I just watched the third movie and humanity ends up using plastic to counter Magneto.

Magneto's Plastic Prison

That made me wonder why they didn't use non magnetic metals?
Is he able to manipulate non magnetic metals and has this been used against him?

Similar to how Storm can make mist or sunny weather, but being called 'Weather' would be less strong sounding than 'Storm'.

  • 24
    Magneto sounds much cooler than Metalo :) Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 12:10
  • @Goran: Nah, Superman just claimed that villain already.
    – Jeff
    Commented Jun 9, 2011 at 14:04
  • 2
    Weather Girl! Ms. Rainmaker! Wet Lady! No judgment in brainstorming. Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 15:32

6 Answers 6


Magneto controls magnetic fields to a ludicrous degree. In the comics, this has been extended to the point of knocking people unconscious by slowing/stopping the flow of iron to their brains.

He cannot control non-ferrous (non-magnetic) metals. This HAS been used against him, notably in the construction of the later-stage Sentinels, which were made of non-ferrous metal and plastic.

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    You can make just about anything float with a strong enough magnetic field: youtube.com/watch?v=2VlWonYfN3A Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 20:26
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    So if Magneto can generate a field in excess of 10 Tesla, he doesn't need metal to lift things.
    – HNL
    Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 4:05
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    @HNL In real physics, yes, but in the movies they wisely limited him to metals. His jailbreak in "X2" was a truly beautiful exploration of this logic. Also, if he can deform metals without making them hot then I'd say the delicacy of his power is at least as impressive as its raw strength.
    – Beta
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 23:41
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    “the delicacy of his power is at least as impressive as its raw strength” — Eric is nothing if not gentle and considerate. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 22:26

Most of the common metals used today, are magnetic to some degree. Iron, Aluminum, Copper, Titanium, Chromium, you name it. So having magnetic powers does give you power over most of metal-based objects.

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    @apoorv020: The "fundamental cause" of of magnetism is moving electrons - every atom produces magnetism. However, the magnetic fields from the atoms of most materials cancel each other out in all directions, making them "non-magnetic." The reason feromagnets hold a charge is that (when placed in a strong-enough magnetic field) their atoms rearrange so all the magnetic fields are in the same direction. The exact cause of this phenomenon is much more complicated than just unpaired-electrons. Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 16:18
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    Aluminum is not magnetic (not naturally). That being said, the simplest explanation is to say "we used plastic against Magneto" versus "we use non-magnetic metals and metal alloys" which might raise the classic "Wait, what?" question in the general public.
    – MPelletier
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 18:22
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    Actually, from the responses at physics.stackexchange.com/questions/10827/is-aluminium-magnetic, it seems that aluminium does respond to very very strong fields, but not bar magnet-strength fields.
    – apoorv020
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 19:15
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    So maybe the in-movie characters couldn't agree on whether aluminum was magnetic or not and decided to opt for plastic? I'd buy it.
    – MPelletier
    Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 1:02
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    Aluminium isn't magnetic at the household level, but if you generate a strong enough magnetic field, it'll respond. It's clear that Magneto generates very strong magnetic fields. So even non-ferrous metals would be risky. Safer than iron, but not nearly as good as plastic...
    – Tynam
    Commented Dec 21, 2011 at 20:00

Yes! In the original X-Men comics Magneto was able to throw lightning bolts! In the sixth X-Men comic Magneto made a mental version of himself out of pure magnetic energy. Just like how Professor X can create a mental version of himself with his mind.

Magneto's power is to control electromagnetic energy, not metal. In the first movie when Storm said she was going to fry him, instead of using his brain he could have just put a magnetic field around himself.

In the second movie, when Magneto was in that room made without metal, he could have just blasted that plastic gate open with electromagnetic force. And in the third movie he could have just crushed those plastic cure guns by putting a magnetic field around the guns and crushing them.

I know that because I read the X-Men comics from 1963 written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Jack Kirby. You should do the same if you want to know about Magneto. But I do think the guy who played Magneto in the movies was great.


Magneto has control/power over both magnetic fields and metal.

Toward the end of the first half hour of X-Men (released in 2000), as Charles Xavier is talking to Logan about what the school is, Xavier reveals his history with Magneto thus:

When I was seventeen I met a young man named Erik Lehnsherr. He, too, had an unusual power. He could create magnetic fields and control metal. Believing that humanity would never accept us, he... he grew angry and vengeful. He became Magneto.

This at least is his explained power set in the X-Men Movie Universe.

  • That quote from Xavier doesn't really resolve the OP's query one way or the other, since it'd be true to say that Magneto can control metal even if he can't control all metals. Commented Jun 24, 2022 at 12:31

I think being called "The Master of Magnetism" is pretty clear. Magnetism has been extended to all electromagnetism, so he should be able to throw lightning bolts too if he wanted to(ie. his electrical looking shield he uses sometimes).


Well I believe his power is defined as being able to create magnetic fields. But in both the movies and the comics, there are moments when he is able to manipulate metals that are questionable as to being magnetic or not. So I don't really know, maybe he has the power to magnetise non-magnetic metals so that he can manipulate them with the magnetic fields.

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