It was just five short months ago that we surveyed the torn battlefield of the Chris Wars and determined that Chris, Son of Pine, deserved the all-important top spot in our collective heart. “Chris Pine is on fire,” this writer proclaimed. To his credit, Pine recently has been called “a beast” by Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, and there are these photos from the set of Outlaw King which alone surely have the power to save the free world—but it’s otherwise been a quiet few months for the reigning Pine. And in the meantime, another Chris’s flame has begun to burn hotter than ever before.
Ragnarok is here.
Over the weekend, Chris Hemsworth made a play for the top of the Chris leaderboard, starring in the first-ever good Thor movie, Thor: Ragnarok, on the way to a $121 million opening weekend. But even beyond the movie’s financial successes, the film established Hemsworth as a charming, charismatic, funny leading man, capable of carrying out director Taika Waititi’s zany vision and, for the first time, making Thor a relevant Avenger. You can no longer just call Chris Hemsworth, “the one with biceps larger than my entire body.” (For anyone who has ever seen Rush and/or 2016’s Ghostbusters, this isn’t exactly breaking news, but the Chris Wars are judged based on popular consensus, so let’s move on.)
In our two full evaluations of all the Hollywood Chrises, Hemsworth has ranked second in both; Pine presumably bumped him down to third when he made his leap in June. But that was then. In the last quarter of 2017, Hemsworth is putting every percent of his muscle (which is 100 percent of his body weight) behind making his own jump. Pine, Evans, and Pratt better begin to (at least temporarily) bow down. Here’s why:
Hair Cut Chris
It was once presumed that all of Hemsworth’s power was derived from his long, golden locks. It allowed him to dominate the VORH (value over replacement hair) metric of the First Chris War, and beyond that, it was really just beautiful and cosmetically impressive. But—and you may need to sit down for this—in Ragnarok, THEY CUT THOR’S HAIR.
Wait—that’s how Chris Hemsworth looks with short hair? [Fans self aggressively.]
How must Chris Pine feel about this? If you remember, it was Pine who first made the bold play of going short when he buzzed off that gorgeous pompadour for a more efficient look. He was the trendsetter. Now that Hemsworth looks like an actual god, though, I’ve got to imagine that he’s pretty shell-shocked.
It’s kind of like what happened with the iPod: Apple didn’t make the first MP3 player—not even close—but when it released its version, it was just prettier and cooler and more impressive than its predecessors, even though those predecessors laid the foundation. I guess if you really think about it, Chris Hemsworth’s new haircut is the iPod of haircuts.
Most Improved Superhero Chris
Which brings us to this point: Thor is good now. Before Ragnarok, Thor was only slightly more important than Hawkeye, the worst Avenger, whose only power is being good at archery. Thor was so useless that he wasn’t even part of Captain America: Civil War, an important inflection point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that involved the fracturing of the very group Thor is allegedly a part of.
But after Ragnarok, Thor is no longer someone you can ignore. He’s a superhero with a real personality and an arsenal of agreeable humor. There’s a scene in Ragnarok in which Thor recalls growing up with his mischievous brother, Loki. With great pain on his face—you can tell this memory brings him great trauma—he explains how he loved snakes growing up, so as a prank, Loki turned himself into a one, and then, after Thor had picked up the snake, Loki turned back into a human. It’s a very silly anecdote that certainly doesn’t need to be in Ragnarok. But Hemsworth also sells it so well, with the perfect mix of frustration and bewilderment. This kind of humor used to be Chris Pratt’s thing as Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy. Right now, though, the God of Thunder is greater than Star-Lord, and while Pratt continues to languish at the bottom of the Chris Wars, Hemsworth ascends.
Horseback Riding With a Gun Chris
Thor: Ragnarok isn’t the only thing Chris Hemsworth has coming down the pipe. Oh no, my friends, he also has this movie called 12 Strong. Honestly, it doesn’t look very good—like the sequel to Lone Survivor that no one asked for. But this is movie’s poster:
You bet your ass that’s Chris Hemsworth on a horse with a giant gun. As if riding a horse wasn’t one of the most cool-looking things a man could do. I have no clue what a “Horse Soldier” is and to be frank, when I heard the trailer voice-over say those two words together in a theater this past weekend I cackled, but if this is a “Horse Soldier,” I’m in.
And really, ask yourself this question: When’s the last time you saw Chris Evans ride a horse and hold a massive gun at the same time?
Work Husband Chris
One last thing about 12 Strong: In it, Hemsworth’s IRL wife, Elsa Pataky, plays his character’s wife. That’s just romantically efficient. The other Chrises, meanwhile, are not faring so well in matters of heart: Pratt got divorced, and meanwhile Evans is flirt-tweeting with his ex, Jenny Slate, and it is NOT a good look.
And so there you have it: clear proof that Chris Hemsworth is, at this moment, winning the Chris Wars. But Hemsworth-heads ought not to get too comfortable. As the years of this debilitating war pass, more and more it becomes clear that this is a cyclical battle dictated by the winds (movie releases) and whims of the gods (late-night appearances). We know not who will lead all Chrises by this time next year, only that it probably will not still be Chris Hemsworth.