In a time where superhero movies have become the tent poles of the studios, Man of Steel is a movie that Warner Bros. and DC comics needs to work since the Dark Knight trilogy is over. Superman is the center of the DC universe even with the popularity of Batman. In my opinion, it delivers in ways other superhero movies haven't before and creates a great launching off point for the DC universe of characters.
The one difference Man of Steel has over all the other superhero movies is stakes. The main characters, and more importantly the antagonist General Zod, have reasons behind their motivations. Most of the villains in other superhero movies (i.e. Joker, Bane, Loki, Scarecrow, Whiplash, etc.) are motivated by creating chaos. General Zod is just trying the save his people. He wants to save his civilization and Superman has the key.
The first 20 minutes of the movie are spent on Krypton explaining why Kal-el's parents would send him to earth. Russell Crowe is fantastic and Jor-El in a tough role since he's given a lot of exposition to explain to the audience. He does a great job. However, the father that steals the show is Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent. He gives an amazing performance that had me tearing up a few times. He is the father we all want.
Speaking of performances, Henry Cavill is the perfect new Superman. He looks amazing in the suit. Even though he doesn't get a lot of lines, he emotes well and translates what he is feeling well without saying anything. He is more physical and less the romantic than previous Superman iterations. It reminds me of Daniel Craig as Bond. Craig gave Bond a physicality and Cavill does the same thing to Superman. I also enjoyed the refreshed view on Lois Lane which brings the character into current times and Amy Adams is fantastic as usual.
The last hour is nothing but awe inspiring action that will leave your jaw on the floor. Some of the best special effects I've ever seen. It was hard to tell what was really being blown up and what was CG. The end fight between General Zod and Superman is something I'll never forget.
I can't wait to see Man of Steel again. I hope they keep director Zack Synder. He created the Superman movie I always wanted and I can't wait to see where he takes Superman in the future.