One of my personal disappointments with Man of Steel is contrary to the filmmakers central thesis with the film: "How would people react to a levitating super-human who could shoot layers out of his eyes?" We never had a reaction from normal, everyday people to Superman's first appearance. I hate the idea of having Superman first don to suit to fight an alien invasion as opposed to the traditional idea of him first doing it to stop an accident from happening. If Superman existed the real world and started flying or whatever I would expect people would be somewhat dubious, scared or just confused. How wonderful would it have been for the film to actually follow through on what was set up earlier in the film with Jonathan Kent exclaiming "People are afraid of what they don't understand." Why couldn't the film showcase the conflicting or mixed reactions of the people towards an alien being? The only reaction we get towards Superman from the people is Jenny(who's an awful character, where's Jimmy Olsen?) This would add to the introspective crisis Clark face's and further raise the deep, internal question can he ever be accepted? I think it's the film's biggest failure from a story standpoint IMHO.
I don't know, I thought the movie got across that point pretty well. We saw the stunned reaction when Zod made his dramatic appearance, and we saw the reaction of the military and people like Hamilton when Superman stepped forward. Or the frightened and/or amazed reaction of people who were saved earlier by Clark (with some seeming to think he was some kind of religious savior). Not to mention the "oh shit" reaction of the priest.
I also thought it was an interesting twist to see Clark only grow and develop into the Superman we know through being tested in this epic battle with Zod. At first he doesn't want to fight, and then when he realizes he has
to he's forced to struggle and learn the full extent of his abilities on the fly (as it were), instead of already knowing what he can do before Zod even gets there. Which to me made it much more interesting to watch.