The Good: Nanoswarm Behavior
When Superman takes on the monstrous World Engine in the South Indian Ocean, he discovers that the darn thing can defend itself. Enormous robotic arms rise up out of the fray, doing all they can to punch and grab at our hero. It looked cool, but what's even cooler is that humans might one day be able to design such a system. The last decade has seen a major revolution in understanding both nanorobotics and swarm intelligence (check out Ed Yong's fantastic piece on the applications of the technology here). Intelligent robotic swarms could help doctors fight cancer cells with groundbreaking precision, or replace rovers in planetary exploration. Or, you know, become giant hands that clutch at alien protectors. That might be in the cards too.