I'm kinda glad to see this thread appearing, as I too feel some of the backlash against MOS has been very unfair.
First off, it seemed like we had been waiting forever for a modern Superman movie which would truly do the character justice. It's been 35 years + since Christopher Reeve first filled those big red boots (and he filled them very, very well) ............... and since then, the only new iteration we got was Bryan Singer's lacklustre 'Superman Returns'.
I don't completely despise Superman Returns, but I just felt a huge disappointment that it was so mediocre; with the director of X-Men 1 & 2 at it's helm, it had so much potential and could have been so much more. But it came off feeling bland, with many flaws in the storyline. Like many other viewers, one of my main complaints with that film was it's relative lack of action.
As a superhero fan - and with Superman being my #1 superhero - I've grown up reading comics and watching animations where action was key. Superman is a being with unparalleled strength, and god-like physical powers. To portray him in live motion and not
have him throw a single punch or face off against someone on a similar power level is almost an insult to the character, and very frustrating to those of us who have followed the character's exploits for years as he took on physical challenges and challengers by the hundreds.
And so, along came Man of Steel. And with it, we finally got action .................. lots and lots of action.
Superman facing off against multiple Kryptonian opponents; super-punches, fights in the air, cars and locomotives being tossed around like stones, tarmac being ripped up, Kryptonians being tossed through buildings and destroying anything they hit - be it concrete, metal, whatever, heat vision being used in abundance, entire buildings toppling over, girders being used as baseballs bats, all leading up to a final one-on-one showdown between our central protagonist and antagonist.
Having watched Man of Steel multiple times now and enjoying each viewing more than the last, I loved how the action was depicted. We are lucky in that we're now at an age where computer effects, CGi and green-screen technology can really add realism to a battle between super-powered beings (as much as Superman's fight with Zod/Ursa/Non in Superman II was impressive, it now feels like watching kids having a playfight after seeing MOS).
To me, the destruction wrought on Metropolis was just like anything we had ever seen in the comics and animation, but never in live motion before.
And as for Superman's final fight with Zod, and the ensuing destruction caused as a result of it ...................... what do people want? If MOS didn't depict the realistic consequences of a showdown between two god-like beings, then I don't know what would. Remember Superman's battle with Doomsday in the comics? It left Metropolis like a warzone, with each of them being hurled through buildings, the street ripped up and shockwaves from their punches smashing windows. MOS took that level of carnage and made it real.
So yes, I have to agree that Man of Steel has faced some double standards. IMO, it is the first superhero film to arguably
show the true extent of the devastation that would be caused by a battle with superpowered beings, and the first to mirror the type of city-wide destruction we've become used to in comics. I loved Avengers, but the scope of the destruction to New York city felt very contained. And other superhero films which had global threats (like Green Lantern or Fantastic Four) resorted to the smoke-monster approach, which completely removes the feeling of a realistic threat and neglects to show much more than crowds of people running from it. And yet, despite going to these lengths to bring a comic book to life, for some people there's simply too much destruction and too much action in MOS. I don't get it.