Every so often a movie comes along where I have to see it twice to decide if I liked it or not. In 2011, it was 'The Muppets'. This year, it was Man of Steel. The basic reason was that it was something that I loved growing up and the film was very different from what I expected. Part of my brain knew how well put together the movie was, but the angle knocked me off the fan platform. Green Lantern was a character I have always loved, but I knew that movie sucked halfway through. Same with Superman Returns, I actually did give it a second chance' but I knew it was bad the first time. The Dark Knight on the other hand, had me running out of the theatre looking for the line to go back in.
So, now that I have seen MOS twice, I can say that all of the things that I didn't expect worked really well. I like the fact that it was 'harder' science fiction than had been done with this character before (genetic pre-determination) and got into Krypton's history and what precisely was their downfall, forshadowing what Superman is supposed to be a 'shining example' from to the human race (besides helping people, which is nice). I liked how Lois Lane showed off her journalistic investigation skills more than had been shown previously and THAT was how she met Superman. She isn't just in the newsroom misspelling things ("How many P's in rapist?") and meeting Superman because she fell out of something high. I am looking forward to a similar take with April O'Neil in the new Ninja Turtle movie (instead of her just getting mugged near a sewer cover) and it worked here.
I disagree with the critics that the fight scenes were too long and did not include character beats. Yes, I am a Superman fan with ADD and therefore the target audience for this film, but the fight scenes did tell you things about the characters involved and there was enough character development that you care who is fighting and what for. The non-linear style of the first act will remind you of 'Batman Begins' (lots of flashbacks), but it is well-done. The scenes in 'Superman: the movie' of Clark running alongside a train and being gleeful that he has such cool powers have been replaced with scenes of a kid who is frightened that can't control his super hearing and his x-ray vision. Although he seems to have mastered his heat vision, which he uses while hiding in a closet to make sure that his teacher can't open the door knob. Pardon the theme here, but I related to a kid who can't concentrate in school and who gets yelled at and picked on as a result...and I liked watching him become a hero.
Basically, the movie is about Superman earning people's trust, an obstacle that he has to overcome in order to help the human race in the first place. It is like 'Star Trek' (the 2009 reboot) in that the Superman you remember is at the end of the movie and the rest of the story is about how he got that way.
My only complaints with the movie come from me comparing it to other films. My two favorite superhero movies have villians, the actors of which completely blew me away (Heath Ledger and Tom Hiddleston). So, this movie is losing a star simply because General Zod was no Joker or Loki. Still, a very good science fiction film and a good start to a new Superman franchise.