Superman is the most iconic superhero. He has been the representative for his kin since the early 20th century. But in all his glory, he has been made and remade into a character riddled with flaws. Here’s a look at the weaknesses with Superman:
Superman was made to be an icon of the best in humanity. And since no man is perfect he was made as an alien stranded on Earth as a baby. But as he grew up and started discovering more and more of his powers, he became a tall muscular man with incredible abilities like flight, super-strength and heat vision. And therein lies the biggest problem. Most superheroes have a single power. Flash has super-speed. Aquaman can control water. Spider-man can shoot webs out of his hands. These singular powers while extraordinary have limitations. It’s when these superheroes get creative with their powers and do something near the edge of their ability, that they become metaphorical role models. But Superman has no known limit.
In the early days he was shown lifting cars but his power soon escalated to airplanes, trains, asteroids, planets and even more. He started out being faster than a speeding bullet but soon rose to speeds enough to turn back time. He used to be able to leap tall buildings but soon he could fly, even in the vacuum of space, without any reasonable explanation whatsoever. With every writer that used him, Superman’s arsenal of powers grew exponentially. His limits were broken so many times that there was no limit left anymore. This means that every time we see him facing a threat any less than Darkseid or Doomsday, we know that he can easily win. He even had to fight villains that mirrored him closely. Zod and Bizarro for example were every bit as powerful as Superman because only they could match his powers.
In the traditional sense, we love underdogs in stories. We love to root for a David taking on the unbeatable Goliath. When a single protagonist beats a giant villain through perseverance and creativity, we have a heartfelt feeling of satisfaction and gratification. But because of his immense powers, Superman becomes the Goliath. He is sure to come out on top. The solution that most writers use to combat this problem is that they make the super-villains also more powerful. Every time Doomsday comes back to life he is stronger and impervious to the power he was defeated by. This leads to a positive feedback loop. And when their powers keep mounting on, the conflict and its importance diminishes.