- From the teaser trailer, we have Superman breaking the sound barrier. It's not quite the same as reversing time by spinning the Earth backwards — but let's face it, that sort of plothax is from a different era of Superman entirely.
- The second (or first full) trailer has Clark doing a dramatic lift-off and flying through space.
- The entire third trailer, featuring awesomeness like unabashedly "heroic/adventurous" (not just "dramatic") music, Superman blocking a giant energy beam with his arm, zipping around to avoid gunfire from helicopters, and flying through the air and punching around Zod. This movie is going to be awesome.
- Just the fact that Superman punches someone on the big screen for the first time in years is cause for celebration for some (one of the complaints about Superman Returns was that it lacked fighting displays of his powers).
- It may be edited in the third trailer, but Zod's full-on Badass Boast is just awesome.
- After the previous trailers focused on the emotional depth of the movie, the fourth trailer focuses on the superpowered spectacle accompanied by Guitars of War.
- From one of the latest tv spots:
Jor-El: My son is twice the man you are.
- In the movie itself, "are" is replaced with "were". Note that this is said to Zod by Jor-El, who apparently were once good friends long before the events of the movie. In short, Jor-El is saying his son is a much better person than Zod ever was, even at his moral peak.
- On a meta level, during Henry Cavill's audition, he had to wear a classic Superman costume, like what Christopher Reeve donned. Nobody laughed; he looked muscular and dignified instead of goofy.
- Superman is the nicest person you'll ever meet, but when he gets pissed off, boy is he pissed. Just ask Zod after threatening Martha Kent.
Superman: You think you can threaten my mother!?
- Even better is when he breaks Zod's helmet which had allowed him to filter his senses and causes him to be overwhelmed. It shows that Superman is more than muscle.
- Colonel Hardy, his men slaughtered and cornered by Faora, calls in an airstrike on his position. He then unloads his submachine gun on Faora to no effect, and once he empties his pistol, he brandishes his knife without hesitation.
- And just in general, other Superman movies may have talked about how humanity has the potential to be great if given an example to strive towards, but this is the movie where we really got to see people other than Superman being valorous. Soldiers fighting hopeless battles, scientists sacrificing themselves to save the world, normal people trying to rescue trapped coworkers from under rubble as the destruction advances towards them. In this movie, it's a message shown, not just told.
- If you note Clark's rescue of the oil rig workers, when he steps up to catch a tower from falling onto the rescue helicopter, the girder beneath his feet bend and break first, while he doesn't even quiver while holding several metric tons of steel over his head. His efforts lets the helicopter fly to safety.
- When they fly to safety he lets the whole rig collapse onto him. He knows it won't kill him, but as far as the people he rescued are concerned he died saving their lives. Which in turn doesn't make them question how he was able to keep the rig up.
- Clark's response to dealing with a rude guy he sees in a bar. Instead of fighting him, he trashes his truck by skewering it with several logs it had been carrying.
- Jonathan Kent playing Papa Wolf; Clark's safety and his secret comes first, and if that means he's gonna be sucked by a freaking tornado, so be it. The calm, serene look on his face as he silently tells Clark not to save him speaks of his courage and is absolutely heartbreaking.
- Ditto Lara. As the world burns, all she does is whisper her last words before being consumed by fire.
- Superman vs. Faora and Nam-Ek vs. The Military in Smallville. So much crazy all in a few minutes. It's worth noting that it shows how for all his strength, Faora and Nam-Ek's sheer skill are more than a match for Superman. And as many have pointed out already, this was really a massive crowner for Faora in general, her combat style, calm ferocity, and full exploitation of their natural super speed is raw awesome.
- It ends with a single awesome line of dialog:
Col. Hardy: "This man is not our enemy."
- The final fight between Superman and Zod in Metropolis. Finally, a fight scene worthy of Superman in one of his movies. Though his father might have given Zod his scar, that was on Krypton, where they may very well have been on even terms. Here on Earth, the full extent of what happens when two unstoppable forces collide and the sheer destruction that follows in the action is the kind of battle that will be remembered for the ages.
- Jor-El. Full stop. He's Krypton's chief scientist, in a culture where science is super advanced. And he still chooses to ride a dragon-esque creature instead of a spaceship.
- He has programmed his personal servant-robot to respond to subtle facial cues, so when he tells it everything's all right the robot still knows to zap the men escorting him. Then, after seeing Krypton's capital city engulfed in war, he calls for his mount and rides into the fray, deftly dodging laser fire. Then he dives into a pool of who-knows-what to retrieve the Codex, and jumps off the structure he stole it from (hundreds of feet in the air) without hesitation. After re-mounting his beast mid-air and out-piloting two gunships, he proceeds to implant his son with the entire genetic history of the planet, and send him to earth ahead of schedule, instead of waiting until the last minute like all the other Jor-Els have done.
- Then, he suits up and goes toe-to-toe with General Zod. Zod was bred for war, Jor was bred for science. Jor-El truly believed that you can accomplish more than just what you were bred for. He gave him a more thorough beating then Superman gave him, giving Zod his scar, and only falling after he's stabbed in a sneak attack.
- And then Jor-El becomes a computer program. Deftly guiding Lois Lane through Zod's starship, shutting the door on Zod himself, and freeing his son.
Jor-El: Move your head to the left. (Lois moves, and Faora's fist misses her by inches.)
- Also, Jor-El's crest is the Superman logo combined with the Batman logo. Jor-El is basically Superman and Batman combined.
- For a different kind of awesome, we're told that sex for anything more than physical pleasure hasn't been practiced on Krypton in millennia, if it's still even practiced at all. So in addition to being a dragon-riding, Science Hero with a Minor in Asskicking, Jor-El also decided to go home and be the first guy in thousands of years to create life the old-fashioned way.
- Lara went along with the plan to have a natural baby. Considering she would have had no support or any idea of what a Kryptonian pregnancy is like. She went through it anyway, and then to top it off she has Kal-el in their bedroom without so much as an aspirin from the looks of it. The woman is tough.
- The World Engine.
- Superman battling the World Engine despite being weakened by the atmosphere it generates. After he's destroyed it, he's exhausted and barely able to move, but recharges by sticking his hand into a beam of sunlight.
- Lois defeating several of the kryptonians while they were depowered in Zod's ship, even booting Car-Vex out of her escape pod.
- Her resilience alone speaks volumes. Adams may have opted out of portraying Lois' feistiness (though her smilingly talking down Colonel Hardy in her intro scene sort of counts...), but our determined Lois is still there. Even after all those brushes with death, Lois doesn't lose it. Instead, she just pats the dirt off her clothes and keeps moving forward.
- After an entire character history of incompetence regarding Superman's real identity, this movie's Lois Lane not only ferrets out his childhood home, but also every single person he's ever rescued. The Clark Kent glasses don't fool this Lois for a second, either.
- A small moment, but Lois drinking a glass of whiskey in one shot.
- Pretty much Colonel Hardy's entire role. The guy is a normal airman who sees first hand what the kryptonians can do and he never backs down and in the end, he's the one that sends most of them into the Phantom Zone.
- And he doesn't think twice about going into the zone with them.
- Also, when Faora demands that the military turn over Lois Lane to them, Hardy flatly refuses as the initial demand was to give up Superman. So we get this exchange.
Faora: Should I tell the General you are unwilling to comply?
- For a minor character with hardly any lines and barely qualifies for Action Survivor status, Professor Hamilton gets one moment to himself when he figures out how to activate the warp drive on Superman's rocket. It's unsure if he survived Faora backhanding him across the bulkhead of crashing into the Kryptonian ship, but he almost certainly is in the Phantom Zone with the rest of the Kryptonians now.
- During the battle of Smallville, Superman smashes Nam-Ek into a rail yard, which blows up. Seconds later as Superman is battling Faora, Nam-Ek slings a locomotive that smashes Superman into Sears.
- While much of the gunfire didn't faze her, the military gets a moment of awesome for having one of their missiles actually knock Faora out.
- Superman's first flight?. One of the best flight sequences put to camera. Including those first leaps, which bring back the idea of leaping tall buildings in a single bound. It's a breathtaking set piece.
- Zod may be thoroughly horrid person, but there's no denying that he's a badass as seen:
- He forces himself to control his senses through sheer willpower.
- He masters flight in his final battle with Superman and ditches his armor.
- Forcing Superman to choose between his Kryptonian heritage and his love of Earth in the final battle.
- Ultimately, he's fighting for his own beliefs and people, completely different from a certain incarnation of his demanding that people KNEEEL.
- Hans Zimmer's soundtrack. A brand new Superman theme, for a new era and generation. If you can look past the nigh-legendary John Williams theme, and accept this for what it is, you'll find music that'll stand just as strongly and should be remembered all the same on its own merits.
- In "What Are You Going To Do When You Are Not Saving The World?" (Trailer #3's music), when the violins crescendo and the drums come to life, odds are that you'll wanna scream "GO SUPERMAN!!"
- Preceding this track on the album is "Flight", which uses a variation of the core theme. Just from iTunes it's not outrageous to say that these two are the most popular tracks in both versions of the album.
- Jenny Jurwich is trapped in building wreckage. Perry and Lombard refuse to abandon her, finding a piece of wreckage to try levering some junk off her. Even as a giant gravity beam keeps getting closer and closer. Everyone else is gone. The beam gets closer and closer. They refuse to leave her. If there's anyplace worthy of employing Superman in his day job, it's these guys.
- When Zod and his men confront Martha Kent, asking where the Codex is, what does she do? She tells him, "go to hell." She knows these guys could kill her at any moment, and she's still not going to take any crap from them.
- One could also imagine that part of her confidence is because she knows that while she raised her son to be The Paragon, this is the precise sort of thing that's going to make him mad. And she's right!
- Superman's decision to destroy the Colony Ship and the Genesis Chamber onboard, meant to spawn a new generation of engineered Kryptonians. Particularly how we see his heat-vision dim for a moment as he considers, before flaring up again. In that moment, he fully cements his loyalty to the Human race and his adopted home.
Zod: Stop! If you destroy this ship, you destroy Krypton!
Superman: ...Krypton had its chance!
- When Superman turns himself in to the military, he does so by floating in mid-air at the edge of a military-base, patiently waiting for the soldiers to arrive. As the General notes, he's making the statement that he's more powerful than they are and he's surrendering on his terms, not theirs. Superman acknowledges this and gives his single condition, that he wants Lois to be set free.
- When talking with Lois in the interrogation room, Lois wonders why Superman let the army handcuff him. Supes raises an eyebrow with a sly smirk and says, "Wouldn't be much of a surrender if I resisted." Though Cavill's Superman is more angsty than Christopher Reeve's, this is the first indication we get of that old-school confidence and wit.
- We also see how coolly comfortable Lois and Clark are with each other already; after only meeting a couple of times before, they're smilingly engaging in moments of flirtatious banter that would make Howard Hawks proud.note
- Superman then makes the point that Gen. Swanwick fears him because the General knows he has absolutely no way to control him. To underscore this, he stands up and effortlessly pops off his bonds; the hardened steel cuffs offer no resistance at all before they break.
- That entire scene, really. Just from hearing his voice, you can tell: Clark really has become Superman.
- Zod and his forces are already dangerous with their military training, and they get even worse when they get their powers on Earth. Clark, who so far has been shown to have never been in a fight in his life, manages to take them on with Heroic Willpower and having more experience with his powers, and actually give them one hell of a fight.
- Clark killing Zod by breaking his neck. That is, if his traumatized and horrified reaction doesn't drench the awesome in tears.
- When Jor-El changes the atmosphere of Zod's ship to fit Earth's, resulting in Superman getting his powers back. Supes breaks his bonds...and smirks at Zod's scientist. Cue said scientist going Oh Crap!