Superman is one of the most powerful forces in the DC Universe. He is the premier hero of DC Comics and is renowned throughout the world for his strength and his heart. However, it might seem strange to wonder but – do we really know how powerful Superman is?
The question of just how strong Superman is difficult to answer and requires a detailed look at both the comic books and the movies. We all know that Superman is vulnerable to kryptonite but are his powers encumbered by anything else such as limits on his strength?
Well, if you have ever wondered how strong is Superman then you’re about to find out and it may surprise you to realize he is stronger than you think!
Extending Superman’s Powers
Superman’s strength has evolved over time because, as you might imagine, when he was first created in the 1930s there weren’t that many superheroes around so being able to move faster than a locomotive and jump over tall buildings in a single bound might have seemed far more impressive to readers then than it does now.
When he first appeared these really were the extent of the Man of Steel’s powers. He wasn’t an all-powerful alien God as he has been depicted in some later iterations but essentially just much stronger than the average person.
In fact, a graphic novel recently dealt with the subject of why the 1940s Superman was not as powerful as his successors. Called Superman Smashes the Klan, it suggests that Superman repressed the full extent of his powers in order to be seen as more normal and fit in with other people.
The truth of course is that creators over time simply wanted to push Superman’s strengths so that they could tell more diverse stories and not have him stopped because the extent of his powers was limited.
This reached a somewhat ridiculous extent in the 1950s when Superman seemed to get a new power every other issue – however this excess of powers was curbed during the 1960s and 70s.
Now that we’ve discussed how Superman’s powers evolved, it is time to answer the question – how exactly strong is Superman?
How Strong Is Superman In The Comics?
In the comic books, as discussed above, Superman’s power level varies somewhat with him being less powerful in his earlier appearances and much more powerful (seemingly overpowered as some fans and writers felt at the time) during the 1950s.
However, that only covers the first couple of decades of the Man of Steel’s existence – so how strong is he overall throughout his comic book history?
In the comic books Superman is on average incredibly strong. He has been known to lift around two billion tons (approximately double the weight of the Empire State Building) and has been shown to be able to tackle heavy hitters like Zeus, Mongol, Darkseid and even Dr Manhattan.
Superman’s strength then is pretty incredibly strong, and it is that matched with his scientific background that has made him one of the DC Universe’s mightiest heroes.
However, Superman’s strength is limited. He might find it difficult these days juggling planets as he once did during the 1950s and that is a good thing; although we need Superman to be a strong character and indeed stronger than he was in the 1950s, his powers were ridiculously high then and his strength seemed pretty much innumerable.
Instead of being in any way comparable to ourselves Superman seemed able to do anything which certainly doesn’t make for very compelling reading for comic book fans.
Thus, although Superman is strong, he isn’t any longer the strongest character in the DC Universe and that is a very good thing indeed.
However, now that we’ve dealt with the comic books you might wonder whether the films are any different. Well, we’ll now answer how strong Superman is in the movies.
How Strong Is Superman In The Movies?
There have been fewer film versions of Superman than there have been of other iconic film characters, so it is easier to assess the power of Superman in films than in the comics.
In the iconic Christopher Reeve Superman films, Superman is shown to be incredibly strong. Perhaps the most powerful depiction of his strength is during the first film, Superman: The Movie.
In that epic film Superman is shown to be able to lift the California Continental Shelf and pick up nuclear missiles mid air demonstrating that he was pretty much stronger than not only any other human but any other being in the universe.
Reeves’ Superman would only truly meet his match when he tangled with General Zod and his henchmen though even then he was able to defeat them partly using his incredible strength.
Brandon Routh’s version of Superman, who was meant to be the same character as Christopher Reeves hero, was equally strong if not stronger.
Routh’s Superman was able to lift an entire continent made out of Kryptonite from the surface of the Earth and fling it into space, demonstrating that he truly was the strongest man on Earth.
Henry Cavill’s Superman seems equally strong as Routh and Reeves interpretations of the character as demonstrated in his ability to take on most of the Justice League single handed after his resurrection and his ability to fight both Doomsday and Stepenwolf, beings who were certainly strong enough to have inconvenienced any other hero.
Superman therefore can be said to be just as strong as he is in the comics if not stronger.
Why It Is Important To Know How Strong Superman Is
Superman is perhaps one of the most iconic characters in modern pop culture. He has been able to defeat all kinds of threats thanks to his strength, speed and stamina.
His strength has perhaps played the greatest part given how it has allowed him to defeat some of the most powerful villains in the universe and do so often without a scratch.
But it is important to know how powerful Superman is because it ensures that we can truly understand how great of a character he is – rather than using his strength for evil, Superman uses his powers for good and this is an example that we all should and can follow.
Using our own strengths to help those less fortunate or weaker than ourselves is the lesson that Superman has taught us and it is a truly valuable one.