First off, this thread will have spoilers. So if you haven't seen Man of Steel than stop reading, go out, see the movie, and then come back.
My overall rating of the film: 8/10
Despite the title this is not about bashing MoS. Overall I thought it was a good, entertaining movie that simply didn't have the polish I had hoped for and never developed a sense of grandeur. Performances were amazing, graphically it was beautiful, the morality and tone was fitting given the story, the depiction of heat vision and flight were amazing, I think Lois knowing Clark's secret (when the new 52 was announced I thought it would be a great concept for Lois and Jimmy to know Clark is Superman and thus help him keep his identity secret so maybe someone is reading my post.....and if so I want a credit spot in the next film :) ) is much better than showing her as being clueless and thus hard to take serious as a great reporter, and it has the best screen depiction of Krypton yet.
But there were 9 big miscues that I felt pulled the film down......
1. The history of Krypton. Despite having the best screen (even against the animated series) depiction of Krypton yet, they butchered what they expected the audience to believe as the planet's history. Its clear that Kryptons were extremely advanced and it was great to see the reasonable leap that they would look to expand past Krypton given its harsh environment and limited resources. Yet were expected to believe that a 1000 ships left Krypton, built a galactic empire, and not a single colony survived? How does that make any sense that a race which could terraform a planet so easily, with such advanced weapons and technology, couldn't even survive on a primitive world like Earth or some large moon out there in space? Had something like a galactic war or even a foreshadowing/easter egg hint at Brainiac or some other big villain/group been used as the catalyst of isolation on Krypton it would have made a lot more sense but instead it simply ended with an unanswered reason for Kryptonian's isolating themselves on the very planet they were trying to expand out from.
2. The Codex. Just gonna leave it at that. Didn't hate the Matrix-style artificial birth because it was a great homage to John Bryne's 1986 Man of Steel origin mini-series. But there was just no reason for the Codex. If they can artificially grow their children why could they need a Codex when they simply have to take genetic samples from the prospective mother and father? That's all you would need for the process. Its also all that would be needed if Clark and Lois (should this version ever get together) wanted to have a child because even though it would be an artificial birth it would still represent the continuation of the Kryptonian race in another fashion. At the end of the day the Codex fails as a believable part of the new mythos and simply becomes the excuse for Zod's arrival....which could have easily been fixed by the movie established explanation of Zod's crew trying to find survivors, receiving the signal from the scout ship, and deciding to kill Clark because of his natural birth (which Zod clearly made known was heresy to the Kryptonian way of life) and take Earth for themselves and begin Krypton anew.
3. Clark losing his powers in Krypton's environment. Now, the idea of his body needing to adapt to Earth's atmosphere and then feeling a little weird on the Kryptonian ship I thought was actually a good idea as it brings in a nice science element and the debate on how we may one day populate new worlds and what those environments will be like. But, the concept of losing his powers because of Krypton's environment went too far because we already knew from Jor-El that Clark's body is enhanced by the yellow sun. Yes, Earth has a healthier environment than Krypton did........BUT EVEN ON THE KRYPTONIAN SHIP OR IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC CLARK WAS STILL IN A YELLOW SUN ENVIRONMENT!!! The World Builder wasn't turning the sun red and while Clark might have had to adjust his abilities a bit to account for the increased gravity around the machine his powers don't come from the stuff in the air they come from solar radiation. There is also the fact that neither Clark or Lois were affected by the environment of the scout ship, which should have been the same as the one on Zod's ship.
4. No Kryptonian feels ill when their ship switches to Earth's atmosphere. Going along with #3, when the Jor-El AI changes the ship's atmosphere so Lois can breath, none of the Kryptonians experience a power boost nor do they feel any ill effects. Yes, the majority of them were wearing their helmets, but the scientist wasn't (he wasn't even wearing armor) and yet nothing happens to him and we don't even know if he gained powers at any point. When Zod's helmet is removed on Earth he also doesn't go through any sort of pain or hardship, which the film already established Clark did as a child, in adjusting to Earth's environment....he simply had to learn how to handle his sensory abilities and eventually flight.
5. The World Builder. The concept itself is very cool, and it works with the idea that Kryptonians would have colonized anything and made it liveable. But there is no reason for it on Earth. Once Zod and the rest see what Clark and eventually they can do in Earth's environment why would they decide to loss all that power? Why would they cripple themselves rather than create a better Kryptonian race all with amazing abilities? That's one of the main points of Zod's interest in conquering Earth in the comics (the modern depictions not the original or the Russian version) because he sees how powerful the Kryptonian race could be. So for the movie to just fall back on the World Builder as Zod's trump card is ridiculous and unnecessary.
6. Jonathan Kent dies in a tornado. Despite Costner's great performance, the death was completely unnecessary and didn't create any real addition to Clark's character. The whole trust thing made no sense. Just my personal opinion, but it would have made a lot more sense if Jonathan had been killed by Zod when he was looking for the Codex rather than Martha simply getting strangled. Why? Because Zod had just minutes before told Clark he had killed Jor-El and then he goes and kills Jonathan as well. Two fathers gone by the same man. The blind rage from that I think would have better justified the destruction Clark causes in Smallville trying to pommel Zod. Not saying Faora hurting Martha wouldn't have made Clark as mad as he was, it would have just added a great emotional weight to the scene through the repeating pattern of loss at Zod's hands.
7. Freezing prisoners, putting them on a working ship, and then placing them in the Phantom Zone. So the entire point of the Phantom Zone is to hold prisoners....yet despite basically removing them from space/time the prisoners also have to be put into suspended animation and then placed in a ship which has no crew or guards on it? Why? How did that even make sense when the concept was put together? Shouldn't they have at least been watched over by security robots like the scout ship was and thus attacked once they were thawed? Why would the ship's computer systems have even thawed them without a command? Just a little extra thought into this would have been nice....something as simple as the ship's programmer/controller being loyal to Zod (instead of the out-of-the-blue realization that Jor-El designed the ship) and had planned to free him anyways would have at least made more sense than the ship simply letting prisoners go.
8. "He saved us". Yeah, that line was just stupid. Its not that I minded Jenny's character at all (don't really see how you can mind a character that had about 10 minutes of screen time and said little to nothing outside this line) its just that the line was stupid because she never actually saw Superman before that and she never saw him do anything (yet saw the military all over the Metropolis skies) so there is no justification for the line. It was clearly thrown in their to push the concept of Superman being a savior and technically he did shut down the terraforming but there was no way for Jenny to know that.
9. The kiss. As I stated before, I like the relationship between Lois and Clark in this movie. I think Cavrill and Adams were great in their respective roles and their relationship was built far more by respect and trust than infatuation. However, the kiss was a bad idea. Its not just playing the concept of "always leave them wanting more" and that their relationship shouldn't have progressed to that level yet........ITS THE FACT THAT YOU ARE STANDING IN A CRATER IN THE MIDDLE OF METROPOLIS!!! An entire city was just ripped apart and instead of concern for Perry, Jenny, and Steve....who are 20 feet away....we get Superman and Lois Lane making out in a crater. For shame Synder. For shame Nolan. For shame I say. I can deal with the destruction this film had, because I think people are taking it waaaay too out of context in complaining about Superman not trying to save more people as there are plenty of comic book battles where things are getting wrecked around him and Superman isn't stopping the battle to save the citizens......and in the Smallville battle he's clearly trying to fly out of time on multiple occasions and keeps getting stopped/pulled back by Faora and the giant guy. So the destruction aspect can be forgiven. But not the kiss. Not blatantly disregarding everything that had occurred and letting Clark and Lois "express their feelings". That kind of interaction would have been much better reserved for the sequel with Clark firmly established at the Daily Planet and dating Lois (a la the Dean Cain and Terry Hatcher series) than keeping up the concept of the relationship being Lois and Superman.
10. The religious angle. My God (pun intended)! Please stop making Superman into Jesus Christ. It is a terrible concept to begin with and one that constantly gets overplayed whenever its brought up (which is why I loved the animated series Bruce Timm kept it from ever becoming a major part of the character). The constant droning on about being a savior, or saving everyone, or bringing Earth into a promised land/future type of scenario, or changing the world, or any other overused cliche that permeated this film again and again. Please, please, please just stop. Just let Clark be a hero in his own right. Just let him have been raised right by Jonathan and Martha and without the constant sermons simply used his abilities for good. They did that by through the flashbacks, yet tarnished it with the savior speeches. Then they had to take a plot point from the For Tomorrow storyline and bring in the priest. Ah!!!!!!!!
11. Just a little more humor. I don't agree with critics that Cavrill played a cold Superman. When you watch the scene of him and Adams in the desert before Faora's ship arrives, you can see in the eyes and facial expression just how caring this Superman is without the need for Cavrill to be constantly smiling, smirking, or winking at Lois or anyone else. He plays a very well-spoken, charismatic Superman. Yes, Bale's Bruce Wayne had more humor......that's the point, Bruce Wayne is supposed to be a playboy like figure who nobody takes seriously....that's not Superman. He's supposed to be a leader, a calm presence, a guardian figure, and I think Cavrill conveyed that perfectly in his depiction of Clark/Superman. But humor could have come from other areas of the film and helped lighten some of the longer stretches, thus making some memorable moments rather than keeping an even pace until the next big action scene.
Were any of these miscues so terrible that the movie was a complete waste? Absolutely not! They are simply pieces of the larger puzzle that just didn't work and as a result didn't allow the film to claim a near perfect score, which it had the potential of doing because of the strong cast, action, and overall great depiction of Krypton and the Solomon choice Clark had to make as the story progressed. Its these types of miscues, though, why I don't feel Snyder and Nolan are as great a choice for future DC endeavors as other people do. These same types of miscues keep popping up in both of their films (sorry to all the Nolan fans but TDK and TDKR are full of them) and why I wish Warner Bros would look to a new creative team in future projects.
But to re-iterate, my overall score for the film is an 8/10 (the only higher score of modern superhero films would be Iron Man and a tie with Avengers and Batman Begins) because it is a fun movie, definitely a different but good take on Superman, that simply suffers from a few overused and underthought concepts.