I disagree completely, Into Darkness was there, even for a few moments, in the streets as we watched the people look in terror at the scene developing in San Fransisco.
Yes, and there were in Man of Steel
as well. But the point is that neither event contributed anything meaningful to the story. Both massive cataclysms could've been removed from the films without altering the story beats in the slightest. If the Vengeance
had splashed down in the Bay and missed the city, nothing of any plot relevance would've played out any differently. If Metropolis had suffered far more limited and constrained damage, it would've actually made more
sense in the context of the film's events and dialogue.
But while we're on the subject of spectacle, why would Into Darkness be special in that regard? First Contact showed a massive space battle in which at least dozen ships were shown to have been destroyed. Hundreds more could've been lost and God knows how many people dead. Where was the acknowledgement then?
In fact, one reason I dislike space battle scenes as a rule is because of all the unacknowledged mass death, the cavalier disregard for life. But at least in FC the destruction served a plot purpose by establishing the danger to the characters, the risk that what happened to the other ships could happen to the Enterprise
as well. In STID, the city destruction was just going on in the background and had no effect on what the featured characters were doing.
Man of Steel
You say that the attack on San Fransisco was done just for disaster porn and at least insinuated that it was done in bad taste. I say otherwise, the attack could've been fleshed out more but it would not have been conducive to the message Bad Robot was trying to convey.
's climax was in bad taste. STID's was just unnecessary and exaggerated to the point of being hard to take seriously. It felt tacked on to the climax, a token event to fulfill the studio's demand for a suitably cataclysmic finish.