Right before the final fight, we see Loki and Stark discussing the terms of the upcoming battle, bantering back and forth between who will win.

It is then that Loki gets the idea of turning Stark against his comrades like he did with Hawkeye, as well as a bunch of other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents at the beginning of the movie.

But, it doesn't work at all.

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Is this because of Stark's Arc Reactor countering the Cosmic powers somehow, because Stark is incorruptible (which doesn't make much sense), or possibly because simply he was touching the Arc Reactor and not Stark's flesh?

Either way, is there an explanation of why this did not work on Tony?

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    I think your reasoning sounds the more logical one to me. Arc Reactor i mean!
    – Dredd
    Commented May 25, 2012 at 3:48
  • 2
    awesome graphic. source? Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 7:35

5 Answers 5


When Loki tries to take control of Stark he actually hits the ARC reactor and not the flesh over his heart. Your graphic explains it best with the "Tink, Tink" sound showing that Loki is actually hitting the metal of the reactor.

In the Avengers director commentary, Joss Whedon states it fails to work because the ARC reactor prevents the staff from reaching Tony's heart.

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    When he takes over Hawkeye at the beginning of the film, Loki says Barton "has heart". Since Stark technically doesn't have a heart, at least not in the way ancient Asgardian magic would understand, Loki's spell doesn't work.
    – jeffm
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 18:30
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    Couldn't he just connect above his arc reactor or below. Oh may be the idea didn't come to his mind :)
    – Anshu
    Commented Sep 22, 2012 at 17:44
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    There is a reference somewhere in the film that the cube creates a doorway using energy that is similar to the ark reactor used by Tony. This is why Loki puts the doorway device on top of Tony's building, because it's powered by it's own reactor. There is another reference somewhere that the energy in the staff is the same as the cube. I took all this to mean that the reactor on Tony's chest was somehow interfering.
    – Reactgular
    Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 20:22
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    Avengers is now out on home media. The director commentary actually explicitly does confirm this.
    – user209
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 1:20
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    @jeffm I know this was a long time ago, but not at any point do the films ever say tony doesn't have a heart, nor is the arc a replacement of his heart, it is there just to keep shrapnel from penetrating it
    – Flaunting
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 8:33

Remember: Stark's father was studying the power of the cube. In Iron Man 2 he said only Tony could accomplish the creation of this new particle. It could have been a tesseract particle of some sort that Tony made with his new reactor. This could be why the spear of Loki didn't affect Stark. Just the same as the spear could affect the closing of the portal.

  • While this answer seems to be pure speculation, I really like the idea of the Tesseract being the origin of Tony's new particle.
    – user209
    Commented Sep 1, 2012 at 17:15
  • Speculation ...maybe but in the comics the teseract is a tool of the beyonders to study other races potential...it is also a power from a domain outside our existence ..as Jarvis said a particle Impossible to create..given Jarvis a self aware AI has knowlege of nearly all known elements in our universe ...this speculation makes the most sence...his reactor also runs out like a hydra weapon
    – user2000
    Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 0:09
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    Howard stark Captian America when studying the hydra crystal particle befor it exploded said...alpha beta ray neutral....boom!..write that down...he initially had a small piece of the puzzle in a short period of time ...now tink about decades with it...makes more sence that he studied it enough to figure he couldn't create the particle with that days current technology...so it was tasked to tony
    – user2000
    Commented Sep 2, 2012 at 0:23

While someone else provided an answer straight from the director, I am rather fond of the idea that the Infinity Stones do not work against each other.

Erik Selvig tells Black Widow that the scepter can be used to disable the portal because "Loki's scepter, the energy...the Tesseract can't fight. You can't protect against yourself." That sounds like the stones' powers do not work against each other, and therefore the shield will not stop the scepter. The space stone's shield does not work against the mind stone, and we see Black Widow breach the Tesseract's (space stone's) shield with the mind-stone-powered scepter. The stones do not work against each other.

Recall in Iron Man 2, Tony uses his father's research on the Tesseract to create a new element to power his arc reactor. So in his chest is an arc reactor powered by an element derived from the space stone. When Loki tries to use the mind stone's mind control powers against a space-stone-powered Tony, it likewise fails. The stones do not work against each other.

When the stones go up against each other, their powers fail. The shield does not work against the mind-stone-powered scepter, and the mind control does not work against a space-stone-powered Tony.

  • The Scepter was REQUIRED to pierce the Tesseract-powered portal generator youtube.com/watch?v=PGMQSnWNTbw as it was the only thing that could. And you even point this out. Your contradicting yourself.
    – cde
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 9:13
  • ... are you talking to me? How am I contradicting myself? What do you think Selvig meant when he said "the Tesseract can't fight. You can't protect against yourself."
    – J Doe
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 21:16
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    The generator ' s Tesseract based shield couldn't stop the Sceptre. So the arc reactor ' s Tesseract based energies shouldn't have stop the Sceptre either. The Sceptre did work against the generator, so it should have worked against the arc reactor in Tony's chest.
    – cde
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 21:36
  • There is no contradiction. The principle is not that the Tesseract is powerless against the scepter, but that the stones are powerless against each other. The scepter is also powerless against the Tesseract. So in both cases when the stones go up against each other, their powers fail. The shield does not work against the mind-stone-powered scepter, and the mind control does not work against a space-stone-powered Tony. I'll try to revise my answer to make it more clear.
    – J Doe
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 21:57

From my point of view there are some facts that seem to interfere:

  1. Even though the Spear and Cube are known as mystical and magical items, they are used to tap into a source of almost universal convertable energy. An energy similar to the emitted power generated by the Arc Reactor. The two energies, if not even the same seem to interfere each other.

  2. It is known that the Arc Reactor is able to store and absorb large amounts of energy. So it is possible that it absorbed the low frequency energy normally used to correspond and control the victims brain patterns.

  3. As seen the Arc Reactor is not only touched by the spear/scepter but it's attracting it in a magnet-like manner. In my opinion the reactor is emitting an electromagnetic field that is attracting the spear as well as interfering the energy projection which is causing the spear's ability to control the victim's brain patterns.

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    I don't the spear was attracted, magnet-like, to the Arc Reactor. I think it was just Loki's shock and disbelief that made him tap it that way. Commented Dec 29, 2013 at 6:29

Now that we know it's an infinity gem I believe that Tony's reactor made of the new element (Iron Man 2) is interfering with the mind gem. Proof of this is in the scene when the avengers are arguing about Shield's intent for the teseract and Banner grabs Lokis staff. When everyone is arguing Stark notices something's wrong. The only reasoning he's arguing is because... Well he's Tony Stark. The mind gem has no control over Tony.

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