I was going to tag spiral about this, but I quickly realized that I was going to go well over the limit of what tumblr would allow, so instead, okay, here, have some word vomit.
I have a lot of intense feelings about Chris Hemsworth as Thor and how entirely overlooked he too often is. It’s not that the other actors don’t deserve the kudos they get and god knows I plaster Tom’s perfect fucking face all over nearly every blog I have. But my appreciation for Chris’ acting is a different sort of thing, if no less intense for it. Because—and not to take anything away from the brilliant performances, because they are brilliant performances—it’s sort of easy to stand out when you have a lot of hilarious lines to work with or these big dramatic scenes. But Thor’s not necessarily that kind of character. Thor is almost understated, for all that he’s one of those larger than life sort of characters, because he’s not prone to screaming or flying off the handle or quipping at his enemies.
So there’s not a lot of chances for you to point to a specific scene and say, oh, that’s why Thor’s my favorite. Not that there aren’t some—you know when I really lose it and start to tear up in the Thor movie? As much as Loki’s utterly blank face when he’s hanging off the Bifrost builds it up, it’s not until you see it dawn on Thor’s face, it’s not until Chris Hemsworth is yelling, “Loki, no—!” when Thor realizes that Loki’s about to let go that I really break out the waterworks. It’s the devastation and horror on Chris’ face in that moment that really cuts into me.
Thor is a character of deep feelings and deep motivations, both happy and sad. He loves and laughs with as much passion as he mourns and is furious. But he expresses it in a way that I think a lot of people overlook and it’s not just Chris’ acting that gets overlooked, but FAR TOO OFTEN fandom overlooks Thor’s character as well. Too often he’s just used as a cardboard prop, he has no presence or affect on a scene, and it leaves me feeling restless and empty, because that’s not Thor at all. And that’s even setting aside the “dumb jock” stereotype that’s just… completely inaccurate.
Seriously, though, he was dropped into an entirely new society, one he had Z E R O knowledge of, and he adapted incredibly well in THREE DAYS. He didn’t have a meltdown of self-identity, despite that everything he’d known for his incredibly long life had been ripped away from him, even Mjolnir would no longer answer his call, and he still managed to pull himself together. He had help, he had friends to lean on in that time, but it’s still something you have to do yourself—adapt to the new life you find yourself in. He has no way of knowing what computers are or what cameras are or how food is served or what kind of pets are available. But he adjusts quickly, we see him riding in Jane’s van later and he understands what it is. He knows how to find his way around New York to go chasing after Loki.
No, he probably doesn’t know how to work a computer but a) he’s not had reason to ever try before, b) he could probably figure it out relatively quickly, and c) frankly, I don’t think Thor really gives a shit about mortal technology. It doesn’t really vex him, he gets the basic idea of it (we see Coulson showing him stuff on the computer even and Thor clearly understands what he’s seeing), he understands why mortals use it and probably thinks it’s clever for them, he just doesn’t really have a personal use for it, I don’t think.
Anyway, I’m getting off track. The point is, there’s so much to Thor’s character in the little touches that Chris puts into the role, like with this moment where you can see how disillusioned he is about his brother, how badly he wanted to believe that things could be fixed, but his hopes have been dashed. Or the scene in the field where he hesitates before picking Mjolnir back up, where you see everything written on his face: What Loki just did/tried to do, what it means when he has to pick Mjolnir up again, knowing that it’s truly come to having to use Mjolnir against Loki. Not just to pin him down this time, but to truly fight against him, to use his beloved weapon against his beloved brother. You see that all on Chris’ face. That this character has to be willing to do that now.
Chris isn’t Thor to me just because of how he looks or how fucking huge that dude is. It’s because he understands these things about the character and brings them out in his acting. He understands the difficult sides of Thor and the side that makes friends wherever he goes, because Thor’s that guy you can count on, he’s that guy who’s always direct and genuine with you, who will always let you know where you stand with him, and who will do the right thing.
He’s Thor to me because he carries his scenes and is an actor that a film can be based around. He’s Thor to me because I did not give a shit about the character beforehand (I’ve tried a fair amount of times to read Thor comics before, but nothing ever really stuck) but he made the character interesting to me. He made me understand this character and what he goes through and what his motivations are.
That’s why Chris Hemsworth’s performances are always some of the best in the MCU for me and why I will always go on (at length, obv.) about how great they are for me.
And then if you ever wanted to know how I felt about Chris’ performance as Thor, well, there you go, too.