Ranking the Thor movies, from worst-to-best

Poster for Thor: Ragnarok, the third film in the Thor franchise, and these are the Thor films in orderMarvel Studios

With Thor: Love and Thunder now on Disney+, it’s the perfect time to look back at how many Thor movies there are, and rank the Thor movies in order from worst to best. 

Thor first appeared in the pages of Journey Into Mystery #83 in August 1962. Based on the Norse god of the same name, he was created by writer Stan Lee, artist Jack Kirby, and scripter Jerry Lieber.

The character starred in multiple solo series’, while he’s a longtime member of The Avengers.

This means he’s appeared in Marvel movies The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. He also had a cameo in Doctor Strange. But for the purposes of this article, we’re focusing on standalone Thor movies.

How many Thor movies are there?

Thor’s legendary hammer Mjölnir was glimpsed at the end of Iron Man 2, but we didn’t meet the God of Thunder until he top-lined his own solo movie in the shape of 2011’s Thor.

That was then followed by Thor: The Dark World in 2013, which was a semi-serious take on the material. And then Thor: Ragnarok in 2017, which couldn’t have been less serious.

Meaning there have been three Thor movies up until now, making new release Love and Thunder the fourth entry in the series thus far.

Ranking the Thor movies in order

Now you know how many Thor movies there are, this is our ranking of the Thor movies in order, from worst to best…

4. Thor: The Dark World

Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark World, the worst of the Thor moviesDisney/Marvel
Chris Hemsworth as Thor in The Dark World.

THE PLOT: Part of the problem with The Dark World is that its plot is way too convoluted. The film starts in the distant past, where Odin’s father Bor is battling Dark Elf Malekith, and trying to stop him from unleashing a weapon called the Aether. Then Thor, Fandral, Volstaff and Siff fight marauders on Vanaheim.

While we also learn that the Convergence is about to happen, causing portals to open across the Nine Realms, plunging them into danger. All of which leads Thor to earth. There’s lots of death in this one – including Thor’s mother Frigga, and his brother Loki (kind-of). While it all ends with a somewhat underwhelming climax in Greenwich.

THE RESULT: The Dark World isn’t just the worst Thor movie, it’s one of the worst films in the MCU. There’s just something so stale and lifeless about it, like the filmmakers didn’t know whether to take the material seriously, or have fun with the character, and so got caught somewhere in-between. Villain Malekith is also a disaster, the character woefully underwritten, and about as threatening as a hamster.

3. Thor

Chris Hemsworth in ThorDisney/Marvel
Thor began his celluloid journey in 2011.

THE PLOT: The first Thor movie is all about ascension to the Asgardian throne, with brothers Thor and Loki vying for the spot that their father Odin is vacating. But trouble comes in the form of the Frost Giants, with whom the Asgard has a delicate truce. One that is broken by Thor’s hubris and Loki’s manipulation.

Thor is then banished to Earth as a mortal, and unable to use his hammer Mjölnir. What follows is a fish-out-of-water tale as Thor learns about our world, and falls in love with astrophysicist Jane Foster. It then ends with a couple of big battles – on Earth and Asgard – with Thor finishing the film worthy of wielding Mjölnir, but not yet ready for the throne.

THE RESULT: The first Thor story is clearly inspired by King Lear, so Marvel picked Kenneth Branagh to oversee this one; a man who has directed Shakespeare on both stage and screen. Branagh is a man of visuals as well as words, and his direction is suitably epic, particularly in the Asgardian scenes.

But what really makes this one work is the casting. Chris Hemsworth was seemingly born to play a Thunder God, the Australian actor looking the part, and managing to be both silly and serious at the same time. While Tom Hiddleston quickly makes the role of Loki his own, so-much-so that the God of Mischief is now one of Marvel’s most popular characters, and even recently got his own spinoff show.

2. Thor: Love and Thunder

natalie_portman_in_thor_love_and_thunderDisne/Marvel
Natalie Portman takes center stage in Thor: Love and Thunder.

THE PLOT: Thor’s newest movie finds the God of Thunder working with the Guardians of the Galaxy early in proceedings, before forming a team of his own to do battle with Gorr, who wants all gods gone for good.

That rag-tag gang consists of Valkyrie, Korg, and Jane Foster, who now wields Mjölnir, and is hiding a heartbreaking secret from her former love. That revelation takes the film into heavy territory, but Love and Thunder works best when it’s having fun, most notably during a visit to Omnipotent City, where our heroes come face-to-face with a quite ridiculous Zeus.

THE RESULT: Having enjoyed success with Thor Ragnarok (see below), writer-director Taika Waititi delivers more of the same with this sequel. So the jokes come thick and fast, while the action frequently plays out in slow-motion – to a classic rock score – making it another blast of adrenaline-fueled fun.

Love and Thunder is less successful when dealing with the serious stuff, while the abundance of characters means the film’s underdeveloped villain barely gets a look-in, making Gorr something of a bore.

1. Thor: Ragnarok

thor_and_hulk_fight_in_thor_ragnarokDisney/Marvel
Thor battles Hulk in Ragnarok.

THE PLOT: The third Thor movie revolves around the title character’s efforts to prevent Ragnarok, which is pretty much the end of days for Asgard. But the wheels are set in motion by the death of his father Odin and the freeing his his half-sister Hela, who is hell-bent on revenge.

Add to the mix Loki – up to his usual tricks – and it looks like the end is nigh. But then the film detours to a garbage planet called Sakaar, where Thor is forced to fight his old pal Hulk. And what until that point was pretty average MCU fare becomes something truly special.

Sakaar’s ‘Contest of Champions’ features some of the series’ most entertaining action, while at the same time introducing superb characters like Korg and Valkyrie. The film ends in a big battle, obvs, but it’s also one of the most colorful, exciting, and funny climaxes yet seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

THE RESULT: Fair to say no one saw this one coming, but guess it’s why they pay Kevin Feige the big bucks. Taika Waititi – comedy genius behind What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople – was tasked with figuring out Thor, and nailed it on his first try – by mercilessly poking fun at the character.

Hemsworth excels at being the butt of the joke, while everyone around him looks like they are having a blast, most notably Jeff Goldblum and Cate Blanchett as the film’s villains. The tone is as light and bright as the color palette, while the action rocks as much as the soundtrack. The result is a truly great Thor movie, and one of the best films in the MCU.

Thor: Love and Thunder is on Disney+ now, and you can read our review here.

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