Overall, I think the first half of the movie is much stronger than the second half. There's a point where it just starts getting weaker and weaker, but the second half has some amazing moments, and I adored the first half. It's not like the movie suddenly goes bad, though, it's just weaker.
Things I didn't like (because I want to end this thing with squee):
1. The kid, Jason. I don't mind him on general principle, and the actor who plaed him was great, but there was no real point for him to be in the movie. I guess there was the vague theme of fathers and sons and maybe Lois moving on, but it wasn't strong enough to create an entirely new character that will definitely piss off the hard core comics fans. I liked the kid in general, but at the end, I was really confused as to what he added to the film, exactly.
2. Lex Luthor. Every time there was a scene with him, I was begging to go back to Clark and Superman's story. I guess it was necessary, since his whole plot needed a lot of set up, but I think he was much less compelling as a character than he should have been.
3. Luthor's dastardly plot. That was just stupid.
4. The pacing. When you make a two and a half hour movie, and it feels like it's missing things, I think you're probably doing something wrong. The flashback scene (which I love. I mean, I made it an icon) felt too isolated. The trailers did show a scene where Clark finds the space ship that carried him to Earth, and if they included that scene as another flashback, it would have carried more thematic resonance, since (I'm guessing) that's the ship he took out into space. There were other moments that felt odd to me as well.
5. The way they dealt with Superman returning. There was a lot about how people in general felt about it (Lois in particular), but I think we didn't really get a sense of Clark's feelings about it all through the movie, and I think that's an important point. The reason he gives for leaving is like, one line, and I don't really get a sense of what drove him to leave, and the effect his leaving has on him now that he's back, besides the Lois thing. He saves a plane and then everything's the same as it was before. I mean, it's not Batman, but I wanted a little more internal struggle, maybe.
6. The ending. It felt weird, and I think the whole "Superman almost dying" didn't quite resonate with me. I don't think it got the time it should have, or maybe that was the pacing.
7. Not enough dork!Clark. You can't really get enough dork!Clark, and I think there needed to be more of the Clark/Superman dichotomy. It's a big deal, and I think it would have been nice to see that.
8. Dude, do the elevators in the Daily Planet have roofs?
Wow. That was long. But the next list is even longer.
Things I liked:
1. The Lois/Clark. Okay, so I did mention that I'm all about the Clark/Bruce, too, but watching Smallville and reading the comics, I realized that I totally ship Lois/Clark, too. Here, it's the focal point of the whole movie, and it pays off in spades. There is a real sense of love, a real, maturing love between them that's great to watch. I remember seeing someone mention somewhere that we totally need a movie where Lois Lane falls in love with Clark Kent, and I'd love to see it with these two.
2. Lois Lane. So maybe she's not my Lois Lane, but I think Bosworth did a great job. They softened her character up quite a bit from the original (and most of the other versions), which makes me very sad, but she's still very much a reporter who goes after the important stories and is a genuine human being in her own right. Also, she gets to save Superman. How awesome is that?
3. The Daily Planet. Everything about it. It's futuristic retro feel, Jimmy Olsen, Perry White. Just, everything. The spinning globe. I wish we had more of it. They should totally have a movie just about the Daily Planet. I'd totally watch it.
4. Richard White. He's not an asshole and Lois doesn't leave him. He goes back to save Superman, even though it means it'll be putting his entire family in severe danger (and even though Lois is clearly still in love with him), and he doesn't make a big deal out of it. He clearly cares about Jason, and I doubt he'd leave if he ever found out Jason wasn't his. I liked the Richard/Lois. Which clearly means I should be writing Clark/Richard/Lois, because dude, that would be really hot.
5. That airplane scene. OMFG, it was amazing. And the moment when Superman's hovering in the middle of a baseball field carrying a jet? And when Superman goes in and earnestly makes that speech? Such a classic Superman moment.
6. The classic Marlon Brando stuff. It was well integrated, and I loved the callback to the original.
7. The moment when Superman gets shot in the eye. I think everyone in the movie theater cringed, and it's such a great visual reminder of just how invulnerable he is.
8. The Martha/Clark moments, as brief as they are. It really conveyed a sense of family between them. They really
9. Kitty and the car scene. It's just so classic Superman, and one of those moments of pure glee, simply because it's so classic.
10. The roof scene. It's just so beautifully restrained and honest and beautiful. It's about both of them, and their issues, but it's about more than that. It's about the world and why Superman does what he does, etc.
11. The Cinemetography. The lighting! The angles! The just plain awesome shots! Singer's got an amazing visual eye here, and I was quite in the thrall of the pretty.
12. The effects. Okay, there's never going to be a time where Superman doesn't look at least a little bit cheesy, but there's a feeling of actual physics going on that I wasn't expecting (and just wasn't as possible with the original Superman movies).
13. The shot of Clark falling through the roof of his barn. I don't know if Singer had seen Batman Begins before writing/shooting that scene, but I think it's TOTALLY a shout out to the scene where Bruce falls into the well.
14. The moments when Lex Luthor was actually a good villain. The scene when he talks about Prometheus. The scene where he beats Superman. I actually liked the scene when he was taunting Lois, too.
15. Superman/Clark Kent. Undoubtably the most important thing in this movie, and they nailed it. His earnestness, his genuine compassion and caring, his sweetness, his undeniable attempts to do the right thing. The fact that none of this means he's an idiot, that it's simply who he is. That yes, it's possible to have that much power and do good with it. Brandon Routh did such a good job with it.
So yeah, I want to see it again on the big screen sometime. Preferably in IMAX.