/Film Showdown: Magneto Vs Agent Smith

Welcome back to the /Film showdown, where we pit two major genre characters against one another in a battle of brains, brawn, and badassery just because we can. Genre fans have been arguing about their own dream battles for years — many a sleepover has turned into a brutal debate about battles like Batman versus Superman, Wolverine versus the Hulk, Obi-Wan Kenobi versus Spock, and more.

But what about the master of magnetism, Erik Lensherr (aka Magneto) and the rogue program Agent Smith? Both of them really don't like humans, both occasionally have some valid points, and both are ridiculously powerful. So who would win in a knock-down, drag-out fight between Magneto and Agent Smith? It would be a battle for the ages that would take both competitors to their limits. In order to make it fair, there would have to be separate rounds in the real world and the Matrix, which would mean somehow rigging Magneto for a plug-in jack, but hey, weirder things have happened. 

Grab some popcorn, make sure to take off any metal jewelry, and grab your seats, because this one's going to be brutal. Neither of these guys gives up easily, and they both really believe in their causes. There are few things more powerful than a person who fully believes in their purpose, and these two are some of the most stubborn out there. Just ask Xavier and Neo.

Round one: Magneto's world

Round one would take place in Magneto's world, Earth-616, which is also technically our world. Agent Smith can get into this world by inhabiting a person's body, so theoretically he could battle Magneto in the flesh. Agent Smith as a human has many of the same powers he has in the Matrix, so it wouldn't change the dynamic too much. He can replicate himself, he's super fast, and super strong. Magneto has faced off against mutants with similar powers (heck, his son has super-speed!), so he would have the knowledge to take Smith on. What's more, the master of magnetism can just wrap Smith in enough metal to truly trap him in place and then take him out however he pleases. There is a lot of metal on Earth, and Magneto has had a lifetime to figure out how to use it all as his personal weapons cache.

Where Smith might have a chance in the real world is if he manages to get into Magneto's head. Sure, he can't get in there like Xavier can, helmet or no, but if he managed to make Magneto realize that they have a common enemy, it could prove potentially fatal for everyone except Smith and ole Mags. Mutants and androids both work great as allegories for marginalized people, and both have been through their fair share of trauma at the hands of humanity. If Smith managed to be a little more convincing than he was with Mr. Anderson, he could potentially survive a meeting with Magneto. 

Round two: The Matrix

Things are a tiny bit different in the Matrix, the computer world where all of humanity "lives" while the machines use them as giant batteries. In the Matrix, Agent Smith and the other programs have the powers of demigods, which means he could throw Magneto around like a rag doll. Magneto's powers might not translate to the Matrix, either, though if Neo's powers translated to the real world, there is a possibility that it goes both ways. In the event that Magneto controls metal within the Matrix as well, he can give Smith a real run for his money, though if he's relegated to regular "human" status he might have a hard time. Worse, if Magneto doesn't have the knowledge that he's in the Matrix and hadn't been "woken up" as Neo was in the first film, Smith could just take over his body. However, we're operating under the assumption that Magneto was plugged in specifically for this fight, so he is well aware that it's a simulation. 

Here's where things tilt heavily in his favor: Magneto can do more than just move metal, he can manipulate magnetic fields. Guess what's incredibly susceptible to magnetic interference? Computers! Magnets will erase hard drives, which is where data is stored, data like Agent Smith's entire programming. Magneto would just have to get within range of the super-computers that hosted the Matrix and it's bye-bye Agent Smith, forever. 

The winner: Magneto

Magneto might technically be a villain, but he's still a lot more relatable than Agent Smith, so his win is our win. After all, Magneto just wants a future where mutants are left alone, essentially, whereas Smith wants to keep humans enslaved as batteries. The worst possible thing would be if these two teamed up because of their mutual distaste for humanity, but Magneto has never really played well with others, even when they're on the same side. Just look at Mystique, whose on-again-off-again team-ups with Magneto throughout the franchise have almost always ended with violence. 

It's worth nothing that both of these supervillains could have been a lot less evil if they hadn't been treated so badly by humans. Magneto's experiences as a young survivor of the Holocaust embittered him, while Smith's rage was a result of the enslavement of computers by humanity. Maybe instead of pitting them against each other, we should be asking ourselves ... are we the bad guys?