In the movie Man of Steel, General Zod and Superman fought in an unfinished building. In that scene, General Zod mentioned that "trained all his life to master his senses" and then removed his armor by flexing his body.

I can't help but to notice that when he has removed his armor, one his glove was floating while other parts of his armor fell onto the ground as he levitates. What does this mean and what is the significance of it?

  • I assumed it was supposed to be either vibration or some sort of gravitational anomaly from him exerting flight. That's just a wild guess, though.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Sep 25, 2014 at 18:46
  • Zod also demonstrates telekinetic powers in Superman 2: youtu.be/VqBO0Cluv_o?t=60s Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 10:51

5 Answers 5


The Power of Imagery

Warning: This answer is about the artistic reason(s) for the levitating glove, not scientific reasons.

If you're into such things, Man of Steel is rich with imagery and symbolism. Sometimes it's conspicuous, such as when Clark is at a church and the camera pauses ever so briefly with an anguished Clark in front of a crucified Christ. Sometimes it's a lot more subtle, such as when Jor-El's image is directing Clark and Lois on the ship, and it's all done with classical poses similar to those in Greco-Roman statues: This totally jibes with Kryptonian society in the movie being based heavily on Plato's "Republic." Another subtle one is the "baptism" of Clark when he goes through a trial by fire and ends up immersed in the ocean.

Anyways, as far as imagery goes, a gauntlet is a symbol of power. (side note: the difference between a glove and, more specifically, a gauntlet is, generally speaking, that a gauntlet is used in battle/war). Notice that it's not just the case that the viewer can see a gauntlet floating---it's actually the case that the glove is foregrounded in a shot, taking up almost the entire frame, and the camera ever so subtly pauses there for just a brief moment.

So I would suggest that scene may have been less about a scientific reason and more about an artistic and symbolic message. Zod has just expressed his view that, essentially, might-makes-right when it comes to protecting Krypton (says something about even his "cruelty" was to serve Krypton's greater good). The glove symbolizes his power philosophy.

  • And I'll add this thought to my answer as a side note, I do not think this answer is an either/or set against any scientific explanation. Clearly the glove levitating has something to do with Zod about to fly. I just think there's much more going on than that in this scene.
    – FoxMan2099
    Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 15:34
  • Speculation and there is no evidence the gauntlet symbolized anything.
    – Gelfamat
    Commented Apr 5, 2014 at 3:19
  • 6
    I think you're selling short the power of imagery in visual media, but that's just me I guess.
    – FoxMan2099
    Commented Apr 5, 2014 at 20:21
  • @Gelfamat “there is no evidence the gauntlet symbolized anything” — what evidence would convince you? Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 14:28
  • Present some and I will let you know.
    – Gelfamat
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 22:16

There is a theory that superman flies by manipulating gravity around him

Lex Luthor once theorized that Superman had to stem from a gigantic planet with enormous gravity, where his species had developed natural anti-gravity organs to be able to function; on Earth, this would allow him to control his own gravimetric field in order to fly. as given here

So what zod is actually is doing is nothing but manipulating the gravity around him.This means some level of telekinesis is possible by kryptonians to some distance.

  • I agree with the generation of a field and that Kryptonians have mastered anti-gravity in their technology. It is ubiquitous throughout their world as seen in their robots, sarcophagi, non-aerodynamic vehicles, spaceships, escape pods, artificial gravity on ships, and manipulation through world engines. However, we're not shown a planet with high gravity (yes, Jor-El indicates the gravity is higher, but not to what degree or magnitude). We see objects fall, hair stand, etc. Suggesting gravity within Earth magnitude. Plus Lois is alive on a ship set to their environment. Commented Sep 25, 2014 at 20:13
  • yes in the movie Lois was alive on a ship set in environment (i.e with given gas combinations similar to that of Krypton in air) but not on their planet i.e not under the gravity equal to that of Krpton.
    – user93
    Commented Sep 30, 2014 at 2:25

Just rewatched the scene and there's no significance or special trait for that particular piece of his armor as far as I can tell. It seems to me that the reason why it levitated was to help highlight the fact that Zod was beginning to manipulate how gravity affected his personal space (hinting that he would start to 'fly' like Superman, and control the same powers).


The significance of the scene is to definitely demonstrate that Kryptonians generate a field when flying. This is suggested a number of times and places throughout the film when Superman takes off, often generating a depression beyond just his feet, and causing particulate to rise and swirl in a pattern suggesting such a field.

The benefit of this is that such a field provides generous apologetics for many of the powers, abilities, and tropes typically ascribed to Superman and his feats. For example, being able to produce super-strength doesn't work if looking at Superman, whose mass does not increase and whose acceleration is insufficient to generate the force that we see on the object. However, if Superman is literally able to project a forcefield and put more arbitrary force into his movements... that is, get more- impossible- value out of his otherwise human-range movements... then you can get super strength which aligns with the expectations of the audience.

  • 1
    Also useful to decelerate Lois quickly without squashing her like a pancake or braking every bone in her body. Commented Sep 24, 2014 at 15:00

Just adding my 2 cents. In comic cannon, it's stated many times that superman's powers extend slightly beyond his body (which is why his suit doesn't become a tattered mess everything he breaks the sound barrier). In the scene where Clark first flies, we see pieces of snow and dirt raising around his hand... this is the same as Zod's gauntlet. Zod was 'flexing' this new muscle and the field around him encompassed the suit he'd just discarded.

I agree the accepted answer should stay accepted. Imagery was probably the main purpose behind making it float, I'm just trying to offer a canon explanation.

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