Man of Steel's trailers suggested a Birthright/Secret Origin hybrid, which excited me since those are my favourite versions of this story. The actual film is more of an Earth One/Superman II hybrid, with lot of influence from The Death of Superman
. And it's all very clearly Backed by the Pentagon
But none of that is necessarily a bad thing. This film deserves more credit than it gets. It's serious, mature, and requires some thinking on the part of the audience. It's the most faithful adaptation of The Modern Age of Comic Books
Superman in existence (even the animated series was just riding on the Byrne era). The best scenes were the prologue on Krypton, Clark learning to fly, and the escape from Zod's ship.
The supposedly Darker and Edgier
elements come from the comics. Audiences should not find fault in the collateral damage/length of the fight scenes, since in the comics, Metropolis gets wrecked all the time, and Smallville has been wrecked more than once. (I would have liked to see Superman rebuild Metropolis at the end, though.)
The only problem with this movie is the depiction of Jonathan Kent. He's so paranoid he's wants Clark to let children die. Disturbing. And then he dies, which is disappointing (I was hoping he could be a supporting character like Post-Crisis Pa Kent was until the Braniac arc). Jonathan Kent doesn't ruin the movie though, and he still loves his family.