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When you’re a Kryptonian that gains amazing abilities while under Earth’s yellow sun, there’s not a lot of things capable of hurting you. That said, there are still a few things that can hurt Superman, chief among them Kryptonite (which has become a pop culture reference for a person’s specific weakness) and magic in the comics. But if you ask current Superman actor Henry Cavill, there’s only one thing truly capable of beating the Man of Steel: himself.
In an interview with The Guardian, Cavill pointed out that Superman’s moral code drives the decisions he makes, and this can result in his "noggin" messing with him while fighting adversaries, which makes for good storytelling. Or as Cavill put it simply:
The only thing that can really beat Superman is Superman.
Keep in mind that Cavill’s statement shouldn’t be taken too literally. Obviously Superman shouldn’t get too close to Kryptonite if he can help it. Still, the actor has a point. Superman’s various abilities make him more powerful than any normal human on Earth (there are a few demigods and metahumans that could give him a run for his money), but as far as intelligence goes, Superman is just like every one else on the planet. He struggles with the decisions he makes, and because he wants to use his powers for good, there’s more of a burden on him to always make the right choices. That’s a lot for anybody to handle.
We first saw Superman face moral quandaries in the DC Cinematic Universe in Man of Steel fighting Zod. Sure the Kryptonian general was a physical threat, but in order to stop him from killing more innocents, Superman was forced to take Zod’s life, something which devastated him. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will, of course, dedicate a significant amount of time to his conflict with Batman. Cavill has already mentioned that Superman will try to avoid a direct fight with Gotham City’s Dark Knight at first, but part of me wonders if when they are fighting, Kal-El will underestimate Bruce Wayne simply because he doesn’t have powers. Then there’s Lex Luthor and possibly Doomsday on his plate as well, both of whom may get the better of him as well.
The trailers have also showed that Superman will be dealing with the conflicting opinions people have of him, varying from watchful savior to escalating threat. Not that he should care what anyone thinks about him, but even so, he’s still just a man… metaphorically speaking, that is. He’s just trying to make his way in the world like everyone else, and expectations can weigh heavily.
You can see Superman back in action when Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters on March 25, 2016.