Movie Reviews

Thor: Why Anyone Can Lift Stormbreaker – But NOT Mjolnir

The MCU made a big deal about how Thor (Chris Hemsworth) was the only one worthy of lifting Mjolnir, but things are a bit different with his newer weapon, Stormbreaker. Can anyone lift Stormbreaker? Yes — and the reasons why a crucial point in the comparison between Stormbreaker vs Mjolnir with respect to Thor’s character arc in the MCU. The God of Thunder went through a massive transformation in Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok, which continued into Thor: Love and Thunder. Arguably, the moment that kick-started these big changes was the destruction of Thor’s powerful hammer quite early on in Ragnarok at the hands of Hela (Cate Blanchett).

In Thor: Love and Thunder, the broken shards of Mjolnir chose Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) as the hammer’s new and worthy owner, rebuilding itself to be wielded by Mighty Thor. After Jane’s death in the Thor: Love and Thunder ending, Mjolnir was last seen being once again wielded by Thor. Meanwhile, MCU Phase 4 saw Stormbreaker being wielded by Thor, Gorr the God Butcher, Love, and anyone else who was strong enough to actually lift and swing it. This is because of the respective origins of both legendary Asgardian weapons.

Related: Love & Thunder Secretly Introduced A Weapon As Powerful As Thor’s Mjolnir

Mjolnir was and remains a significant part of Thor’s origin story, much of which was about him trying to prove that he was truly among those who are worthy of lifting Mjolnir. Due to his immense confidence and insufferable attitude, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) banished his son to Earth and cast a spell on his weapon of choice. “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor,” the Allfather’s terms were. At the end of the first Thor movie, Thor eventually became worthy to wield the hammer again and since then became attached to it most of the time until Thor’s half-sister Hela easily destroyed Mjolnir in Thor: Ragnarok. This led him to seek another weapon — the “Thanos-killing kind” — which resulted in Thor’s journey to Eitri (Peter Dinklage) in Nivadellir.

Eitri — the king dwarf and legendary blacksmith who forged Stormbreaker — was the same person who created both Mjolnir and Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet. Also made from Uru metals, the enchanted axe Stormbreaker has been Thor’s weapon of choice since then, appearing in the Wakanda battle in Avengers: Infinity War, the Avengers HQ fight in Endgame, and throughout Thor: Love and Thunder. Power-wise, it seems as though in raw strength and ability, Stormbreaker is more powerful than Mjolnir. Not only was it able to slice through the power of all six Infinity Stones, it was also able to summon the Bifrost. All that being said, Mjolnir had stricter rules when it comes to accessibility since everyone seems to be able to wield Stormbreaker.

Can anyone lift Stormbreaker? Yes – but it’s meant to be the strongest Asgardian weapon, and not just anyone can fully utilize its abilities. Curiously, in what was clearly a reveal saved for the climax of Avengers: Endgame, Captain America’s worthiness to lift Mjolnir led him to accidentally summon Stormbreaker instead. This was the first clue that although “Mjolnir requires worthiness, not Stormbreaker” — as explained by directors Joe and Anthony Russo — there are similarities in the respective enchantments placed upon the two Asgardian weapons.

Since so few MCU characters have been able to wield Mjolnir thus far, it initially came as a surprise that Jane Foster would be the hammer’s new owner in Thor: Love and Thunder. But as the film explains, Jane heard Mjolnir call to her, and she was able to lift it, bringing the pieces back together into a whole. Simply put, Jane can do this because she’s worthy.

Related: Love & Thunder’s Post-Credits Set Up Jane Foster’s Return – As A Valkyrie

Thor: Love and Thunder offered some more reasoning as well, stating that Thor had tasked Mjolnir with protecting Jane, and this likely contributed to her bond with the hammer. This becomes a bit convoluted when considering that wielding Mjolnir causes Jane Foster’s cancer to worsen, but the bottom line is that Thor’s love interest, like him, simply reached a point where she was worthy of lifting the hammer based on her character. Thor 4 elects to give Stormbreaker a jealous personality, having it float into frame whenever Thor had an affectionate exchange with his trusty hammer. And while it takes worthiness to lift Mjolnir, Stormbreaker deems Thor worthy of something else — envy.

Who can lift Mjolnir? Apart from Thor, the MCU’s Mjolnir has been lifted by Steve Rogers/Captain America, Vision, Odin, and Hela. In a humorous explanation of how Mjolnir’s enchantment is about worthiness and not the hammer’s weight, the coat hanger at Jane’s apartment in Thor: Love and Thunder was able to hold Mjolnir without breaking. In MCU Phase 4, however, perhaps the most interesting person to be seen lifting Mjolnir was the warlike Boastful Loki (DeObia Oparei), whose variant Mjolnir was taken from his Thor‘s dead hands. With the Multiverse Saga in full swing, it seems as though it’s just a matter of time before viewers see even more characters becoming worthy of wielding Mjolnir.

Next: Stormbreaker vs. Mjolnir: Which Of Thor’s Weapons Is More Powerful

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