Super heroes are great and they normally make great movies (the Fantastic Four movies do not count). One of my favorite heroes of all time is Superman. I mean who wouldn't want to be able to fly or have super strength. Going back to the original Superman Comics he was not as strong as he is today only able to jump a measly 660 feet in the air, but that is still incredible. I was wondering just how much force it would take to allow Superman to jump like that. After some research I found this book titled "The Physics of Superheroes: Second Edition." It has a plethora of different examples of physics of superheroes and one of the chapters has my personal favorite Superman. The talks about how Superman jumps. The author, a physics professor himself, goes on to imply even superman follows the basic principal that force equals mass multiplied by acceleration. Then the author goes on to talk about the original Superman's jump of 660 feet saying that gravity is the main cause of the jump stopping ( Chapter 1 TPofSH). After some math the author says that to achieve the amazing jump height his starting velocity needs to be squared from his takeoff acceleration which is 200 feet a second which is equal to 140 miles per hour. Then to get the force applied to the ground he assumes Superman is 100 kilograms. The time assumed to jump off the ground is about a fourth of a second so he multiplied the 200 feet a second to account for time which equals 250 meters per second squared after also converting to the metric system. So multiplying Superman's mass by his acceleration gives a whopping 25000 meters a second squared. When Superman jumps he applies a whopping 5600 pounds of force to the nearby ground.
Kaklios, John. "Chapter 1." The Physics of Superheroes: Spectacular Second Edition. N.p.: Penguin, 2009. N. pag. Print.
First do not watch the movie. Well the movie it self is not bad its actually quite good. The whole premise of protecting the Earth is flawed because the asteroid would still hit the Earth. Now the real plan NASA has is suppose to work. The current plan is to launch nuclear warheads at the asteroid to gradually deflect it away from Earth. The nukes would detonate off the surface because if it actually hit the surface of the asteroid it would cause unwanted debris that would rain upon Earth. In the case of an asteroid we have a chance of preventing Armageddon.
In the movie the "Eraser" Arnold Schwarzenegger is a Witness Protection Agent. In the movie a company has developed a portable railgun and is planning on selling it to foreign powers. An employee, Lee Cullen, of the company decides to turn them into the government for treason. Following the events of the movie Arnold eventually gets ahold of one of the railguns. Now the question is what would have happened when he fires the rail gun.
Well when he first fires the gun the recoil caused by firing it produces 26549 kilometers a second of force which would slice through Arnold killing him instantly.
The victim on the other hand receives a much lesser force of only 3745 kilometers a second. Which is still enough to kill him instantly. In conclusion the railgun in this movie is simply unrealistic because it would kill any person instantly.
In the movie Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) needs to get to the roof of a building to infiltrate it and steal a high tech weapon. Agent Hunt soon discovers the only way for him to get in the building is to come in on the roof. He decides to swing on to the other building with a rope. The question is whether or not he would be able to swing from one roof to the other. The building he starts on is 226 meters tall and the one he is swinging to is 162 with a 48 meter gap between them, so in order to make it between buildings he has to have enough rope to swing between the buildings.
The Impossible Leap
In one scene of the movie Agent Hunt needs to jump across a gap in the bridge to catch the escaping villain. So Hunt begins to run and he manages to narrowly catch onto the ledge of the other side of the gap, but is it even possible for him to make it across the gap. From my guess the gap appears to be about 10 meters wide, and to clear that gap Agent Hunt is going to need some amazing long jumping skills.
The Running Man
In one of the last scenes of the movie Agent Hunt is running through Shanghai to rescue his wife. He is being directed by his friend back the agency is directing him on where to go. He is told that he needs to go a mile and a half which is about 2 and a half kilometers through a busy city. In about one minute and 10 seconds Agent Hunt arrives at his destination after running through the city. Now is it even possible to run that fast well if you figure out his speed which is around which means Agent hunt had to run over 30 kilometers a second.