Chuck’s review published on Letterboxd:
The more I watch this movie, the more I like it. I've always enjoyed Superman and the many ways that his story has been retold over the decades. I remember Christopher Reeve's Superman with much fondness, but this movie is different.
Here, Kal-El/Clark Kent really struggles to find his identity. Not that he didn't struggle in previous incarnations, but this time around there was a greater emphasis on his struggle. He's an alien sent to Earth, has these strange abilities, and has no idea about his origins (which he eventually learns about).
Much has been said about all the destruction that happens in the film. You could chalk it up as influenced by 9/11, and you wouldn't be wrong, but General Zod was doing things to Earth on a total global scale. There had to be some consequences of that. Also, there the final Superman/Zod battle that destroys even more of Metropolis, all because of the Kryptonian Codex.
Now that I've seen the TV series Krypton, I think I have a better understanding of the Codex. In both the film and the TV series, babies weren't born on Krypton. They were grown in Genesis Chambers using the Codex, the blueprint of life. Via the Codex, each Kryptonian is essentially "programmed" to perform a role in society. Some are scientists (Jor-El, Kal's father) and and some are warriors (General Zod). Those born via the Codex have no choice in what their life will be, which is why Zod is irrevocably committed to preserve Kryptonian life. To achieve his goal, he needs the Codex, which has been hidden by Jor-El. Kal/Superman, is not a product of the Codex, but natural childbirth, which essentially gives him free will, and contributes to his struggle to find himself.
I don't think Man of Steel and Krypton are part of the same chronological timeline, but I do find it interesting that both used the idea of the Codex in different ways. Christopher Reeve didn't have a Codex, but that's okay. When you have a character that has been around as long as Superman, the stories tend to fluctuate.