Thor: Ragnarok culminates in Thor realizing that the power of lightning is within him and that he has the power to summon/call/create it. During the beginning scene of Avengers: Infinity War, why didn't he use this to fight Thanos? It seems to me that he went through all this development in the Thor movie, only to forget it at a crucial moment.

Lightning is pretty powerful, and even against a strong character, it seems like the amount that Thor can output could cause him some issues.

Is there a reason that I missed of why he wouldn't be able to use it? Even if it was ineffective, wouldn't he at least try and attempt to save his brother?

  • 4
    Well, being on a spaceship might cause problem with calling down lightning from the sky ;)
    – Mithoron
    May 7, 2018 at 15:06
  • 3
    Can Thor summon lightning in Space?
    – user931
    Jun 23, 2018 at 20:47
  • 1
    We didn't see the battle between Thor and Thanos. Infinity War simply started by showing that Thanos had already won. It's possible that Thor used lightning on Thanos, but still he failed. Remember, Thanos had Power Stone and his team was also badass.
    – user931
    Sep 23, 2018 at 10:41

5 Answers 5


Thor's powers come from Asgard. Or as Ragnarok clarified, the Asgardians themselves. When Thanos first attacked, Thor likely could have used his lightning and perhaps did. We only see the immediate moments before in Ragnarok, and the aftermath in Infinity War.

By the time Infinity War begins, half of the Asgardians are dead, and with them the source of Thor's godly power. At that point he was limited to just his Asgardian strength and durability.

He only got those powers back when we aquired a new source for those powers when he helped forge the Axe Stormbreaker.

  • 2
    I completely forgot about that. He said that he left half of them alive though so he still had power. But yeah this makes a lot more sense now. Thanks!
    – Sensoray
    May 8, 2018 at 12:24
  • 2
    @Sensoray If we go with the typical fictional conceit that a God's powers come from worship/belief, loosing half his followers in one fell swoop, after losing their homeworld just moments before, probably put quite the whammy on how much belief his followers had in him, and therefor in his strength.
    – Saiboogu
    May 10, 2018 at 19:19
  • Aren't all the Asgardians dead apart from Thor, Sif and the unnamed Valkyrie? Thanos killed all of them that Hela hadn't already killed
    – Gaius
    Sep 23, 2018 at 15:59
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    Can we still accept this answer as correct in light of the events of Endgame? May 10, 2019 at 2:34

It's not that strong - Thor: Ragnarok sort of proved the limitations of lightning against 'A' level opponents:

Loki: Hit her with a lightning blast.

Thor: I just hit her with the biggest lightning blast in the history of lightning. It did nothing.

Even during Infinity War's climactic battle, when Thor was laying about with lightning and integrating it into his axe attack against Thanos, there's no particular indication that the lightning is troublesome to Thanos.

When you're facing a massed foot attack of base creatures with no particular strength (Chitauri, Leviathans, Outriders), lightning is a great weapon. But against anyone strong (Iron Man, Hela, Thanos) it hasn't been a game changer.

  • 5
    to be fair, Iron Man had just got done beefing up his suits to handle electrical attacks after his suits in Iron Man 2 almost failed him in that regard
    – Derek
    May 9, 2018 at 2:47

Thor's strongest lightning bolt (e.g the one he use in Jotunheim, the Leviathan and against Hela) notably come from the sky, particularly thunderclouds.

The problem is that Thor faced Thanos in outer space, where there is no large atmosphere to summon his much more powerful lightning bolt and is resort to just turning himself into a bug zapper.

  • That’s very logical!
    – Obsidia
    Dec 19, 2018 at 18:17

In the beginning of the film Thor is in a ship made of metal full to the brim with his asguardian subjects and his friends, many of who are still alive. Metal is famous for it's ability to conduct electricity. Had Thor summoned lightning it would have coursed through the metal hull of the ship killing every last asguardian and Thor would have failed in a most fundamental way as a king all in exchange for maybe killing Thanos.

(Depending on other things like the capacitance of alien flesh, the voltage of Thor's lightning, the exact atmosphere, metals the ship is made from and weather Thor's lightning ac vs DC its also possible the metal hull could serve as something of a faraday cage meaning that lightning would cause no harm to anyone including Thanos, but this is also not ideal for Thor so its still not worth the risk. It's also much less dramatic then "everyone dies" so I choose to open my answer with that. We also haven't seen Thor's lightning get conducted by a Faraday cage in the films yet)


There is no atmosphere in space for the lightning to come from. Even if we suppose that the lightning is magical somehow and originates in outer space, if it hit the spaceship the ship would act as a Faraday cage and the lightning would have no effect on whatever is inside it.

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