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Thor and much more: Chris Hemsworth's best performances, ranked
Hemsworth might have played Thor in eight movies, but he has played a lot of other characters in a lot of other films over the course of his career.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe tends to monopolize a lot of an actor's time. Chris Hemsworth, for instance, has played Thor, the God of Thunder, in eight different MCU films since 2011. But, even though he's been busy with the Avengers, Hemsworth has managed to find time to play many, many other characters who vary in their skills, personalities, and comedic tendencies. Which of Hemsworth's role are the best and which didn't especially work? Which role is worthy of the top spot?
Read on for a list of Hemsworth’s best roles over the past 15 years.
15. Nick Hathaway in Blackhat (2015)
Blackhat is a typical thriller that failed to thrill at the box office. In the film, Hemsworth is Nick Hathaway, a hacker behind bars who has the chance to commute his sentence if he helps the U.S. Government find to find another hacker wreaking geopolitical havoc. Hemsworth has breadth as an actor, but playing a hacker who spends most of his time hunched in front of a computer screen isn’t one of them.
14. Jed Eckert in Red Dawn (2012)
2012’s Red Dawn reboot was, by all accounts, not the best. This movie about a group of attractive people who come together to fight off North Korean paratroopers invading their small town came early in Hemsworth’s career. In it, he plays Jed Eckert, a Marine on leave who ends up training a bunch of teenagers to fight the North Koreans. Hemsworth's performance is fine. Just fine.
13. Kale in A Perfect Getaway (2009)
Kale was one of Hemsworth’s first roles. The movie is about two couples on a Hawaiian vacation who find out that a group of people is stalking and murdering tourists on the island, because why not? Hemsworth’s hot-headed Kale isn’t a nice guy, an image that’s only reinforced when police find human teeth in his backpack.
12. Tyler Rake in Extraction (2020)
Netflix’s Extraction is a movie where Hemsworth proves that he can lead action-packed movies on his own. In the film, Hemsworth’s character Tyler Rake (because of course his name is Tyler Rake) is a specialist in extracting people from dangerous situations, and the latest extraction he's working on is the biggest one yet! Hemsworth takes on the role of action star admirably, though there’s not much more to Rake than, well, his extractions.
11. Owen Chase in In the Heart of the Sea (2016)
Hemsworth and Tom Holland fight a whale in Ron Howard’s historical adventure drama about a 19th-century whaling ship that gets destroyed by a sea mammal that’s just had enough. Hemsworth spends much of the film soaked to the bone as veteran whaler Owen Chase. While Hemsworth handles Chase’s action sequences well, it was hard to picture him as the grizzled seafarer he was supposed to be.
10. Steve Abnesti in Spiderhead (2022)
In Spiderhead, Hemsworth plays the superficially charming but overtly unethical scientist Steve Abnesti, a man who tests drugs on his incarcerated subjects and has no problem crossing all of the lines to do so. Hemsworth plays the sinisterly charming Abnesti well, even though critics and general viewers agree the film fails to fly on most fronts.
9. Eric the Huntsman in Snow White and the Huntsman & The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2012, 2016)
Eric the Huntsman is like a not-funny Thor with no supernatural abilities. Hemsworth still gives Eric some gravitas, however, as he (in the first movie) agrees to capture Snow White in hopes of getting his dead wife back and also when (in the second movie), he finds out his wife is actually alive and under the yoke of an evil ice queen. Both are fun fantasy movies, and Hemsworth’s Huntsman is a solid fantasy hero.
The Huntsman: Winter’s War is now streaming on Peacock.
8. Agent H in Men in Black: International (2019)
Hemsworth plays the disillusioned Agent H in the most recent installment of the Men in Black franchise. Like many Men in Black, Hemsworth’s Agent H has got killer moves. The character, however, doesn’t capitalize on Hemsworth’s charisma to make it one of the actor’s Top 5 performances.
7. Stone Crandall in Vacation (2015)
With a name like Stone Crandall, it’s no surprise that Hemsworth’s character in Vacation is a ridiculous person. And Hemsworth deftly brings the absurdness to his character — an anchorman who has a way-too-high opinion of himself and who has no qualms about hitting on his wife’s brother’s wife. While Hemsworth doesn’t spend too much time on screen in Vacation, but when he is there, he is an utter delight.
6. Curt in The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
In the meta-horror movie The Cabin in the Woods, Hemsworth takes on the role of Curt, a college football player who is surprisingly quite sensitive and intelligent. Curt’s kind ways were anathema to The Director’s real-life horror movie, and he becomes more of an a-hole when The Director gases him with pheromones. Hemsworth is, alas, one of the first to die in the film after he fails an attempt to jump across a canyon on his motorcycle.
5. Billy Lee in Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)
Hemsworth plays a sinister cult leader named Billy Lee in Bad Times at the El Royale, a side of him we haven’t seen much of in his acting career. Like many cult leaders, Billy Lee is a straight-up narcissist who gets his kicks by subjugating women (and murdering them sometimes). Hemsworth takes on the despicable role admirably, making it all too easy to hate his character when he graces the screen.
4. Kevin in Ghostbusters (2016)
Paul Feig's Ghostbusters had Hemsworth as the himbo Kevin, a very pretty man who is the opposite of bright. Kevin is the Ghostbusters’ secretary, but he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. Hemsworth is hilarious in this role, one of his first where he can let his comedic chops fly free.
3. George Kirk in Star Trek (2009)
Hemsworth's first major role in Hollywood was to play George Kirk, Captain James T. Kirk’s dad in the J.J. Abrams' take on Star Trek. This role not only makes his character the patriarch of Chris Pine’s Kirk, it is also the first time Kirk’s dad has been portrayed on the big screen. Hemsworth only plays George for a few short minutes before he dies on screen, but those few minutes pack an emotional wallop.
2. James Hunt in Rush (2013)
In the sports drama Rush, Hemsworth sports a bold hairstyle and plays the brash and self-confident Formula One race car driver, James Hunt. The movie is based on a real-life rivalry from the 1970s where Hunt and Niki Lauda, played by Daniel Brühl, had a complex relationship. Hemsworth gives one of the best performances of his career to date here, and deserves the critical praise he received for the role.
1. Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (2011 to present)
Thor is by far Hemsworth’s most notable role and one that he encapsulates perfectly, especially as the character as grown and changed through the course of the eight movies that Hemsworth plays him in. Thor also highlights Hemsworth’s dramatic and comedic acting abilities. It’s a role that Hemsworth has made his own, and one that he’ll be lauded for throughout his career.
Looking for some science fiction adventure? Check out SYFY's Resident Alien streaming now on Peacock, and keep an eye out for SYFY's original sci-fi space series The Ark coming in 2023.