This is the dark knight of superman movies. I say that not because it matches the Christian Bale Batman movies is setting and tone, rather because this isn't the Superman man you want or need... it's the Superman movie you deserve.
Let's start with the problems this movie faced even before it began shooting. First off, it's been done. Almost everybody is aware of Superman, his supporting cast, their names, personalities, and back stories or origins. Not only was this done before, but the first Christopher Reeve movies are so beloved that they are still a standard for every superhero movie since. That raises a no win situation. You could give people what they want, the fun, almost completely invulnerable Superman they are used to. You can use characters everyone is familiar with, and select cast members that remind people of their previous incarnations. This allows you to completely forego any origin story, and jump right into the witty banter of Clark Kent, and popcorn action of Superman. That movie was Superman Returns, and it was horrible.
So now you have to go in a new direction. You have to start from scratch, and rebuild these characters in a completely new image, new style, and new tone. So let's go contemporary. For that, let's look at other movies have done well. We have the Christopher Nolan treatment on Batman, and we have the Avengers over at Marvel. Now what did those movies, all that have done really well, have in common? They have a "reality" feel. Even though you are watching super-powered aliens, or regular people that gain "powers" through some accident... you can see the justification for why it is that way, and how they, and the world around them, are coping. Iron Man had to learn to use his armor. Batman made mistakes and got beat up early in his career. You can't have Christopher Reeve just appear in his tights and know how to fly all of a sudden, there's no reality to that.
The other thing that works for the modern superhero movie, is knowing which audience to address. Sure kids like flashy action, thin plots they can follow, and then they get all the toys and games based on the movie; but that's not the audience you should be after. Take the material seriously, give it a dark tone and a heavy plot that requires your full attention to really follow, and don't shy away from showing bruises, blood, or even death as a result of the flashy action scenes.
That is what Man of Steel did. It rebuilt Superman from the ground up for a modern, mature audience. The audience that has grown bored of the character and needs it to be revitalized, whether they know it or not.
Of course this movie did do one thing that has become a pet peeve of mine concerning modern superhero movies. It did the same as Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, Captain America, and many others. And that problem is the villain. They all rush a major villain to the screen, but the plot is so heavy on the superheroes origin, the villain is basically glossed over, and beaten in an anticlimactic final battle. Now Batman Begins and Iron Man avoided this problem by using secondary villains that could believably be beaten easily, so as to free up more time for storytelling rather than fighting. This movie is obviously setting up for the future, and while I can't wait for it to get here I hope they choose the correct path. Iron Man had another secondary villain in the sequel and continued to focus on the hero's existing character flaws. The Dark Knight also continued to examine the hero, but did it through the use of a major villain the challenged him on every level, and beat him several times through the movie.
Learn from these mistakes, and move forward to correct the ones you've already succumbed to. In closing all I ask is this, give us Luther, but give us something new to the big screen as well. Just don't rush to Doomsday, or the death and return stories Hollywood has been itching to tell.