Exclusive look: Thor returns in 'The Dark World'

05:00 AM, Apr 22, 2013

Natalie Portman as Jane Foster and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in a scene from the motion picture 'Thor: The Dark World.' Jay Maidment/


Written By by Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY

In his self-titled film debut in 2011, the demigod Thor vowed to find a way back to his beloved Jane Foster. This fall, we’ll find out how.

In Thor: The Dark World, the new solo outing for the Marvel hero (played by 29-year-old Australian Chris Hemsworth), “they finally reconnect,” confirms Kevin Feige, Marvel’s president of production.

There are just a couple of problems for the young lovers in the film, opening Nov. 8. For starters, Thor visited Earth from his celestial Nordic home of Asgard to help his superhero pals in 2012’s The Avengers. But Thor didn’t call Jane (Natalie Portman) while he was in New York. To be fair, he was saving the world and she was in hiding for her own protection.

It’s complicated. But still, he didn’t call.

Thor still has lot of explaining to do, and a lot of making up,” says Hemsworth. “Even demigods end up in the doghouse, mate. So none of us is safe.”

To further complicate things, Foster’s life is in danger, and Thor is forced to bring her from Earth to Asgard for safekeeping.

So while Thor was a fish out of water on Earth in the first two films (Thor and The Avengers), this time Jane is very much a fish out of water in Asgard,” says Feige.

The new tale also offers a chance to show her in her finest Nordic-style Asgardian clothes.

She pulls the look off,” says Hemsworth, “as you’d expect from Natalie Portman.”

The in-depth exploration of Asgard presented the challenge of keeping the superhero movie from slipping into campy-ness. That’s a big reason why Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor was brought on board, to keep Asgard rooted in grittiness and intrigue, while still being spectacular.

We were worried about coming across as hokey or whatever,” says Hemsworth. “If there is anyone who can pull off a fantastical world like Asgard with a great amount of integrity, it is Alan Taylor, as we’ve seen in Game of Thrones.”

This intrigue hits on basic real-world levels, such as Thor’s disapproving father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), as well as Foster’s love-rival — the warrior goddess Sif (Jaimie Alexander).

It’s superhero action, but it’s the familiar territory of a love triangle where the parents think your girlfriend is wrong for you,” says Feige. “That’s how the best of these movies work.”

The more pressing problem comes in the form of Dark Elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), who threatens both Earth and Asgard. To thwart him, Thor shows off an elevated fighting style in the new conflict sequences.

I really wanted to ramp up his skill set in battle,” says Hemsworth. “He’s not just this Viking throwing the hammer. Here he’s more demigod with dynamic moves we haven’t seen before.”

But Thor is still forced to seek help from powerful half-brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), incarcerated on Asgard for his attempt to take over Earth inThe Avengers.

Needing Loki’s help turns everything on its head,” says Hemsworth. “And it allows us to explore the underlying complexities of their relationship. It really ends up being a kind of chess match.”

This ensures that Hiddleston’s Loki, winner of the MTV Movie Award for best villain, gets another jaunt on screen. But there is little reason to hope that Loki will turn over a friendly leaf.

Tom has built and shaped one of the best movie villains in years with many, many layers,” says Feige. “It will be very difficult for Loki to lose the villain status. He has that firmly in hand.”