If you were to watch all of the Thor films in order for the first time, you would notice a fairly stark tonal shift in Thor: Ragnarok. The God of Thunder finally found his footing in the third film, with a comedic cosmic romp that was far more fun-filled and humorous than the first two entries. For many, it was a revelation that Chris Hemsworth was hilarious and needed to be put in more comedies stat. However the actor would have us know that he didn't just come into Ragnarok cold and excel at improvisational comedy. His previous experience gave him the tools and experience necessary to work in the improvisational comedic environment under director Taika Waititi. As he explained:
From Thor 3, definitely, it became hugely improvised. And I'm so glad I've been able to work with Paul prior to that. And I've done Saturday Night Live a couple of times; I have a movie called Vacation. So by the time I got to Thor 3, I was incredibly enthusiastic to do it. Taika Waititi, the director, had the same opinion. And we carried that into Avengers.
Chris Hemsworth's Thor: Ragnarok performance did not exist in a vacuum, as he was able to cut his teeth on other comedic roles prior to bringing that freewheeling comedy style to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On Ghostbusters, Chris Hemsworth worked with comedy director Paul Feig, which was one of the first times where the actor's comedy talents were on display and noticed. He has also done the trial by fire job of hosting Saturday Night Live, which often requires improvisational skills. Even the critically panned Vacation was a learning experience. So while the actor has some natural comedy chops, he had a solid foundation before the success of Thor: Rangarok where Taika Waititi truly unleashed the actor's humor.
As Chris Hemsworth told Esquire, they were able to carry this new, more comedic Thor into Avengers: Infinity War. This is remarkable because Thor's story is a tragic one, yet his hilarious banter with the Guardians of the Galaxy and especially Rocket Raccoon provides some of the funniest moments. You can really tell that Chris Hemsworth has enjoyed this new direction for his character, and it's pretty obvious that lots of other people do to given Ragnarok's box office performance and critical reception. I can't imagine that Thor will have too much to joke about in Avengers 4, but hopefully he will survive that film and get to continue down this fun new trajectory in Phase 4 now that he has finally found his groove.
It seems now that the word is truly out that in addition to being a superhero, Chris Hemsworth is a comedy star in the making. The actor will be reuniting with Thor: Ragnarok co-star Tessa Thompson for the reboot of Men In Black that is scheduled to hit theaters next year. If anyone is going to capture the combination of action star and hilarious lead that Will Smith did in the original Men in Black, Chris Hemsworth has the skills to do it and will hopefully make that franchise relevant again.
You can next see Chris Hemsworth in the latest film from writer and director Drew Goddard, Bad Times at The El Royale, in theaters on October 5th.