Please Mjölnir don't hurt 'em. Chris Hemsworth would like to correct the record on his recent remarks to GQ that his most recent outing as the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Asgardian Thunder God — last year's Thor: Love and Thunder — was "too silly" for its own good. "I've got to clarify that: I was a little silly," the Australian actor tells Yahoo Entertainment during an interview about his action-packed Netflix sequel, Extraction 2. "Not silly — we were having so much fun, and that's sometimes too much of a good thing."
"I still love the film," Hemsworth adds of the Taika Waititi-helmed Thor-quel, which earned nearly $800 million worldwide despite mixed reviews from critics and Marvel fans (watch below). "You have to critique and look at what worked in case you do it again on a different film. The lesson I took was have fun with the comedy and so on, but what's the emotional drive and component here? Is this something relatable? Then you can add on all the jokes and the fantastical special effects and the elements. But if there's not a strong enough throughline, sometimes you're just having too much fun."
(Hemsworth has been in a clarifying state of mind while promoting Extraction 2: the actor also corrected the record when it came to comments he made last fall about taking an extended break from acting. While making the National Geographic docuseries Limitless, he learned he was genetically predisposed to Alzheimer's disease and said that "triggered something in me to want to take some time off" and spend time with his family. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight this week, Hemsworth said headlines about his hiatus got "blown out of proportion. ... I wanted to take off because I've been working for 10 years, and I've got three kids that I want to spend more time with.")
"What's amazing about Chris as an artist is that constant seeking of growth," Hemsworth's Extraction 2 director, Sam Hargrave, tells Yahoo. "He's willing to put himself out there and try things. Maybe they work and maybe they don't, but looking back, he's self-aware enough to say, 'I went there. Maybe it wasn't the right choice at the time, but I did it and learned.' If you're not trying new things, you're staying static and then you're not living."
Not for nothing, but the Extraction movies are considerably less silly than most Marvel movies — although they're still a lot of fun for Hemsworth and his collaborator, director Sam Hargrave, to make. The first film premiered on Netflix in 2020 and quickly became one of most-watched movies in the service's history. Extraction 2 resurrects Hemsworth's alter ego, mercenary-for-hire Tyler Rake, after his apparent death at the end of his inaugural adventure and dispatches him to "extract" the wife and children of a Georgian gangster from a perilous prison.
Both Extraction films are produced by Hemsworth's former Marvel colleagues Joe and Anthony Russo, who — Marvel filmography aside — have a well-documented affinity for the kind of no-nonsense action movies that Hollywood churned out in the '80s and '90s. (See also: The Gray Man and 21 Bridges.) And Extraction 2 would be right at home on a multiplex marquee alongside such vintage titles as Commando, Cobra and Missing in Action.
Asked if he feels that modern action movies should put silliness in the rearview and get back to being more serious, Hemsworth suggests that there's a place for both the grittiness of Extraction and the fun of Love and Thunder. "There's times when I want the gritty, real Michael Mann-style action film, and then other times I want to be taken for a ride and have a lighter experience. As an actor, it's about doing something different for my own creative journey, and also give the audience something where it doesn't feel redundant and repetitive."
"There's a time and place for comedy, because sometimes you want to laugh," adds Hargrave. "But sometimes you want to feel like you can take on the world and kick some butt. I think the most important thing that Chris mentioned is aligning with your character and the story, because that's the hardest thing. Making movies is about finding a tone and then carrying that throughout so it's true to the story you're trying to tell."
It's worth noting that Love and Thunder isn't the first Thor-quel that Hemsworth has looked back at critically. This November marks the 10th anniversary of 2013's Thor: The Dark World, which premiered to largely negative reviews after a tumultuous production that included director changes (Patty Jenkins departed the movie and was replaced by Alan Taylor), extensive script rewrites and last-minute story changes, like Tom Hiddleston's fan-favorite villain, Loki, surviving what was supposed to be a permanent death.
Speaking with Vanity Fair in 2022, Hemsworth admitted that his Dark World experience left him "really bored of Thor." But he says now that he never seriously considered walking away from the character, despite the difficult shoot. "We'd done the first film, and the pressure was on," he recalls. "We were a little late getting the script, and there was a bit of chasing our tail throughout the whole process."
"But everything is a lesson, whether it works or it doesn't," Hemsworth continues. "There were things we learned from [Dark World] that went into Ragnarok, and that's probably my favorite of the Marvel films. It's all just an opportunity to learn and experience something different. I remember talking to Ron Howard about making movies, and he said, 'You can put in the same effort and the same ingredients [into ever film], but you just don't know!' That's what's fun and also what's terrifying about it."
Extraction 2 is currently streaming on Netflix.