In Thor: The Dark World, the Asgardians clearly have advanced technology, as they are using anti-aircraft missiles against the dark elves' ships in the city. But when the dark elves get inside the main Asgardian building, the Asgardians are just standing around with their swords up, and are easily killed by the dark elves who are using gun-like weapons.

Why don't they have more realistic weapons to defend their king?

  • 7
    Are they actually swords? Maybe the weapons are so advanced we can only perceive them as swords.
    – Xantec
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 16:48
  • 18
    Well, regardless of whether they are actually swords, they just stood there and died while the dark elves shot at them.
    – Zoe
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 16:50
  • This might be opion based actually... Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 16:50
  • 6
    You watch a movie about English-speaking superhumans from another planet that play god on Earth and you ask for "realistic" weaponry? Oh, I hope that was just a bad choice of words. :D
    – Raphael
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 21:23
  • 1
    @Raphael Would practical have been a better word?
    – Zoe
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 17:09

6 Answers 6


Asgardians do have and use energy weapons. But keep in mind that Asgardians are usually rather strong and would most likely benefit more from using high tech melee weapons..

Asgardian racial information from the wiki..


Although they look human, all Asgardians possess certain superhuman physical attributes. They are extremely long-lived (though not purely immortal like their Olympian counterparts), aging at an extremely slow rate upon reaching adulthood (through the periodic consumption of the golden apples of Idunn). Asgardian flesh and bone is three times denser than similar human tissue, contributing to their superhuman strength and weight. An average Asgardian male can lift 30 tons (27.2 metric tons); an average Asgardian female can lift about 25 tons (22.7 metric tons). Asgardians are immune to all terrestrial diseases and resistant to conventional injury. The metabolism of the Asgardians gives them superhuman stamina in all physical activities.

Remember the Asgard is one of the most powerful races in the movie universe as far as this point, and the dark elves no longer existed according to Asgardian lore. So most likely they thought that the intruders wouldn't not have the sufficient technology or strength to defeat them.

Essentially Asgardians use their technology to enhance their armor and melee weapons so that they can take advantage of their superhuman abilities.

  • 7
    For someone sufficiently strong and with sufficiently tough skin (such as the Asgardians, who could shrug off regular bullets, especially if armored) melee weapons are a superior choice: a fine edge will part skin/armor which would stop a larger impact site (like knives cut Kevlar) and could be driven by their increased strength. I think it's likely that a sword swing by someone who can deadlift 25 tons will pack more energy than a bullet.
    – Jeff
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 17:45
  • Unless you are a heavily trained person with firearms, in which you can shoot a person in the head with dead aim accuracy and know that the blast will go through their head / skin. Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 20:47
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    Hard to pull off a head-shot in combat, when everyone is moving. There's also no reason to expect a head-shot to penetrate if an arm-shot or a leg-shot won't - the skull is a thick piece of bone, and the skin isn't notably thinner there than anywhere else. By the way, most gun training trains a person to aim for the center of mass (torso) - it's the largest, stablest target and a hit there will almost certainly be incapacitating. Head shots are best left to snipers, video games, and zombie apocalypses.
    – Jeff
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 21:09
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    What about the Chitauri? They had firearms. And even if the Asgardians didn't think they were going to be fighting opponents with firearms, that doesn't preclude them from bringing a gun to proverbial knife fight. Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 23:59
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    Side comment: @DoctorWho22's answer sounds an awful lot like "Your superior intellect is no match for our puny weapons." :) Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 13:31

Don't forget what happened when Odin walked in on the Dark Elves... He leveled a small party of them with a half-second of a ray from his staff. (This is a long-distance, "gun-like" weapon.)

They also had heavy artillery mounted for shooting down aerial attacks, and they had gun-like devices mounted on their own aircraft.

This leads me to think that they simply carry melee weapons because they find them easier to fight with for the small types of attacks they are likely to see in everyday action. They probably have long-range weapons, but they aren't used for handling small uprisings (as Asgardians are pretty strong, and can deal with a lot anyway.)

  • 3
    Long range weapons like the Bifröst? True, somewhat: why move troops with guns into a battle if you can drop a nuke?
    – Raphael
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 16:53

I think it also needs to be mentioned that those Dark Elf "guns" were CRAZY powerful relative to everything else we've seen in the MCU.

Remember the fight between Thor and Iron Man in The Avengers? He took several hits from Iron Man's repulsor blasts to the face, and it didn't even knock him down. Those repulsors have been shown to destroy Chitauri sleds and the Jericho missile system, let alone Extremis soldiers and Hammer Drones, in one hit. And Thor didn't even fall down.

Asgardians are tough as hell.

Plus, not many people mention it, but Asgardian shields did block those Dark Elf energy blasts. Watch closely and you'll see them shimmer blue and dissipate the energy. The blasts only killed the soldiers when they hit them straight-on, missing the shields.

I think this has less to do with "projectile vs melee," and more to do with the Dark Elves being way tougher than the average enemy of an Asgardian solder. When you're tough enough to take most weapons that most enemies can throw at you, without even the benefit of armor, it opens the door to using more "ceremonial" or traditional weapons being used at most times, because the need for something better isn't really there. But then when an ancient evil returns with a vengeance, it can catch you off-guard.

So basically, they use swords because usually that's all they need. But the Dark Elves were an uncommonly powerful enemy.


Three points:

  • Asgardians had the technology for projectile weapons (Bifrost, defense towers).

  • Adgardians had good cause to have projectile weapons (Dark Elves, Chitauri).

  • Their swords were inferior to projectile weapons. (Based on the fact that a highly trained army of demigods using swords got absolutely slaughtered on their own turf by an enemy they outnumbered.)

It's reasonable then, to assume, that for one reason or another they chose not to use projectile weapons.

Asgardians live and die by honor. It is very likely, to Asgardians, swords are more honorable (ethical) for personal combat than guns.

A human analogy might be hollow-point bullets, which have been prohibited for use in war as far back as the Hague Convention of 1899. Hollow-points are very effective at causing pain and death, and they would make war far more painful for your opponent. They are in the technical sense better, yet most nations adhere to this ban, and many (most?) people agree they are "more unethical" to use in war.

Asgardians, like humans, deliberately chose not to use technically superior weapons out of honor/ethics.

EDIT: I don't mean to say that the Asgardians signed some sort of wartime accords. I mean that people often choose inferior weapon out of honor/ethics. The situations are different, but it makes the idea seem a little less absurd.

  • 1
    The last two paragraphs are pretty irrelevant. There's certainly no canon reason to assume that guns are banned in Asgardian society simply because they choose not to use them.
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 0:38
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    @Richard, no one said Asgardian weapons are banned by law. But certainly they choose not to us them. The last two paragraphs give examples of humans choosing not to use better weapons. (True, both examples are official legal agreements, but that's not what is significant...it's choosing to use inferior weapons.) Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 0:55
  • Per Monty's comment above, I don't think we can assume that their weapons are inferior simply because they have a different style of fighting. youtube.com/watch?v=cx1XhlPIeEM
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 1:40
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    @Richard, no one thinks a weapon is inferior "because they have a different style of fighting". They think a weapon is inferior if the highly skilled, highly trained demigods using them get their a**** handed to them. Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 1:43
  • @PaulDraper Actually, hollowpoint bullets kill quicker due to greater tissue damage and hydrostatic shock, rarely exiting the victim. Non-hollowpoint bullets tend to punch a small hole through the victim and keep on going. Civilians use hollowpoints because of the reduced danger of overpenetration. Soldiers use non-hollowpoints because it is a greater tactical advantage if you wound your enemy, rather than kill. Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 0:59

It's simple: the movie doesn't follow comics facts.

In the comics, the Dark elves don't use any laser guns, they use swords and magic just like the Asgardians. The easiest way to kill an Asgardian, definitely isn't by laser guns, since they are highly durable against any energy projection. So, the best way would be by piercing objects such as spears... The Asgardians use swords because it is the best way of killing other high alien beings.

  • Can you cite some references for this? Why would swords hurt them if lasers and other items can't? And if the answer is "magic" swords, can't they have "magic" bullets or lasers? Or "magic" chain-mail to stop the swords? Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 3:18
  • Only some dark elves use magic... Some quick research shows that their powers show this. Dark elves possess gifted intellects, as well as superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes. Some Dark Elves, like Malekith, can use faire magic do shapeshift, teleport, project energy blasts, and so on. Which is similar actually to the movie considering Malekith is the only one shown using magic. marvel.wikia.com/Dark_Elves Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 13:08
  • Many writers Think that the Asgardians, Dark elves, the freaking frost giants are magical beings so the laws of physic don't apply to them that's why they can almost survive any kind of alien laser guns but be pierced by regular bullets and swords if driven with some superhuman strength.
    – kaue
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 22:23
  • Thor being many, many, many, many.... times stronger and more durable than any Asgardian can take any bullet quite easily although some dumb writers made him have some problems with bullets.
    – kaue
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 22:25
  • Not all Asgardians can practice magic just as not all dark elves can although they are all considered magical beings by nature.
    – kaue
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 22:26

When you have superhuman strength and durability, then why use a simple gun? I mean, with at least the power of a jackhammer in your arms ( I'm making an estimate on Asgardian strength based on what was posted and from what I read on the link) why put that behind a trigger finger? It wouldn't make much sense for a race that can lift at least 30 tons to need to hide behind cover , pull a trigger, and hope to get a lucky shot in someones face or center mass when they can just slice, crush or rip them apart and keep going.

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