Movies & TV Shows

Thor Movies, Ranked From Worst To Best

Warning: Thor: Love and Thunder spoilers ahead

Of all Thor movies ranked (including Thor: Love and Thunder), which is the best Thor movie? Thor has been charismatically portrayed by Chris Hemsworth in the God of Thunder’s every appearance in the MCU, beginning in 2011 with the release of the original Thor movie. Since then, Thor has had a record-breaking three more solo films, for a total of four, more than any other MCU character to date. While this is impressive on its own, each Thor film also varies widely in tone, making them tough to compare.

After the blockbuster success of Iron Man in 2008 opened the door to more MCU movies that built to 2012’s The Avengers, Thor was one of the anchors of the franchise, along with Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. Iron Man’s real-world-based technology was the center of the MCU while Captain America was both a throwback to its past and its moral compass. Thor, however, was initially considered a dicey proposition as he introduced magic, the Norse gods, space travel, and other fanciful elements to the MCU. Since the 1990s, many top filmmakers like Sam Raimi, Matthew Vaughn, and Guillermo Del Toro attempted to bring the God of Thunder to the big screen, but finally, Marvel Studios tapped Kenneth Branagh to direct Thor for a May 2011 release date.


Related: How Much Thor: Love & Thunder Cost To Make (& What Box Office It Needs)

Unlike Iron Man and Captain America, who each had two films directed by Jon Favreau and the Russo Brothers, respectively, the Thor movies have lacked overall consistency. Every Thor film until Thor: Love and Thunder had a different director who altered the tone of the saga, especially Taika Waititi, who upended Thor’s universe completely while delivering the most popular and financially successful installment, Thor: Ragnarok. And yet, Thor is the MCU character with arguably the most interesting franchise precisely because of the extensive and varied journey he’s had. It’s no surprise that the best Thor movie is also one of the best movies in the MCU at large.

As Thor’s character evolved over the years, his popularity has also increased; whereas he was once the butt of Tony Stark’s jokes for his blonde-haired good looks and faux-Shakespearean style of speech (Stark nicknamed him “Point Break”), Thor has gained substantial character depth and he has arguably become the most tragic hero of the Avengers – yet, the 1500-year old God of Thunder still nobly fights for what’s right because “that’s what heroes do”. Here, then, are all Thor films ranked worst to best, including the latest installment from Marvel, Thor: Love and Thunder.

4. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Released in November 2013, Thor: The Dark World is the second Thor film and is generally regarded as one of the least popular MCU films by fans. Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins was originally confirmed to direct Thor 2 before she exited due to “creative differences” and Marvel Studios selected Game of Thrones director Alan Parker to replace her. Hemsworth, Natalie Portman as Thor’s love interest Jane Foster, Kat Dennings as Darcy, Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, and Tom Hiddleston as Loki all returned for the sequel, which also introduced the Aether, which turned out to be the Reality Infinity Stone as the MCU began to lay the groundwork for the Infinity Stones.

The Dark World reversed the original Thor‘s fish-out-of-water premise; this time, Foster, who was infected by the power of the Aether, is brought to Asgard by Thor, where she meets his parents Odin and Frigga (Rene Russo), who is killed off. Meanwhile, the Dark Elf Lord Malekith (Christopher Eccleston – who later admitted to hating the film), sought the power of the Aether to use during a cosmic event called the Convergence, which would put the Nine Realms under his dominion. The continuation of Thor’s love affair with Jane doesn’t quite gel with the intergalactic action as the God of Thunder fights Dark Elves across dimensions to stop Malekith, a cosmic plot that ends up being rather forgettable. Meanwhile, Loki ‘dies’ in the film (one of many fake MCU Loki deaths), which was quickly revealed to be a ruse when the God of Mischief masquerades as Odin and installs himself as King of Asgard. Also, The Collector (Benicio Del Toro) is introduced in the post-credits scene; the Reality Stone is given to him for safekeeping, setting the stage for Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Infinity War.

Related: Why Loki Isn’t In Thor: Love & Thunder

Uninspired as the film turned out to be, Thor: The Dark World has a few bright spots. In his third appearance as Thor, Hemsworth had eased into the role and was finding Odinson’s comedic edge, which he would fully tap into in the third film. Also, Chris Evans has a hilarious cameo when Loki takes the form of Captain America to mock Thor’s superhero friend. And it’s revealed a coat hook is worthy to lift Thor’s hammer when he hangs Mjolnir as he enters Jane’s London flat. Ultimately, however, Thor: The Dark World ranks not just at the bottom of Thor’s franchise but in the lower tier of MCU movies overall. (Even Chris Hemsworth doesn’t like Thor 2).

3. Thor (2011)

In May 2011, Thor introduced Chris Hemsworth’s swaggering, egotistical God of Thunder, who was stripped of his powers and forced to learn humility by Odin before he could claim the throne as King of Asgard. As such, Thor was banished to Midgard (Earth), where the powerless immortal meets his love interest Jane Foster and grows as a person before he is once more worthy to wield his enchanted hammer Mjolnir (which returns in Thor: Love and Thunder) and reclaim his godly powers. Meanwhile, Loki discovers that he’s not Asgardian as he always believed but that he is the son of the king of the Frost Giants; the God of Mischief then seeks revenge on Odin by trying to take over Asgard.

Director Kenneth Branagh succeeds in bringing sweeping Shakespearean-style drama and an epic scale to the film. The design of Odin’s golden castle and the general aesthetics of Asgard held for three Thor films (until it was all destroyed in Thor: Ragnarok). Branagh also brings a light touch to the fish-out-of-water romantic comedy between Thor and Jane, though some fans consider Portman’s portrayal of Jane Foster too flighty considering her job as an astrophysicist. The film shifts between the mythological grandeur of Asgard and the rather mundane New Mexico town Thor is banished to, which is later attacked by the Destroyer in the climactic fight scene. For MCU cameos, Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) of S.H.I.E.L.D. appears as a thorn in Jane’s side while cameo appearances by Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) sets up The Avengers.

In hindsight, Thor is certainly a product of the Phase 1 MCU with some baffling early choices like dyeing Hemsworth’s eyebrows blond. Thor and his universe, which includes Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexader) and the Warriors Three, already feel bigger and ready to burst out of the confines of the film’s relatively limited scale. Thor himself was a work in progress; a moment in a diner when Thor smashed a coffee cup was an early glimpse of what a humorous and endearing character Hemsworth would eventually turn the God of Thunder into. However, Thor concludes with a bittersweet ending where Jane and Thor are separated, which is enhanced by Patrick Doyle’s underrated musical score. Overall, Thor triumphantly brought the splendor and magic of the Asgardians into the MCU.

Related: Thor: Love & Thunder Soundtrack Guide – Every Song Explained

2. Thor: Love And Thunder (2022)

Jane and Thor face each other against a pink backdrop in Thor: Love And Thunder

Following the smash success of Taika Waititi’s Thor: RagnarokThor: Love and Thunder is a compelling and successful sequel that builds on its predecessor’s strong points and develops Thor’s journey in an authentic and interesting way. The 2022 film came highly anticipated due to Thor: Ragnarok‘s popularity, and it really delivers in almost every aspect. Waititi’s colorful brand of goofy but heart-filled storytelling continues to shine, as does Hemsworth’s performance as a humorous, charismatic Thor who’s had a lot of positive and well-thought-out character growth.

Thor: Love and Thunder sees Thor at yet another crossroads in his journey. He begins the film adventuring through space with the Guardians of the Galaxy but is determined to keep himself closed off from feelings after all the heartbreak he’s been through. This mentality is put to the test when Thor must return to New Asgard to defeat an unprecedented threat, Gorr the God Butcher, and come face-to-face with his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster, who has teamed up with his ex-weapon, Mjolnir, to become Mighty Thor. With Jane, Valkyrie, Korg, and some brand new screaming goats in tow, Thor travels to Omnipotence City and the Shadow Realm in order to defeat Gorr.

The second installment of Waititi’s Thor trilogy develops a sympathetic yet truly terrifying villain with Gorr, successfully re-introduces (and then kills off) Jane Foster in a way that offers bittersweet catharsis for her and Thor’s relationship, and continues to deploy the Thor franchise’s newly-minted tone of zany humor (case in point: the goats). Aside from this, it offers several tantalizing developments for future Thor-related projects, introducing Thor’s surrogate daughter and his new journey as a dad, debuting Brett Goldstein’s Hercules, and taking audiences to Valhalla for the first time. All of this being said, Thor: Love and Thunder doesn’t quite have the novelty of Thor: Ragnarok, and it drops the ball a little when it comes to developing the arcs of key supporting characters like Valkyrie and Lady Sif.

1. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Hulk Thor Valkyrie and Loki in Ragnarok

From the colorfully electric, Jack Kirby-inspired visuals teasing Thor vs. the Hulk, the hilarious one-liners, to the rocking strains of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”, it was clear from the first trailer that Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok was a going to be a completely different kind of Thor film. Outside of appearing in Doctor Strange‘s mid-credits scene (which is shown in its entirety in Ragnarok with a guest appearance by Benedict Cumberbatch), the God of Thunder hadn’t been seen in the MCU since 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and he sat out the Avengers’ Civil War. Off-screen, Thor’s relationship with Jane Foster had ended as well. Waititi had a clean slate – and he filled it with color, humor, energy, and genuine consequence for the eponymous Space Viking.

Related: When Love & Thunder Is Set In The MCU Timeline & How Long After Endgame

Instead, Thor is faced with his greatest challenge: trying to prevent his sister Hela, the Goddess of Death (Cate Blanchett) from conquering Asgard and saving his world from the mythical Ragnarok at the hands of Surtur (Clancy Brown). This time, Thor gets a lot of help from a superteam he dubs “The Revengers”, which includes Loki, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Merging Thor’s classic Ragnarok epic with Marvel Comics’ popular Planet Hulk story, Waititi brings his offbeat wit and visual flair to the task of demolishing Thor’s world completely; not only is Asgard destroyed, but Thor loses an eye, his hair, and his beloved magic hammer Mjolnir. Stripped of his time-tested accouterments, Hemsworth finds new depth and complexity to Thor and, in turn, the God of Thunder levels up in sheer power – though it still isn’t enough to beat Hela and prevent Ragnarok. As for the film’s MCU ties, Thor: Ragnarok introduced the zany Gamesmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and concludes with the ominous appearance of Thanos’ spaceship, which immediately leads into Avengers: Infinity War.

Released in November 2017, the wildly entertaining Thor: Ragnarok is still the highest-earning Thor film (although Thor: Love and Thunder could still top it) with $854-million, far outgrossing DC’s Justice League, which was released later that month. Waititi’s relentless, absurdist humor, the film’s irreverent tone, and composer Mark Mothersbaugh’s 1980s-inspired synth-pop score might not have won over every MCU fan, but Thor: Ragnarok was an undeniable jolt of energy to Thor, leaving behind nearly everything the prior films established and blazing new possibilities as the best film in the then-trilogy. Nearly every successful aspect of Thor: Love and Thunder owes itself to Thor: Ragnarok, which will probably be true for any future Thor movies as well, making it truly the best film in the franchise.

Next: Everything We Know About Thor 5: Story, Setting & Cast

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