Kal-El was born the son of Jor-El, a member of the Science Council on the planet Krypton, who had trouble convincing them that Krypton and its sun are on the verge of destruction. Undaunted by their ignorance, Jor-El develops a star ship in which he will send his son to a primitive planet called Earth. Both Jor-El and his wife Lara bid their son a sad goodbye as the star ship is launched from Krypton minutes before the planet and its sun explodes. The star ship carrying Kal-El travels through space, causing the child to age a few years while also educating him. It burns up as it enters the Earth's atmosphere and crash-lands in a nearby Smallville field, causing Jonathan and Martha Kent to pull over and investigate. They see a young three-year-old child emerge from the wreckage unharmed. The Kents discuss what they wish to do with the child when the truck falls off the jack, almost crushing Jonathan who was working underneath it to change a flat tire. Kal-El easily lifts up the truck, making the Kents wonder if the child really came from outer space somewhere. At age 18, Kal-El, who is now Clark Kent, is busy putting away equipment for the Smallville High's football team when his friend Lana Lang invites him over to listen to records. Clark accepts the offer, but realizes that he has so much work to do and so watches Lana drive off with her friends. Frustrated, Clark kicks a football high into the air and then races back home at super-speed, amazingly outracing an approaching locomotive. His adopted father Jonathan Kent tells him that he was brought here to Earth with the powers he has for a purpose, and it wasn't for showing off in front of his friends. As Clark tries to get his father to race him to the house, Jonathan suffers a fatal stroke and dies, making Clark feel ashamed that with all his powers, he couldn't save his father. Sometime following the funeral, Clark Kent is called into the barn, where he uncovers the wrecked star ship and finds the very thing that has called him: a glowing green crystal. He says goodbye to his mother Martha and then sets out toward the North Pole, where he flings the green crystal into the frozen Arctic Sea. From where it lands, it creates a structure made of slanted long white crystals into which Clark enters. By inserting a crystal into a tube, he causes the image of his real father Jor-El appear before him, to instruct him on what he needs to know about himself and about the powers he possesses, learning that his real name is Kal-El. He spends 12 years in the Fortress with the image of Jor-El teaching him, and then later at the end of the teaching, as Jor-El's image departs, Clark Kent now stands in the uniform of a superhero and soon takes off to his destiny. Arriving in Metropolis, Clark Kent is hired on as a reporter for the Daily Planet by its editor Perry White, who immediately assigns him to work alongside his best reporter Lois Lane. As Lois shows Clark around the city and the Planet, a mugger accosts them on the street and tries to steal Lois' purse, which she drops on the ground only to give her assailant a kick. The mugger fires a bullet at Lois which Clark instantly snags before he drops to the ground, making it look like he merely fainted. After the mugger runs away, Clark asks Lois whether it was worth being shot over losing ten dollars, two credit cards, a hairbrush, and a lipstick. Lois now wonders how Clark could know the exact contents of her purse. Clark simply says it was a wild guess. That night, as Lois attempts to take off on an assignment in a Daily Planet helicopter, it spins out of control and teeters dangerously off the edge of the roof. Lois screams for help as she hangs on for dear life, slowly losing her grip. Clark hears her call and quickly changes into his uniform to rescue both Lois and the helicopter. After landing safely back on the helipad, Lois asks who he is, and all he could say is, "a friend", before he takes off, causing her to faint. But more surprises would come that night: a would-be cat burglar would be scared by the sight of a man standing in front of him on the side of a building; a group of bank robbers escaping on a boat would have them and their boat hauled all the way to the Metropolis police headquarters; a little girl's cat would be gently rescued from a tree by a flying man; and Air Force One would have a "replacement engine" when lightning struck one of its engines, causing it to nearly crash-land. The flying man behind it all would make front-page news everywhere, and Perry wants his reporters to get the scoop on who this man is. Lois, however, is given a secret message by "a friend" to meet him at her place that evening. Believing that it's the same person who rescued her, Lois waits until he shows up, then casually eases her way into doing an interview with him to find out who he is, where he came from, what his abilities and weaknesses are. Her friend invites Lois to take her out on a flight to test that particular ability together, and so she bravely holds on as he flies her all around the city, around the Statue of Liberty, and even high into the clouds. It is after he takes her back to her apartment and flies away that Lois gives him the suitable name Superman. With her interview in the papers, Lex Luthor now plots on how he can get rid of a possible threat to his plans. One day as Clark Kent is pulled into Perry White's office for a talk, his ears pick up a high-pitched shrill and the voice of a man threatening to detonate a bomb in the middle of the city. He quickly changes into Superman and follows the voice to the underground lair of Lex Luthor, where he is subjected to a gauntlet of dangers that he survives through without a scratch before entering. Now having Superman's attention, Luthor shows him the plan of detonating two nuclear devices that he and his lackeys have reprogrammed to specific locations: the first toward the San Andreas Fault where it will cause a massive earthquake that will level much of California into the sea; the other heading toward Hackensack, New Jersey. Luthor also tricks Superman into opening a lead-lined box that had a chunk of Kryptonite attached to a chain, which Luthor wraps around the Kryptonian's neck as its radiation weakens him before being dumped into Luthor's pool to drown. While Luthor watches the launch of the nuclear missiles, Eve Teschmacher fears for the life of her mother in Hackensack and so bravely rescues Superman for the promise that he would stop the missile heading for the East Coast first, throwing the chain with the Kryptonite away into a sewer grating. Racing as quickly as he could after the missile, Superman manages to grab it from behind and push it toward outer space where it will detonate harmlessly. But as he looks back, he sees that the other missile has hit its target, and now he has to stop a massive earthquake from destroying millions of lives -- including those of his friends Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane, who are assigned to do a story about the land grab on the western side of the San Andreas Fault. Though Superman succeeds in replugging the fault line before it completely collapsed, the aftershocks still do some major damage: the Golden Gate Bridge slowly falls apart, causing a school bus to be pushed dangling off the side of the bridge; a rip in the ground across a railroad track threatens to derail a racing locomotive; the Hoover Dam is cracking and is about to deluge a nearby community. As Superman deals with each of these dangers as fast and as efficiently as possible, yet he doesn't come to Lois' rescue in time before she is crushed to death in her car as a rip in the ground swallows up her vehicle. Enraged by this loss, Superman flies as fast as possible around the earth, using it's gravity to travel back in time and saves Lois before returning to the present. After meeting with Lois and Jimmy again to make sure everything is all right with them, particularly with Lois who is now starting to cast eyes on him, Superman brings Luthor and Otis into custody with the police, putting them in prison where they belong. Clark Kent finds out from his boss Perry White that Lois Lane has gone on assignment to cover the story of a terrorist threat in Paris to detonate a nuclear bomb on top of the Eiffel Tower. Being the kind of reporter that she is, Lois hides herself underneath the elevator car as it rides up to the top of the tower to overhear what the terrorists are planning to do when an incident causes both the car to plummet and the bomb to start ticking away. Superman comes to the rescue at the nick of time, saving Lois and then flying the elevator car with the bomb deep into outer space where it detonates safely. Unknown to Kal-El, however, the shock waves of the explosion causes the gateway to the Phantom Zone to shatter as it passes toward that direction, freeing the three criminals Jor-El had imprisoned in it. When Lois returns to her desk at the Daily Planet, she tries to talk to Clark about his being more assertive and not being jealous every time she even mentions Superman. She offers him a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice. Lois Lane and Clark Kent are sent to Niagara Falls to do an undercover piece about honeymoon hotels exploiting newlyweds, posing as newlyweds themselves, when they take a walk near the falls and see a young boy playing near the fence who falls off. As the people gather around to see what will happen, Superman immediately shows up, catches the boy, and brings him safely back to his mother, leaving before Lois can get his attention. Lois begins to suspect something as she notices that whenever Superman shows up, Clark somehow disappears, and so makes a daring test to Clark to prove whether he's Superman or not: she throws herself into the raging river on purpose right in front of Clark. Instead, Clark secretly uses his heat vision to cause a big branch to fall into the river and calls out for Lois to grab onto it so she can swim to shore. Lois looks at Clark in disbelief and starts to feel embarrassed. Back at the hotel, Lois discovers by accident when Clark trips over the bearskin rug and stuck his hand into the flames of the fireplace, yet didn't burn his hand doing so, that he truly is Superman. With the revelation of his identity now made known to her, Clark decides to take her to the Fortress of Solitude to tell her everything over dinner, letting her know how much he loves her. As they both felt so strongly for each other that they couldn't live their lives separately any longer, Kal-El confides with the hologram of his mother his desire to marry Lois. Lara tells him that the only way he can do that is to live as one of the humans, without any of his powers, and shows him the molecular chamber that harnesses the power of Krypton's red sun that will remove his powers forever. Believing that his love for Lois is worth the cost, Superman steps into the chamber as Lois watches it strip away the Kryptonian that he was, leaving him as Clark Kent the human being. After spending the night together, Clark and Lois drive to a roadside diner where he gets painfully roughed up by a bully trucker named Rocky. Soon the President of the United States comes on the television to tell the world that he has conceeded all governmental control to General Zod, and then pleads for Superman to come to the rescue. Clark realizes that the Phantom Zone villains his father have imprisoned are on the loose and now have the same powers he once had. Now knowing the danger he's put the world in with his decision to become human, he heads back to the Fortress of Solitude in the hopes that he can restore his powers. By the time he gets there, he finds the only possible answer being the green glowing crystal that built the Fortress. In Metropolis, Lois Lane waits nervously in Perry White's office at the Daily Planet for Superman to show up when the rogue Kryptonians show up first, wrecking everything in their path toward the office where Luthor tells them to take Lois hostage. Soon Superman shows up outside the building, daring for Zod to step outside. The three Kryptonians engage Superman in battle, flying and fighting all around the city in the hopes of destroying the son of Jor-El. They notice Superman protecting the humans during their battle and decide to endanger them in order to weaken him enough to destroy him. Eventually Superman realizes the danger that the fight is causing the citizens and flies off, much to the disappointment of those hoping to see Superman defeat the villains. Luthor then directs the Phantom Zone criminals to the Fortress of Solitude, where they also take Luthor and Lois in their attempt to destroy Superman. It is there that Superman, who again fights them but is unable to prevail against them, gets Luthor to trick the Kryptonians into having him be put into the molecule chamber to strip away his powers once again, as Lois sadly watches. However, as Zod made the now seemingly-weakened Superman bow before him, take his hand, and swear eternal allegiance to him, Superman crushed Zod's hand, revealing that he altered the chamber so that he would be safe while the other three Kryptonians lost their powers. Zod, Ursa, and Non all fall into the abyss, and Superman turns Luthor over to the authorities once more while he took Lois back home to her apartment. The following day, Clark Kent checks up on Lois at the Daily Planet to see how she is doing, and finds her crying because she cannot deal with what she knows about Clark now and how to relate to him anymore. Clark takes Lois close to him and kisses her, and with the kiss he makes her completely forget anything she knew about Clark Kent being Superman, restoring her to the Lois Lane that he knew. Later on, at the same roadside diner he went to earlier, Clark Kent gives Rocky a taste of his own medicine. As Superman, he flies the replacement sky dome with an American flag on it to the White House and tells the President that he won't let him down again. Due to a series of mishaps that take place due to a woman walking a dog, a man ends up knocking over a fire hydrant with his car, causing his vehicle to be flooded with his windows rolled up, unable to open the doors. Clark Kent sees this happen and goes into a photo booth to change into Superman. A boy inadvertently puts some money into the booth and snaps photos of Clark changing into Superman. He notices this before the boy does and gives him only the picture of him being Superman before coming to the rescue of a man who would have died in his car. Meanwhile, as Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane goes off to Bermuda for a vacation, Clark Kent attends his Smallville High class reunion party where he meets his high-school sweetheart Lana Lang. He finds out that she now has a young son named Ricky, and Lana is dealing with both being a single mother and fending off the unwanted affections of her former boyfriend Brad, who is now a drunk working as a security guard. As Clark spends time with Lana and her son on a picnic, Superman comes to Ricky's rescue when he lies in the wheat fields injured and about to be run over by threshing machines. Ross Webster has Gus Gorman reprogram the weather-reporting satellite to create a hurricane to destroy South American coffee crops, but as Gus eventually reports to his boss, that plan has been foiled by Superman's interference. Ross now has Gorman come up with a way to create Kryptonite, which is known to weaken Superman unto death. However, in the computer's analyzing the elements that go into the formation of Kryptonite, it fails to recognize the "unknown" element, so Gorman substitutes tar in its place. With the synthetic Kryptonite now produced, he presents it to Superman at a homecoming celebration in Smallville as a gift, posing as a U.S. Army Lieutenant General. Though Gorman is disappointed to see that the synthetic Kryptonite didn't kill Superman right then and there, it did produce a side effect that altered his behavior, causing him to increasingly behave in immoral and destructive ways. With Superman now out of the way, Ross now focuses on building a powerful supercomputer that Gorman has designed. Superman's immorality comes to a head following a drinking binge when he lands in a junkyard and splits into two personas: the evil selfish Superman and the good moral Clark Kent. Though his Superman self seems to have the upper hand over his Clark Kent self in the physical confrontation, eventually his Clark Kent self overpowers and defeats the evil Superman self until it vanishes. With Superman's goodness restored, he goes forth to restore all the damage that his evil self has caused and then goes to confront Ross Webster, who is now with his sister, Lorelei, and Gorman at the site of the newly-constructed supercomputer. Seeing Superman coming, Ross runs Superman through a gauntlet of missile attacks, then traps him within an energy bubble to suffocate him until he manages to rip a hole to destroy its generating mechanism. Finally, he causes a beam of pure Kryptonite to be aimed at Superman, weakening him. Realizing that he is now being credited as the man who destroyed Superman, Gorman turns against his boss and manually shuts down the computer's power core. However, the computer repowers itself and continues to fire the Kryptonite beam at Superman. Gorman takes an ax and destroys the beam's projector, but the computer is now self-aware and attacks him with a repulsion beam. Seeing how powerful this computer has become, Superman flees from the site. As the supercomputer drains power from major cities, causing blackouts, and keeps Ross, Vera, and Lorelei hostages by its power, Superman soon returns, this time with a cannister of seemingly inert chemicals that he places within the core of the supercomputer as he allows himself to be captured. The chemicals then heat up and become acidic, destroying the computer from within until it finally explodes, releasing Ross, Vera, and Lorelei from its control. Superman then takes a grateful Gorman away to a West Virginia coal mine where he is offered a job as a computer programmer, leaving the other three for the authorities to deal with. While he stops there, he takes a small chunk of coal and, with great pressure, turns it into a diamond. He returns to Metropolis where he finds Lana Lang has moved there and is now employed as Perry White's new secretary. He gives Lana a ring made from the diamond, even in the sight of her jealous former boyfriend Brad. Lois Lane returns from her vacation, which has turned into an adventure that will make front-page news. After Superman rescues cosmonauts floating in space without oxygen, he returns to Earth as Clark Kent to deal with selling his family farm after his foster mother Martha Kent's death, finding an energy module in the star ship that brought him to earth that the voice of his birth mother Lara says can only be used once. After stopping a runaway subway train in Metropolis when its operator collapses from a health problem, Superman enters the Daily Planet building as Clark Kent to find out that the newspaper has been bought out by the tabloid tycoon David Warfield, and that Perry White has been replaced as its editor by David's daughter Lacy, who starts making advances toward Clark despite Lois' warnings that Clark is "the oldest Boy Scout". Soon the President of the United States makes a speech on television that peace talks between the United States and the Soviet Union have failed and that they are now considering building up nuclear defenses for possible war. Jeremy, an elementary school student whose class was watching this speech, is motivated to write a letter to Superman, saying if he could destroy all the world's nuclear missiles, then the world could be spared from blowing up one another. Superman initially tells Jeremy that he couldn't do that -- a response that the Warfield-controlled Daily Planet spins as SUPERMAN SAYS DROP DEAD TO KID, which leads Perry White to do some drastic action concerning who's holding the paper's reins. After a private talk with Lois Lane on the issue, he realizes that Earth is his home as well and he can't stand idly by and watch its citizens annihilate each other. He addresses the United Nations by stating that he will destroy all nuclear missiles starting immediately; a statement that gets surprisingly universal support. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor, having recently broken out of prison, comes up with a new plan to destroy Superman: by creating a superpowered being cloned straight from Superman's own DNA, a sample of which he gets from a museum display showing the strength of Superman's single hair strand. Luthor gets help from a few hired black market arms dealers to attach a device that contains what he calls a "genetic stew" onto one of the nuclear missiles which Superman will throw into the sun as he did all others. As the missile with the device reaches the sun and is destroyed, it instantly transforms the "stew" into a superhuman being with incredible power. He flies back to Earth and meets Luthor at his penthouse hideout, referring to him as Nuclear Man, the only being with the power to pierce Superman's skin and make him weak enough to die. Of course, Luthor shows his nephew that Nuclear Man needs direct sunlight to function or else he will be powerless. Lacy Warfield invites Lois Lane to a double date affair at her apartment, with Lacy entertaining Clark and Lois with Superman. During the whole time, Superman finds ways to switch between his two identities to maintain the illusion of himself and Clark Kent being separate persons in separate places at the same time. Soon he gets a secret video message from Lex Luthor, forcing Kal-El to meet at his penthouse. Superman interrupts the date to deal with Luthor, only to find himself face-to-face with his creation Nuclear Man. The two end up in a struggle that takes them all across the world, with Nuclear Man causing various disasters and Superman trying to fix them. Eventually they end up in New York where Nuclear Man threatens to dump the Statue of Liberty in the heart of the city. Superman stops that from happening and flies the statue back to Ellis Island, but Nuclear Man takes advantage of this and pierces Superman's skin with his fingernails. Weakened from contact, Superman drops to the ground after putting the statue back in place, and then Nuclear Man kicks him high into the sky, causing his cape to drop onto the torch. Soon the Warfield press machine spins out SUPERMAN IS DEAD, and its publishers now have Superman's cape in their possession. This outrages Lois to the point where she takes the cape off their hands even amidst David Warfield firing her. She goes to Clark's apartment and finds him at home sick, something she never saw happen to him. Lois hands Clark Superman's cape and tells him she just wants Superman to know how much she loves him. After she leaves, Clark pulls out the energy module from the star ship, with the voice of his mother saying that if it can restore his powers, the sacrifice will not be in vain. Nuclear Man starts having desires for Lacy Warfield when he sees her picture in the papers. Superman, with his powers and health restored, senses this and tries to stop Nuclear from reaching Lacy as he threatens the citizens of Metropolis with his powers. Superman tricks Nuclear Man into entering an elevator car and then drags it out into space, dumping it on the dark side of the moon where he will remain inert and powerless due to lack of sunlight. However, a bit of the sun's light does creep into the elevator car and repowers Nuclear Man, resulting in a fight with Superman on the moon which leaves the Kryptonian overwhelmed but not depowered. He goes back to Earth, kidnaps Lacy Warfield, and drags her off into space while Superman pushes the moon in front of the sun, causing Nuclear Man to lose his powers. Superman quickly brings Lacy back to Metropolis and then deposits Nuclear Man into the heart of a nuclear reactor, where he becomes a powerful energy source. At a press conference Lois attends, back at the job she's done her best work in with the Daily Planet restored from David Warfield's control, Superman tells the people that the only way the world can have true peace is if they want it so badly that the governments will have no choice but to give it to them. At the end of the movie, as Luthor and his nephew try to make their getaway, Superman captures them and flies off with their vehicle. He first takes Lenny to Boys Town, where the presiding pastor will watch after the young man and teach him well. He then takes Luthor back to the prison that he escaped, letting Luthor know that he knew about Nuclear Man's weaknesses and that he will see him in twenty years.
Green Kryptonite: All Kryptonians are vulnerable to exposure from green Kryptonite. Immediate exposure causes great discomfort, while prolonged exposure will prove fatal. In Superman III, the synthetic Kryptonite created by Gus Gorman caused Superman to behave in immoral and destructive ways, and eventually led to a splitting into two physical selves that fought for dominance over each other.
Red Solar Radiation: Absorbing the energy of a red sun slowly replaces the stored energy of a yellow sun, preventing kryptonians from aquiring their powers and removing existing powers.
Magic: Like all Kryptonians powered by the yellow sun, he is vaulnerable to various spells.
1978 saw the release of the first full-length Superman feature film. Cast in the role of the Man of Steel was actor Christopher Reeve, who went on to reprise the role in three sequels, Superman II, Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. In 2006, Warner Bros. Productions revived the film franchise with a quasi-sequel called Superman Returns. Replacing Christopher Reeve (who had since passed away due to complications from paralysis) was actor Brandon Routh.