Kryptonite makes Superman weak, so why was he able to easily break the cuffs with kryptonite on them?

  • how can he lift an entire landmass made of kryptonite in the superman returns movie?
    – mgh42
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 2:07
  • 3
    Could you add the exact issue number and maybe a screenshot as well? I haven't read them all.
    – Shreedhar
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 12:24
  • Regime Superman commissioned the 5-U-93-R pills that temporarily give humans Kryptonian-level strength and durability. Perhaps these pills (or something similar) can boost the power of a weakened Kryptonian.
    – Gaultheria
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 23:03

2 Answers 2


Kryptonite is a crystalline material, and has consistently been shown as such.

Crystals and crystalline materials tend to have great amounts of strength in some respects while being astoundingly fragile in others. It's entirely possible that the kryptonite cuffs were improperly made, perhaps being rushed into production when Superman needed to be restrained.

Even with his strength reduced to levels more in common with a relatively strong human, it's possible that he was able to simply exert enough strength to shatter the material. Crystals tend to have poor shear strength, and constructing a circular object out of crystal would seem likely to leave quite a bit of weakness, especially since kryptonite seems to be fairly brittle.


It may be that not all Kryptonite is created equal. Some may be "industrial strength", other samples not as powerful. Suggestive of that possibility is a scene in Adventure Comics 372, in which Lightning Lord, of the Legion of Super Villains, is bombarding Kryptonite with Lightning in an attempt convert it into "an even deadlier variety. Also, while I can't cite a specific issue but I do remember a Superboy story in which he intentionally exposed himself to Green K to build up an immunity to those specific pieces to use them later against Kryptonian villains. Perhaps the cuffs were made of pieces that he had already been exposed to.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.