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The 7 Best And 7 Worst Chris Hemsworth Movies Ranked

Like a bolt of Mjolnir's lightning, Chris Hemsworth exploded onto the Hollywood mainstream. He first began turning heads en masse as Captain Kirk's father in the 2009 "Star Trek," and within two short years, had become a household name through his portrayal of the God of Thunder and Abdominal Muscles in 2011's "Thor." Since then, Hemsworth has put in a godly amount of work, filling his relatively short time in the spotlight with dozens of memorable performances in films as varied as could be. He's proven his talents for comedy, drama, and general hunkiness time and again, but like any actor, Hemsworth hasn't been able to keep his filmography spotless.

Alongside critical and commercial darlings like "Avengers: Endgame" and "The Cabin in the Woods," Hemsworth has had the dubious distinction of starring in relative stinkers like "Red Dawn" and "Vacation." For many of those disappointments, Hemsworth has turned in solid, respectable performances that nonetheless couldn't save the mess around them, but occasionally, the actor has proven himself thoroughly un-Hems-worthy of praise. From the times when lightning struck to the dull rumbles of impotent thunder, here are the best and worst Chris Hemsworth movies ranked.

Best: Avengers: Endgame (2019)

There's no denying that "Avengers: Endgame" is a touchstone of cinema success. Not only is it the second-highest grossing film of all time –- after two years as the number one highest grossing –- but it also wracked up a staggering 94% critic score and 90% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. That combination of financial success and favor with both fans and critics is almost entirely unique to the epic Marvel Cinematic Universe offering. And despite the film's unprecedentedly massive cast of Hollywood A-listers and iconic characters, there are still standouts –- and our darling from Down Under, Hemsworth, is undoubtedly a standout among them.

Thor's rollercoaster story in "Avengers: Endgame" begins with the god doing what possibly no other hero could and cutting the head from Thanos' body, likely the single most fearsome and decisive act of violence in the entirety of the MCU. After a time jump, "Avengers: Endgame" gifts fans with a character who continues to maintain a core presence in memes and other internet culture: Fat Thor. Not only was Hemsworth's performance of this arc hilarious and a welcome source of levity in an otherwise bleak story, but the revelation that his weight and emotional distress did nothing to prevent his worthiness was an excellent message to fans and an exceptionally resonant moment, emotionally.

Worst: In the Heart of the Sea (2015)

Despite Ron Howard directing, despite featuring Hemsworth, Tom Holland, Cillian Murphy, and more, and despite being based on a best-selling novel and legendary story (the very one that inspired "Moby Dick," per The Center for Fiction), the 2015 movie "In the Heart of the Sea" just doesn't make much of a splash. Most viewers' impressions of the film are in line with the critical consensus, which is mostly personified by an overall vibe of "meh."

The conflicts of the film –- man vs. sea, man vs. beast, and man vs. man -– are all primal and make for potentially effective stories, but only if the common ingredient among all three, man, is relatable. One of the biggest problems with "In the Heart of the Sea" (perhaps the movie's White Whale) is that its large roster of characters, the crew of the whaling ship Essex, are all bland, humorless clones of one another. If they were more animated and personable, we might root for them in their struggle against the whale, and even if they were despicable villains, we might have fun rooting for the whale against them. Instead, the many talented actors in the movie are given nothing to do, so that even when something does happen, nothing that happens feels like it matters.

Best: Star Trek (2009)

For most of the world, J. J. Abrams's 2009 reboot of the "Star Trek" cinematic franchise was their first introduction to Hemsworth -– and we're willing to bet that is true even for most of his native Australia. His role as George Kirk, no matter how brief, was lightyears beyond any of his previous work in terms of visibility and fan attention. Gone were the days of Hemsworth being best known for a recurring role on an Australian soap opera, and in was the actor's meteoric rise to the A-list. There would have been few better places to start that rise than "Star Trek," which breathed new life into a then-fading franchise, wowing critics and even longtime fans.

Though the film did receive its share of criticism, most often for Abrams's oddly-frenetic editing and unmitigated obsession with lens flares, the vast majority of its reviews were decidedly positive. Chris Pine and company made for charming recasts of the original Enterprise crew, and their chemistry was obvious. As this new guard received a crash course (often literally) in interstellar exploration and sociopolitical relations, they grew more intimate and familial, and so did the audience, uniting around this group of untested youngsters who were able to transform the campy set-shaking of "Star Trek: The Original Series" into modern, believable action fun.

Worst: Spiderhead (2022)

If you're as much of a Hem-head as we are, then it's important that we start this entry with a disclaimer: Hemsworth's performance in "Spiderhead" is perfectly respectable, even at times laudable. But no matter how much emotional nuance the Aussie packs into his scenes as brilliant but ruthless pharma bro Steve Abnesti, it just isn't enough to save the film from its generic plot, meandering structure, and utterly wasteful use of its premise.

The central conceit of "Spiderhead" is that a pharmaceutical company has been granted control of an isolated island prison, where inmates are offered commuted sentences in exchange for their participation in mood-altering drug trials. The film kicks off with so much promise, showing characters taking cocktails that make them hyper-verbal, hyper-phobic, hyper-aggressive, or hyper-lustful, and then interacting with each other for the sake of social trials. From there, the possibilities for the story are endless, but not much ever materializes. Instead, "Spiderhead" just plods along, continuing trials for almost two hours, until a hasty resolution frees our favorite prisoners -– all because one of them finally realized that the billionaire CEO and human ant farm owner may not actually be a nice person.

Best: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

If there is an award for Most Improved Franchise in a Single Film, it simply has to go to Thor, specifically due to "Thor: Ragnarok" following up on "Thor: The Dark World." After what many consider to be a definite candidate for the worst MCU movie ever, Thor's solo series was understandably in a tight spot. Luckily for Marvel fans, MCU architect Kevin Feige made the clever call to allow the franchise to completely change directions, hiring director Taika Waititi to inject the stoic, Shakespearean god with a much-needed sense of humor. The changeup worked, and Thor's new ability to not take himself so seriously won over audiences in a major way.

"Thor: Ragnarok" remains one of the MCU's highest-rated movies, and despite how late it arrived in the franchise's timeline, it serves as an excellent introduction point for new fans -– the film is funny, action-packed, visually striking, and relatively self-contained. And if nothing else, the improvised interactions that Waititi is able to elicit from the star-studded cast are worthy of a viewing. Jeff Goldblum's Grandmaster, in particular, commands the screen with his bewildering and unpredictable dialogue, constantly shifting from slapstick to spacey to flirty and beyond.

Worst: Blackhat (2015)

Like "Red Dawn" (as you'll see later), "Blackhat" is a movie that brings nothing new, never tries to outdo itself or any of its genre peers, and in the end, just exists. Neither professional nor amateur reviewers found much to enjoy about the feature, nor even much to comment on in general. The movie nestles itself into the crowded action-thriller genre, nestles too far and too snugly, and seemingly falls asleep before it can say or do anything fun.

The plot, in which the government enlists the help of a criminal to help them stop a bigger criminal, is as tired as the movie's sleepy characters. They don't often emote, and when they do, it's mostly just furrowing their brows and softly threatening each other. Hemsworth's acting is nothing to write home about, but seemingly only because the role itself isn't, either. Even the movie's climactic moments barely give the actor more to say than some version of, "This is the plot. These are my motives. Time for action." "Blackhat" isn't the worst movie you'll ever see, not even the worst in Hemsworth's filmography, but it may be the most forgettable.

Best: The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

Every film genre needs the occasional kick in the pants to re-energize and drag itself out of a rut, and horror is no exception. That kick can come in the form of singularly excellent examples of the genre, like "Get Out" or Hereditary." It can come from an expectation-inverting parody, like "Tucker and Dale vs. Evil." And sometimes it can come from a movie which simply presents a genre's clichés one by one and says, "Look at all these. Let's do better." The latter case is one reason why "Cabin in the Woods" is so effective and so beloved. It so thoroughly builds itself around so many horror clichés that its creators are obviously obsessed with the genre –- it doesn't come across as ridicule, but rather a labor of love.

Bolstered by a Joss Whedon script that's every bit as witty, cheeky, and sarcastic as his best work, "Cabin in the Woods" is both an excellent satire of horror movies and an excellent horror movie itself. There is little in the film's plot that can be discussed without spoiling its amazing twist, but every stupid decision made by every stupid teenager makes sense, and all of them make you root for the characters even more.

Worst: Vacation (2015)

The 2015 sequel/soft reboot of the beloved '80s Chevy Chase vehicle "National Lampoon's Vacation" kicks off a clear trend in Hemsworth's filmography: when the Aussie actor signs on for reboots, relaunches, rehashes, or any other "re," the odds are against the project working out. For every successful reinterpretation like "Star Trek" that Hemsworth has been a part of, there are multiple other reboots that critically and commercially tanked. One of the best examples of this trend, and therefore worst movies, is "Vacation," which released to overwhelmingly unfavorable reviews.

Though "Vacation" isn't particularly well written, acted, or directed, the lion's share of its woes stem from one absurd idea: that anyone could caption the same lightning in a bottle that was the original "National Lampoon's Vacation" without Chevy Chase in the driver's seat (both literally and metaphorically) decades after its signature brand of humor fell out of fashion. "Vacation" seems less like a loving ode to the original and more like an excuse for its creators to be raunchy without limit, as if the franchise name was a hall pass for childishness. Even a nearly-naked Hemsworth sporting a prosthetic, well, limb can't save "Vacation."

Best: Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

The truth is that "Bad Times at the El Royale" is far from a perfect movie. It seems confused with itself at times, clutters itself unimportant characters and plots, and is one of the most obvious Quentin Tarantino rip-offs in history. But it also shines in a number of ways, not least of which is how much room it gives its actors to fly. One such actor is Hemsworth, who brings his A game to the role of Billy Lee, a hippie cult leader turned kidnapper and extortionist.

Hemsworth spends every moment of the movie trying his darndest, and even in those moments when he doesn't absolutely nail it, his dedication is admirable. And the good news is: he mainly nails it. Hemsworth is given a character with many sides, and the actor takes advantage of that by rolling that multi-sided die constantly. He is by turns kind, savvy, terrifying, manipulative, and just plain charismatic. He endows Lee with characteristics of a preacher, a madman, a therapist, and a prophet. His costars who are given more screen time similarly bring the goods, including Jon Hamm, Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, and most of all Cynthia Erivo, making "Bad Times at the El Royale" an undeniably worthy watch.

Worst: Men in Black: International (2019)

If you're a movie fan and a gambler, we have a bet for you: What are the odds that a new entry in the "Men in Black" franchise, one starring Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson just two years after the success of "Thor: Ragnarok," would be a hit? You'd be forgiven for thinking this an easy win, but you'd be wrong. "Men in Black: International" was absolutely panned by reviewers, and many who've seen the movie are forced to agree –- for fans of the original "Men in Black," the new film's failure was a tragedy.

The first "Men in Black" was an iconic comedy for its generation and one of the few in the late '90s to successfully buck the trend of teenage gross-out humor and accomplish something new. Like the original film, "Men in Black: International" was built around an entertaining premise, one bursting with potential for comedy and action, but unlike the original film, it didn't quite live up to its promise. The freedom to include any number of increasingly bizarre and amusing alien creatures is a tremendous gift for comedy writers, one that the new film wasted by making the majority of its aliens just oddly shaped humans.

Best: Rush (2013)

Almost everyone enjoyed "Rush," and it's likely that many who didn't simply refused to accept that its real-life source material could ever be mythologized. The film is based on the real '70s rivalry between Formula One racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, played in the film by Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl, respectively. The real racers shared a famous, storied rivalry, but at the end of the day were actual, three-dimensional human beings whose relationship was complex and variable –- as much a friendship as a feud (per Hunt's own website). In the film, they are two-dimensional hotshots who act more like teenagers who snipe at each other over bragging rights.

But that simplification of the story is what makes "Rush" so great. Stripped of all the limitations of historical accuracy, Hemsworth and Brühl are free to play their characters as gods (a role Hemsworth is obviously comfortable in). They're avatars of speed, sport, and jealousy that feel every win and loss like they were ambrosia and hellfire. The movie is not realistic (see History vs. Hollywood), and it doesn't give nearly enough for its female leads to do other than worry, but Hemsworth, Brühl, and the stylistic action sequences are more than enough to make "Rush" worth your time.

Worst: The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016)

If you pay close attention to "The Huntsman: Winter's War," you might just catch the film's hidden moral message: the adage "if at first, you don't succeed, try, try again" is not always true. After "Snow White and the Huntsman" failed to woo audiences, Universal evidently decided to try again and released a sequel (that is also a prequel): "The Huntsman: Winter's War." And though they tried again, they still did not succeed. Far from it, "The Huntsman: Winter's War" was worse -– much worse.

In the first film, viewers were at least able to cherry-pick (or should we say apple pick) moments and aspects that were striking and entertaining in some way. Charlize Theron certainly gave it her all as the Evil Queen, and there was a smattering of fun, imaginative fantasy action. But "The Huntsman: Winter's War" fails to recapture even those few entertaining aspects and instead presents a narrative that's simultaneously cluttered and uninspired, played out by characters that don't seem to think or feel anything about what's happening. The movie feels like a classic studio cash-in, one that execs hoped would coast by merely by continuing the story of a few of the first film's main characters.

Best: Extraction (2020)

We mentioned that "Blackhat" suffered from its steadfast devotion to presenting itself as an average, unassuming action movie. The funny thing is that Netflix's 2020 release "Extraction" is every bit as clichéd and cookie-cutter as "Blackhat," but "Extraction" works -– and that's backed up by reviews and its stellar streaming numbers (per Deadline). And unlike another Hemsworth-led Netflix venture, "Spiderhead," "Extraction" is already greenlit for a sequel. So what sets this movie apart from "Blackhat" so thoroughly? One likely explanation is the involvement of the Russo brothers, who co-wrote and produced it. Another explanation is as basic as can be: It's fun.

Unlike "Blackhat," which numbly prods its characters from scene to scene, forcing them to respond to the prodding by explaining the plot to each other, "Extraction" is populated by fun characters, played by actors who seem to themselves be having fun. Even when the movie dips into an almost unbearable amount of violence, it manages to keep its sense of character and forethought. The action sequences are tight and entertaining, Hemsworth is a thoroughly respectable action hero, and there's a breathtaking 12-minute scene comprised of a (seemingly) single shot, all adding up to make "Extraction" a fun watch.

Worst: Red Dawn (2012)

This is it: the single worst project that Hemsworth has ever been a part of (at least in terms of Rotten Tomatoes score). Sitting at an abysmal 15% with critics and 51% with audiences, it's clear that the 2012 remake of "Red Dawn" was not Hemsworth's -– nor anyone's -– finest hour. And given that the movie failed to even recoup its production costs, it's an hour that must feel like an eternity to those who paid for it.

There is simply nothing outstanding about "Red Dawn," neither in the sense of outstanding accomplishment nor in mere outstanding oddity. You won't find anything to praise by the time its credits roll, nor will you find anything so exceptionally terrible that it makes for a conversation piece. Instead, "Red Dawn" just happens. No performance (even Hemsworth's) is worthy of applause, no special effects dazzle the senses, no dialogue catches your ear, and no action enthralls you.

If "Red Dawn" had any chance at usefulness or relevance, it would have been in teaching Hemsworth the hard lesson that just because you struck gold and launched your career with one reboot in "Star Trek," the majority will only bring that career back down –- "Vacation," "Men in Black: International," "Snow White and the Huntsman," and obviously "Red Dawn."