In the movie The Avengers, when Captain America's shield and Thor's hammer strike each other, they are instantly separated.

Actually, based on the comics & other sources, why did this happen, and if different than the source material, what should happen?

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    As I recall, the hammer rebounded, Thor was thrown back, and Cap remained standing-- which impressed Thor quite a lot. I thought that was a pretty good and reasonable outcome. As for what should happen, you're asking for a degree of internal consistency not usually required in superhero comics. – Beta Oct 15 '13 at 17:13
  • This has occured a few times in the comics before, sometimes with a similar outcome, and sometimes both are knocked in opposite directions. I seem to recall them even using this to their advantage on one ocasion where Thor used Cap's shield to rebound Mjolnir and hit someone by surprise from behind. – Monty129 Oct 15 '13 at 21:29
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    What should happen is what did happen; The Avengers and the other movies are part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which while it has a lot in common with the comics, has its own canon. – Izkata Oct 15 '13 at 23:03
  • Related: scifi.stackexchange.com/q/14735/21267 – Möoz Mar 24 '15 at 1:02
  • I edited the question to clarify what is being asked. It may actually be a little more than what the OP was asking, but hopefully it's a better question now. – Omegacron Apr 24 '15 at 18:33


This is the movie canon and they have decided Cool is the way to go. When irrestible force meets immovable object, other stuff gets blown away. In the Mighty Marvel fashion, Nuff Said! [TVtropes: The Rule of Cool.]


For the canon seekers:

The Marvel Cinematic Universe, designated Earth-19999 is not the same as the Marvel Comics world designated Earth-616 where the canon stories for Marvel characters are said to take place. The MCU has made changes (or established their own canon) which contradict or expand the expectations of characters in that universe.

  • In the MCU, Captain America's shield is not composed of Primary Adamantium (a mixture of vibranium and adamantium, making it the most indestructible thing on Marvel Earth).

  • The MCU shield is instead composed entirely of Vibranium (or a vibranium and other metallic alloy added for strength).

  • In the canon works Vibranium absorbs and negates vibrations or applications of kinetic energy such as bullets, explosive force or god-wielded hammers. It has not, however, as shown in the movies, exhibited an ability to deflect, reflect or otherwise redirect energies spent on it. In the canon works vibranium negates and dispels such energies without any display or reaction at all.

  • NOTE: This is a physical misnomer since bullets deflected by a device which can absorb ALL kinetic energy should drop harmlessly to the ground in front of the shield. Instead, they are deflected away from the good Captain both in the comics and the MCU. A case of having cake and eating it, I would imagine. Perhaps the Rule of Cool trope is being observed. (Obligatory TVTrope warning displayed.)

  • In the comics, Cap's shield and Thor's hammer Mjolnir have come into physical contact on numerous occasions, without the reverberation effect seen in the Avengers movie. So we are left to assume this display of energy redirection is a side effect of shield meeting hammer and dispersing the energy a bit more energetically and omnidirectionally along the edge of the shield. This comic entry shows Thor striking Captain America's shield, really hard.

Thor hits the shield big time

  • In the MCU, it appears the Captain's shield will if struck hard enough, redirect the energy that strikes it, outward toward the rim of the shield. And now we know. Admit it. It did look cool. Note the gong sound...


There is one other thing we could blame this strange deviation from canon.

  • What if the shield did exactly what it was supposed to do and deflect Thor's blow?
  • What if the splash effect is the excess magical or lightning energies being displaced and redirected away from the shield?

Then no one is "wrong".

  • The shield blocks and protects Captain America
  • the vibranium keeps him from turning into a pile of broken sticks
  • the shield just displaces the blast wave of lightning away from everyone.

Hurray! No canon has been extremely violated.

Though we then get to ask, what do they paint that shield with...? Not a scratch on it.

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Cap's shield is at least partially made of Vibranium (in nearly ever incarnation, including the comics, movies, and animated Avengers movies, and I think also in the more recent animated shows). Vibranium absorbs kinetic energy (as well as sound waves, other waves, etc.), so instead of getting creamed by the blow from Thor's hammer, the shield appears to have absorbed and reflected the bulk of the energy and force, knocking Thor back and saving Cap's life.

Keep in mind that Vibranium is an alien and fictional material, so what "should" happen can be debated until we're blue in the faces.

See the Wikipedia article.

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  • In the Cinematic Universe his shield is made entirely of Vibranium. The scene from Captain America:The First Avenger between Howard Stark and Steve Rogers states that the shield is composed of the entirety of the known source of Vibranium. – Monty129 Oct 16 '13 at 17:18

According to these parts from comics, when Thor's hammer hits Captain America's shield a flash of light would appear. The Vibranium of the shield absorbs the impact and convert it into light. This is called sonoluminescence.

Mjölnir and the shield clash #1

Mjölnir hits the shield held by She-Hulk

confrontation between Cap and Thor

enter image description here

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  • These are interesting panels. I suggest you edit in the issues numbers for those who'd be interested in reading more :) – Jenayah May 29 '19 at 20:35
  • This is from the Avengers comics #10, 220, and 305. – Hunter Strickland Jul 17 '19 at 20:50
  • The last one is from Avengers #228. – Hunter Strickland Jul 17 '19 at 20:57

Answer 1 uses an idea often tested in DC comics "When irresistible force meets immovable object". The only valid answer to which is that one or the other is proved to have been wrongly described!

As to the make-up of the shield, whilst it is vibranium in the movies, somewhere in the back of my mind I recall and episode in the original comics where the shield was re-made of Uru, the same metal used for Mjolnir (Thor's hammer) thus an impact between the two would be, to some extent, a meeting of equals.

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  • 1
    This isn't a typical message board. There is no "answer 1", as the answers are ordered based on your selection up top. – phantom42 Aug 23 '15 at 17:59

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