As promised, here’s another look at the stars of George Miller’s Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. This time, we’re focusing on Chris Hemsworth, who takes his heretofore heroic career in a much different direction in the Fury Road follow-up. Here are the best Chris Hemsworth movies, based on his performance, in the order of year of release.

The Avengers (2012)

Chris Hemsworth already appeared in Kenneth Branagh’s melodramatic Thor alongside Natalie Portman, but he made his mark as the beloved character in Joss Whedon’s superhero blockbuster The Avengers. Though he plays more of a supporting role in the picture, Hemsworth’s God of Thunder enjoys a handful of big moments, namely his intense clash with the Hulk. Arguably, Thor leaves a larger impression in Avengers: Infinity War, where he crashes the party and almost single-handedly saves the day. Yet, in The Avengers, the character is more in line with an actual god, and Hemsworth does a great job of balancing humor with heroic stoicism, landing it a spot on our list of the best Chris Hemsworth movies.

Rush (2013)

Following his big break as Thor, Hemsworth teamed with Ron Howard for a pair of films that, unfortunately, flopped at the box office. The first of their collaborations is the intense race car drama Rush, which chronicles the true-life rivalry between the cocksure James Hunt (Hemsworth) and the more pragmatic Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl). With awesome race scenes, terrific performances, and plenty of powerful drama, Rush gives Hemsworth the perfect vehicle to demonstrate his magnetic personality. As Hunt, the man conveys a conflicted soul willing to put his life on the line to achieve fame and glory. It’s a brilliant performance. 

Rush should have marked Hemsworth’s rise to the A-list. Unfortunately, like Howard and Hemsworth’s follow-up feature, the Moby Dick adventure In the Heart of the Sea, Rush failed to capture much of an audience and was largely ignored by awards circles. Too bad. It’s an extraordinary film that expertly captures life in the fast lane.

Blackhat (2015)

Following his work with Howard, Hemsworth joined forces with acclaimed director Michael Mann and again ended up in a picture that suffered a swift death at the box office. To be fair, Blackhat does not exactly cater to general audiences. Like many of Mann’s films, including Thief, Heat, Collateral, and Miami Vice, the focus is on realism. In this case, you won’t find another picture so enthralled with technical “hacker” jargon. I’ve seen it several times and am still unsure what to make of the plot. 

Each viewing increases my appreciation for the action epic and Hemsworth’s brooding performance as Nick Hathaway, a notorious hacker recruited by the government to stop a dangerous cybercrime network. 

Co-starring Viola Davis and Tang Wei, and boasting explosive set pieces, Blackhat kicks all kinds of ass. It may not rank with Mann’s best, but even lesser Mann trumps most filmmakers’ best efforts, easily getting it onto our list of the best Chris Hemsworth movies.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Hemsworth’s Thor has undergone quite the character shift since his introduction, morphing from a stoic warrior to a brain-dead moron in Thor: Love and Thunder. I blame Taika Waititi. Still, right before the God of Thunder fell off a cliff, he enjoyed surprising success in Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok, which deftly balances drama and humor far better than later entries. 

Sure, it’s a little too goofy at times, with bits of slapstick undermining Hemsworth’s heroic performance at every turn. However, there are plenty of great character beats, action, and (shockingly) suspense to hold your attention. Even Mark Ruffalo’s equally assassinated Hulk gets cool stuff to do, forming an unlikely odd couple that leads to a lot of fun. Toss in another strong Tom Hiddleston performance, a wickedly sexy Cate Blanchett, a playful Tessa Thompson, and an always-game Jeff Goldblum, and you have one helluva Saturday matinee.  

I dig the Extraction series. Like John Wick, Sam Hargrave’s franchise keeps things simple, unleashing a seemingly invincible warrior on legions of bad guys with delightfully bloody results. Hemsworth stars as Tyler Rake, a black-market mercenary trying to overcome the demons of his past by accepting insane globe-trotting missions. In the sequel, he must rescue a mother and son from prison before her husband kills them, and blah, blah, blah!

What matters most in a film like Extraction is the action. To that end, Hargrave and Hemsworth deliver the goods with incredibly complex set pieces that are too bonkers to describe here. Tyler kicks ass for two hours, and that’s good enough for me.

Hemsworth owns the role, one of few that allow him to utilize his massive frame and bulking biceps properly. Tyler is the type of character who would fit nicely alongside the likes of John Matrix, John Wick, and John Rambo in terms of action stars capable of taking on legions of bad guys without breaking a sweat. Seriously, we don’t get enough of this type of film anymore, which is why it lands a mark on our list of the best Chris Hemsworth movies.

Jeff Ames

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Best Chris Hemsworth Movies to Watch After Furiosa