For the love of Chris
Globe Arts presents a handy guide to the Chris-ening of the modern blockbuster
The seventies had their fightin' Roberts (De Niro, Duvall and Redford). The nineties were chilly with tensions between the two Ices of the day (Cube and T). And we're only now getting over the Great Jennifer Boom of the early aughts (Aniston, Garner, Lopez – and Love Hewitt, if we're being charitable). Which leaves us thick in the midst of Hollywood's Chris Crisis. As in there are simply too many handsome young white men named Chris crowding the big screen, especially if that screen is playing a superhero movie. To prepare for this weekend's release of Thor: Ragnarok, starring the Australian Chris of the bunch (Hemsworth), The Globe and Mail presents a handy guide to the Chris-ening of the modern blockbuster.
Chris Hemsworth, 34
Best known – perhaps only known – as superhero Thor, Hemsworth is the secret comedic weapon among all the current Chrises. (Or is it "Chriss"? "Chrisisis"? Attention all men named Chris: You're making this harder than it needs to be.) Although Thor has never been the most exciting or funny or mildly interesting of Marvel Studios' Avengers, the new outing Ragnarok gives Hemsworth some much-needed room to show off his talent for deadpan comedy, a trait he's been developing quietly on such failed blockbusters as Ghostbusters and Vacation. His post-Ragnarok outings look both promising (Drew Goddard's Bad Times at the El Royale) and dispiriting (the dreary-looking military drama 12 Strong). But at least it'll only be a few months until he's back swinging the hammer in May's Avengers: Infinity War.
Chris Pratt, 38
The most unlikely success story to come from this current crop of Chrises, Pratt seemed to be content with life as a sitcom sidekick until Guardians of the Galaxy came knocking. Now, he's quickly cycling through all the stages of a blockbuster star in rapidly concerning succession, moving from triumphs (Jurassic World, The Lego Movie) to almost-disasters (The Magnificent Seven) to absolute disasters (Passengers). In a sign of just how quickly the industry is cycling through these Chris-men, Pratt has already begun retreating to past glories in an effort to keep his star bright (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, next year's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom). Godspeed, Star-Lord.
Chris Evans, 36
Evans is the only Chris on this list to play not one but two Marvel superheroes (Captain America and Fantastic Four teammate Johnny Storm, though for contractual reasons both exist in separate cinematic universes – listen, I have no time to go over the differences now). Yet, aside from his Twitter baiting of Donald Trump, which has earned him approximately one billion #woke points, he's barely made a dent outside his red-white-and-blue uniform. Even the most diehard Steve Rogers fan would be hard-pressed to name his past three non-Marvel films (Gifted, Playing It Cool and Before We Go, the latter of which also marked the lowest-profile directorial debut of anyone, ever). Still, Evans should get points for making Joon-ho Bong's wonderfully bizarre Snowpiercer.
Chris Pine, 37
While Pine is the only Chris here to not play in Marvel's sandbox, he has still mucked around the comic-book genre, albeit in a (slightly) more subversive fashion. As Steve Trevor in this summer's Wonder Woman, Pine was essentially the damsel-in-distress to Gal Gadot's superhero. Not that Pine is slouching in the namebrand-hero department, having gone three rounds as Star Trek's Captain Kirk, with a fourth on the way. All that, and Pine's been more judicious in choosing his non-franchise projects, with an acclaimed turn in Hell or High Water and instant comedy-geek cred with his run in Netflix's Wet Hot American Summer revival.