Chris Hemsworth had the smoothest time selling his character to the globe out of all the Avengers. Not simply because when you give him a hammer and a silly hat, he looks like a Norse deity, but also because audiences had seen virtually no other Hemsworth performances to alter their perception of him.
Hemsworth shot 171 episodes of the long-running Australian series Home and Away before landing in America (approximately 2.5 percent of total episodes to date).
As George Kirk in the Star Trek reboot’s opening sequence, he created a memorable corpse. That’s pretty much it for Hemsworth’s pre-Thor career.
Since his MCU debut in 2011, Hemsworth has shown a commitment to not only franchises (he appeared in both Huntsman films and returned for Star Trek Into Darkness), but also directors like Ron Howard (Rush, In the Heart of the Sea) (The Cabin in the Woods, Bad Time as the El Royale).
It says Hemsworth is a friendly character, which allowed him to guide Thor through two mediocre films before flowering in the renegade Thor: Ragnarok and becoming the actual hero of Avengers: Infinity War.
1) Thor: Ragnarok
“Thor: Ragnarok” is lauded and remembered for its outrageous sense of humor, but let’s be clear: it’s also the most daring Marvel film.
Taika Waititi is a self-described Polynesian Jewish filmmaker of Te Whanau—Apanui Mori origin who, in his film “Ragnorok,” recounts a story of one culture burying another and how the solution isn’t reunification, but instead destroying everything and starting a new.
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When there is blood in the soil, it is impossible to save the land. That’s a flaming concept at the heart of a picture that includes memorable lines like “Piss off, space ghost!” and spontaneous monologues about Loki turning into a serpent when he was eight.
2) Avengers: Infinity War (2019)
It’s difficult to criticize “Avengers: Endgame,” and much more difficult to consider it a film. Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” has been stretched to a three-hour duration for “Avengers: Endgame.”
The final installment of The Infinity Saga by the Russo Brothers is all payoffs, so even its silence is dramatic.
If the film doesn’t reward audiences who came out for both this and ABC’s “Agent Carter,” it at least shakes the pessimism surrounding IP-driven blockbusters.
Many films attempt to capture the joy of playing with toys in a sandbox as a child, but only “Avengers: Endgame” succeeds. It’s a mind-boggling achievement, and you’re either on board or not from the first frame.
3) Extraction (2020)
During the second half of “Extraction,” gun-for-hire Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) confronts a band of mercenary street kids in a combat sequence. “Extraction” doesn’t pull any punches, and neither do the youngsters.
Stabbings, car doors slamming, and motorcycles crushing these adolescents are all common occurrences. It’s both a fantastic and terribly disturbing sequence.
It’s also a litmus test for whether or not you’ll love Sam Hargrave’s gritty action thriller, which debuted on Netflix to instant acclaim in 2020.
In many respects, “Extraction” is Chris Hemsworth’s most successful non-Marvel film and the most significant extension of his brand that isn’t a fitness app.
4) 12 Strong (2018)
Horse soldiers, Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, and Michael Pena aren’t the components of a fantastic film. They should be, and that is “12 Strong‘s” downfall.
On paper, filmmaker Nicolai Fuglsig’s story of a Special Forces force that took out the Taliban while riding horses looks like a blockbuster.
In practice, it’s littered with cliches. Every piece of conversation is either over or undercooked, and the script is unnecessarily jingoistic.
Those hoping for greatness will be let down. If you go into “12 Strong” with no expectations, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
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The battle scenes are fast-paced and powerful, with elements of both war movies and Neo-Western flair. Shannon, Pena, and — the surprisingly undervalued — Trevante Rhodes (“Moonlight,” “The Predator”) are all better than Hemsworth as the Special Forces commander.
After all, Chris Hemsworth’s filmography is a study in cinematic ups and downs, so a simple but solid entrance deserves some praise.
5) Thor (2011)
Although “Thor” isn’t the best Marvel film, it is the most essential. Consider: When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) first sees Thor (Chris Hemsworth), he cracks a joke “In the Park with Shakespeare? Do you know you’re wearing her drapes?”
That only makes sense given Kenneth Branagh’s direction of “Thor,” a man who has brought six of Shakespeare’s tragedies to the big screen.
Branagh elevates “Thor” to the level of Groundlings theatre. Although the spectacle is unimpressive, the family drama is vast and wonderful.
Thor and Loki’s sibling rivalry is more akin to Edgar and Edmund from “King Lear” than “Game Of Thrones.”
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The themes of parental heritage that play out between Odin and his sons, as well as their interaction, which is driven by both admiration and jealousy, constitute a core of the MCU’s Infinity Saga. “Iron Man” makes the MCU entertaining, but “Thor” gives it substance.
6) Avengers: Infinity War
“Avengers: Endgame” improves on “Avengers: Infinity War.” It’s nearly impossible to tell the two apart. The epic conclusion to Marvel’s Infinity Saga is so jam-packed with spectacle, payoffs, and theatrical popcorn cinema that you’ll swear Kevin Fiege plotted every detail.
“Infinity War” is unrivaled as a showcase for Chris Hemsworth. The Russo Brothers’ picture demands Hemsworth to be an audience surrogate and carry the weight of terrible stakes from the start when Thanos (Josh Brolin) chokes Loki (Tom Hiddleston) out in front of Thor’s eyes.
He accomplishes this and then some. Thor’s appearance on Wakanda’s battlefield, as well as his attempted destruction of Titan’s stone-carving warlord, is an all-time Marvel moment.
7) The Avengers (2012)
The more Marvel’s monolithic cinematic experiment unfolds, the more magical the company’s best films appear. Kevin Feige’s brand is now well-established, for better or worse.
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Even a film like “Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness,” which is obviously Sam Raimi’s work, feels like Raimi Trojan Horsing an “Evil Dead” sequel right in the middle of Phase Four.
With each new installment, the MCU tries to outdo and reinvent itself in order to stay on top of Hollywood.
8) Star Trek (2009)
Many actors have used minor roles to foretell their eventual stardom. Before betraying Indiana Jones in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Alfred Molina famously rubbed his fingers together.
During a famous scene from “Animal House,” Kevin Bacon exclaimed, “Thank you, sir, may I have another?”
Chris Hemsworth takes command of a Starfleet ship in under five minutes and hears his son delivered just before he goes away. It’s a bizarre combination of circumstances, but Hemsworth is up to the challenge.