Thor’s Powers: How They Work, And What They Can Do

Among the many reasons that Marvel fans have to look forward to co-writer and director Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder, arguably the most exciting is Jane Foster taking up the Mighty Thor mantle by becoming imbued with the same abilities as Chris Hemsworth’s Avenger. Yet, when that thunderous transformation occurs, what exactly will Natalie Portman’s astrophysicist be capable of? In fact, when is the last time you stopped to think about all that Thor’s powers in the MCU entail?

To help audiences become better acquainted with what makes the God of Thunder such a god is exactly what I intend to do now. However, I will be basing my findings purely on what we have seen him do in the Marvel movies, so comic book logic - while it could provide some helpful context - does not necessarily apply here. The following is a breakdown of the core abilities Thor has been confirmed to possess in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Chris Hemsworth in Thor

Thor’s Core Powers And How They Work

You were not under the impression that Thor’s abilities just came from Mjolnir, were you? As his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), points out in Thor: Ragnarok, he is not “the God of Hammers.” However, the enchanted tool has often given a helpful boost to his natural abilities, which I will explain here, starting with all the regular superhero stuff.

Chris Hemsworth in Thor: Ragnarok

Superhuman Physiology

As a celestial being, Thor is not tied down by physical limitations that are common among most humans. His Asgardian physiology imbues him with many enhanced abilities that are common among most superhumans, such as strength. In fact, following the deaths of his father and sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), he is the strongest of his kind.

Thor’s bone, skin, and muscle tissue - which Gamora (Zoe Saldana) compares to “metal fibers” in Avengers: Infinity War - are incredibly dense, making him nearly invulnerable to almost any kind of damage - not to mention that his enhanced regenerative healing would take care of any injury he may sustain pretty quickly. His reflexes and physical movements in general are pretty quick, too, unlike his aging process. In another moment from the 2018 crossover epic, Thor mentions to Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper, with mo-cap by Sean Gunn) that he is 1,500 years old and looks pretty good for it, if we are being honest here.

Chris Hemsworth as Thor summoning lightning

Manipulation Of Elements

As previously established and despite what many (Thor included) had believed, Mjolnir was never the true source of his ability to generate electricity, because lightning is always coursing through the God of Thunder's veins, which, in Avengers: Endgame, he even argued was why he should have been the one to reverse Thanos' (Josh Brolin) snap. Of course, his elemental manipulation is not only limited to summoning bolts of lightning, but creating other forms of weather (ranging from subtle patterns to torrential destruction) when need be.

Thor flies toward Hulk in Thor: Ragnarok

Flight And Teleportation

Thor's abilities of elemental manipulation have also been key in helping him get around. By controlling the wind beneath him, he can hover or glide through the air at breakneck speed, which was actually another power he, initially, assumed he had to spin Mjolnir around really fast in order to achieve. However, his mobility was, indeed, greatly improved when he obtained Stormbreaker, which unlocked his ability to teleport to wherever he pleases and even manipulate the Bifrost Bridge at will, as well as the natural skill to summon the weapon just as he could with Mjolnir.

The Biggest And Best Uses Of Thor’s Powers

Now, that we have taken a more in-depth analysis of what Thor can do, what are a some specific examples of when his abilities really came in handy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let us reminisce, shall we?

Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark World

Thor Can Withstand Combat Against The Most Challenging Competitors

Celestial-grade nigh-invulnerability is, just about, the greatest asset a superhero can have, especially when it comes to defending oneself from evil-doers (or even old friends from work) of a most intimidating stature. Thor's impeccable strength and durability allowed him to hold his own against Frost Giants and Destroyers in his first solo film from 2011, do everything to take down Thanos but go for the head in Avengers: Infinity War, and, of course, knock down a Hulked-out Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) in the Grandmaster's Contest of Champions tournament on Sakaar.

Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark World

Thor Can Control The Weather

Every person wants a significant other who is willing to hold an umbrella over their head to keep them dry from the rain, which is why Jane Foster was especially lucky to find Thor, who can prevent the rain from falling in her general area like he did in Thor: The Dark World from 2013.

He has performed more definitively epic things with his elemental manipulation, however, including creating a class 5 tornado while taking on the Destroyer in Thor. You also cannot forget all the times where projecting devastating bolts of lightning have come through for him, whether he needs a quick change into his armor or if he is attacking the Chituari in The Avengers, fighting an army of robots in Avengers: Age of Ulton, or going against the Black Order during the Battle of Wakanda in Avengers: Infinity War.

Grott, Thor, and Rocket in Avengers: Infinity War

Thor Can Travel Quickly Between Worlds

Say, speaking of the Battle of Wakanda in Avengers: Infinity War, has any character ever made a cooler entrance in a Marvel movie than when Thor, joined by Rocket Raccoon and Groot (Vin Diesel), literally stormed onto the field with his new battle axe ready and in hand, after having been in outer space just a moment earlier? By my count, the God of Thunder has never used his recently acquired ability in instant transportation for a more theatrical and practical purpose.

There are some who consider superheroes who continue to gain new powers or rarely use some of their original abilities in movies to be inconsistent or even just plan lazy. However, I would argue that the films in which characters like Thor find new powers make for some of the best moments in many of the best Marvel movies thus far. I would also consider the above breakdown of his MCU abilities alone to be a perfect testament to that.

Jason Wiese
Content Writer

Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.