4

In the scene where Clark and Lois are conversing in the interrogation room:

  • Clark reveals that he can in fact see a squad of soldiers in the next room, preparing a tranquilizing agent to subdue him, to which they act surprised.

  • This is also reinforced due the fact that they were under the impression that they would be able to pierce his skin for it to take effect.

I was under the implication that Lois had already informed them regarding his powers and abilities. Did they have any understanding of his powers at all?

3

No, not really. It wasn't as if Lois Lane had a full accounting of Superman's powers, so any information she gave them was only slightly better than nothing at all. Up to this point, even Kal-El wasn't really aware of the full scope of his abilities.

  • Most of Kal-el's sensory powers have invisible power effects so she could only know what he had told her or had seen herself.

  • Most military people will work with things they understand and use technology based on their level of understanding of a particular threat. Given Superman's Kryptonian physiology and their lack of familiarity, it would explain why they thought ANYTHING they had in that room could even put a scratch on him in any way.

  • After the rumble in Smallville, most of the military now realized they were completely outclassed in any conflict with a Kryptonian. They might have thought they could make a difference but Smallville certainly resolved that. The fight in Metropolis on further exacerbated their sense of helplessness overall.

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  • so she could only know what he had told her or had seen herself. - I don't think that is entirely true. Lois managed to trace him back to his mother by collecting stories from people about how he saved people. So she had what she personally saw, and a lot of anecdotal evidence about various things people had seen him do in the past. She certainly didn't know the full scope of his abilities, but she almost certainly knew that he had strength, endurance, and so on far above average. – Zoredache Apr 9 '14 at 7:08
0

The composure Lois has during the interview scene suggests she gave nothing up during interrogation. Contrast that against the scene were Lois is saved from the damaged escape pod and she immediately confesses to having information taken from her. Therefore, the whatever Lois may have been able to surmise about Superman's abilities, the military- at that point- does not know it through interrogating her. They do know that he can fly. They know he's alien. And they have some inkling that he has abilities to gather intel despite their attempts to secure the information (it is doubtful that Lois's location is public information). Beyond that, they don't know Superman's powers.

However, it is highly probable that there are omitted scenes or events between Superman's first contact with the military and Col. Hardy's arrival at Smallville. Why? Col. Hardy gives a short briefing, stating, "I have previously encountered and observed the beings we're about to engage at close proximity. They are extremely dangerous..."

Based solely on what we see on the film, the conclusion is possible but a stretch. Rather, it is more likely Hardy had an opportunity with Superman to observe a possible threat.

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