In the Avengers movie:

Thor is trapped in the Hulk's cage by Loki and then sent falling to Earth from the Helicarrier. After he breaks free and lands on Earth, he tries to pick up his hammer Mjolnir.

Instead of showing him just pick Mjolnir up, he hesitates, and the camera closes in on his hand as it makes a fist. Since Thor must be worthy to wield the hammer, was Thor unworthy? Why did they shoot it this way?

I feel like this may be the case because

just prior to falling, he fell for a trick that Loki says he has fallen for many times before, which results in him getting trapped. Thor then watches as Loki kills Agent Coulson, to whom Thor was incredibly respectful.

It seems like this, coupled with his own baggage about feeling responsible for bringing Asgardian trouble to Earth multiple times, shook his self worth, thus making him unworthy.

I only question my reading of the events because it is never stated explicitly and Thor just picks up his hammer in the next scene and is whisked away to battle.

Was it intentionally left subtle?

  • 1
    I didn't even catch this event lol May 7, 2012 at 19:07
  • 3
    Reply to your second spoiler: If he became unworthy, how did he break-free from the cage just prior to collision with Earth?
    – user931
    May 16, 2012 at 17:32
  • This is a good question and that scene where he looks at his hand has always impressed me, excellent directing and acting. Still, I think you're only going to find interpretations of the scene, nothing in canon or whatever is going to definitively tell us what Thor was thinking right then. It's the type of ambiguity that's very powerful.
    – FoxMan2099
    Feb 3, 2014 at 6:28
  • Related: movies.stackexchange.com/q/26542/49.
    – TARS
    May 3, 2015 at 11:55

9 Answers 9


Your reading of the events in the second spoiler there is accurate. Throughout The Avengers, Thor is depicted as having the increased wisdom he gained from the events of Thor. He acknowledges it at one point with "in my youth, I called for war." And yet, in the heat of the moment, he was his old, brash self. Rushing headlong into a trap, and getting a man killed for it. Every other time in the movie he calls his hammer to him. But at that moment, he felt had to go to it, for he didn't feel worthy.

  • 38
    Ironically, the very fact that he believed he may be unworthy is probably why he was, in fact, worthy. He was showing humility at that point, and acknowledging his mistakes (and the cost they incurred upon his allies).
    – Jeff
    May 21, 2012 at 1:44
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    The subtlety of the scene was that he didn't test Mjolnir to gauge his worthiness. He simply started to pick up Mjolnir, but stopped because he felt he was. He didn't need confirmation from Mjolnir that he was. As stated above Mjolnir would have still responded to him, but his humility left him feeling as if he didn't deserve to wield Mjolnir.
    – McFuu
    May 13, 2013 at 9:13
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    I remember the line as "in my youth, I courted war", but I'd have to re-check the subtitles to verify.
    – Adam V
    Oct 22, 2013 at 18:59
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    +1 for "he felt had to go to it". I thought that was the best indicator of his feelings at the time. Oct 22, 2013 at 20:41
  • Perhaps Thor's walk to the Hammer was part of making himself worthy enough to wield it: a type of Catharsis acknowledging his humility and understanding of his actions. Perhaps it would have been brash of him to just assume he was still worthy, but the time for reflection presented by walking to Mjolnir was part of his penance for being able to wield it again... perhaps without this physical contrition, Mjolnir Wouldn't have let him wield it... just speculation, of course. Feb 3, 2014 at 0:00

Agreed: he only "felt" unworthy...which inhibited his ability to have Mjolnir return to his hand. If he was actually unworthy, then he would not have been able to pick up the hammer at all. However, he is able to pick it up and in turn get the cool chain-mail as well.

I agree with your analysis above.

I also think this was way too subtle in the film. The "worthy" aspect of his character is difficult to convey, and so the film needed to be more obvious in what they were doing. For someone who did not see the "Thor" movie, it probably made even less sense.

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    He didn't fail to call it to his hand, he never tried. Instead, he chose to walk over to the hammer.
    – Jeff
    Oct 26, 2012 at 18:58
  • 1
    “I also think this was way too subtle in the film.” That’s the first time I’ve heard someone call Avengers subtle. I think that’s the beauty of having someone like Joss Whedon in charge. He’ll take a character moment like that, and portray it without clunky expository dialogue freaking subtitling the thing. It’s there for the people who’ve watched every film in the series and sat in their cinema seat until the lights go on to make sure there’s no post-post-post credits sequence. Mar 14, 2014 at 10:08

I think it was neither of the above.

I think the fall, landing and recovery took it's toll on Thor.

At that moment, I believe he was really injured and was contemplating the fact that Asgardians may not be so immortal after all.

When he reaches for the hammer he is injured, tired and above all in pain.

Not something a God is used to I would figure.

Just my take on the scene.

  • this is just as valid as the other interpretations, it's really left up to the viewer to interpret the scene.
    – FoxMan2099
    Feb 3, 2014 at 6:22

I thought it had something to do with him falling out of the sky (the overlap of the lines with the scene with Bruce Banner hinted at it as well), that it wasn't so much that he chose not to call Mjolnir to him, but that he tried and failed so had to walk like a human to find it. He fell out of the sky, metaphorically speaking losing his godliness for a moment.

Reading everyone's opinions here, though, the one that also makes somes sense is his "humility" and intense sense of responsibility so he wouldn't even try.


I think simply because of the fact that he realize his loving brother just tried to kill him. which obviously affected him. to have someone you love and believe in only to have them ultimately betray you


If, as many have suggested, the blue gem in Loki's staff is the Mind Infinity Gem, it very well could have messed with Thor's mind. (Remember the scene where they were all arguing with one another?) Then Thor had to battle his "friend", the Hulk. After which he faces and essentially loses to his brother, only to watch Coulson "die". All of this went a long way to screw with his heart and mind, understandably.

Therefore, once he freed himself from Hulk's "room", he went over the edge in rage/clouded mind/etc which made him temporarily unworthy. Thor was not able to call Mjolnir to him. He had to go hunt the hammer down. After coming back to his senses, sorting things out in his head, he regained worthiness and was able to lift his hammer... right around the time everybody else came to their senses.

As stated ahead of my comment, it is left to interpretation. I'm sure there are those out there who can argue my point to shreds, and I look forward to reading that.

BTW, I don't know if they ever mentioned it in Marvel, but Loki was the Norse trickster, but he was also referred to as the god of War. Ergo, I thought Thor said, "In my youth I called him [i.e. Loki] War." That could be wrong too. Anybody watch it with subtitles?


I would have to agree with axer 141. Thor just had his brother betray him. The fight in asgard was tense but still Thor saw a brother in loki when loki uses the words "the humans think us immortal how about we test that" loki bluntly decided that he was going kill his brother without disdain. After all that just happened in 2 days: the fight with iron man, Cap's shield impact, Loki refusing to return, the introduction and fight with the hulk, the death of coulson. All of these now pitted him against his brother and now i believe it's not about him being unworthy but more of him deciding this is what i have to do.


Thor wasn't unworthy, he was hesitant. He believed his brother wasn't beyond saving, that Loki was just misguided.

After Loki tried to kill him, he realized that his brother at this point would have to be taken down one way or another, to take his hammer is acceptance that he will do whatever it takes to stop his brother.


No it's because it needs to be powered by thunder which is why he then lifted it to the sky and powered it with lightning.

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