I finally saw this this afternoon.
I went in trying not to have expectations either good or bad. The only thing I knew for sure was that I hoped to see a Superman film I could enjoy. Well, I enjoyed this one.
First thing I liked was the absence of overt camp, something I feel has hurt previous Superman films including the vaunted '78 Christopher Reeve film. I like parts of that film and most of it up to Superman's first appearances in Metropolis. After that, though, it's a slide into mostly silliness for me.
MoS avoids that. It has its grin moments without crossing over into cringe mode. Thumbs up for that. Yeah, as has been mentioned by others there isn't a lot of levity in this film, but it does have moments of humour sprinkled throughout and in restrained doses. Maybe it could have used a few more, but I'll take a little less than too much.
It's tough for all the characters to get equal screen time when you pack so much into an origin story so I can't really quibble about secondary characters not getting enough focus. There should be room enough in a sequel for that.
It's certainly a gorgeous looking film in its own way although I would have like to see a bit more vivid colour. Overall I found the palette to be a bit muted.
The notion that some feel like this is like The Day The Earth Stood Still
meets Superman has some justification to it. The flip side, though is that General Zod and his gang are essentially ideological zealots while Klaatu was certainly a lot more benevolent, at least the original Michael Rennie version.
I don't take Jonathan Kent's statement of maybe letting the kids on the bus die as a bad character moment. Later Jonathan does say that he and Martha were feeling their way in raising Clark and basically making it up as they went. Jonathan simply didn't have a definitive answer for Clark's questions. I also don't see the killing of Zod as branding Superman a killer no more than I brand soldiers in a combat zone as murderers. Superman simply had no choice.
I have three basic complaints about the film despite my overall enjoyment of it.
1. The music was lousy in that I don't remember one note of it. It was just additional noise for the most part and instantly forgettable from one moment to the next. The original '78 John Williams' theme so perfectly encapsulates the idea of Superman that it would be indeed hard to follow and recreate that feeling. MoS' music doesn't even try and is just disposable noise. It's little more than just another sound effect.
2. The action scenes did drag on too long. It wasn't quite as bad as I had half expected, but they did drag. The final battle between Supes and Zod was completely superfluous. I think a bit of restructuring of the slugging fests could have tightened this up and made it a lot more effective. I also think the widespread devastation was overdone. And I agree with the opinion that some sort of acknowledgement of the extreme loss of life and destruction should have at least been remarked upon.
3. The damned thing was often too loud. I really don't enjoy having my hearing assaulted like that in a movie theatre or any time for that matter.
My final little quibble was with Supes costume. It didn't bother me as much as I'd thought, but it still bugs me. I don't care for the heavy texturing, the rubbery look and the too muted colours.
Gripes aside I liked all the characterizations. I enjoyed Cavill as Clark/Superman and Amy Adams as Lois Lane. I think all the cast suited their roles well.
I am inclined to say that MoS could be my favourite Superman film, but some of that is by default because despite my gripes it doesn't have nearly as many missteps as previous live action Superman films. If they do the sequel right then Cavill might be able to stand alongside George Reeves who has long been my idea of Superman.
I mentioned live-action films because I still quite like the '90's TAS Superman and I really like the pilot "The Last Son Of Krypton" as an origin story. I think I'll watch this again soon with MoS still fresh in mind.
In the end I give MoS an "A" because I quite enjoyed it and I didn't feel it had any serious deficiencies. I actually look forward to seeing these characters again in a sequel---Braniac anyone?
Oh, and I'd also like to see a better suit.