Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that Man of Steel, the latest take on the legendary Superman character, is darker than the classic Superman films but lighter (and less bloody) than The Dark Knight trilogy. There's definitely a lot of violence (including a destroyed planet, necks being broken, hand-to-hand combat that results in deaths, and -- possible spoiler alert -- Superman actually killing an enemy), but it's more macro than micro in scale: buildings topple, the sea crashes down, planes plummet, etc. Language is infrequent but includes occasional use of "s--t," "d--k," and "ass." The romance even tamer: Lois Lane and Superman hold hands and kiss twice in one scene. Product placements are limited to IHOP, which is shown a few times, and Nikon (but there are more than 100 off-screen licensing deals/promotions in place globally for the movie). Expect plenty of messages about good and evil and identity and what it means to be a hero; ultimately this is a story about the duality of Superman's life (part Clark Kent, part Kal-El), as symbolized by his two fathers.
Lois and Clark hold hands, look longingly at each other, and share a couple of kisses.
The mass destruction and collateral damage caused in the movie aren't shown in a close-up or bloody manner, but buildings collapse or burn down, cars are flattened, and helicopters and planes are downed. Both adults and children are frequently in peril. An entire planet is destroyed. General Zod and his army have no regard for human life and plan to kill off the entire species and repopulate earth with Kryptonians. Lots of almost too-fast-to-process hand-to-hand combat between Superman and Zod and his warriors -- necks are broken, and people are killed so quickly that it's hard to keep a body count. At one point, Martha Kent is nearly choked to death for information about Clark, which infuriates Superman. A final confrontation ends with Superman reluctantly breaking someone's neck.
Occasional language and insults include "s--t," "ass," "hell," "d--k," "a--wipe," "d--ksplash," "oh my God," "damn," and "crap." "F-ing" is said once, without the other letters filled in.
As is the case with most superhero movies, the underlying message is one of good versus evil, with Superman caught in the middle trying to decide how to navigate between his people by blood (the Kryptonians) and his people by circumstance (humans). The other main message is Superman's hero's journey of self discovery and acceptance of his power, his role and his responsibility to help and protect others. Another theme is preservation, whether it's self-preservation (Jonathan Kent thinks it's important for Clark to hide his powers lest he be manipulated by people and the government) or preservation of an entire race (Jor-El sends his baby son to Earth so he can be the best of both Krypton and his new home planet, and Zod is willing to eradicate humanity to see a new Krypton flourish).
IHOP restaurant is displayed prominently a few times: A character works there, the logo is shown (exterior and interior), and scenes are shot in the Smallville IHOP. Sears is also shown. Lois's DSLR camera, a Nikon D3 (a $10,000+ camera), is shown close-up in one sequence. The movie has more than 100 global off-screen product tie-ins/promotional partnerships.
Drugs / Tobacco /
One scene takes place a bar-restaurant where adults are drinking. An adult drinks a Scotch on the rocks.