By Geoff Boucher
August 09, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT

Winter is coming to Asgard — and that suits the planet’s resident storm god just fine. Winter in this case is an edgier, earthier tone for Thor: The Dark World that director Alan Taylor no doubt imported from distant Westeros and his work on HBO’s Game of Thrones. The spires of Asgard still gleam as they did in Kenneth Branagh’s 2011 film, but star Chris Hemsworth says there’s now a grit to go with the gloss. ”There are shots that could be straight off the set of Braveheart or Gladiator in the battle sequences, and then there will be a scene with the science-fiction and fantasy elements as well,” says Hemsworth. ”That balance is tough, but we had it from the word go.”

In the film, Asgardian warrior Malekith the Accursed (Christopher Eccleston) wages an intergalactic war that threatens Thor’s beloved earthling Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), while Thor’s evil brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), plots his own revenge. The stakes (and consequences) are high — a new trailer suggests that Thor loses a hand to Loki’s sword. But Hemsworth seems unfazed. ”Maybe I will have to learn to use the hammer with the left hand, you know?” he says. ”Or I could ram it straight down into the stump. That would be very Game of Thrones in approach.”

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 112 minutes
  • Alan Taylor
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