I didn't mind the Man of Steel, like at all. It wasn't perfect, (Pa Kent being the biggest example for me) but still feel like it doesn't deserve nearly half the grief it gets.
People complained about how he killed Zod. This always bothered me. Because anyone who has EVER read the comics, or even seen the second Superman movie knows that Zods tend to die. A lot. 9.5 times out of 10 it's at the hands of Superman.
And because I'm bored here are some examples.
The Silver Age Zod was just another Kryptonian criminal stuck in the Phantom Zone who occasionally managed to escape now and then, only to be driven back time and again by Superman.
The first actual death of a Zod happened in 1988, post-Crisis on Infinite Earths. Here's Superman exposing Zod and his two cronies to Green Kryptonite (back when the hunks of rock came in all sorts of colors with varying effects). They hailed from a pocket reality where they had managed to come to that Earth and basically killed EVERYONE on it. Knowing that they were a threat, and fearing the possibility of them somehow making it back to his reality (which they promised him they'd do) Superman makes the choice to execute them.
And it wasn't something Superman did without a heavy heart. The guilt of these actions eventually drove him to exile himself to space for the better portion of a year or two.
Here's Zod's death from the stellar "Superman II" movie. Where Supes tricks Zod, Ursa, and Non into thinking he's given up his powers (via Kryptonian science), when in fact he had done the reverse.
Now... unless Superman rents the lower portion of the Fortress of Solitude to a pillow and mattress factory, methinks Zod and co. are fuckin' DEAD. Supes turns Zod's hand to tiny bone splinters and chucks him (still gasping in agony) into a foggy pit. He and Lois even smile about the casual nature of this scenario, no brooding about clearly killing depowered individuals. No signs of a guilty conscience whatsoever.
AND yes, before some of you chime in, YES there's an alternate cut where Superman goes back in time (AGAIN) and manages to get a do over where he DOESN'T kill them, and most likely doesn't impregnate Lois, but the first version is heavily considered the canon scenario within that universe. Maybe if Superman Returns (the attempt to restart the series by ignoring Superman 3 and 4) had gotten a sequel this would've been proven to have been undone in the then new continuity. But it didn't. So the Richard Donner Cut remains just that... what could've/should've been.
Here's the turn of the 21st Century Zod who (through convoluted explanations) was the dictator of former Soviet state Pokolistan. He was meant to be this sort of "Inverse Superman" who may or may not be THE Zod somehow possessing the body of some random metahuman schlub who (as a result of "in utero" exposure to Kryptonite pieces that were following Kal's ship when it flew to Earth) just happens to grow stronger when exposed to Red Sun Energy, at the cost of being weakened by Yellow Sun Energy.
Which is why he has on this armor.
Oh and he tried to con the world by getting plastic surgery to look just like Superman.
He too dies, though mainly from his own hubris than anything Superman himself does intentionally. Basically he had managed to (somehow, the exact details are a bit fuzzy to me) make it so only Red Sun energy gets exposed to Earth, thus making him stronger than Superman... until the other heroes of Earth managed to switch it all back.
Unwilling to concede defeat, this Zod flew towards Superman at full speed, only to apparently crush himself up against the now fully re-empowered Man of Steel's body when they collided.
I think. Been a while since I read this. DC seems to wanna ignore a great deal of these events (outside of the Emperor Joker story). And I don't remember how Superman reacted to this aftermath.
If it's a Zod, his chances of catching a case of the DEADS are quite high.
By comparison to these other examples, his death in Man of Steel was practically dignified, and merciful.