Thor and Aquaman are both essential members to their teams, the Avengers and Justice League respectively. They serve as much of the strength behind their organizations, sharing similarities in more ways than one.
However, the two men’s paths often diverge, evident from their unique experiences and backstories. Their differences may not be immediately clear, but they define their individuality and give them the identity that makes them the cherished paragons they are. It’s time to delve beneath the waves and brave the storm, distinguishing each hero’s similarities and differences.
10 Similarity – Physiology
While Thor’s MCU appearance may have been more faithful to its source material, it shares much in common with either iteration of Aquaman. The traditional Aquaman shares Thor’s blond hair and pigmentation, while the cinematic Aquaman has his long, flowing hair and robust beard.
All three iterations are close in terms of their physique (barring Thor’s Endgame iteration). Their bodies are compact and muscular, with steely eyes and broad arms. While athleticism is often associated with heroism they’re more conditioned than Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern or Ezra Miller’s Flash.
9 Difference – Prominence
Both Aquaman and Thor are necessary members of their respective teams, but the role the Thunder God plays in his team overshadows that of his naval counterpart. He is the force of martial strength among Earth’s mightiest heroes, with the tenacity to battle the Hulk and the skills to contend with Captain America.
Thor is one of the first called upon to deal with the Avengers’ greatest threats, whereas Aquaman, unfortunately, falls behind. The Justice League’s equivalent would be closer to Superman, who has defeated the DC Universe’s mirror to the Mad Titan, Darkseid.
8 Similarity – Caught Between Worlds
Though Thor and Aquaman hail from vastly different backgrounds, the themes surrounding the characters share the same beats. Both feel obligated to protect their home but cannot ignore the strife occurring above (or below), eventually sign onto a greater organization in the interest of safeguarding their lands and Earth’s, and spend too much time away from their people for the populace’s liking.
Ultimately, both return to their native lands and people, though not without goodbyes and closures to those they have come to care for on Earth.
7 Difference – Nature Of Power
Aquaman and Thor’s powers sometimes overlap. They have the virtually stock abilities of strength, speed, and durability, but those are where the convergence ends. Aquaman can communicate through telepathy and bend the water to his will, while Thor can call down lightning to smite his foes.
However, the source of their powers is just as important as their abilities themselves. Where Thor is often dependent on a weapon (whether it be Mjolnir or Stormbreaker), Aquaman uses his trident as a supplement. Thor’s arsenal may prove more useful, but his dependence on it is a vulnerability.
6 Similarity – Evil Brothers
Orm Marius and Loki, God of Mischief share a nearly perturbing number of similarities. They both conspired to conquer their mythological kingdoms, shunned their rival for his love of Earth’s people, tried to appeal through charisma before force, and would ultimately survive their respective movies on account of the hero’s mercy.
If that isn’t convincing enough, they are also not only related to the protagonists, they are specifically their half brothers. While Orm and Loki may have dramatically different personalities and approaches to victory, they share more in common than their mannerisms might suggest.
5 Difference – Dynamics In Their Group
Thor and Aquaman are equally fearless, but their engagement with other heroes is fundamentally different, shaping the means of which the group proceeds forward. Thor is assertive, positing plans he thinks will work, while Aquaman is passive, more willing to heed the suggestions of others so long as they’re practical.
That isn’t to say Aquaman is reluctant to speak his mind. However, he has spent more time on Earth than Thor, thus being more self aware that his knowledge of the surface may be incomplete.
4 Similarity – Willingness To Kill
As members of respected hero organizations, neither hero has killed often amidst their associates and even in their own movies. However, that isn’t to say they are averse to the concept, showing a willingness to mow down their opponents as the situation arises.
Aquaman is especially willing to vanquish his foes in the Injustice and Flashpoint continuities, though he’s no stranger to it in his own timeline. Neither is Thor; in addition to the Chitauri, he’s responsible for the deaths of many fantastical creatures, even going as far as to kill Thanos twice (time stone’s regeneration notwithstanding).
3 Difference – Royalty
It’s easy to conflate Thor and Aquaman’s roles in their societies given that many of their adventures do not occur there. However, their respective functions influence both their personalities and the story arcs they become entangled in.
Thor is the prince of Asgard, whereas Aquaman is the king of Atlantis. This distinction may be what is responsible for Thor’s need to assert himself before his Avenger colleagues, whereas Arthur hears the Justice League out, like a king listening to quarreling subjects. The latter’s position as a monarch grants other heroes the peace of mind that the seas will not rise up ~ so long as he remains king.
2 Similarity – Heart
Beyond their usually robust, vibrant personalities, Thor and Aquaman have devoted their hearts to many of the same things. It is true that they are fond of their people as most mythological royals are, though the capacity of their passion extends far beyond it.
Both heroes have a significant other they hold dear, are willing to put their lives on the line for strangers, and have a strong sense of justice (one which conveniently overlaps in value, despite dramatically different cultures). These qualities unite them in purpose and define them as the legendary champions many have come to revere.
1 Difference – Fate Of Their Kingdoms
It is true that Thor and Aquaman may have had different adversities to struggle against, but when comparing the two, it is impossible not to factor how their nations have fared under their protection.
While Arthur’s city suffered heavily under the war wrought by Orm, it was nothing compared to the havoc invoked by Surtur. Though the malevolent deity was used as a means of defeating Hela, it scattered his people, destroyed their homeland, and would inevitably deliver him into the hands of the Mad Titan.
It's time to delve beneath the waves and brave the storm, distinguishing each of the similarities and differences between Aquaman and Thor.