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The Chris Wars: The Final Verdict

As an era of superhero movies comes to an end, it’s time to take one more look at the battle among Pine, Evans, Hemsworth, and Pratt

Getty Images/Ringer illustration
Spoiler alert

Thanos isn’t a warmonger. “The whole time I knew him, he only had one goal: to wipe out half the universe,” Gamora says early on in Avengers: Infinity Wars—but that’s a common misconception, or at least an incomplete reading of the situation. Thanos isn’t trying to “wipe out half the universe” simply because he doesn’t like that half of the universe. (Which half, by the way? And why that half? Another conversation for another day.) He’s doing it for a specific reason: because he can no longer bear witness to the most destructive conflict we’ve ever seen. He’s starting the Infinity War to end the Chris Wars.

For those still unacquainted with the Chris Wars, it has been a years-long struggle for Chris supremacy, waged by four superhero Chrises: Evans, Hemsworth, Pine, and Pratt. The four Chrises have jostled for position ever since they were all swallowed by Hollywood’s franchise machines, leaving tears, overly angry internet users, and locks of near-golden hair in their wake. In 2016, this website declared Evans the King of the Chrises; in 2017, he triumphed yet again. But the wars have since grown more treacherous, and even more contested. Pine made a run in the middle of 2017 on the back of a buzz cut and some swell rapport with Gal Gadot. Hemsworth made a run toward the end of that year on the back of a horse. (He was also firing a machine gun at the Taliban while on that horse, which is why it’s notable.) Each passing day, one of the Chrises takes a new stand—like Hemsworth’s fake Crocodile Dundee sequel for the Super Bowl, or Evans’s unfairly cute videos of his rescue dog—and these days it’s hard not to wipe the metaphorical blood from your face and stare at the heavens to cry: When will this end?

Thanks to Thanos, it ends today.

I hope I’m not the one to break this to you, but in Infinity Wars, one of the Chrises dies. (There is definitely a good chance that this Chris somehow comes back to life, but until Avengers 4 this Chris is superduper dead.) And so, with one of the Chrises no longer being qualified to compete in the Chris Wars, it only seems right to declare an end to the conflict, rather than force it to continue as a fraction of what it used to be. We’re all tired. We’ve all lost friends arguing about the diminishing returns of Chris Pratt’s muscles. We have an out here—let’s take it.

But before we start raining ticker tape from Manhattan skyscrapers, planting big smooches on strangers, and printing “THE CHRIS WARS ARE OVER!” on the front page of The New York Times, we must hold one final battle. The rules will be the same as ever: Each Chris will be measured in eight categories—judged in the time span between May 2017, the last official Chris Wars battle, and now—and by the end of the evaluation a winner will be pronounced. Welcome to the end of the Chris Wars.

Franchise Chris

In determining the preeminent Franchise Chris, we used to evaluate each Chris’s ability to carry big IP through a combination of well-toned pectoral muscles and exemplary comedic timing. Those factors are still in play, but in this final battle we must also consider endurance and the sheer commitment to being a Franchise Chris. Under the original rubric, the ranking for this category would be: (1) Hemsworth, (2) Evans, (3) Pine, and (4) Pratt. Hemsworth took an absurd leap at the end of 2017, maximizing his comedic value and affability in Thor: Ragnarok. Evans, meanwhile, remains the ideal image of a franchise actor—non-threateningly handsome, kind, aggressively American. Pine was a unicorn as Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman, somehow able to have high-level banter with Gadot’s Diana while also looking cooler than anyone has ever looked in a World War II–era bomber jacket. But he was less compelling as a hot scientist with a vest trapped in space in A Wrinkle in Time. And then there’s Pratt, who drowned in daddy issues as Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

But things change when you take franchise endurance into consideration. Evans, for one, seems to no longer have it in him. “You want to get off the train before they push you off,” Evans told the Times in March, making it sound like continuing to play Captain America would be the same as being horrifically murdered. The guy is on Broadway right now. He’s out of the game.

That leaves the other three, but really only two, because Pine’s days as a Franchise Chris seem to be fading as well. Steve Trevor was a one-off character. Maybe we’ll see Diana gaze longingly at that old-timey photo in the next Wonder Woman movie, but he’s not coming back. Additionally, the fourth Star Trek, announced in 2016, is still in development, and that slow pace of production seems to suggest that the movie—if it even happens—may be the last in the series.

Hemsworth and Pratt are the only two Chrises who still seem dedicated to being Franchise Boys. Not only will Hemsworth continue to play Thor in the MCU, but he signed up to be in the upcoming Men in Black spinoff and he’ll reprise his role as Chris Pine’s dad in the next Star Trek—an open act of war, if you ask me. Pratt is even more steeped in franchises: Another Guardians sequel is on the way, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom hits theaters this summer, and a sequel to The Lego Movie is slated for 2019. This guy’s in all of the franchises. He’s also in Michelob Ultra commercials now.

If we’re judging on commitment alone, the ranking is: (1) Pratt, (2) Hemsworth, (3) Pine, and (4) Evans. Now let’s average that out with the ranking above:

Rankings: (1) Chris Hemsworth (four points), (2) Chris Pratt (three points), (T3) Chris Pine and Evans (two points each)

Mustache Chris

I present to you four photographs:

GC Images
WireImage
Lloyd Bishop/NBC

It seems unfathomable to me that none of these four men ever thought, “Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t?” Chris Evans looks like he’s about to tell me about the dangers of marijuana cigarettes. Chris Pine looks like a middle reliever for the Montreal Expos. Pratt is an unconvincing pirate. Hemsworth gets a little credit for trying the least, I guess, but it’s still disrespectful that he would take his beard-growing abilities for granted like this. Hemsworth growing a half-mustache is like Michael Jordan leaving basketball to play minor league baseball.

(Yes, I recognize that all of these facial hair choices were for acting roles; no, I do not consider that a good enough excuse.)

Rankings: Everyone is in last place in this category and gets one point deducted.

Advanced Chris Metrics

VORH (Value Over Replacement Hair)

VORH measures a Chris’s hair’s contribution to the world when compared with “replacement hair,” which is defined (roughly) as average Chris hair. This VORH was measured based on the most recent photo available of each Chris on Getty Images.

1. Chris Pine: plus-4.73

2. Chris Hemsworth: plus-4.25

3. Chris Pratt: plus-2.37

4. Chris Evans: plus-2.15

A few things: I think short-haired Thor is pretty cool, but I do extremely miss the days of Chris Hemsworth having hair down to his shoulders. He truly is mortal now, and while that has its benefits, it feels like we’re being robbed of follicular magic. Elsewhere, I’m happy to see Pine abandon his buzz cut, and I would like to never discuss Evans’s crew cut again, thank you very much. Overall though, there’s just a disappointing lack of variance in Chris hair as the wars wind down. These men have fought so long that they’ve all reverted to mean hair length, and we’re the ones who are suffering for it.

SAYSAENW (Speculative and Yet Somehow Authoritative Estimated Net Worth)

1. Hemsworth: $70 million

2. Evans: $50 million

3. Pratt: $40 million

4. Pine: $20 million

QLNT (Quality Late-Night Time)

QLNT measures the amount of time a Chris spends on late-night television that is ideally good. “Ideally good time” is defined as any time spent NOT playing goofy games with oversize objects, lip-synch or rap battling, doing karaoke, or anything painfully out of touch. QLNT is a percentage expressed by dividing the ideally good time (in seconds) by the total amount of time on late night.

1. Pine: 100 percent. As we discussed in a Chris Wars check-in last June, Pine destroyed the late-night game in 2017 with some endearing stories and lavish helpings of bare ankle. Much respect to him for avoiding late-night TV after that to preserve his perfect record, even though a major studio film starring him has been released since.

2. Pratt: 85 percent. Pratt hosted a full episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! in December, and you know what? He wasn’t bad! He maybe asked Margot Robbie too many questions about Australia, and he weirdly begged to touch Chris Stapleton’s beard, but those were his only hiccups. I’m gonna give him a B, and a B in school is an 85 percent, so that’s his QLNT score.

3. Hemsworth: 74 percent. Between Ragnarok and 12 Strong, Hemsworth has had the most to promote in the last year, which means he’s been the most at risk for bad late-night time. He came out OK, but he did go on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon twice, and you know how that guy feels about making celebrities play “fun” games. In November, Fallon made Hemsworth play a game in which the point was to keep a straight face without breaking. Side note: Did you know that Fallon’s whole thing is breaking and that he’s been doing it for 15 years now and that it’s not at all old by now? Hemsworth also took a bad hit on Wednesday night, when Jimmy Kimmel made him, Chadwick Boseman, Sebastian Stan, Josh Brolin, and Karen Gillan do this:

No, no, you’re not hallucinating: That is Thor and Black Panther FEEDING A FAN PAPER THROUGH A PEEPHOLE.

4. Evans: 39 percent. On Late Night With Seth Meyers this week, Evans spent a majority of his time playing the Newlywed Game with his brother, Scott. Did you know he had a brother, and that his brother is a soap opera actor? As amazing as that revelation is, no one needed eight minutes of them showing off how much they know about each other. Hemsworth’s actor-brother game is much stronger.

ABOP (Average Box-Office Performance) June 2017–April 2018, First Weekend Only

1. Pratt: $146,510,104

2. Hemsworth: $69,280,007

3. Pine: $68,187,540

4. Evans: $0*

*Note that Evans did not star in a movie in this time period—his only appearance in a movie was in joke PSAs in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Rankings: (1) Chris Hemsworth (four points) (T2) Chris Pine and Pratt (three points each), (4) Chris Evans (one point)

The Ringer Chrises Speak Out

Many who study the Chris Wars believe that the only true judges of Chrises are other Chrises. Operating under that presupposition, if only for a moment, I asked The Ringer’s two Chrises—Ryan and Almeida—to choose which Chris most upholds the integrity of the name.

“It’s Chris Pine,” Almeida said. “He promotes the most realistic beauty standards for men by not being performance-enhanced-level jacked. Also, bonus points to him for not being involved in the continuation of the washed Jurassic Park franchise.”

Ryan offered up a diverging opinion: “I am going for Chris Evans, because I feel like integrity is his brand now. His mustache signals a kind of Sam Elliott stoicism, and he is counter-programming his appearance in Infinity War with a turn on Broadway in a Kenneth Lonergan play. And don’t even get me started with the on-again, off-again Jenny Slate stuff. You can count on Chris (Evans).”

A surprising mustache take, to be sure, but nonetheless, the Chrises have spoken.

Bonus Points: Two for Pine and two for Evans.

Boyfriend Chris

Yikes—things really change in a year, huh? The last time a Chris Wars battle was held, in May 2017, Chris Pratt was still married to Anna Faris, and Chris Evans had broken up with Jenny Slate only one time (more that in a second). Pratt and Faris announced their separation in August 2017, and Pratt officially filed for divorce in December. It was pretty sad; Pratt and Faris were a good celebrity couple, the kind that makes you feel happy rather than toxically envious. Despite rumors that Pratt was dating Olivia Munn and the fact that Pratt was once photographed in the general vicinity of a young woman at a Coffee Bean, it appears that Pratt is now single, and as such unqualified for this category.

Evans, meanwhile, initially broke up with Slate in February 2017, though he continued to say that Slate was his “favorite human” (calm down, Chris) and compliment her “mastery of the English language” (suuuuper calm down). In October, however, the two very publicly reunited—first, they tweet-flirted, and then Slate made voice-appearances in the background of Evans’s dog videos. Soon after it was confirmed that they were dating again, with an eyewitness telling People that they looked “very much together” while Evans was apartment-hunting in SoHo. (Seems like reliable, not-at-all general information.) The two spent Christmas together, and it was perfect: Slate had her “primary colors” man once more, and Evans had the girl he could point to any time anyone criticized him of being a basic bro. But in March of this year, a New York Times profile of Evans briskly mentioned that the two had split up yet again:

One book he found eye-opening was Rebecca Solnit’s “The Mother of All Questions.” Mr. Evans read it while dating the actress Jenny Slate (their on-again, off-again relationship, beloved by the internet, recently ended) and decided that he needed to listen more and speak less.

That’s it? A parenthetical? One of the most delightful celebrity matchings in recent history dies and this is all The New York Times has to say about it? Whatever happened to “all the news that’s fit to print?” Anyway, the point is that Chris Evans and his sad police-mustache are single as well.

Not single anymore is Chris Pine, who started dating The Mummy’s Annabelle Wallis in 2018. I have my doubts about Pine’s staying power as Boyfriend Chris. He’s had a reputation of dating around and once told Out magazine, “It’s really hard in our business to maintain something.” This photograph also gives me pause. Walking 15 feet ahead of your significant other with your head down is usually a very bad sign. But maybe I’m just being really thrown off by Pine’s “I plow snow in Utica, New York” outfit, and he and Wallis are meant for each other. To get a second opinion, I asked Kate Halliwell, The Ringer’s resident celebrity research expert and preeminent thirst-watcher, if Chris Pine could be a good Boyfriend Chris. “Yes,” she said immediately, before adding, “I’m more worried about Annabelle Wallis. And whether she’s worthy.” Kate may have preexisting biases, but let’s move on.

Really, there’s no longer any competition in this category: Hemsworth is the only one who’s happily married. It seems like he and Elsa Pataky have something good going: They have a lot of beautiful children, they post nice Instagrams about each other, they star in movies about horse soldiers together. Last year, Hemsworth finished behind both Evans and Pratt in this section, but time has proved that he is the best Boyfriend Chris.

(Side note: He’s also definitely the best Friend to Matt Damon Chris. No other Chris goes to Nobu with Matt Damon, celebrates Easter with Matt Damon, or stands by Matt Damon’s side while he makes the cowabunga sign. And for Matt Damon, it’s probably really nice to have a BFF you can go to the beach with and not be embarrassed when he takes his shirt off to reveal a gigantic phoenix back tattoo.)

Rankings: (1) Chris Hemsworth (four points), (2) Chris Pine (three points), (T3) Chris Pratt and Evans (two points each)

A Chris Poll

Amazingly, the results of this poll are the same as the ones from 2017:

I thought Pine would’ve moved up at least a spot in the last year. At least you guys are less all in on Chris Pratt now.

Rankings: (1) Chris Pratt (four points), (2) Chris Hemsworth (three points), (3) Chris Evans (two points), (4) Chris Pine (one point)

Dead Chris

There are spoilers in this section. Scroll down really fast right now if you haven’t seen Infinity War yet.

So, Thanos’s whole deal is population control. He’s not a bad guy, according to him—he just thinks that the universe should be occupied by half as many people, and he’s the only one who’s got the guts to eliminate 50 percent of the population. At the end of Infinity War, he seemingly succeeds, snapping his fingers and turning half of the people in the universe into dust. A lot of people die, and Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill is one of them.

If you’re sensing some apathy on my part about this Chris death, you’re damn right—I don’t care. Allow me to scream this from a mountaintop: STAR-LORD DESERVED TO DIE. There’s a moment in the movie where Thanos is this close to being defeated, and this dumb idiot Peter Quill goes out of his way to screw it up. Iron Man’s like, “Please dude, don’t do this”—multiple people in my theater yelled out “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”—and guess what? He does it.

If you’re mourning this Chris Death: (1) you’re wrong, and (2) don’t worry about it too much—Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is set to drop in 2020.

Now let’s talk about a Chris who died the right way—don’t forget that Chris Pine has also been a Dead Chris. At the end of Wonder Woman, he steals the plane with all the poison on it, flies it to a remote location, and then blows it up, sacrificing himself in the process. It’s a good death for a couple of reasons: (1) because Chris Pine laughs like a maniac in the face of death:

And (2), because this is a very similar maneuver to the one Batman pulled at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, except Batman bailed like a wuss before his bomb blew up. What I’m saying is that Steve Trevor is better than Batman; he’s not trying to skirt death so he can go hang out in Italy with Anne Hathaway.

Anyway, let’s throw a bonus point at Evans and Pine for both being solid Dead Chrises. Pratt and Hemsworth get nothing; Star-Lord and Thor are still alive.

Bonus Points: One for Pine, none for Pratt.

Past Chris (Wars)

In judging the final winner of the Chris Wars, it felt like it’d be unfair to act as though the previous battles don’t count toward anything. Here’s what we’re gonna do: Chris Evans, two-time winner of the Chris Wars, gets six extra points. Chris Pine, who made a nice run in the middle of 2017, gets two extra points—as does Chris Hemsworth, who surged after Ragnarok was released. There, now we can tally up all the points and finally figure out who reigns supreme.

Final Chris Rankings

Chris Hemsworth: 16 points

Chris Evans: 14 points

Chris Pine: 13 points

Chris Pratt: 10 points