“Whoever wields this hammer, if he’d be worthy, shall have the power of Thor…”
With the release of the first “Avengers – Age of Ultron“-trailer, the audience and Marvel-fans got a first preview into what to expect from the upcoming movie. The trailer looks really promising, and will bring a (hopefully) darker side to the superheroes. The trailer also got an extended version, containing a scene that was shown at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. And this extended trailer bugs and intrigues me.
The scene is made mainly for fun, every member of the team inefficiently try to uplift Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer. Then we see Thor’s shocked face when Steve Rogers alias Captain America almost manage to take the hammer. This made me wonder: Why exactly is Thor worthy of wielding the hammer?
These people are all superheroes, and most of them have superhuman strength and abilities. Bruce Banner becomes the muscular green monster Hulk whenever he is angry or excited, Tony Stark has got a metal armor suit that withstands most physical damage, Steve Rogers has got any human ability and strength put to the maximum. And Thor is an alien from another world, a bit stronger and slower aging than the average human being. What makes him stand out from this crowd and make him worthy in the “eyes” of Mjolnir?
The hammer, as it is explained in the movie, had been forged in the core of a dying star, which definitely would explain the weight it has got when standing or lying around.
Of course, Banner isn’t worthy because of his other side’s anger issues, and Tony Stark is egocentric and too full of himself. But those characteristics were combined in Thor in his first movie. He yelled at his father, was too full of himself, treated other humans as peasants and drank a lot. Yet in that film he apparently did overcome those “flaws” and became worthy of wielding the hammer – in a couple of days. It also should be noted, that his father Odin was totally able to carry the weapon while being furious.
That brings us to the characteristics of caring and Captain America. Steve Rogers may be the best (“goodest”) man of all time. He cares for his fellow people as well as total strangers. He is not really a patriotic man (despite his quite obvious superhero-persona) but would fight for all of mankind. He is basically Marvel’s Superman. He also was all that before he became the world’s most famous steroids user. Even as a skinny, underdeveloped Steve Rogers, he was still the most caring person in the US (while also being kinda mainly influences by US-propagandistic recruitment films). Anyway, Rogers never needed any kind of revelation or rehabilitation to/ of his true self. He has always been “a good man”, whose morality would inspire countless other people and heroes.
All Thor does is punching people, drink and hitting them with his hammer.
What I want to say is, the rules of each Marvel-hero have troubles working when it comes to shared Universe. As there are a lot of superheroes definitely worthy of the power of Thor.
A possible answer may have already been given to us by another long running Sci-Fi series: Stargate. In this series, humanity battles the gruesome alien-race called Goa’uld. These aliens are wormlike parasites, who cling to a humanoid host, giving him an incredible long life (as well as glowing yellow eyes)
I see the powers of the Asgardians as galactic energy-parasites as well. While not having a physical form, these cosmic energies/ entities have the ability to “possess” people/ lifeforms, and grant them incredible powers. So it’s technically not the persons, the Asgardians, but these energies, that own the power. And they are able to switch bodies, like when the host becomes deadly injured or isn’t proven worthy anymore. That’s why in the comic-universe, Thor is several characters (among them a horse and a frog, and only recently a woman! Go figure.)
Still, this interpretation doesn’t answer the question why exactly the Asgardian played by Chris Hemsworth is worthy of possessing Thor’s powers. Maybe it does have something to do with heritage, that due to the fact that this host of Thor is the biological son of Odin’s and Frigga’s (Rene Russo) hosts, we have a genetic component.
Heritage is also a huge issue in Stargate, as the Goa’uld were a dying race, prolonging their existence through their parasitic behavior. A biological Goa’uld-child is said to inherit their parents’ knowledge of the universe by genetic codes. Could this be the same case in the Marvel-universe? That probably would make Thor one of the most powerful creatures in the universe. But this doesn’t explain the Mjolnir-thing at all!
A homicidal issue
A final theory relates to the characters and nature of superheroes. You see, Superheroes are supposed to be larger than-life, rescue innocent people and victims, and also have the moral high ground. But this moral high ground also includes a restraint in lethal force, meaning that superheroes wouldn’t kill. But let’s face it, comic-book-superheroes are kind of bad at this.
This topic would take up an entire article, so I’ll just focus on the cinematic Marvel-universe: Almost everybody is a killer: Tony Stark is an irresponsible alcoholic who owns a walking super-tank. He uses rockets to kill Afghan terrorists in Iron Man I, endangers countless civilians throughout the series (especially in Iron Man 2 where he lets Stark Expo-visitors get killed by drones during the climax with Whiplash), and doesn’t even regret.
Black Widow is an assassin who wouldn’t stun people, although she has the training to do so, but rather coldbloodedly kills them. (I couldn’t find the scene with her most brutal murder, but this one will also serve its purpose). The same goes with Hawkeye.
The Hulk also has a purpose and kills (and would kill) on purpose.
And Captain America, while claiming to just not liking bullies, still kills them on countless occasions.
And guess who the only “hero” is I couldn’t find any gruesome murders of? Exactly, Thor may kill some ice giants and a rock monster in his films, but he never kills or attempts to kill human people. Maybe this is the answer I’ve been looking for. Maybe he is worthy of Thor’s powers because he wouldn’t kill. Oh wait…
Damn! Back to the drawing board!