Avengers: Age Of Ultron: Who Can Lift Thor’s Hammer, Mjolnir?


(Note: This article contains some spoilers concerning plot points in Avengers: Age of Ultron. If you want a non-spoiler review of the film itself, we’ve got one of those. Otherwise, read on, but be forewarned!)

As most fans know, there is an inscription on Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, that reads something like this:

"Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor."

In the comics, and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well, there is an enchantment on Mjolnir that prevents people who are not worthy from lifting the hammer (in current Marvel comics continuity, that includes Thor himself!). There’s a fantastic scene early in Avengers: Age of Ultron, where some members of the team, particularly Hawkeye, tease the God of Thunder by saying it’s some kind of trick. He offers to prove it’s not by letting them all let take a crack at lifting it.

With the exception of Black Widow, everyone fails. Even Tony Stark and Jim Rhodes working together with help from their armors’ gauntlets can’t do it. Steve Rogers is able to budge it, which causes Thor a brief but humorous moment of consternation. In the end, Thor simply concludes that none of them are worthy.

That’s consistent with the way Mjolnir is portrayed in the comics, where some people have been judged worthy of wielding the hammer, though usually only on a temporary basis. Steve Rogers was indeed one of those people, able to life Mjolnir and return it to Thor in a moment of danger for both of them

Age of Ultron plays on the enchantment and the earlier scene later on, when …

(And here’s where you really need to be moving on if you don’t want to read spoilers!)

… Vision is able to successfully pick up Mjolnir with no trouble at all. What gives?

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There are two possible interpretations. One is that the noble-hearted and young (as he comments himself, he was literally born yesterday) Vision is deemed worthy of the hammer. It’s certainly not out of the question.

The other, which is consistent with the way Mjolnir is written in the comics, is that since Vision is a sentient, artificial life form, he simply isn’t bound by the enchantment. Marvel writers have shown robots or androids like Gabriel the Air-Walker, an android herald of Galactus, and the Mad Thinker’s Awesome Android as being able to pick up Mjolnir. Interestingly, though, I can’t recall a time that the comic book version of the Vision did so. Incidentally, non-sentient machines can’t move it — you couldn’t use a crane to pick it up, for instance.

I’m sure there will be an officially sanctioned answer from Joss Whedon or one of the Age of Ultron writers, but I like the idea that we can decide which reason we support in this case. I’m leaning toward the “Vision is an android” theory, especially since the movie has the scene toward the end where Steve and Tony are teasing Thor about it by saying the “rules are different” for Vision, but I also like the idea that Vision is simply pure enough of heart to wield Mjolnir.

In any case, it was a cool bit that was handled well, and the earlier scene during the party made it that much more of a big deal when the payoff arrived later on.

Next: See six other heroes who have lifted Thor's hammer in the comics

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