Over the last decade, Chris Hemsworth has become one of the biggest stars in the world. His unique blend of comedic chops and ridiculous good looks have made him a star, but his choice of roles has defined his career. Though he's most well-known for his role as Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Hemsworth’s acting range is broad and impressive.
Hemsworth has tackled complex roles in biopics, superhero films and horror movies. In his newest film, 12 Strong, he will be portraying one of the brave soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan after 9/11. In honor of the film’s release, let’s look at the roles that put Chris Hemsworth on the map.
1. Star Trek (2009)
J.J. Abrams' Star Trek boasted a star-studded cast, including a few actors that weren’t household names at the time. Chris Hemsworth played Captain Kirk’s father, George Kirk, who bravely gave his life so the other crew members – including his wife and son – could escape.
His screen time was brief, but Hemsworth delivered a heartfelt performance that resonated with fans. This role did not make Hemsworth a star, but much like Brad Pitt’s role in True Romance, it's one of the smaller roles that has become a staple of his career.
2. Thor (2011)
Thor was one of the first films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and by all accounts, it was a huge gamble. Very few people believed that a live-action adaptation of the character would work, but, nevertheless, it succeeded. Chris Hemsworth’s portrayal of the hero was a huge part of the film’s success, and it put the star on the map.
At the time, no one knew that the film would only be the first step in Hemsworth’s career. Nor did they know that the character of Thor would go on to be incredibly popular. It’s been almost 7 years since the film premiered, and to many, Chris Hemsworth is still the living embodiment of the character.
3. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Following on the heels of Thor, Chris Hemsworth’s next film, Cabin in the Woods, was an abrupt departure from any of his previous films. (In fact, Cabin was shot even before we saw Hemsworth in Star Trek, but a series of delays kept it from theaters until 2012.) Hemsworth plays Kurt, one of a group of friends that travels to a remote cabin to party. His character comes off as a one-dimensional jock, but in a series of twists, it is revealed that everyone isn’t acting like their normal selves.
Within the structure of the film, Hemsworth played his character wonderfully, and proved he was a perfect fit for the dynamic cast. To this day, Cabin in the Woods is considered one of the smartest horror films, and for very good reason. The film was an odd blend of parody and earnestness, that turned the typical teen slasher troupe on its ear.
4. Marvel's The Avengers (2012)
Marvel’s first super team-up, The Avengers, was an unprecedented achievement. The film brought together Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, breaking box office records as the individual heroes teamed up. The movie was anchored by a strong script and a stellar cast, but it also had all the popcorn-fueled blockbuster goodness that kept audiences coming back for more.
The Avengers announced to the world that superhero films were back, and bigger than ever. Not only did the film make the MCU the cornerstone of the superhero genre, but it also made the entire cast – including Chris Hemsworth – some of the biggest names in entertainment.
5. Rush (2013)
This Ron Howard-directed biopic followed the infamous feud between race car drivers Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) and James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth). It was a far cry from Hemworth's established action fare, but he portrayed Hunt beautifully and brought a grounded sense of charm to the role.
Rush really showcased Hemsworth’s acting chops, but it was his on-screen chemistry with his co-star, Daniel Brühl, that made the film special. The film not only proved Hemsworth was a dramatic actor, but that he had the ability to compliment the cast around him.
6. Vacation (2015)
When the first trailer for Vacation was released, people were surprised that Chris Hemsworth was taking on a comedic role. Not only that, but he was arguably one of funniest parts of the trailer. Sadly, the film was not received well by fans or critics; however, it was a very important moment in Hemsworth’s career. It proved that he was genuinely funny and opened the door for future projects, such as a supporting role in Ghostbusters, that would blow audiences away.
7. Thor: Ragnarok
Thor: Ragnarok isn't just his latest film – it's the culmination of Chris Hemsworth’s career to date. Taika Waititi directed the actor in his fifth outing as Thor, balancing humor, drama and action in a remarkable way, while also fitting into the greater MCU.
Every facet of Hemsworth’s acting ability was on display, from his stellar comedic chops to his brutal physical presence, The film was praised by both critics and audiences alike, and it left everyone wanting to see more of Thor’s adventures. It's unclear if Hemsworth will portray Thor beyond the next two Avengers films, but, hopefully, he's in it for the long haul.
With a diverse approach to his work, Chris Hemsworth consistently delights his fans. It looks like 12 Strong will continue that trend, and we can't wait to see him in his next great defining role.
Check out 12 Strong when it hits theaters on January 19, 2018.