At the end of X-Men: First Class, Magneto controls the wires in Sebastian's nuclear reactor room to successfully take off Sebastian's helmet, this allows professor X to freeze Sebastian.

The only problem I have with this scene is that Magneto used the incredibly roundabout method of controlling a wire to remove the helmet when he could have simply removed the helmet directly with his power, and as we saw in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Magneto does in fact have the ability to control this helmet with his powers (as seen when he recovers it from the government that is holding other mutant related objects).

So my question is:

Why did Magneto use the metal wiring to take off Sebastian's helmet when he could have just taken it right off? To be sneaky? Magneto could remove that helmet in a second giving little to no time for Sebastian to react, so the wire just kind of makes no sense to me.

I hope someone can shed some light on this for me.

  • The latter is in-fact after the events with Shaw; Magneto may have realised his potential a little bit more by that time. Perhaps he couldn't or didn't know that he could lift the helmet at the time of Shaw.
    – Möoz
    May 5, 2015 at 1:15
  • I had hoped it wasn't this simple seeing as he crushed the helmets of Nazis earlier in the movie during his rage fit as a child. Even if he wasn't really in control of that he appeared to be and certainly remembers it. I'd assume he'd at least of attempted to move his helmet after knowing he could manipulate other helmets. But this explanation works and I appreciate your input. Thanks Mooz!
    – Austin
    May 5, 2015 at 1:25
  • I'm no expert and someone with more knowledge of this canon will come along and provide an answer; my other guess would be that it's a special helmet (but that's hand-waiving); most probable explanation is that at that time, the writers thought this was the way to do it :)
    – Möoz
    May 5, 2015 at 1:27
  • 9
    Haha, my girlfriend just suggested that the red and purple paint magneto used to paint the helmet during the end scene of x-men first class was a metallic style paint allowing magneto to now control the helmet because it's covered in a thin layer of metal link I laughed but then thought again because it fixes that plot hole nicely.
    – Austin
    May 5, 2015 at 1:32
  • 1
    @ThePopMachine that's a ridiculous underestimation of the general public. Metal looking helmet. Metal Moving Mutant. It would be instantly obvious what happened.
    – user16696
    May 7, 2015 at 1:43

2 Answers 2


Do you know for sure the helmet was of a magnetizable material rather than a nonmagnetic alloy or carbon-fiber fiberglass or some similar composition?

Magneto isn't generically telekinetic. Admittedly he gets away with bending the laws of physics in many ways, but he does have this limitation, which is invoked when it serves the plot.

As Roger Rabbit explained, cartoon physics is driven by story, not the other way around.

Aso: He's a supervillan with Shakesperian/melodramatic tendencies. He is going to do things in the flashiest way available, whenever he has time to do so. Pop-goes-the-helm isn't properly terrifying; it doesn't carry the implication of "I could have taken the head too..."

  • All materials have magnetic properties. Arguably, Magneto should be able to move even diamagnetic materials. Jun 6, 2015 at 1:01

Using the wires to sneak up and remove the helmet is a useful way to show the audience that Magneto is actually doing something. Otherwise the helmet just suddenly flies off Shaw's head and it's not obvious to the viewer why this happened.

  • 1
    True, although I think OP is looking for an in-universe answer.
    – Nerrolken
    May 6, 2015 at 22:42
  • @Nerrolken: Sometimes the only non-hand-wavy answer is out-of-universe. It's just a movie. May 6, 2015 at 22:47
  • That could have been made clear in the effect, though. Helmet shakes, distorts as if tearing itself loose, then flies to Magneto's hand. Might be a more expensive effect.... Valid point, but I'm sticking with my alternatives. };-)
    – keshlam
    May 7, 2015 at 0:07

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