In the end of Superman Returns, Superman entered the hot magma below the artificial continent to lift it up. Why wasn't Superman's costume burned up due to the tremendous heat of the magma? I think, Superman's powers aren't automatically inherited by his costume.

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    You really have a knack for asking these type of questions, don't you? :) – bitmask Aug 29 '12 at 19:58
  • It doesn't burn up when he enters the atmosphere.... – Gorchestopher H Aug 29 '12 at 19:59
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    @GorchestopherH He probably wasn't travelling fast enough (and his clothes would probably rip off before the friction was enough to burn them). – Brendan Long Aug 30 '12 at 0:30
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    Sorry Brendan but he is seen burning as he reenters the atmosphere and had sufficient speed to leave a very deep crater in the middle of the city. He was definitely HOT and moving FAST. – Thaddeus Howze Aug 30 '12 at 3:51
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    youtube.com/watch?v=gI5VKdMHLPQ – Iszi Aug 30 '12 at 15:53

His suit is made from the blanket which he was wrapped in when he first landed on Earth. It's alien properties make it nigh indestructible.

Additionally, the faq on imdb for the movie states:

In the original Superman movies, based on the silver age comic book superhero, Superman's costume was woven from blankets that arrived with him in the rocket that brought him from Krypton.

Under the Earth's yellow sun, they became invulnerable, just as he does.

And from the wikipedia of Superman Returns:

The film serves as an alternate sequel to Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980).

So the explanation for the suits invulnerability was already given in the previous movies.

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    @SachinShekhar Definition of nigh. – NominSim Aug 29 '12 at 19:48
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    @SachinShekhar Nigh means near/nearly. Meaning that his suit is nearly indestructible. The first sentence explains why it was nearly indestructible. Also for the other DVer care to comment why? – NominSim Aug 29 '12 at 19:54
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    How did Martha Kent cut the blanket to sew it up? – Jack B Nimble Aug 29 '12 at 20:01
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    @JackBNimble: You can sew fabric without destroying it. For the cutting: Probably by ripping out single threads at a time? Have Clark tear the blanket apart for her? – bitmask Aug 29 '12 at 20:03
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    @NominSim In magma, its dark away from yellow sun.. – Umbrella Corporation Aug 29 '12 at 20:04

Each version of Superman had a different origin and advantages. In the early versions of the character, all things Kryptonian acquired an indestructible nature under a yellow sun. It didn't matter if they were living or not, they simply could not be destroyed by anything made on Earth. This included his ship and his swaddling cloth/blankets.

Martha Kent was said to have unwoven the fabrics he was wrapped in and rewoven them into his only costume. The costume was indestructible except to Kal-El's heat vision, which was how she was said to have cut the material, when necessary. Later editors/versions tailored the legend as they saw fit. See: How did Martha Kent modify the Kryptonian Blanket that became Superman's costume?

Golden Age Superman, Earth-2, Pre-Crisis

  • Kryptonians had superpowers, even on Krypton. Krypton was a super-large, high gravity world. Kryptonian science far exceeded anything on Earth.
  • Everything Kryptonian that came to Earth became virtually indestructible due to an interaction with the energy of the yellow sun
  • Martha Kent unwove the Kryptonian fabric and rewove it into his costume. It was indestructible, didn't get dirty or torn and neither did his cape. She also created the S-shield.
  • Superman debuts as an adult Superman in Action Comics #1.
  • Power Girl was considered to be the only other survivor of Krypton on Earth-2. Later retconned out of Superman's continuity. Recently retconned back into continuity as a Kryptonian from another universe.

Silver Age Superman, Pre-Crisis

  • First reboot of Kryptonians, they had no superpowers except under a yellow sun. Krypton was a super-large, high gravity world. Kryptonian super-science far exceeded anything on Earth. Jor-el could see the Earth from Krypton.
  • Everything Kryptonian that came to Earth became virtually indestructible due to an interaction with the energy of the yellow sun.
  • Krypton's destruction came with a variety of versions of Kryptonite. One type was created artificially when the Green Kryptonite was affected by a crimson energy cloud making it turn red. Other colors included, white, blue, gold and crystalline.
  • Martha Kent unwove the Kryptonian fabric and rewove it into his costume. It was indestructible, didn't get dirty or torn and neither did his cape. She also created the S-shield.
  • His cape had special properties and could be used to protect people from environmental hazards. He used it to protect travelers he would fly to his Fortress of Solitude in the Arctic.
  • Superman has his powers from childhood and has a career as a young superhero named Superboy.
  • Krypton is destroyed, Kal-El was initially believed to be the only survivor. The only other survivors were the Phantom Zone villains. Later it was discovered, Argo City and various animals also survived (and gained superpowers as well).
  • This is the Superman most associated with the movies, including Superman Returns. His costume is completely indestructible just like he was.

Modern Age, Post-Crisis, Man of Steel Superman

  • Krypton was an Earth-sized world with technologically advanced humanoids.
  • Kryptonians were trapped on their world due to a genetic technology preventing them from leaving.
  • Jor-El modifies Kal-El to allow him to leave and come to Earth.
  • Krypton is destroyed by a weapon which introduces instability in the core of the planet. There is only Green Kryptonite.
  • Kal-El does not have a history where he becomes Superboy.
  • Kal-El's power develop slowly until he reaches maturity.
  • His costume is not indestructible, nor is his cape. His suit has no special properties, instead he is surrounded by a skintight, invisible force field which gives him the appearance of invulnerability. This field protects his costume and close fitting clothing but does not protect his cape.
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    The question is explicitly about Superman Returns. – user1027 Aug 29 '12 at 22:19
  • @Thaddeus - I would recommend migrating this answer here: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/22733/… – DVK-on-Ahch-To Aug 30 '12 at 0:02
  • Yes, and as noted, Superman Returns is based on the Silver Age character whose Kryptonian clothing, technology, equipment AND person became invulnerable under a yellow sun. So my answer does work. – Thaddeus Howze Sep 4 '12 at 21:45

Let us not forget about the aura around Superman that helps protect his clothes (everything, that is, except his cape). According to Ma Kent, young Clark's regularly worn clothes stayed extra clean and surprisingly undamaged, especialy when you consider the fact that the kid wearing them was indestructable. His Supersuit has the benefit of being Kryptonian and of being worn by Superman.

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    IIRC, this was invented as part of the 1986 Superman comic reboot The Man of Steel. In Golden/Silver Age comics and films, he doesn't have this aura. – user1027 Aug 29 '12 at 20:12
  • @Keen: He isn't said to have that aura, but he sure acts like he does. – Jeff Aug 29 '12 at 20:30

Same reason the Hulk is still wearing his trousers: Having your movie rated PG-13 or higher is going to hurt the box office takings...

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    the OP didn't ask for an "in-universe" explanation so "because it would be really inconvenient!" is probably the best explanation. – DQdlM Aug 30 '12 at 14:36

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