Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Avengers: Infinity War
If you want to start chaos on the internet, simply ask this question: Which Chris is the best one – Hemsworth, Pine, Pratt or Evans? Hollywood likes guys named Chris, and it just so happens that in the modern blockbuster age of superheroes and expanded universes, we have four of them who are front and center. Everyone has their favorite, whether they’re willing to admit it or not, and with three of the quartet appearing in the same movie this year – Avengers: Infinity War – it felt only fair to reignite the debate.
Whatever you think of the film, it seems obvious that only one of that trio is getting the story’s fullest attention: Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, is arguably the big star of the movie’s lofty narrative. As such, it gave the actor more time to shine and remind audiences of just how good he is. It’s only fair that we allot him the title of Best Chris as a result.
Infinity War has the kind of cast that most films would kill for: It’s loaded to the gunnels with beloved and award-winning talent who audiences flock to see worldwide. Almost every character that MCU fans have been crying out for makes an appearance, yet there’s only so much time, and some roles are reduced to glorified cameos. Even the major ones like Captain America and Star-Lord get little in terms of active involvement in the plot (although the latter gets one of the more effective emotional beats of the film).
Thor is the character who gets the most to do in the film, and Hemsworth gets more time to flex both his dramatic and comedic muscles. The film opens with both the destruction of at least half of the Asgardian race and the deaths of Loki and Heimdall. The personal stakes that were raised for him in Thor: Ragnarok are maintained from the very opening of Infinity War, and that drives Thor forward. He’s a broken man who has nothing else to lose, so why not keep fighting, even if it’s simply out of vengeance?
Thor: Ragnarok was a breakthrough moment for its eponymous hero, as the franchise, and its director Taika Waititi, fully embraced the inherent silliness of the character. On top of getting easily the funniest movie in the MCU, we saw Thor and Hemsworth flourish as a comedic leading man. He was still the muscle-bound god of the prior films in the franchise, but now he had the wisecracks to go along with that stoic exterior. It made for a far more interesting character, and a much more interesting performance from Hemsworth. No longer did he feel like a stock action hero that casting directors could find at any audition: Now, he was a star. Thankfully, Infinity War doesn’t drop his Ragnarok-rooted sense of humor, so Hemsworth gets to steal the show with zeal.
Much of Infinity War feels like compensation for Thor’s pointless part in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but here, he gets to not only grow as a character, but his personal development is tied into the overarching plot of the film. It’s also reliant on him forming new partnerships with characters he previously had no relations with. In his quest to find a new weapon to replace his beloved Mjolnir, he teams up with Rocket Raccoon and surly teenage Groot, and their interactions are some of the best non-action moments in the film. Hemsworth manages to have real chemistry with these two CGI creations, and even among mostly comedic moments, he finds the pathos. Thor is struggling with his grief, but he’s still self-aware enough to know how much it’s messing with his head, heightening his bravery along with his stubbornness.
Obviously, it’s unfair to call out the Best Chris when one of them isn’t even in the MCU. Pine is tough competition and had his superhero moment in Wonder Woman, but it’s still tough to compare. Evans and Prat have their devoted followers (and Evans’s new beard in Infinity War makes a compelling case for the actor), but we must judge the Best Chris based on the material we have right now. As tilted in favor of Hemsworth as Infinity War is, it’s still hard to dispute how wonderful he is in that role and film. He has evolved from a stock muscle bro to the kind of drily funny and committed leading man every movie needs. Thor: Ragnarok showed Hemsworth at his peak, and Infinity War smartly built on that instead of reverting to what the Avengers films usually rely on for the character. Avengers: Infinity War showed Chris Hemsworth at his best, and as a result, we simply had to crown the new Best Chris.
Disagree with us? Share your case for Best Chris in the comments.