Chris Hemsworth is hilarious. Anyone who has halfway been paying attention to Chris Hemsworth knows this, but yet so many movies haven’t taken advantage of this fact, often casting him only as the buff and noble hero that will lead his followers to victory. A great warrior! But, in reality, Hemsworth just has excellent comedic timing. Yes, people are starting to catch on, most notably in last summer’s Ghostbusters reboot. But don’t sleep on Hemsworth in the Vacation reboot, either. It’s true, not many people like this movie, but do yourself a favor and just watch the 20 minutes or so that Hemsworth is in it. He’s a riot. And there’s a recurring joke about faucets I couldn’t even begin to describe. (In the meantime, you can watch Hemsworth ironically doing a skateboard trick.)
Look, there are funny moments in the previous two Thor movies, but not as many as you might remember. Yes, it’s amusing when Thor demands a horse at a pet store in the first film, but for the most part the first two films in the Thor series play it fairly straight, with a few moments of humor peppered in because it’s impossible for Chris Hemsworth not to be funny. What you’re probably remembering more are the Avengers movies, where Hemsworth’s pompous Thor comes off as pretty funny when teamed with the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Scarlett Johansson. It’s in these interactions that we started to realize, hey, Thor is pretty funny. And this is especially true in Avengers: Age of Ultron (which has strangely gotten a bad rap over the last two years) when Thor watches Steve Rogers actually, sort of nudge his hammer a bit.
It’s kind of crazy Marvel made a Thor movie so early in its Cinematic Universe in the first place. Think of the other films in Phase One: Two movies about a guy who builds an armored suit, a movie about a person exposed to radiation that turns him into a monster, and a story about a soldier given a “super serum” that makes him strong. All of these premises are a bit ridiculous, but they all have a way of being at least on the “possible” spectrum of our built-in “nonsense” meters. They are all on the outermost edges of possible, but there’s something that feels at least feels somewhat grounded about it all, even though it’s not. Thor is not grounded. Thor is a space alien god. Thor makes little to no sense being around those other characters.
Which is why the first two Thor movies now seem both a chore to rewatch and at the same time minor miracles that they are watchable at all. Trying to fit a solo Thor movie into the greater Marvel universe should be an impossible task.
Enter: Taika Waititi.