For too long, people, fans included, have gotten WAAAY too caught up in the iconography of the Superman character, namely a simplistic, outdated variant of him. I don't want to turn this into a discussion of either film, but the reason that it took so long for both Man of Steel and Superman Returns to come out is because of this. SR especially is hellbent on selling you your "pappy's" Superman. No, I don't want Superman to lose his hopeful, big brother-like presence, but I also want people to realize that he's more than that. He doesn't just use his heat vision to help an old lady bake a "wholesome All-American Methodist" Apple Pie, or save cats from trees, but he's also a...hate to say it, but a BADASS. A warrior, a dude sent from a doomed planet that will truly do whatever it takes to save the one he calls home. Fans CONSTANTLY complain about non-fans ignorance of the character, with many of the non-fans saying that Supes is just an outdated "grandpa" icon. How can fans dispute this if that is the only side of the character that they want seen?!!!
The general audience, and people of the past few decades, NEED to be shown a Superman that is more than just a flying cop from the 40s. This mindset is why some only think of Lex Luthor as a weak old man who hates
Superman because.......uh......he hates him.
Why do you think I prefer Jim Lee or Ed Benes Superman to Alex Ross Superman? Because Superman is more than just a Norman Rockwell Campbell's soup cover, and quite frankly, even I don't want to see that side of the character if that's all that you have to offer. It's not interesting, and at that point you ARE writing a corny character.