Director Zack Snyder gave us "300" and "Watchmen." Both movies could be called as excitable indulgence of special effects and also had a good narrative structure. His last movie, "Sucker Punch" was a catastrophe. Now his "Man of Steel" (written by David S. Goyer from a story by Chris Nolan) travels in different directions, delivering gratifications without managing to be completely satisfying. As an origin story, the movie takes itself very seriously, but the mind numbing action in last 40 minutes is a huge disappointment and shatters the promising build up.
Like the 1978 Superman movie, the story starts from the planet Krypton, just before it is due to self-destruct. The 1978 movie didn't have Marlon Brando flying around Krypton, but, once again thanks to special effects, we get to zoom about Krypton as Jor-El (Russell Crowe) pilots a giant dragon or insect. There's also an environmental angle to the self-destruction. Jor-El sends his naturally born son to earth in a small space ship, knowing that the boy will have superpowers in this planet. Meanwhile, the villain, General Zod attempts a coup and fails. He and his gang of baddies are temporarily subdued (after few large scale explosions).
Thirty Three years years later we meet Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) -- a fisherman, saving some men on a doomed oil rig. He floats around in the water experiencing flashbacks to his childhood living in Kansas with adoptive parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane). Clark encounters Lois Lane (Amy Adams) while she is in the Arctic investigating a mysterious space ship under the ice. Unlike, previous Superman movies, Lois Lane know Superman’s secret from the get-go. Soon, Zod parks a space ship in Earth's orbit and demands surrender or to face total annihilation. He is also after a "codex", which is sent with Clark. It contains the key to rebuilding the Krypton species.