While Thor’s hammer is now crushed, there are still some unanswered questions about who could lift it and why, and who is considered “worthy.” What is worthy, exactly? And why could an an artificial being like The Vision lift it so effortlessly?
Of course, there are the meta answers: the production team decided it would be a funny payoff to the Avengers: Age of Ultron “party game” where our heroes all gave it a whack. As Dan (owner of RunPee) states, “I don’t think there’s a ‘reason’ Vision can lift the hammer. It’s just there for drama, and perfectly set up by Joss.”
Well, yeah, Joss Whedon produced Age of Ultron, and he’s known for both witty banter and developing a satisfying payoff to amusing set-ups. So it could just be that Joss found it funny (which it is, no question). But he’s also a certified geek, like we are at RunPee. So a purely production-oriented answer isn’t enough for us. [pullquote]Surely Joss thought this out completely and has an in-universe reason.[/pullquote] (For the sake of this discussion, I’m not indulging in comic book storylines about Mjölnir.)
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In a previous article, I mentioned who was able to lift Mjölnir, and offered some ideas why Vision had no issues.
However, with someone as “pure” as Captain America not lifting the hammer (although he made it jiggle slightly), and someone as genocidal as Hela holding/crushing it so casually, I have to wonder what ‘worthiness’ entails, and if that term even makes sense from a human standpoint. Maybe Asguardian worthiness is something very unique and specific…although in the first Thor movie, Odin made the concept sound just like what we would expect it to mean.
So, if Cap can’t lift the hammer, and Hela can, then where does Vision fall into this part of the narrative?[pullquote position=”right”]It’s possible that Vision, being an android and essentially a brand-new person, was like Data from Star Trek: a being of intensely curious intelligence, great innocence, and no personality flaws.[/pullquote] That could well be seen as worthy. But it’s more likely the hammer, essentially being ‘magic’ and non-tech, didn’t recognize Vision as a person. The tool was never hinted to be sentient, so how would it even know the android was alive? It would more likely automatically pick up on a person’s soul/aura/katra/whatever. I’m positing Vision didn’t have a soul/etc, although in the MCU anything can happen. Plus there was an Infinity Stone at play, which makes its own rules. (I’m painting myself into corners here, I know.)
Which leads to wondering about non-living elements and their relationship with Thor’s deceased hammer. Can other things, like an elevator, airplane, helicarrier, or even a car, be able to move it? If Thor traveled in a plane and put the hammer down, would the hammer punch through to the ground, possibly pinning the plane under it? Am I over-thinking this?
I’d have to rewatch all the scenes where Thor is traveling (or in an elevator) and see if he ever put the hammer down. I imagine if the hammer can’t be moved mechanically, that Thor would have to have the weapon somewhere on his person at all times. The writers probably didn’t stress themselves too greatly over this matter, but bear with me. If indeed Thor isn’t carrying the hammer in every scene on the helicarrier, for example, then maybe tech can lift it (although Iron Man AND War Machine, working together, could not use their suits to move it, nor could Stan Lee get it to budge with his truck in New Mexico — maybe ignore those moments for now).[pullquote]If the hammer can be moved/lifted by such non-living things as vehicles, then it would follow that Vision should have no problem with it.[/pullquote] It’s hard to say what a satisfying answer would be. That probably depends on whether cold, rational logic applies in the MCU, and how big a fan one is of The Vision as a heroic character.
Too bad we didn’t see Ultron try to lift Mjölnir, for comparison. I’m going to say this: Hela handling the hammer makes this all really problematic. While I adored Thor: Ragnarok, Hela’s ability threw the entire worthiness concept out the window for the sake of an admittedly very cool image.
I am definitely over-thinking this. 🙂
Read More, On RunPee:
Marvel Characters Who Lifted Thor’s Hammer
How Tony Stark Gets Off Titan After Infinity War
The 5 Movies You Must Watch Before Avengers Infinity War
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Good questions about what “worthy” means, and how Hela was able to catch Mjölnir.
Oden is powerful enough to “whisper” a spell to the hammer and it obeys. So there’s that. Hypothesis: maybe Hela wasn’t remotely “worthy”, but it didn’t matter; if her source of power comes from a meta level equal to Oden’s then she isn’t subject to the magic spell on Mjölnir.
About a non living thing being able to lift Mjölnir. In the first Avengers Thor’s hammer falls to the deck of the helicarrier. It even leaves a small crater. Then we have the funny scene of Hulk trying to pick it up, but can’t. Mjölnir certainly puts weight on the helicarrier, by evidence of the crater it makes in the deck, but it doesn’t affect the stability of the helicarrier, which is in trouble already. So I don’t think Mjölnir has a notable effect on an inanimate object.
So, why could Vision pick it up effortlessly? Maybe “worth” or “pure” isn’t a judgement of good/bad, but instead is about internal conflict. For instance, when Thor lost his ability to pick up Mjölnir he had internal conflict. He didn’t really have a clear path in life. When he learned what he wanted to be about, and was no longer conflicted, then he regained his mastery of Mjölnir. In the same way, we could say that everyone has internal conflict, and that Steve Rogers has the least — his loyalties are sometimes conflicted, which is his character arc. Vision, being part Infinity Stone and part computer is pure of conflict.
Anyway, I doubt if that’s exactly what the writers have in mind about the rules for controlling Mjölnir, but it works fairly well.
Jill Florio Administrator
Thanks, Dan! That’s some good thinking, based on what we’ve seen and how we remember the hammer’s ‘narrative’ — if a tool/weapon can have a story of it’s own.
I’m going to go with Mjolnir as an inanimate object with an “Aegis of power” laid upon it. Said power might be simply binary: worthy/not worthy…but creates clear story issues for the MCU continuity, over way too many films, writers, and directors.
A supergeek would probably do a fast-forward rewatch JUST for scenes about the Hammer and Worthiness…and our developing thought of ‘purity.’ I am reminded of a Xena episode, of all things, where the evil twin was able to use the spiritual MacGuffin by ‘pureness’ of her evil. Again, does pure = worthy?
All we have to go on are bits and pieces from Thor’s trilogy and the Avenger ensembles. This is good. Time to do a background film check.
If anyone knows more, please share. Nothing like a looming plothole to get the mental juices flowing.
However, it probably cannot be moved by other machinery (Cars, Bulldozers etc.) because, in one of the early Thor movies, Odin takes away Thor’s capability of using the Mjölnir and casts him away to Earth.
Many People who find the Hammer in the Ground in some sort of Desert I believe try to pull it with their trucks, and later the Government tries too, but cannot. Loki also couldn’t when he tried btw.
Jill Florio Administrator
Right, but it is a not as easy as that, since the planes and helicarrers carried and lifted it. I don’t think all of this has been consistent.
GOAL, next: watch all the films with the hammer and see if there is any consistency. Maybe the producers had a playbook for the hammer, or maybe it was an arbitrary plot MacGuffin.
Hela didn’t “lift” the hammer. She just stopped its forward momentum temporarily.
True, but no one else could stop the hammer either. So, she had something going for her.