Sexy, Sex and Nude Scenes
Very brief full-frontal nudity of male baby (Kal-El), and shown about 3 times throughout the movie in flashbacks, 2 at the start and 1 towards the end.
A woman caresses a man's face and they kiss.
A man in a bar slaps a woman's clothed buttocks.
Violent and Bloody Scenes
Concussive explosions, demolished buildings, riddling bullet sprays, roaring lasers and heat beams, and all manner of scenery-destroying action are the order of the superday. The alien attack causes rubble to fall on screaming, running crowds, and it's implied that Metropolis is nearly leveled from the impact of incredibly destructive alien beams, human military bombings and strafes, and the collateral damage of superpowered beings smashing through entire city blocks of concrete and glass and steel as they pound, pound, pound each other in extravagantly ultraviolent ways. Cars and trucks are picked up and tossed like crumpled wads of paper.
Children scream and gasp for air as their bus slips beneath the water of a lake. Lois is struck by a menacing robotic arm, and we see a small circle of blood stain her shirt. Clark catches her and cauterizes her stomach wound with his heat vision. A man is caught in the swirling winds of a tornado. Pilots tumble out of their crushed planes, and people fall out of demolished buildings.
On Krypton, we see Jor-El and General Zod fight, the two aliens battering each other viciously. Zod ends up with a slashed wound on his face, and he ultimately kills Jor-El with a large-blade stab to the abdomen (just offscreen).
From a distance, a pilot in an aircraft has his head squeezed until it pops and bursts into a gory mess by the side character Nam-Ek, a moderate amount of blood splatter can be seen but is mostly covered by the shaky camera work and messy focus. This scene is very brief and easy to miss because of the distance, but if you catch it can be quite disturbing/shocking especially for children. It really can only be seen in detail if scanned frame-by-frame.
Zod picks Martha up by the throat and throws her to the ground. Heat rays from Zod's eyes destroy a room and threaten civilians cowering in a corner. He shoots an older woman with a Kryptonian ray gun, and she crumples forward, dead. When Clark steps into Zod's ship with its Kryptonian environment, he grows weak, collapses forward and spits out blood. We see fields full of skulls, and several decayed/petrified corpses.
Superman intentionally snaps his assailant's neck. Of course, he does so to save others.
Scary and Disturbing Scenes
A school bus full of kids falls to the water from a bridge. It starts to sink, risking to drown everybody inside, until a kid breaks the backdoor and uses his superhuman strength to lift it up and push it to the shore. This scene could be highly disturbing for people afraid of drowning or of large bodies of water.
The tornado scene can be intense and disturbing --particularly the resulting death of an important character.
The scenes of destruction on Krypton, and later scenes of widespread urban destruction in Smallville and Metropolis, may be upsetting. People are shown panicking and fleeing, and while no civilian deaths are shown, a young woman is trapped under rubble at one point (she is freed and survives unharmed) and there are lots of falling buildings/crumbling skyscrapers.
At one point a young boy (young Clark) has difficulty controlling his developing superpowers, involuntarily seeing through the skin of a school teacher and several of his classmates. There's no blood but the sudden sight of the woman's muscles and bones upsets Clark (and may upset young viewers) and he runs out of the room. Later something similar happens, with another alien man freaking out as his senses are overloaded by Earth stimuli and he finds he can see through his gloves to the bones of his own hand.
A scene where a family taking shelter in a museum is threatened by an alien's heat vision growing nearer and nearer to them might be frightening, especially when Superman is forced to kill him to stop it, snapping the alien man's neck with a crunch (the man's body is shown falling to the ground) and appearing very distraught. It is also implied (though young viewers would probably not pick up on this) that the alien deliberately tried to achieve this result so that he might die in battle, a more honorable equivalent to suicide. This is the more violent than one might expect from a Superman movie.
I wanted to like this movie. Admittedly, I went in with high expectations, but I thought the names behind the movie, the actors and the beautiful trailer justified my high hopes.
And - at first - I thought it was all going to work out. For the first 40 minutes or so, this movie is awesome. Krypton, an ALIENated Clark Kent doing odd jobs on earth, a confused boy trying to cope with his powers...
Some reviewers have bashed the movie for being too serious, but there's nothing wrong with a little seriousness, or a little reverence towards the character. In the first half, I think the tone is perfect. A little dark, sure, but it all feels like we're building up towards something truly awesome. Then, kind of suddenly, the main story with Zod and the action starts. And, as much as I love action movies, I really wished it hadn't.
When the serious actions starts, all coherent story telling stops. In the blink of an eye the movie goes from feeling like a sci-fi Batman Begins to Transformers 3 minus the nuanced story telling. Suddenly Superman is here and we get these big sweeping beautiful scenes, and they're just completely boring and out of place. And I don't even want to talk about the totally contrived Lois Lane - Superman romance. (Lots of sighs, and "WTF?" comments at the theater I was in).
I kept waiting for it to recapture the tone of the first half, but the action just keeps getting bigger and dumber. In the middle of the unending action spectacle of the second half, I actually nodded off.
This movie had the creative talent, and the actors to make something really great. And I feel like without a Michael Bay explosion quota maybe they could have done it here... But in the end this is a missed opportunity.