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Why Isn’T Iron Man Worthy

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Thor isn’t the only character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe who is worthy enough to lift Mjolnir, but some of his fellow Avengers tried and failed to lift it, among them Tony Stark – but why wasn’t Iron Man worthy of Mjolnir? Through over 20 movies in more than a decade, the MCU has brought a variety of characters, events, and objects from Marvel Comics to the big screen and now to streaming as well, and one of the most representative objects/weapons in this universe is Mjolnir.

Thor’s trusty hammer was introduced alongside the God of Thunder in Thor and was key in the title hero’s journey. Following an impulsive decision to attack the Frost Giants, Thor didn’t become king of Asgard as was instead exiled to Earth by his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), so he could learn a much-needed lesson in humility and what being a hero was truly about. Thor was deemed unworthy of Mjolnir during that journey, but he eventually regained control of it. Mjolnir became Thor’s signature weapon, and in Avengers: Age of Ultron, his fellow Avengers and other characters tried to prove if they were worthy of lifting the legendary hammer, with only Captain America getting close to it by moving it slightly.

Related: Age of Ultron: Why Thor Looked Worried When Captain America Tried to Lift Mjolnir

Avengers: Endgame proved that Captain America was indeed worthy of lifting Mjolnir and used it during the Battle of Earth to fight against Thanos while Thor used the Stormbreaker axe. Captain America’s worthiness wasn’t exactly a surprise, but it raised the question of why the rest of the Avengers who tried to lift the hammer failed at it, including Tony Stark – and here’s why Iron Man wasn’t worthy of Mjolnir in the MCU.

What Being Worthy Of Mjolnir Means In The MCU

why isn't iron man worthy

The MCU’s Mjolnir was forged from Uru in Nidavellir by the Dwarves as requested by Odin, and during his conquests of the Nine Realms, Hela was the one in possession of the hammer. Once Hela was imprisoned, Mjolnir was taken away from her, and sometime before his coronation, it was given to Thor. The hammer helped Thor channel his powers, but he wasn’t exactly the most responsible user. As punishment for his reckless actions against the Frost Giants, Odin took Thor’s godly powers away and exiled him to Earth along with Mjolnir, though this one was now protected by an enchantment:

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

Thor learned a valuable lesson in humility and being a hero, and when he sacrificed himself to the Destroyer to save Earth, he became worthy of Mjolnir again. As mentioned above, Captain America turned out to be worthy of the hammer in Avengers: Endgame and Vision also lifted it without a problem in Avengers: Age of Ultron, raising a lot of questions on what exactly makes a person (or android) worthy of Mjolnir. Some believe that this “worthiness” is based on Odin’s own beliefs or a specific yet undisclosed list of traits (such as selflessness and empathy), but a fan theory suggests it’s all about each person’s self-concept, meaning that if one person truly believes in their heart that they are worthy, they will lift the hammer. Humans are full of limiting beliefs deeply ingrained in our subconscious, so even the most confident characters, like Tony Stark, wouldn’t be able to lift the hammer if deep down their self-concept of worthiness is entirely different.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron Confirmed Iron Man Wasn't Worthy

why isn't iron man worthy

During a party at Avengers Tower in the first act of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Avengers (and Rhodey) tried to lift Mjolnir after Clint Barton was sure it was all a trick, with only Black Widow not trying as that was “not a question she needed answered”. Tony Stark was the second one to try, even joking about ruling Asgard if he lifted the hammer and what he would do as king, but his always overly-confident attitude quickly changed when he realized he couldn’t lift the hammer. Tony put on one of the gloves from the Iron Man suit hoping it would give him some extra strength, and later counted on the help of Rhodey (wearing one of his War Machine suit’s gloves), but Mjolnir didn’t move at all. After that, Iron Man never tried to lift Mjolnir again, as it was clear to him that he wasn’t worthy, whatever that meant.

Related: Huge MCU Phase 4 Villain Theory Sets Up Iron Man's Dark Replacement

Why Iron Man Was Never Worthy Of Wielding Mjolnir

why isn't iron man worthy

Although it’s not clear what makes a character worthy of Mjolnir in the MCU – whether Odin, unknown traits, or one’s belief of worthiness – Tony Stark had a lot of personal problems that would have inevitably kept him away from being worthy of lifting the hammer. When viewers met Tony, he was an extremely selfish, egotistical, and narcissistic man, and it wasn’t until he was kidnapped that he had a much-needed epiphany that changed his life and led him to become a hero – but that doesn’t mean that Iron Man made him perfect and flawless. Iron Man’s arc in the MCU was all about proving himself and the idea of worthiness, and he constantly struggled with his own demons, such as the mistakes and shadow of his father, his own mistakes, his ego, what being a worthy hero is and the pressure of being one. Following the line of one’s self-concept and limiting beliefs being what keeps people from being worthy of Mjolnir, then Tony would have never been worthy, as he never fully overcame his deepest fears and most of all his sense of unworthiness.

Would Iron Man's Endgame Sacrifice Have Made Him Worthy Of Mjolnir?

why isn't iron man worthy

Avengers: Endgame was the end of the arcs of some of the original Avengers, among them Iron Man, who sacrificed himself in order to save the universe. This made way for a bunch of questions and “what if”s, including whether Iron Man’s sacrifice would have made him worthy of Mjolnir or not. Fans have debated over this on different forums and websites, and the general consensus seems to be that he still wouldn’t have been fully worthy of it. The main argument against Tony’s worthiness of Mjolnir post-Endgame is all about how self-sacrifice doesn’t mean being worthy of the hammer – Tony had already been close to death in order to save the world before he tried to lift the hammer in Age of Ultron, so self-sacrifice wasn’t an immediate pass to being worthy of Mjolnir. Before and during the Battle of Earth, Tony’s priority was his family (Pepper and Morgan), and he might have still put them first when he made the decision of sacrificing himself to save the universe, thus not making him fully worthy yet. However, many fans argue that his sacrifice would have made him close to being worthy of Mjolnir, but it’s hard to say if he would have been able to use the hammer had he survived saving the universe.

How Iron Man Lifted Thor's Hammer In Marvel Comics

why isn't iron man worthy

Mjolnir has been manipulated in different ways in Marvel Comics, and many years ago, Iron Man was able to hold the hammer… thanks to zero gravity, meaning that he didn’t properly lift it and he would have still not been able to wield it on Earth because he wasn’t worthy. Years later, a merge of Iron Man and Thor – Stark Odinson – used the hammer, so it wasn’t exactly Iron Man lifting it. More recently, in Thor #8 back in 2020, Iron Man lifted Mjolnir and refused to give it to Thor until the God of Thunder explained what was going on (as a man named Adam Aziz had lifted the hammer and temporarily had the power of Thor). It turned out that anyone was now able to lift Mjolnir, so he wasn’t exactly worthy all of a sudden. Iron Man might never overcome his ego and those deeply ingrained limiting beliefs that keep him from being worthy of Mjolnir, but that’s also an important part of the character and why he has connected with generations of readers.

Next: How Mjolnir Can Be Unbroken In Thor: Love & Thunder


Key Release Dates
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
  • The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: Jul 28, 2023
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023

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