I heard a lot of hate for the movie, but it was fairly enjoyable for the most part. Not mind blowing in any way but not the disaster some made it to be or anything. Not a Snyder fan at all, 300 is more one dimensional than the source material, and Watchmen was devoid of the tension and black humour that made the book such a classic. So I give him a pass here. I guess the storyline is kind of lacklustre but it's my only real problem, doesn't do anything new or particularly engaging.
The cast is all pretty solid, Cavill is the stand out to me and does a decent job, he also looks the part (his accent slips once that I noticed). Crowe does his usual schtick, Shannon was okay but nothing like Take Shelter. The soundtrack is good but after Inception and TDK it's forgettable instead of immediately making me check it out after seeing the movie. At least it's better than Superman Returns which is a shameful remake in disguise. Didn't care that much about the two big problems people seem to have in the finale (the fight collateral and it's climax) and it was fun to see a modern take on super fighting powers, flying etc.
I think people that were expecting the light heart hero from the Christopher Reeve movie were probably the ones that had the least kind things to say about the movie. Keeping a "first contact" kind of theme throughout the movie seemed more realistic than brushing off the fact that Clark is from another planet, like how Lois did in the old Superman movie. I mean she's an award winning reporter, isn't that something you would really drill an alien from another world about? The only bad things I didn't like about the movie is the fact that Superman carelessly destroyed a lot of his hometown and Metropolis. I mean, they were there for him and the codex and Zod just wanted to kill him towards the end right? So why didn't he just lure the bad guys into a corn field or something? But the fights were cool, so whatever.
Man of Steel does have a fair bit of defense in favor of much of the elements in the movie. My first watch of it, I did think it wasn’t traditional Superman. That’s where you have to read between the lines. We’re dealing with, simply, Clark Kent becoming Superman for the whole movie. It’s taking the entirety of Smallville and summing it up to where it should have gotten. We see Clark Kent having to deal with being a kid and a teenager during some rather considerable moments (where he uses his powers to save a bunch of kids at the risk of being outed among them, where he gets goaded into trying to fight back against some bullies, etc). Man of Steel provided us some insight into the man behind the Man of Steel before he became such. A man who had to learn his own rules, his own powers, and build up his character. When he did things like unleash full blown damage against a whole city or snap the neck of surely the last of his kind to save those who weren’t...that was not the Superman people know, but it was the becoming of the Superman we know...the Superman that learns what his powers can do and how far he wants himself to go when it comes to using them, even for the preservation of life. That is why we see him becoming Clark Kent again at the end of the movie, the Clark Kent in the glasses and suit and working for the Daily Planet that we know. That is the turning point where we see Superman slowly becoming such...say what you will about the movie. Even if it was typical Snyder, I think he took a practical approach to such a legendary character and it worked well enough for me.
The Man of Steel ending… Zack Snyder makes his case
Superhero battles are notoriously bad news for urban infrastructure. It’s a populist genre that developed in the decade-and-a-half after a collapsing building became the primary imprinted image in the American subconscious, so on one hand this sort of city-scale destruction can be expected. But as the scope of the stories being told expands exponentially to match the special effects being used to tell them, the presumed body count has grown just as rapidly as the production budgets.
For example: In the climax of Superman II, Zod’s team of black-clad villains attack downtown Metropolis, but the worst they do is explode a few trucks, knock out a few walls, and blow some poor man’s ice cream cone into his face. Meanwhile, in the climax of Man of Steel, Zod and Superman lay full and detailed waste to a hefty percentage of the city. Some audiences critiqued the film and director Zack Snyder for the sequence, in which the two grappling Kryptonians pinball off and through buildings, bringing skyscrapers presumably filled with innocent bystanders crashing to the ground. The collateral damage was too extensive and too faceless for a hero such as Superman, went the line of thinking.
“I was surprised because that’s the thesis of Superman for me, that you can’t just have superheroes knock around and have there be no consequences,” says Snyder. The director says he had always intended for the dead to be counted. Indeed, Batman v Superman addresses these concerns head-on—Superman’s victims serve as Batman’s impetus to take him down. “One of the things I liked was Zack’s idea of showing accountability and the consequences of violence and seeing that there are real people in those buildings,” says Ben Affleck, who plays Batman. “And in fact, one of those buildings was Bruce Wayne’s building so he knew people who died in that Black Zero event.”
Of course, Man of Steel is hardly the first (or the last) superhero movie to feature grand-scale catastrophe. The genre is littered with detritus. The third act of Avengers: Age of Ultron featured an entire city being lifted into the atmosphere, and a villain planning to then throw it directly at Earth. Beyond some galactic being showing up and playing billiards with the planets, that’s about as blunt an example of mega-carnage as can get. The main difference is in the tone. “There are other superhero movies where they joke about how basically no one’s getting hurt,” Snyder says. “That’s not us. What is that message? That’s it’s okay that there’s this massive destruction with zero consequence for anyone? That’s what Watchmen was about in a lot of ways too. There was a scene, that scene where Dan and Laurie get mugged. They beat up the criminals. I was like the first guy, I want to show his arm get broken. I want a compound fracture. I don’t want it to be clean. I want you to go, ‘Oh my God, I guess you’re right. If you just beat up a guy in an alley he’s not going to just be lying on the ground. It’s going to be messy.”