Dark Elves – Malekith’s people. Since it’s looking like he might not make a full head-on appearance in this trailer (he was in the teaser,) might as well get this out of the way…
MALEKITH THE ACCURSED is a Thor nemesis from Walt Simonson’s legendary 80s run on the book. The ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalheim, he’s a high-level magic user whose face is half-black/half-white. He typically seeks the Casket of Ancient Winters (the Frost Giant WMD from the first movie) and wields a Faerie-created magical hunting horn which he can use to summon a pack of supernatural hounds.
That’s Christopher Eccleston’s voice you’re hearing, by the way, as Malekith. And if you ever wanted to know just how much Tumblr loves Tom Hiddleston, there’s your answer: Dark World is basically Thor vs. The Doctor… and this has barely registered with them as yet.
01:38 – “Yeah, I work out. No big.”
01:40 – Spaceship(?) in Asgard. That’s new.
01:42 – “I’m actually in the film, too – not just narrating this trailer.”
01:43 – Frigga (Thor’s Mom, played again by Renee Russo) in a knife-fight with… whoa. Yup, that’s Malekith! Huh. Can’t see how this can end well for her…
01:45 – WHOA! Speaking of not ending well, Malekith levitates a visibly-terrified Jane Foster before his men, an incapacitated Thor and an oddly-passive Loki. Uh-oh.
All earlier joking aside, I would not be surprised in the slightest to see Jane Foster buy the farm or otherwise exit the franchise in this one. There really was a question-mark over Foster returning for quite awhile. Remember: She signed on as a supporting-player for this series before anyone knew Black Swan was going to be a hit and garner an Oscar nod, thus re-establishing her as a bankable and in-demand adult dramatic actress. The gossip was that her main reason for returning was to work with director Patty Jenkins – who subsequently left the production over “creative differences” to be replaced by Game of Thrones mainstay Alan Taylor.
I don’t know any more than anyone else, but I will say that, as much as I like Portman in this series, killing-off Jane makes creative sense. It would be a major stakes-raising moment for the series, and the Marvel movies more broadly. It would leave Thor in an interesting place for Avengers: Age of Ultron, and his own third movie after that. And it’s not like the Marvel Universe doesn’t already have more helpful-scientist sidekicks than it knows what to do with.
Oh, one more thing: Jane has died at least once in the comics. She was saved by having her life-force merged with that of Sif, who was actually more interested in the opportunity to figure out what Thor thought was such a big deal about this particular girl. So there’s that.
01:47 – Malekith in London, or at least somewhere on Earth.
01:48 – Lets all just take a moment to acknowledge that this trailer involves Dark Elves attacking the home of the Viking Gods… with spaceships.
01:51 – Blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, but it looks like Jane has reconnected with Dr. Selvig. Good.
01:54 – Can’t tell what Jane is looking at here, but it looks like some kind of model for how the Nine Realms fit together (or don’t, according to the dialogue.)
01:55 – Yay! Darcy is back, too! That’s good news because I like that character and want to hear her mispronounced “Mjolnir” some more, and also because it means we can all enjoy Kat Denning in something that isn’t the inexplicably still-popular TV series “Did They Get It On Yet? No? Nevermind, Then.” Which I believe some of you might be more familiar with under its colloquial title of 2 Broke Girls.
01:57 – Hm. Really brief shot that looks like it might be part of a happy ending. Oddly placed, if so.
01:58 – Loki Versus, at least it looks like, Malekith. You think they’re going to put Hiddleston and one of The Doctors in a movie and not have them tangle? You don’t know this movie as well as this movie knows its audience.
02:00 – It sort-of looks like a pane of glass (or something transparent) is separating Thor and Jane here, but it goes by too quickly to tell.
02:02 – 02:07 – Hammer-retrieve, jumping-strike to Malekith, title-card. But… but there’s still like 30 seconds to go…
02:11 – 02:15 – Big dude coming up for a fight. Kurse (aka Algrim The Strong) (http://marvel.com/universe/Kurse) is supposedly in this somewhere, will this be him?
02:16 – NOPE! That’s a KRONAN! Awesome. Totally awesome.
Kronan were actually the first enemies of Thor in the comics. Though not terribly effective ones, since they’re basically just rock-monsters. He encountered them in his first appearance, where his origin was substantially different from the version in the movie. In the comics, Thor starts out as Donald Blake, a human doctor with a bad leg (he requires a cane) who stumbles upon an alien invasion (by the Kronan) while out hiking and finds Mjolnir when he hides in a cave. Turning out to be “worthy” of wielding the hammer, Blake becomes able to transform into Thor and easily send the Kronans packing.
It’s not until much, much later that we discover that Dr. Donald Blake never actually existed: He’s really been Thor the entire time, transformed into a more humble form and stripped of his memories by Odin to teach him a lesson in humility.
02:22 – Aw man, I kinda wish they’d saved that bit for the actual movie.
Thor: The Dark World opens in the U.S. November 8, there will almost certainly be one or two more trailers between now and then. After that comes Captain America: The Winter Soldier in April followed by Guardians of The Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015.
Bob Chipman is a film critic and independent filmmaker. If you’ve heard of him before, you have officially been spending way too much time on the internet. Recently, he wrote a book.