Who would win in a fight between Superman and Thor? These two comic book characters are quite literally gods, and two of the most iconic faces from the DCEU and MCU respectively. You may have often found yourself wondering who is more powerful though, so it’s time to settle that debate once and for all.
Superman is from the planet Krypton, which was destroyed when he was just a baby. The final act of his father, Jor-El, was to send young Kal-El to Earth in an escape pod. When the little alien lands on our planet, he is adopted by Martha and Jonathan Kent, but it soon becomes apparent that Clark, as they name him, has superhuman abilities thanks to Earth’s low gravity and the power of our sun.
Thor, on the other hand, is the god of thunder and the first in line for the throne of Asgard, a race of Viking-like warriors from space. In the MCU timeline, Thor comes to Earth to retrieve his nefarious brother Loki, and ends up putting his magic hammer Mjölnir to good use when he joins the Avengers. But, is he strong enough to defeat the Man of Steel?
Now, obviously we aren’t holding our breath for Superman to join the Thor cast in an MCU movie, or for Thor to make a cameo in a DCEU movie, so this fight is going to have to be decided on paper. Here, we will look at all the strengths and weaknesses of the MCU character and his DC Comics counterpart, and decide who would come out on top.
Let’s be honest, Superman pretty much has it all, doesn’t he? He can fly, which is always handy, and he can also run really, really fast. Not only that, but he has superhuman senses too, with incredible vision and hearing. All of this means there’s basically no hiding from the Man of Steel – he can pin down your location and be there faster than you can say “Daily Planet.”
These extraordinary talents would be enough for any hero, but Superman has even more in his locker. He is also crazy strong – like, lift whole buildings strong. And, if that wasn’t enough, he can also shoot lasers from his eyes, has x-ray vision, and to top it all off, is invulnerable to almost any attack.
To put it simply, you cannot run from Superman, you cannot hide from Superman, and there’s pretty much nothing you can do that will actually hurt this guy.
Thor has quite the array of skills at his disposal too, though, although many of these powers are channelled through that special hammer. Mjölnir is Thor’s key weapon, devastating his adversaries with its brute force and boomerang-like qualities, and also giving him the ability to fly through the sky.
Most importantly, perhaps, Mjölnir allows anyone who wields it to summon the Bifrost, an intergalactic bridge between worlds. So, if Thor needed to nip to another planet and pick up some ammunition for a big fight, the mythical rainbow bridge would make this possible.
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Thor is far more than just a hammer, though, as we’ve seen over the course of the Thor movies. In Ragnarok, Mjölnir is destroyed, but Thor ultimately discovers that he can still unleash the ferocity of thunder and lightning without it, as the power was within him all along. Add this to his natural Herculean strength and warrior mentality, and Superman might be sweating.
Superman may sound nigh on unbeatable, but there are some chinks in his almighty armour. The biggest vulnerability to be aware of if you’re going to take on Supes, is that he basically loses all of his powers if he even gets a sniff of Kryptonite, a substance from his home planet.
The radiation emitted by this green mineral essentially replicates the atmosphere from Krypton, thus rendering all of Superman’s abilities useless. You see, while the Man of Steel flourishes in Earth’s low gravity atmosphere, he needs this exact environment to be at his best. Take him away from our planet, and Supes becomes a pretty normal guy, actually.
Superman’s other major weakness could be crucial to Thor’s chances of winning this match-up, as magic can cause serious harm to the Man of Steel. This was established in the 1964 comic book Superman #171, but no reasons have been given as to why spells and magical weapons can find a way through his defences.
It’s also worth noting that while having an alter-ego to conceal your superhuman identity is often a good thing, Kal-El’s cover story as Clark Kent does present some setbacks. For one, Superman has to go through the hassle of ditching the glasses, shirt, and tie any time he wants to suit up for battle. It may only take a couple of seconds, but it all counts when you’re taking on a nemesis like Thor.
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Keeping his status as Superman hidden from the world also means that Clark Kent has to hold himself back sometimes. If you’ve seen the action movie Man of Steel, you’ll know that Jonathan Kent basically dies because Clark cannot reveal his superpowers. This is not a problem Thor has, as a hero far more happy to showcase his abilities for all to see.
Another seemingly positive trait that could be used against him, is Superman’s inherent benevolence and surprising aversion to violence. Sure, he wants to stop evil in its tracks at any opportunity, but Superman is often reluctant to land a killer blow to his opponents (tell that to Zod’s snapped neck).
If you’re fighting a warrior like Thor, you’re going to have to kill him if you want to stop him. Does Superman really have the conviction to terminate Thor?
As we mentioned before, Thor does become a significantly lesser threat if you take away his hammer. Mjölnir bestows upon whoever may be worthy, the powers of Thor, the god of thunder. Without this, our hero is far more dependent on his own physical strength, but Superman has that market cornered.
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Arguably, Thor’s main sources of weakness are all in his head. He’s a hero who operates at his best when his head is truly in the game, and as we’ve seen in the MCU movies, when he fails, it hits him hard. If you can get under the Prince of Asgard’s skin, you’ve got a great chance of taking him down.
Whether it be Loki’s mischievous manipulation tactics, his father delivering some harsh home truths, or missing the chance to go for the head when he takes on the Mad Titan Thanos, Thor doesn’t handle his emotions very well. This can lead him to act recklessly, or spiral into a pit of depression, either of which is no good for a fight against a superhuman.
Speaking of reckless behaviour, Thor’s approach to battle is very much one of attack first, think later. This gung-ho mentality might serve him well when he’s taking on a tribe of Chitauri, but against a great hero like Superman, you’d be better off employing a little pragmatism and patience.
Superman vs Thor: Who wins?
We don’t want to sound wishy-washy here, but it very much depends on a few key factors, the most important of which is the location of the fight. If this showdown takes place on Earth, we can see no other winner but Superman. He has Thor beaten for strength, speed, and special abilities.
However, there are a couple of ways Thor could win. Let’s envisage a situation where Thor is wise to Superman’s Achilles heel, and either brings some Kryptonite to the battle, or summons the Bifrost during the fight to acquire some. A Superman with his abilities taken away is no match for the god of thunder.
Similarly, Thor could also take the fight off-Earth, and gain the upper hand. Whether that be by leading Supes away from his stronghold, or by dragging him along the Bifrost by force, if Thor could take on the Man of Steel anywhere but Earth, we fancy the Asgardian to take the win.
Ultimately though, if we stage the fight on planet Earth and restrict the superheroes from leaving the battlefield, we can’t see anything other than a Superman victory. That is, unless Thor does his homework, but we can’t imagine he knows his way around Google.
You can see Chris Hemsworth in action as the god of thunder now that the Thor: Love and Thunder release date has arrived. As for Superman, we’re not sure when we’ll see the Kryptonian on the big screen again.