Behold Thor of Asgard! Again!
The first teaser poster for the "Thor" sequel has been unveiled, showcasing the Marvel superhero in a superheroic pose that's reminiscent -- rather appropriately -- of a really cool comic book cover. As this is indeed the God of Thunder, he stands in the middle of a topsy-turvy tempest, his weapon of choice (called Mjolnir, but you knew that already) electrified by a bolt of hearty lightning.
The poster also reveals the film's major players with the names above the title, and they're all returning characters: Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Natalie Portman (Thor's mortal Earthling sweetie Jane Foster), Tom Hiddleston (Thor's evil half-brother Loki) and Anthony Hopkins (Thor's father Odin).
The original "Thor," released in May 2011, was arguably the hardest sell of the Phase One Marvel films. The character is based on Norse mythology, but in the Marvel universe he's also from another dimension (or something) that kind of looks like a CG re-imagining of Olympus from the 1981 "Clash of the Titans" except it's in outer space (or something). Luckily, director Kenneth Branagh brought a bombastic sense of theatricality to the film, turning it into a grand operatic hero's journey kept afloat by a genuine sense of fun and Hemsworth's ultra-charismatic lead performance.
"Thor: The Dark World" promises to be a much more epic tale, with "Game of Thrones" maestro Alan Taylor calling the shots as Thor takes on a powerful threat to the Nine Realms: the vengeful Malekith the Accursed ("Doctor Who" alum Christopher Eccleston), ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim. Malekith and his hordes prove to be more than even the forces of Asgard can handle, which puts Thor on a mission where he'll be called upon to make a great sacrifice.
Now that mainstream audiences are familiar with Thor and his mythology -- and, more importantly, seem to enjoy it -- there should be no problem with swallowing what sounds like the most outrageous Marvel plotline yet ... besides the one for "Guardians of the Galaxy," of course.
"Thor: The Dark World" will open on November 8, serving as the second chapter of Marvel's Phase Two following next month's "Iron Man 3."