First trailer for ‘Thor: The Dark World’ promises a return to Asgard and beyond

Phase Two is in full swing.

While I can’t say what I thought of it, I did see “Iron Man 3” over the weekend, and I conducted interviews with the cast of the film and with producer Kevin Fiege and director Shane Black. Now that we’ve seen three stand-alone adventures for Iron Man, it’s about time for the first sequels to the other films that helped introduce the Avengers start to roll in, and it should surprise absolutely no one that the trailer for “Thor: The Dark World” will be on the front of “Iron Man 3” when it arrives in theaters.

Thankfully, it’s online now, and it gives us our first taste of what to expect as Alan Taylor (“Game Of Thrones”) takes over as director. Chris Hemsworth is back, as are Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Stevenson, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard, Jaimie Alexander, and Idris Elba. Zachary Levi steps in for the departing Josh Dallas as Fandral, and there’s a new bad guy in the form of Christopher Eccleston as Malekith.

Most importantly, though, Natalie Portman is back as Jane Foster, and I’m glad they didn’t try to shoehorn her into “The Avengers.” Right now, the relationship in “Thor” between this Asgardian being and this human woman is one of the things that I think offers huge potential that is largely unexplored so far. Portman hasn’t always had the greatest luck playing romantic leads, thanks to chemistry that hasn’t gelled with every co-star. In Hemsworth, though, she found a really interesting match, and towards the end of the first film, there is a look Jane Foster gives Thor once he finally stands fully revealed as a god that is the single most carnal, convincingly heated moment that Portman’s had in any movie.

Looks great. It looks much bigger than the first film, and the idea of taking Jane into his world is a nice spin on the fish-out-of-water formula of the first movie. Thor’s powers are suitably scaled here, and it looks like this is a real fight for him. And best of all, the end of the trailer looks like they’re going to make him hurt, and I’m all for that. These guys all came off well in “The Avengers.” It’s time to dirty them up and punish them a bit, and I’m excited to see how they handle it here.

Besides… look at this shot… 

 … and tell me that you’re not excited to see what happens when these two meet again.

“Thor: The Dark World” arrives in theaters for the holidays on November 8, 2013.