I don't post much in this section of the forums, but I saw an early screening list night and wanted to write out some of my thoughts. Overall, I thought it was a B, maybe B-. I generally dislike Zack Snyder movies, so probably the biggest compliment I can pay this film is there's only a few moments where it reminds you it's a Zack Snyder movie. I liked it well enough overall, it's a good enough base for a potential trilogy (or more, if Justice League finally happens), but there are enough whiffs, big and small, that prevent me from fully embracing it.
There may be some slight spoilers to follow but I'll flag the big stuff.
First off, the movie is relentlessly dour. We knew this going in, from the trailers. And I get it. Superman is easy to write off as almost a joke character, a boring goody-two-shoes boyscout. So to counteract that perception you can either make him snarky and quippy (a la Tony Stark), or very serious, and they went with the latter, full ahead. I think there's maybe five intentional jokes in the entire movie, which has the result of making an already overly long movie feel even longer. It seems wrong that a Superman movie has fewer moments of levity than any of the Dark Knight movies.
The cast is mostly excellent. Cavill is very good. He just looks like Superman. I had my reservations about the overly textured costume of his, but it looks much better on screen and makes sense within the context of the movie, and he rocks it. He sells the look. (Later on, other characters don similar outfits and just look like silly rubber ballerinas.) He does well with the material he's given, though I wouldn't mind if he was given a bit more range. The scenes where he interacts with the US military is where he really shines, instantly calling to mind the easygoing God of Grant Morrison's interpretation.
I was, surprisingly, less enamored with Amy Adams' Lois Lane. This is the first time I haven't really liked her in a part. She just doesn't bring enough of the brassiness the character is known for. She's too slight, too passive and delicate. One of her first lines is something like "If we're done measuring dicks, let's get on with it." Now, someone like Dana Delaney of the animated series would've torn that line apart. She would've eaten it up. Had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and maybe even squeezed in some desert. Amy Adams meanwhile delivers it like a junior high drama student who can't believe being in a play lets her swear. I mean, it just seems wrong that Lois' big introductory shot in this movie, this new franchise...is a dude gingerly lifting her off a helicopter and lowering her maybe a foot to the ground. Lois Lane: Intrepid, fiercely independent reporter.
Perry White has an earring.
The action in the movie is for the most part pretty awesome, and I'm a big-dumb-action kinda guy, but even I was starting to feel fatigued by it in the end. They find their expected pseudo-science solution to the problem (complete with a character immediately boiling it down to a simple analogy for the sake of the audience: "Like putting too much air into a balloon!"), but even after that, there's one more fight, and I kind of groaned. I was ready for it to be over 20 minutes ago.
In general, the action is a little TOO dumb, even taking into consideration that it's a Zack Snyder movie AND a superhero movie. At one point Superman talks of avoiding a "genocide" on earth, and well, though he technically succeeds, given the property damage incurred I'm not sure he did all that well in averting it. On one hand it's cool to see the sheer scale of gods fighting on earth, of single punches shattering entire rows of skyscrapers, on the other...it's like, geez, Superman, you maybe want to try to take the fight somewhere else? There HAVE been arctic and desert settings in this movie. I'm pretty sure it would be impossible for any of those buildings to be completely evacuated. It's bad enough when he's the one getting punched through them, but on several occasions he appears to be putting his enemies through as many structures as possible, like he's trying to get a high score. Some scenes put the purposely over-the-top "Injustice: Gods Among Us" DC fighting game to shame. This is pretty incongruous for someone for whom life is sacred, who wants to save humanity. It's reminiscent of the "I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you" groaner of a copout at the end of Batman Begins, but unfortunately spread over more of the movie.
There's also a couple purported Big Emotional Moments in the movie that instead come off as ridiculously, almost unforgivably dumb, but these are big spoilers:
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Pa Kent's death is hilariously avoidable, it's maybe the funniest part of the movie. Pa Kent dies by running into a tornado to save a dog. You know, I love dogs, but even I think it's dumb to die saving a dog. They could've at least made it a toddler or something. Of course the bigger issue is why the 60-year-old-man assumed this responsibility and assigned his f***ing invulnerable son the task of walking the perfectly capable Ma Kent 20 feet to the apparently tornado-proof overpass.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
At the end of the movie, Superman is forced to kill Zod to prevent him from heat-visioning a family of civilians. It's presented as the only way to save them, but there's one problem: The family isn't trapped at all. They're just huddled in what barely qualifies as a corner, for what seems like forever, as Zod's heat vision is continually searing the wall next to them for what seems like several full minutes. They couldn't just...move over a few feet? Get out of the damn building in general? It's basically that Austin Powers outtake where the henchman is killed by the ludicrously slow-moving vehicle. But no, Superman must snap Zod's neck to save them, and again, instead of being powerful, it comes off as ridiculous.
In addition, there's a big change to the mythos that I was dissatisfied with at first but made sense the more I thought about it:
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Lois knows Superman/Clark's identity from the very beginning of their relationship. This seemed like a needless violation at first, but honestly, it's pretty hard to do a live-action Superman these days and have Lois fail to recognize them as the same person without looking like a huge moron
Anyway, overall, I went in expecting to hate it, I came out mostly finding it OK. It's too long, like most movies these days (seriously, can anyone turn in a summer blockbuster that's less than 2.5 hours anymore?), too serious, and a bit too dumb, but is perfectly acceptable summer entertainment and a passable, workable start to a superhero franchise.