This review is going to be full of spoilers because I am going to mention various gaping plot inconsistencies and outright idiocies in this dog of a film.
Sure, it looks great and the special effects are generally well done. But some people need their movies to at least make some sense.
Let's start with a really basic one: the planet Krypton is going to be destroyed, and no one can be saved except one baby, presumably because they don't have any spacecraft.
Oh but wait, they do have spacecraft. In fact, they have so much spare technology they use it to send criminals into space... so that they will survive and provide enemies for Superman later in the movie.
Jor-El steals the Codex, which apparently contains the DNA of the Kryptonian race. Somehow, there are no backup copies. Oh but what about the actual Kryptonians who are running around destroying things... surely they each have their own DNA? Apparently not, somehow. And how about that baby-making machine in the scout ship: what was it supposed to use if there's only one Codex?
Clark just happens to hear about some top secret ice digging, and somehow knows to go there. How? And Lois Lane is somehow given a tour of the dig and a free place to stay even though she had to sue to be allowed there at all.
Clark discovers the spacecraft and somehow knows how to pilot it and land it somewhere. But then it never gets used again, for example to help fight the invaders later on. Doesn't it have the same kind of engine that's needed to destroy them? And it actually can fly rather than needing to be dropped via an airplane, as Clark's baby spacecraft is at the end of the film. But somehow no one thinks of this.
When Clark is taken to General Zod's ship, he loses his powers because he supposedly needs the gasses in earth's atmosphere to gain and retain his powers. Yet he's shown repeatedly operating in the vacuum of space. If he needed Earth's atmosphere to retain his powers, he should lose them in space.
In numerous fight scenes, massive damage is caused to probably inhabited buildings, which must have resulted in massive loss of life. Why wouldn't Clark/Superman immediately lure his enemies far away from the city, fight over the ocean, in the mountains, etc? In one scene he deliberately throws an enemy through a bunch of buildings, apparently not caring who gets hurt.
At the end, when the world engine is working, Superman flies into its gravity beam where his powers shouldn't exist because the conditions it's creating are like those of Krypton. But after being unable to do anything, he somehow just decides he's going to do it, and then instantly destroys the machine. Because if you really really decide, then you can do anything.
General Zod's ship will be flipped back into the Phantom Zone if its drive field comes in contact with another drive field of the same type, as found in Clark's baby spacecraft. But wait, don't all their small spacecraft use the same engine? Why don't they cause the same problem?
At the end, Superman and General Zod have an extended fight and appear to be equally matched, but when Zod threatens a prototypical family of Father, Mother and Child with his heat vision (and which he somehow doesn't manage to hurt although all he'd have to do is move his eyes slightly), Superman easily kills him, although he was completely unable to damage him until then. Again, just deciding to do something makes it happen.
These are just some of the really obvious major problems, how about some minor but equally stupid ones?
- Perry White, Jenny and Steve are walking away from General Zor's ship when Perry says "where's Jenny?" Oh, she's suddenly stuck under rubble that apparently no one noticed falling, and she hasn't bothered to scream or make any sound at all. They struggle to free her, when suddenly the beam stops and they say "He saved us!", even though they didn't know anything about Superman trying to save them, nor that the destruction wouldn't resume, or in fact anything about what was going on.
- Martha Kent is violently flung 20 feet or more. But apparently she's completely unhurt even though she's elderly and even a simple fall should have been damaging.
- When Superman and Zor are fighting, they fly a great distance and end up falling through the ceiling of something that looks like Grand Central Station. After a few seconds, Lois Lane suddenly appears out of nowhere, because she should be in that scene.
- In a 'heartwarming' scene at the end, Jonathan Kent sees young Clark playing with a cape and gets all misty eyed. Wait, how did he associate a kid playing with a cape with anything at all? Why would a cape signify something to him? It wouldn't.
This is a movie that didn't bother to make any sense, and the fact that people accept all the illogic, plot holes and dumbness of it really depresses me. Special effects shouldn't be enough to make a movie popular. The story and the logic of the story should count for at least as much and more.