Steve Rogers has developed a reputation as the boy scout of the MCU, who sticks to his principles in the face of all opposition and hates injustice almost as much as he hates bad language. But if Captain America truly is such a virtuous soul, then why is he unable to lift Thor’s trusty hammer Mjolnir in Avengers: Age of Ultron? Could it be that the first Avenger somehow flunks in this mythical weapon’s test of worthiness?
Well, if you go by one recent and presumably tongue-in-cheek theory, Cap’s problem is his failure to wear a bike helmet, with his callous disregard for road safety laws making him unfit to wield Thor’s trademark accessory. But if you’re looking for something a little more credible, YouTube channel That Film Theory has some ideas.
In building their case, TFT’s recent video takes us back to Asgard, a world built on war where the values of bravery, love of battle, and a conqueror’s spirit would historically equate to worthiness. In the first Thor, the God of Thunder appears to adhere to these values even before being exiled to Earth. However, as Odin’s realm transitioned into a more enlightened era, it’s argued that ‘worthiness’ takes on a different meaning associated with selflessness, the preservation of the Asgardian people and a love of peace. While Thor eventually adopts these values and is able to lift the hammer once more, Steve Rogers is still left lacking in a least one of these criteria.
You may have noticed that Cap is a highly driven character who doesn’t seem in his element unless he’s fighting some form of evil. Here lies the problem. While a worthy leader of Asgard would strive to preserve the peace, Steve needs war to keep him motivated.
Just look at Captain America: Civil War, in which he refuses to support the Sokovia Accords that would see the Avengers’ missions become heavily monitored and restricted. And as TFT point out, when the super soldier has some free time on his hands in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he has to write a list of fun and interesting things to check out because non-violent, recreational activity just doesn’t come naturally to the guy.
According to the theory, a character this restless and motivated by conflict would make for an inappropriate ruler of a people whose conquering days are behind them, and this is why Captain America proved unworthy in Age of Ultron. That’s too bad for Steve, but on the bright side, our hero will have plenty of problems to fix and bad guys to punch when Avengers 4 comes out on May 3rd, 2019.