I don't know on which comic book series Man of Steel is based (none, apparently), but there is much to like as well as plot elements that are questionable in this damn piece of vile blasphemy. Henry Cavill is a very good lead, with a face that looks part Tom Welling, part Christopher Reeve. Amy Adams is a strong Lois Lane, Costner and Crowe are great father figures.
According to the movie's plot, on Krypton, there is a seeming unwillingness for most of its inhabitants to accept that they could leave if they chose to do so - before the planet's demise. The movie also features a death toll on Earth that must be in the tens of thousands. Now, Superman wouldn't have allowed that to happen in the early 80s, Shirley? On Krypton, there's also a caste system coupled with a jingoistic dogmatism of which Zod appears to be the prime manifestation. These faults in Kryptonian society can explain Jur-El's noble willingness to accept the planet's destruction, as daft as it seems. He does seem to suggest he's saying "We've had our chance, now it's someone else's (specifically mankind's) turn."
Such cultural anachronisms in a civilization of great technology are required in order for its denizens to accept their lot, and for the movie to meet the demands of its own logic. The movie's superior to Superman Returns fo sho, and its flashback shenanigans are a nice way to illustrate the life of Superman in a narrative syntax that people will appreciate post-Lost. The movie introduces Clark to the world as Superman at the age of 33, which is - of course - a nod and a wink to Jesus. The Good Lord had completed his ministry by that time, of course. So Superman will have to play catch-up to Jesus for any planned sequels. "Superman 2: Catch up to Jesus" is a good title. Sacrilege aside, there's a clever line from Lois Lane at the very end of the movie. Things are played very straight throughout. I give this movie four out of seven.