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In Avengers: Endgame (2019), Captain America uses both Mjölnir and his shield in the final fight against Thanos. Now we're aware that he's always been worthy to wield the hammer - or at least he has since Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) - but in canon, he'd never wielded the hammer until that scene. My question is, how is he able to wield it with the expertise and skill he exhibits in the fight scene? It takes time to learn the nuances of a new weapon, no matter what it is.

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    I always assumed I'd be pretty awesome with any weapon I pick up. So I never questioned it. Nov 15, 2021 at 3:35
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    Agreed. Also, Mjölnir has aspects of sentience and is linked to the will of its wielder. Wielder thinks, hammer acts. Nov 15, 2021 at 3:46
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    Also, he realized back in Age of Ultron that he could wield Mjölnir, and may have devoted time in the years since to studying Thor's technique and contemplating how he would use the weapon if he had to. Nov 15, 2021 at 14:06
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    @DoscoJones Is that mentioned in the MCU anywhere? Comic canon typically isn't relevant for the cinematic universe until it's mentioned somewhere on-screen.
    – TylerH
    Nov 15, 2021 at 14:54
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    "It takes time to learn the nuances of a new weapon, no matter what it is." Maybe for crude human weapons. Obviously the Asgardians have been able to perfect Idiot-proof weapons.
    – DKNguyen
    Nov 15, 2021 at 22:10

3 Answers 3

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

Part of the power of Thor is use of Thor’s hammer. It’s not that Captain America knows or even needs to know Norse war hammer combat.

Captain America just needs be worthy to hold the hammer, and the power of Thor does the rest.

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    @LogicDictates - I wonder if this is the case of writers of those comic books to be not quite aware of the nature of both Thor and Mjolnir and assuming that in that duo Mjolnir is equal part. I personally think exactly as laid out in this answer - wielding Mjolnir is more on the side of the symbol of being worthy of the Power of Thor. Though the explanation in your answer itself is very compelling - Captain America definitely shows unnatural flair for mastering all kinds of art of war, not only different fighting techniques, but apparently tactics, strategy, leadership etc.
    – AcePL
    Nov 15, 2021 at 14:32
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    @AcePL - I'm not sure what you mean by the writers of the comics not being aware of the nature of Thor and Mjolnir. The writers of the Earth-616 comics are the ones who define the nature of Thor and Mjolnir within that specific canon. Nov 15, 2021 at 14:49
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    @Silly but True - There's no "perhaps" about it; inconsistencies certainly exist within the comics. All the same, it doesn't quite track to me to say that the writers of the Earth-616 comics aren't aware of the nature of the Earth-616 Thor and Mjolnir, because the nature of those things isn't something that is set in stone, but rather something that is constantly evolving, influenced by each new story that comes along. Nov 15, 2021 at 15:33
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    @LogicDictates Maybe that's the problem... Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor - how much can that principle evolve? My contention is - based on a number of questions even here on SE:SF&F - that people are confused about it, because they don't really think about it in the right terms. It's like: he can lift Mjolnir, so he's worthy, but the other way round is true: he's worthy so he can lift it. Difference is minute, but it implies so much more... Though I admit, the quote is the case of former, not latter. But my point stands, I think...
    – AcePL
    Nov 15, 2021 at 15:49
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    @SillybutTrue - the only way for the distinction to be meaningful is when Thor's being a god and commanding thunder are two separate "abilities". Then Thor remains Thor, God of Thunder, where Mjolnir is the conduit to that power over thunder. Yet we know that neither is true - Odin took all his powers away at some point and also taught him that he doesn't need the hammer to be God of Thunder. Also, mentioned by you morphing of other characters granted Thor's power would not take place... One word: mess.
    – AcePL
    Nov 17, 2021 at 7:54
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In the Earth-616 (comics) canon, it's been indicated that Captain America can master new techniques and weapons in a matter of seconds or minutes. I don't think it's been confirmed that this explanation applies to the MCU, but I know of no evidence to the contrary, and the MCU clearly takes inspiration from the comics in many respects.

Here are some examples:

FLAG-SMASHER: How insufferably accomplished my rival is! As far as I know, he has never used sky-skis before -- yet he handles them like an expert!

Captain America Vol. 1 #349 (January, 1989)

Page from Captain America Vol. 1 #349 depicting Captain America using skis (skis that fly and have rockers on the end) to evade enemy fire mid air

KANG THE CONQUEROR: Captain America is an astounding warrior -- he has never fought under these conditions before -- but already he adapts -- mastering the form more completely than many who've trained for decades!

Avengers Vol. 3 #53 (June, 2002)

Page from Avengers Vol. 3 #53 depicting Captain America fighting in space

BEAST: Commander Rogers is a super-soldier who can master any weapon in seconds.

Secret Avengers Vol. 1 #16 (October, 2011)

Page from Secret Avengers Vol. 1 #16, where Beast explains to Moon Knight why Captain America is given the more complicated of the two weapons

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    Do you have any citation for the comics continuity, or the Earth 616 rules in particular, being relevant/binding to the MCU? It seems a far bridge from "I can't find evidence that this isn't the reason in the MCU" to "this is the reason in the MCU".
    – minnmass
    Nov 15, 2021 at 14:26
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    I am in no way asserting that the comics are binding to the MCU; they most certainly aren't. However, the MCU writers seem to draw a lot of ideas from both the Earth-616 comics and the Ultimate comics, and in lieu of evidence to the contrary, it seems like a distinct possibility that this could be one of those cases. When it comes to power sets specifically, the MCU does tend to align with the comics more often than not. The major differences usually relate to plotlines. Nov 15, 2021 at 14:44
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    Steve looking kind of sassy in that penultimate panel...
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 15, 2021 at 22:05
  • Sassy Steve: “I see a full moon tonight.” Moonknight: “Thanks, Sassy Steve.” Nov 17, 2021 at 0:18
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I think everyone just reads too much into it.

For starters, the movies don't show you every day of Steve Rogers' life. It's obvious by his combat ability, and his weapons prowess, that he trains hard so as to be ready for any encounter. Steve Rogers is regarded as an excellent strategist in the comics, and while they don't talk about it too much in the MCU, you can assume the basics are true as he is the leader of the Avengers, and tends to be the only character that doesn't let his emotions get the better of him.

Also, Thor and Rogers spend a lot of time fighting along side each other through the timeline of the MCU. Combine that with his strategic abilities, you can assume he picked up a little from watching Thor.

Now if you watch Thor at the end of Ragnarok, he uses his thunder and lightning abilities way beyond anything Rogers uses in Endgame and Thor doesn't even have his hammer. He downright makes Rogers look like a rookie. Also during Ragnarok, Odin explains the hammer isn't the source of the power, but a way for Thor to channel that power.

Now if you take into account Mjolnir's own sentient ability to not only choose who's worthy, but to access the power, then combine that with the facts above, I think how Captain America wielded Mjolnir makes complete sense.

An example for me, would be a gun. Before I ever shot a gun, I knew exactly how to do it. Point and pull the trigger. That doesn't necessarily mean I was hitting bullseyes and completely disassembling the gun after my first use. A hammer is pretty rudimentary in its use. I know its scope reaches beyond that of a regular hammer, but picture the hammer being a lighting rod that instead of having an on/off button, it listens to the wielder's mind. For the hammer to sense that you are worthy, it would have to be able to connect with you beyond a conscious level, meaning your will would be the hammer's command.

In my opinion, Thor/Rogers don't use "powers" to call back the hammer, rather the hammer senses the will of the user.

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    This is a plausible argument. To be clear, I don't contend that my answer is necessarily the right answer; it's just an interesting thing to note (in my view), and something that could be what the MCU writers had in mind. I don't think we currently have any way to confirm what they actually did have in mind. All three of the answers currently posted are possible, and there could be another explanation that no one has brought up yet. Or it could be the case that the writers never actually gave this issue much thought one way or the other. Nov 15, 2021 at 22:04
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    Absolutely! I agree 100%.
    – Brandon
    Nov 15, 2021 at 22:17
  • @LogicDictates It was clear to me as a comic fan, the MCU creators at least were inspired from iconic comic imagery, Captain America wielding Thor’s hammer being one of those (Thanos shredding CA’s shield also and Executioner wielding fully auto in Ragnarok being others). I’m not sure there is intended to be any more thought than adapting some scenes to film. Nov 15, 2021 at 22:40
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    I think the MCU toes the line between comic book lore, and adapting those stories to the big screen to appease a wider/ ever growing audience. For one thing, if the movies were a shot for shot remake of the comics in movie form, they would probably come off as super cheesy and forced. Not only that but every movie would be predictable for the hardcore comic fans. The way they have adapted it, they've kept it interesting and intriguing for all audiences.
    – Brandon
    Nov 15, 2021 at 23:28

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