Quick, name a character from the Marvel movies and the actor who plays them.
There’s a good chance you named Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, who has not only been an integral figure to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s overarching storyline (Thor arguably had the most complete story arcs in both Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame), but with the release of Thor 4, AKA Thor: Love and Thunder in 2022, a character who has the most solo films in the MCU as well.
Unfortunately, Hemsworth himself isn’t ignorant to the negative critical and fan reception that Thor 4 has received, especially compared to the overwhelming praise garnered by 2017’s Ragnarok, the former of which has an average critic score that is 30% lower than the latter’s (Love and Thunder has an average critic score of 63% compared to Ragnarok‘s 93%).
“I think we just had too much fun. It just became too silly,” Hemsworth said of the film in a GQ Magazine profile. “It’s always hard being in the center of it and having any real perspective… I love the process, it’s always a ride. But you just don’t know how people are going to respond.”
Surprisingly, Hemsworth said that some of his biggest critics were his own son and his friends.
“It’s a bunch of eight-year-olds critiquing my film. ‘We thought this one had too much humor, the action was cool but the VFX weren’t as good,’” he said. “I cringe and laugh equally at it.”
While Hemsworth thinks Thor 4 was ‘too silly,’ the fact that he has starred in eight Marvel movies overall is proof that the experience isn’t something he’s averse to undertaking, although he’d like to do some “other stuff for a while” now that he’s no longer contractually obligated for any more Marvel movies as of the time of this writing.
“I love the experience,” Hemsworth added. “I love the fact that I’ve been able to do something fairly different throughout the process. ‘Thor 1’ and 2 were their own thing, ‘Thor 3’ and 4 were a very different feel… and then even ‘Avengers,’ the Lebowski Thor, the ‘Infinity War’ Thor, due to different directors and I think mostly my own need to do something different.”
Overall, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s latest offerings have been showing a steep box office decline, with even Phase 5 introductory film Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which delved more into the backstory and motivation of the phase’s main villain, Kang (played by Jonathan Majors) disappointing at the box office.
Hemsworth thinks the decline can be attributed to the MCU movies of late being “less grounded,” and too ambitious in scope.
“That’s the trick: you have to separate all those stories,” Hemsworth continued. “The moment it’s like: ‘Your world is in danger, the entire universe!’ It’s like, ‘Yeah, so [it] was the last 24 films.’ It has to become a bit more personal and grounded.”
Hemsworth also mentioned his disappointment in high-profile Hollywood directors disparaging the Marvel Cinematic Universe, such as Dune director Denis Villeneuve, who called them “cut and paste,” Martin Scorcese, who said they “aren’t true cinema,” and Quentin Tarantino, who said that “Marvel is incapable of generating movie stars.”
“That’s super depressing when I hear that,” Hemsworth said of Tarantino and Scorsese. “There goes two of my heroes I won’t work with. I guess they’re not a fan of me.”
Notwithstanding, Hemsworth is still happy to have starred as Thor and having done something that “kept people in cinemas.”
“I’m thankful that I have been a part of something that kept people in cinemas,” Hemsworth concluded. “Now, whether or not those films were to the detriment of other films, I don’t know. I don’t love when we start scrutinizing each other when there’s so much fragility in the business and in this space of the arts as it is…I say that less to the directors who made those comments, who are all, by the way, still my heroes, and in a heartbeat I would leap to work with any of them. But I say it more to the broader opinion around that topic. I don’t think any of us have the answer, but we’re trying.”