Everyone knows that Superman doesn't have magical abilities. He can't simply construct something just by thinking about it.

In the movie Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Nuclear Man destroyed the Great Wall of China in many places. Moments later, Superman reversed this just by seeing those places (meaning that the wall was rebuilt in opposite fashion of its destruction). How did he do this? Is there a science behind it?

  • No out of universe explanation, please. – Beebo Oct 24 '12 at 4:55
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    I think you will find that with any long standing character that has had many writers through different mediums (TV, movies, comics, books, etc) that there is no consistent universe with explanation. Superman has been around since 1932. Superman QFP was released in 1987, and was the worst of the four made in the movie series. It was not well received. Chalk it up to bad writing/production, and maybe even try to forget it ever happened. – spong Oct 24 '12 at 10:21
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    Superman has had many ridiculous abilities over the years. Repairing stuff at super speed with only his vision shouldn't be much of a shocker when taking this jibberish into account... goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2013/02/17/… – Daft Nov 4 '14 at 14:25
  • @Daft Haha.. Are those tiny Superman intelligent to work as their own? – Beebo Nov 4 '14 at 14:28
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    @SachinShekhar Yep. He actually kills them in the end for some reason, by shooting them into the Sun. It's all very strange. Try not too think about it too much... you'll get a headache! – Daft Nov 4 '14 at 14:31

There is no science behind it. It was common practice with Superman, Flash and Green Lantern comic stories to show the hero repairing the damage, often at super-speed. In the movies, particularly with budgetary issues being what they are, running the film backward, and undoing the event would be the movie versions of super-repair and replace.

And yes, it is cheesy, but no cheesier than having superheroes being able to repair anything they destroy in the first place.

  • Not satisfied. If it was his super speed, he could have used it at every place beating Nuclear Man within a second. – Beebo Oct 24 '12 at 4:55
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    I didn't write it. I am simply telling you how they rationalize it. You will not find a canonical answer that will satisfy you. It's NOT a superpower, its one of those things that defy's translation. Bad screenwriting, bad cinematography, it's just all bad. Hand-wave it away and don't read too much into it. – Thaddeus Howze Oct 24 '12 at 4:56
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    Quite obviously, he brought Kryptonian brock mortar with him as a baby. Ever since it was exposed to the light of a yellow sun, it has a curing time of 0.03 nanoseconds. He did however use normal trowels, and wore 17,000 of them (give or take) down to the nub before finishing the repair work. He also buried a few thousand chinese slaves underneath his restoration for historical authenticity. – John O Oct 24 '12 at 5:01

In the movie, Superman uses an apparently new power to repair the Great Wall. Specifically, he seems to have developed some form of telekenesis, which permits him to move objects at high speed using just his vision.

He uses a similar power later in the movie, to catch a pair of falling police officers and lower them safely to the ground from a distance.

Although this is a brand new power for Superman, it is vaguely similar to a power Zod displays (this time, a beam of energy from his fingers) in Superman II.

Note that the graphic novel adaptation of this movie does not include the same power; in that scene, Superman repairs the Great Wall by physically moving all of the blocks into their proper place, obviously at super speed.


I recall one instance in the old black and white tv series (The Adventures of Superman) in which Superman (at that point dressed as Clark Kent) reassembled a torn up piece of paper in a trash can only by looking at it. So it's not a really new display of a not so well known power. Though there is not much reference to him ever having this ability.


In the original script he did it by physically putting each brick back in place

Scene 313:

SUPERMAN Flies toward the scene. The NUCLEAR MAN sees him and starts a barrage of stones and bricks in the direction of SUPERMAN. He hurls hundreds of them, at super-speed, into SUPERMAN'S path. SUPERMAN knocks them aside and heads for the WALL.

Scene 314:

A TOURIST Running from the scene, slips and falls off the edge of the WALL. SUPERMAN flies in, catches her, and returns her safely to her husband.

Scene 315:

A BLUR OF MOTION As SUPERMAN, re-assembles the WALL. In a moment, every brick and stone is back in place. He looks up to see NUCLEAR MAN flying away. He takes off to follow.

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