Following ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, Who is the Best Chris?
Avengers: Infinity War is currently breaking all the box office records, making all the money and dominating the vast majority of the mainstream pop culture discourse. How could it not encompass everything about films, Hollywood, the business of movie-making, issues of gender, race, sexuality, power, and whether or not you secretly want to fuck Thanos (Look, don’t ask, it’s the internet). I’m sure some of you are getting sick of it by this point, given how much air in the room Marvel and related Disney properties tend to suck up. Still, there is, of course, the most pressing matter we have yet to deal with on our wonderful site.
Yup, it’s Chris time.
Let me get this out of the way now: I consider this a non-regulation Chris ranking. It’s simply unfair to redo the entire list when one of them, The Best Chris, isn’t part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We cannot judge these fine men appropriately with the undisputed Chris king out of the equation. Today, this ruling will merely be one that analyses how their roles in the biggest film of the year impacted the Marvel trio of Chrises. Hey, I don’t make the rules of Chris-dom, I just work here.
So, we’ll be judging the triad of Chrises on specific criteria that relates to Avengers: Infinity War - How big a role they played and how much it impacted the story, how good said actors are in their respective roles, and how foxy they looked doing it. My ruling is final, but feel free to fight over it in the comments, as long as you provide your own photographic evidence to back up your claims. And, of course, spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War.
On with the show!
Oh Captain, my Captain. Steve Rogers did look especially good in this film, but his role was much more limited than most of us had predicted it would be. Really, you could almost write it off as a cameo. He’s not the only character to suffer this fate in the film, given the sheer size of the ensemble and the need to give everyone at least a little to do over the course of 160 minutes. Still, with Evans, his lack of screen-time is the one we felt the most. I wonder if the Russo Bros. felt that Captain America: Civil War was almost his own Avengers moment so there was no need to amp him up for Infinity War. He certainly plays his part, but I’m not sure anyone walked away from the film feeling that he was the true star.
Seeing Evans emerge from the shadows of Waverley Station certainly warmed this Scot’s heart. Much was made about the post-Avengers beard and slightly scruffier hairstyle our formerly clean-cut good boy had grown for the occasion. It certainly strengthened our belief that a well-maintained layer of facial fuzz can make even the sexiest man that much hotter. Evans is also predictably strong. He’s managed to maintain just enough of Steve’s naïve optimism, even as he’s been jaded by reality. Captain America is probably the Avenger you’d be the most willing to follow into battle, because he could still make that petrifying experience seem worthwhile through the sheer force of his goodness. It’s just a shame that Evans doesn’t get more time to do what he’s so wonderful at in Infinity War.
Thor: Ragnarok was exactly what its eponymous hero needed, and it was also the perfect boost for Hemsworth. Sure, he’d done comedies before, but seeing him flex those muscles - often literally - in the perfect mix of action and joke was a minor revelation. Finally, Hollywood knew how to use Hemsworth properly. There was some concern that Infinity War, which comes with no Taika Waititi involvement whatsoever, would undo all the hard work of Ragnarok. It would have been such a waste for Hemsworth to go back to beige stoicism with Thor. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, and Thor ended up being one of the driving forces of the film.
Infinity War found the right balance between this new sardonic hero and his overwhelming grief, for which his outlet is sarcasm, violence and the occasional bout of self-awareness. Thor’s lost the most out of the main Avengers crew over the past several films, and this one opens with the slaughtering of his people as well as the death of Loki (this time for real? Maybe?) As he himself says, he has nothing else to lose now. At least he gets that eye back. His jovial conversations with Rocket Raccoon offer some of the best banter in the film, and once he’s armed with a new hammer, he comes out swinging with greater powers than ever before. Thor gets his groove back, and thankfully he’s keeping the short hair to go with it.
Frankly, I always felt like I should fancy Hemsworth more than I did, but once he lost the long hair in Ragnarok, I was 100% on board. This is Peak Hemsworth, and long may it reign.
What is there to say about Pratt? The Chris consistently ranked the worst has had a tough time getting out of that last place spot since Jurassic World. Now that he’s a major movie star, it has often felt like Hollywood has no idea how to use him effectively beyond ‘Well, we could use a new Harrison Ford, I guess.’ That changed in Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, once James Gunn and company realised there was only so much charm to be found in the handsome bastard trope. In some of the MCU’s most unexpectedly touching scenes, Star Lord’s relationships with Gamora, his father and Yondu revealed him to be a more fragile figure than originally depicted. The dude had problems, and Vol. 2 let us see just how damaged he was, thanks to some of the toughest family problems in the galaxy (at least for someone who doesn’t have Thanos as a step-dad).
Infinity War… Well, it kind of built on that? The Russo Bros. relied a tad too heavily on the early days Peter Quill, although his insecure jock routine had its charm when played against the unconcerned buffness of Thor.
What kept him grounded was his relationship with Gamora, a pairing that finally felt earned (Vol. 2 went a long way to remind viewers that there’s a reason neither of them was ready for a romance at that time). One of the film’s tenser scenes involved Peter having to make the ultimate sacrifice for the woman he loved, and it was a helpful prompt to those of us who frequently overlooked Pratt’s skills with true moments of pathos. Of course, then Peter goes and fucks it up for everyone by basically letting Thanos break free before the others can pull the Infinity Gauntlet off his hand. Thanks, Star Lord!
In fairness, it felt like the kind of impetuous mistake Peter would make, and Pratt played it well. The issues I have with that moment are more to do with bad plotting than the character or actor. Still, it can’t help but effect the Chris ranks in some way. Like I said, I don’t make the rules.
CURRENT NON-REGULATION CHRIS RANKINGS:
But really, Pine is always #1.
(All gifs from Giphy. Header photograph from Getty Images. It’s actually really hard to find a photo of all three Marvel Chrises together, sorry!)