• Movie

Loki sure ends up spending a lot of time in glass boxes.

The new trailer for Thor: The Dark World has hit, with Tom Hiddleston’s cackling bad brother front and center.

This preview expands on the more enigmatic teaser by delivering a deeper sense of plot, such as Loki’s role in this one as a reluctant sidekick instead of antagonist. We last saw him in The Avengers being hustled back to Asgard, shackled and gagged like Hannibal Lecter, and here we see him detained in another clear-walled prison cell.

Naturally, he wants to know why his brother hasn’t been around to visit.

In many ways, Loki has become like a demigod police informant, an invaluable evil-fighting tool thanks to his deep ties to the Nine Worlds’ underworld. Anthony Hopkins’ Odin is heard saying that before the universe existed there was not nothing — there was darkness, which is making a comeback. No one knows the full nature of the threat except for Loki, who is dealing with some cabin fever in that cell, judging by the way he’s throwing furniture around.

This is why we can’t have nice things, Loki.

From there, we see the tip of a large, alien ship — the Black Ark known as the Fist of Malekith — ripping into the campus of the Old Royal Naval College, in Greenwich, England. For those unfamiliar (including Thor, apparently), Malekith the Accursed is the leader of a race of “dark elves,” and from their leader’s name you can surmise they’re not there to spread peace, love, and understanding.

Hemsworth’s Thor arrives to teleport his Earthling ladylove Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) back to Asgard, where she gives the landscape a Keanu Reeves-worthy: “Whoa.” She also gives Loki a hard bitchslap as thanks for the trouble he caused in The Avengers, in footage that was previewed recently at Comic-Con.

“That was for New York,” she says.

One need only see the glint in his eye and the grin on his face as he replies, “I like her,” to see why Hiddleston has struck such a resonant cord with Marvel movie fans.

Thor’s warrior friends Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and Volstagg (Ray Stevenson) also rough up Loki a bit. Even Loki is hard on Loki: “You must be truly desperate to come to me for help.”

We only catch brief glimpses of Christopher Eccleston’s ghostly-masked Malekith, but we do see Thor’s mother, Frigga (Rene Russo), getting tough and engaging in some hand-to-hand combat, instead of just wringing those hands in frustration as she did in the first film.

Directed by Game of Thrones‘ Alan Taylor, The Dark World aims to add a little grit to the glossy, godlike realm of Asgard. We see Idris Elba’s sentinel Heimdell looking less mystical as he guards the portal between worlds and more down-to-brass-tacks as he sits with Thor to detail the nature of the threat they’re facing, like two cops hashing over the case over coffee.

As a kicker, we see Thor and Co. in a battle seemingly unrelated to the Dark Elves, facing down a gigantic rock-like monsters, which could be Uroc, an compatriot of another troublesome alien race called the Rock Trolls. He’s a character from the Marvel Comics lore who is made out of a supposedly “unbreakable” stone known as Uru.

Except, we all know Thor’s hammer doesn’t know the meaning of that particular word, right?

  • Movie
  • 130 minutes
  • Kenneth Branagh