In The Avengers/Avengers Assemble (2012), during the clash between Thor and Iron Man after Thor removes Loki from SHIELD custody, Thor hits Iron Man with lightning, charging his suit.

Thor, kneeling on the ground, pulls Mjölnir to his hand, raises it to the skies and pulls in LIGHTING and THUNDER! Thor points the hammer at IRON MAN and the outpouring of bolts lighting increases in intensity. IRON MAN falls back.


JARVIS:Power at 400% capacity.

TONY:How about that?

IRON MAN FIRES AWAY FROM HIS HAND BOOSTERS, pushing Thor to his knees. Like two gunslingers ready to draw, both Thor and IRON MAN fly towards each other and meet in the middle and ascend up.

-The Avengers(2012)

Later, during Battle of New York, Iron Man ends up putting himself in danger when his suit begins to run out of power.

Why didn't Iron Man just ask Thor to send some lightning to charge up his suit?

  • 8
    It's fiction. Often the answer to that sort of thing is, simply, "The author didn't think of it".
    – user50752
    Aug 17, 2015 at 23:44
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    When thinking about heat-of-the-moment decisions, it's also a legit answer to say that the character didn't think of it. Tony is smart, but stressed and not omniscient. He does his best work in the lab.
    – user36551
    Aug 18, 2015 at 13:47
  • "Jarvis, put 300 percent power into my Unibeam." Oct 18, 2018 at 10:29

2 Answers 2


Because it didn't just charge him, it damaged him

Re-watch that fight in the forest. The lightning super-charged the suit, but it also messed him up. His HUD was filled with static, his joints were sparking, and he seemed to have some trouble moving properly before he discharged the energy back at Thor. He even seemed to be flinching, as though he was getting shocked within the suit itself.

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It wasn't a pleasant, or a safe, experience, and there's no real reason to think his suit's survival would be guaranteed. It could have been a fluke, and a second attempt could have disabled him, or worse.

Also, remember: JARVIS pegged Thor's blast as shooting him up to 400% charge. That's not just a top-off, that's dangerous. Tony was able to think quickly and blast the energy back at him, but it's probable that if he hadn't, it would have damaged him further. I imagine that in those few seconds, JARVIS was working double-time at the fuses and power sinks throughout the suit to buy Tony time.

That being said...

...your point is well-taken: Tony's suits post-Avengers might do well to incorporate a lightning rod for quick recharging, since Thor basically serves as an infinite, mobile battery. But for the events of the first Avengers movie, it's clear that Tony's suits aren't capable of handling that kind of power surge.

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    I think Thor might have been able to give him a smaller burst of lightning that wouldn't over-charge the suit's capacity. I think it's more likely that being charged so fast could have been too much for an already-damaged suit, even if the size of the charge was smaller. I'm not clear on what an ARC reactor is supposed to physically do, but most electrical energy storage devices in the real world have big problems charging fast, unless they're small capacity devices (electrical capacitors rather than chemical batteries). Aug 17, 2015 at 19:07
  • Everyone knows you get static when you over-current your monitors!
    – Gusdor
    Aug 18, 2015 at 6:59
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    @PeterCordes The suit in question wasn't already damaged - Tony gets a new suit after his confrontation with Loki in Stark Tower. Aug 18, 2015 at 8:09
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    @PeterCordes Maybe, but Thor isn't what you'd call "delicate." I'm not sure I'd trust him to be able to control his lightning with any precision. Maybe with practice and a specially-designed suit, but not on impulse in the middle of a warzone.
    – Nerrolken
    Aug 18, 2015 at 15:40

In universe - Because the risk was too high.

The only time when the battery life on the Iron Man armour becomes an issue during the battle of New York is when JARVIS alerts Tony that they don't have enough power to get back through the portal once they have sent the nuclear missile through it.

At this stage, Tony Stark can do one of several things;

  • Allow the nuclear missile to destroy New York, saving his own life.
  • Ask Thor to hit him with lightning, putting the suit under untested conditions and potentially causing the missile to detonate prematurely. It's worth mentioning that at this point in the film, Tony is using a new Iron Man suit to the one he was wearing in the forest, which might handle the lightning in a different way.
  • Take the risk involved in making sure that the nuclear missile ends up in a safe place, i.e. the portal.

Although the final option puts Tony in the most danger, it is also the only one that guarantees the nuclear missile will not destroy New York. As such, it is the option that Tony Stark takes, saving the lives of millions of people and ending the battle in one fell swoop.

Out of universe - For character development.

Earlier on in The Avengers/Avengers Assemble, a heated arguement between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark occurs, with Steve saying;

I've seen the footage. The only thing you really fight for is yourself. You're not the guy to make the sacrifice play, to lay down on a wire and let the other guy crawl over you.

To which Tony responds;

I think I would just cut the wire.

This is a clear example of Tony's style of thinking - that there is always another way out, a way for everyone to win.

Naturally, he later finds himself in a situation where he cannot just "cut the wire", and instead has to make the sacrifice play - in this instance, putting himself in harms way by flying the nuclear missile into the portal.

  • JARVIS: Sir, we will lose power before you cut through that shell. -The Avengers(2012) Tony could have received a lightning during this point of time and should have cut through those Chitauri spaceships. Is there any canon why he didn't prefer that?
    – axelonet
    Aug 17, 2015 at 14:41
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    @AdityaBlaze I think the intended implication there was the thickness or toughness of the Leviathans shell, not the power remaining in Tony's suit i.e. even at max power, the Leviathans shell was too hard/tough/thick for Tony's laser thing to cut through. Aug 17, 2015 at 14:49
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    I agree with @DrRDizzle, that line wasn't about Tony's power levels, it was about how tough the armor was. "Sir, you can stab it with your dinner fork all night, but you're not going to sink that aircraft carrier."
    – Nerrolken
    Aug 17, 2015 at 14:52
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    So Tony would have taken Kirk's approach to the Kobayashi Maru? ;-)
    – Ajedi32
    Aug 17, 2015 at 17:52
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    @DrRDizzle +1 for your analysis in the "out of universe" section. I'd even take it one step further: Tony doesn't just look for a way for everyone to win, he looks for a way for everyone to win without getting hurt. That's the whole ethos of his armor: protection, stemming from his traumatic experience in Afghanistan. (As opposed to Cap, who seems positively eager to give up his life for someone else's.) As we see in IM3, he wrestles with intense fear of vulnerability. The choice at the end of Avengers forced him to acknowledge that sometimes, you have to risk getting hurt.
    – Nerrolken
    Aug 17, 2015 at 17:52

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