In case you missed it in the title, this opinion contains SPOILERS. You have been warned.
A few of my friends and even some members of my family have expressed their “concerns” about the movie “Man of Steel”. Allegedly the top concerns are: The amount of destruction and property damage done as well as the civilian casualty/human casualty rate, Superman killing Zod, Superman’s distinct lack of “boy-scoutness”, the concept of villains dying in movies these days, and finally the “religious over/undertones” reflected in the movie.
After sitting quietly about all this discussion, I’ve decided to weigh in my thoughts and opinions about the movie. I can tell you from the start I loved the film, for various reasons. For this however, I’m going to address these “concerns” that seem to be popping up a great deal. These are simply my opinions about the story and movie's content. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, I just feel like expressing mine.
It's an Origin Story. Superman's not a seasoned hero and he's fighting a small "army" of increasingly powerful Kryptonians alone. There are going to be casualties and things are gonna get destroyed, especially since he's fighting his own people. He doesn't have the JL helping him and he has to deal with a giant terra-forming machine on one side of the planet while humans “handle” the Kryptonians on the other. Peeps are gonna die in this conflict.
This single act leads to making him a more relatable character. With the amount of desperate remorse he felt after having killed Zod and the rest of the Kryptonians. He comes up with an absolute distaste for killing and a desperate desire to come up with “a different way” from some experience. Before it was just "ingrained" in his character and had no real reasoning other than “killing is bad”. (Though he killed plenty of aliens in the comics with no visible remorse.) Is killing Zod the best idea? Maybe not, but he gave Superman a “no choice” situation. Zod was literally a man with nothing to lose at this point in the movie, his death was the only thing that made sense. (Unless you prefer he get zapped to the “phantom zone” like everyone else and pretty much die there and make for an anti-climatic ending.)
It's realistic. Super threats typically die in combat realistically speaking. When you're in a fight for your and everyone else's life, you aren't exactly worried about whether or not you're going to kill the opponent, you're more worried about your opponent killing you or all the other people around you. You're going to do what it takes to stop them. If you can do it without killing them great, but if you're forced to choose, you're going to kill the opponent to save yourself and the many.
Stop wishing for Christopher Reeve remakes. There hasn’t been a good Superman movie since Superman 2. Superman 3, 4 and Returns were all “boy-scout Clark” and people apparently got tired of that. (Not too mention they were all bad of varying degrees). Clark is far more relatable if he has actual feelings and moods. He lost two fathers and one mother, lost an entire world, found out he was the last of his race, was picked on his entire childhood, and was told he couldn't reveal his true self to the world because we would all fear him. He would still be a nice guy, thanks in no small part to the values instilled to him by the Kents, but he wouldn't be the "perfect boy scout" either. He would have moods. He's more relatable in this movie than he has ever been before.
He's a character created as an allegory to Jesus and his entire story is based on him setting an example for greatness. A point of greatness for humans to strive for. The "greatest" example of human ideals is Jesus (this can be debated by many I’m sure), and that's what Superman was made to emulate, it’s a part of his character. He’s a savior in the making.
And as a final, little tid-bit:
Why exactly would they be romantically involved at any point other than the end in this movie? It’s an origin story and the focus isn’t on his relationship with a woman he doesn’t meet until later. He hasn’t even lived in Metropolis yet, nor has he gotten a journalism job. Their kiss at the end is more of a “thanks for saving me” moment and is what sparks the future of a relationship. She even consoles Clark after he kills Zod, further leading into their future relationship. It’s gonna happen folks, it just wasn’t the focus of this movie (thankfully).