Wasn't Rhodey supposed to be damaged mentally and not physically by the Mind Stone attack which Vision fired at him in Captain America: Civil War?

I mean, I know he was paralysed (that is related to brain) but shouldn't he and all those affected by the attack suffer from mental and psychological damage?

Edit: My thoughts here being that vision did not want to kill anyone using the raw power of the mind stone.


2 Answers 2


The Vision's attack was his Optic Beams. In the Comics/Cartoons/Video Games, these can be done from his eyes, or from the Solar Jewel on his head, where he collects ambient solar energy. Shooting from the Jewel is stronger but requires more power. In the movies, he only shoots from the Mind Gem in his head.

This beam is a laser beam. Earlier in the film, when he first shows up to the big Team Cap vs Team Iron Man fight, he burns a line in the ground with it. It's not a concussive wave which would push or break things, it actually burns. When Tony and Rhodes asks Vision to stop Falcon, Vision takes aim as to destroy Falcon's jet pack, forcing Falcon to glide mode. But since he misses his target when Falcon dives, the beam acts like any laser or photon beam, and expands as it gets farther away from its emitter.

enter image description here

Heavy Science From the Physics stack:

Due to Heisenberg uncertainty principle, one can't really make a quantum have zero momentum in any direction. So you can't say that photons go in the same direction - this is just a simplified description of laser operation. In reality, the thinner the beam, the higher the divergence.

Compare e.g. a DPSS laser (e.g. green laser pointer) with a diode laser (e.g. a red laser pointer).

  • In a DPSS laser the active material will have diameter of order of hundreds of micrometer, and the exiting beam will start from even smaller diameter for various reasons. The divergence is quite small: if you remove the collimating lens, your light image from a green laser pointer will be several centimeters after the light goes several meters.

  • If you try doing the same with a red laser pointer, you'll see that its light diverges quite a lot: after going several centimeters in direction of propagation, it'll already give image of several centimeters. The reason for this is that active zone of diode laser has diameter of order of several micrometers. This makes output beam quite thin, making Δx small and thus Δp high, and this is what leads to high divergence. Actual angle would depend on which transverse direction you select, because active zone is ∼10× longer in one direction than in another.

Vision was targeting an object at X distance, and adjusting his beam for that. He ends up hitting something at X+n distance away, and the beam was bigger than he wanted at that extra distance. Just like a regular green laser pointer close up, and at airplane distance:

enter image description here enter image description here

War Machine was disabled, and Rhodes experienced extreme injuries due to the fall. He broke his back, injures at the Lumbar L1-L4, amongst other organ trauma. His paralyzed status was from physical damage, not from any mental effects.

  • Really detailed and great answer .I want to accept this but won't it be rude for the original accepted answerer? Commented May 31, 2016 at 8:08
  • @IshanTaneja there is a reason you're allowed to change your accepted answer :) It's not rude if a better answer comes after another one.
    – cde
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 8:28

The blast from the mind stone was simply a concussive wave, and only damaged Rhodey's Arc Reactor (the power source in his chest) causing the suits power to fail.

The paralysis he suffered was a result of the trauma his body endured through impacting with the ground after plummeting out of the sky, not as a direct result of the mind stone.

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