Professor Claims Way Superman Lifts a Building in 'Justice League' Violates the Laws of Physics

Superhero stories are known to be larger than life, bending the rules of reality to deliver audiences exciting stories. Even by granting these stories magical exemptions, taking into account that Superman really is an alien with super strength and the power of flight, these films sometimes break too many laws of physics, as Rhett Allain, Associate Professor of Physics at Southeastern Louisiana University, points out about Justice League over at Wired.

In one scene of the film, Superman is seen lifting an entire building with one hand and flying it to safety. The issue Allain has with this isn't the idea that Superman would be strong enough to do this, but that there are multiple other forces in play that would lead to the building crumbling as opposed to being transported neatly in one piece.

One reason this feat would be impossible is that the size of Superman's hand in relation to the building, even if Superman had the strength to carry the warehouse, would create too much pressure in one single point of the structure that the building couldn't sustain. Allain's estimates calculate that his hand would apply 670 megapascals of pressure to the structure, and, with bricks having a compression strength of 80 megapascals and granite having a compression strength of 130 megapascals, the force exerted by Superman in an upward direction would cause the materials to crumble.

Allain likens these forces at work being similar to trying to lift a cupcake up with a toothpick, which he even included a hilarious GIF of as a reference.

Another issue with the sequence is that, even giving the benefit of the doubt that the point at which Superman lifted the building was highly reinforced, preventing Superman's hand from going through it, forces in other parts of the building would result in it falling apart. The gravitational forces would be just as strong in all areas of the building as they are in the center, with the parts of the building that are further from the Man of Steel having less support, which would seemingly bend and ultimately break the structure.

The example Allain gives of this concept would be attempting to lift an entire chocolate cake with a toothpick, which might briefly work, only for the weight of the outer edges of the cake to lead to it falling apart.

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Sadly, we might not have a chance to see the DC Extended Universe correct this physics mistake, as there are no confirmed plans for Superman to appear in a future film in the franchise.

What do you think about these remarks regarding the film's physics? Let us know in the comments below!