In the 1983 film "Superman III", Superman - while infected by synthetic kryptonite - ends up fighting his normal "good" personality in the form of Clark Kent. The scene is highly symbolic in nature, but one thing always confuses me regarding it. About halfway through the fight, both of them are on a conveyor belt leading to a metal compactor. Dark Superman is apparently winning, beating on Clark with a bumper, and then he suddenly becomes weak and drops the bumper before staggering:

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No apparent reason is given, and it doesn't happen at any other time during the fight. I've seen it suggested that he grew weaker because the Clark persona was standing up to him... but at this point in the fight, the "evil" side was winning.

Has anyone involved with the film commented on or explained this sudden weakness?

  • Because he had just fallen into an acid pool..
    – user931
    Sep 15, 2018 at 18:59
  • @user931 - true, but the acid didn't seem to affect him much, if at all. And they fought quite a bit between that and this scene.
    – Omegacron
    Sep 17, 2018 at 17:05
  • There's nothing in the Screenplay that describes why he's weakened.
    – Valorum
    Sep 20, 2018 at 13:54
  • Maybe the synthetic kryptonite was wearing off?
    – djm
    Feb 19, 2019 at 18:19

2 Answers 2


Since it's been inferred that Dark Superman is a drunk from the bar earlier in the film, then the act of all those super blows with a car fender(lol) is him wearing himself out(usually lots of booze drinking makes physical activity difficult). In my opinion, this is part of Clark's mind showing a sign that he's gaining more control. And in the end, it's no longer Weak Dark Superman, Clark is overwhelmingly powerful then.

  • 1
    I think you mean "implied". Jun 19, 2019 at 20:17

As stated, the scene was highly metaphorical. In either case, though, it's unlikely that Superman was "drunk" on anything but the synthetic Kryptonite; canonically, unless he lost his powers, earth-based alcohol doesn't affect Kryptonians anymore than any other calories they ingest. Essentially, the "weakening" was to show the transfer of dominance back to the "Clark" persona.... he was, after all, the foundational aspect of Clark's personality.

This was basically to show Clark regaining control over his darker impulses let out by the fake Kryptonite, and focusing that aggression in a positive way to regain himself as the "true" Superman. Here's a better question, though:

Considering it was his "bad" persona, which ended up fading away, mind you, that slept with the blonde floozy, and the "real" clark has a totally separate body... did there "liaison" still count for him?

  • Is the "better question" rhetorical? If not you should really ask it as a new question instead.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Sep 4, 2019 at 14:40
  • @TheLethalCarrot Not "rhetorical", so much more than "hard to prove", and thus I was asking what possible positions could be taken on it
    – Russhiro
    Sep 4, 2019 at 19:31

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