What the movie gave me that I loved:
The first time we ever see any cinematic attempt at a realistic domestic life between Lois and Clark on the big screen. Her fear for him, his confiding in her, how their professional lives work with their relationship and Clark's abilities. But also a Lois Lane who is a completely determined and relentless journalist in the face of bodily danger.
The first time we see a truly scary, at times nightmarish, Batman. A broken Batman who has lost his faith and his idealism, who now blurs the line between vigilante and brutal punisher. (Pun not intended... but still applicable.) He drinks, he pops pills, he's restless. He's depressed. And he's ruthless... until he comes back from the brink.
A bat cave with rotating podiums for the suit, and a memorial for what is clearly a deceased Robin, his own attire spray painted with what we can only infer are the words of the Joker. (Suicide Squad may or may not reveal more, or perhaps we'll have to wait for the stand alone Batfleck flick.)
An Alfred that is a capable strategist, with a wry sense of humor that allows him to match wits with the world's greatest detective. (And even helps him work.) He also, as always, at least tries to be Bruce's conscience, with less than optimal results.
The World Engine sound effect while Bruce Wayne approaches his parents' grave, foreshadowing that it's a dream (repeated again at the onset of his Flash vision sequence,) and underscoring how traumatized he was by Superman's battle with Zod and its implications for his own role in the world - and how much that trauma hearkens back to the loss of his parents.
The moment Senator Finch defied Luthor being the moment he became resolved to kill her, lending his prior disturbing but ultimately merely awkward manner a far more menacing tone. (And her realization of this through a callback to their creepily adversarial conversation.)
Clark's realization that his idealism is not only seen as quaint today ("America's conscience died with Martin, Robert, and John,") but genuinely questioning his own ethical compass. A similar moment occurs when Lois seems aghast that someone would "use live soldiers as guinea pigs," and is told, "And this is what makes you such a good reporter. Stuff like this still shocks you."
The implied but not explicit (although much MORE explicit in this Ultimate Edition!) deft manipulation by Lex through subtle mentions of people responsible for creating the negative perception in Bruce and Clark's minds of one another vanishing or having a mysterious aura.
A disturbed, genuinely unsettling Lex Luthor who perpetually feels on the verge of exploding. (Who, it is heavily implied, is not Lex Luthor as we know him, but Lex Jr. Whether that is sufficient justification for such a departure of characterization is for you to decide. I for one loved it.)
Clark feeling powerless to change the world, doubting his own effectiveness, and having to resort to using Superman to confront Batman. This is why he didn't make more effort to "talk" incidentally. By this point both had already been maneuvered into despising one another. But more importantly, Superman by this point had bought into the same lie Batman has - "No one stays good in this world." He did make a halfhearted attempt, but with his mother's life on the line and already feeling powerless to do the right thing in his own life, he seized upon a "hero" worse than he feared the world now saw him as, in a last desperate attempt to at least save the few good things he still sees in his world. Just as Batman seized upon Superman as the new personification of his own pain and rage.
The "Martha scene." Yes, that scene was a pro for me, not a con. It was a complete reversal of the deception described above. At the start of the film, we see Bruce's father laying, dying, mutter, "Martha," to his beloved wife, as a young and shattered Bruce looks on. Later, Superman is laying broken, similarly to Bruce's father, saying "Martha" in his last gasp as well. Bruce has become what he despises. He is taking the life of a man who loves a woman named Martha, laying defenseless at his feet. Only in this moment is Bruce redeemed, recognizing what he has become. When he throws the spear away he's not "freaking out," he's angrily and disgustedly rejecting what he's become: a monster like his own mother's killer. I didn't see it as them miraculously and conveniently "making up." Instead, for me, this was where Bruce regains what remains of his CONSCIENCE. Both learn from one another that their broken faith in good was a grievous error. Thus it became beautiful and powerful, not ridiculous or unbelievable.
A Wonder Woman who holds her own (and then some - downright gleeful at the prospect of a worthy opponent in Doomsday) with Superman and Batman, and perhaps more importantly and interestingly... a Diana Prince who holds her own (and, again, then some) with Bruce Wayne.
The way Doomsday (even though I do wish they had held off on him - see my only major complaints below) continually grows more powerful and "is unkillable." And the way Wonder Woman takes it to him, even cutting off his hand at one point, but it still rapidly becomes clear that even she is struggling, and that in due course, he would wear them down and be victorious if not for Clark's ultimate sacrifice. Which is why the Doomsday fight is redeemed for me. I wish it hadn't been Doomsday but... if they were going to KILL Superman, then it HAD to be him. And it does make for a tragic, extremely moving finale. There was no way to stop the beast. Even the golden lasso broke when he began to evolve for a final time.
The only thing that could stop him was kryptonite. And the only one strong enough to drive said kryptonite into him once he became more armored... was the one that kryptonite would also weaken enough for Doomsday to kill. Tragic irony in the literal sense: the weapon Batman's hatred and rage drove him to use to kill Superman is the only thing that saved the world... but also ended up still killing Clark, despite Bruce's change of heart. Brutal. Beautiful.
Perry White's darkly comedic digs at Clark repeatedly throughout the movie were, in their way, hilarious. Possibly the closest thing to true comedy relief in the whole movie. But still making a point nevertheless. I also loved how when the chips were down, he dropped his callous demeanor to help Lois as a personal favor the moment she said nothing more than, "It's not for a story." He was born to play these sorts of "tough guy, yet unflinchingly heroic and loyal when need be" characters, as we saw on Hannibal. He just conveys so much heart yet authority.
Lex's PUNS. This was a great bit of writing in my opinion, rendering the nervously diabolical yet brilliant Luthor as being so far ahead of the curve mentally that he's darkly amused by his own brilliance without even having to try. After kidnapping Clark's mother and expounding on how he believes Superman is essentially God and that total righteousness cannot coexist with absolute power, he quips, "Mother of God, will you look at the time!" When asked by a legless man what he wants he replies, "To help you stand for something." He tells Senator Finch, "You are gonna be on the hot seat in there, June bug," before she dies in an explosion. When Superman arrives after his timer expires he quips,"Late late says the white rabbit... right wabbit? Out of tricks..." (Trix.) And in his final confrontation with Batman he says, "Civilization on the wane (Wayne,) manners (manors) out the window," before snorting at his own cleverness. This was a fantastic character trait.
Lex's explanation of the etymology of the world Philanthropist, in contrast to what we know about him. Yes, he "loves humanity," but only as an extension of his own ego and inability to tolerate what he perceives to be a god-like figure in Superman. Also his, "The bittersweet pain among men is having knowledge without power, because that is paradoxical," being played off as an amusing outburst by a socially awkward weirdo, is in actuality an ironic delivery of an existential statement of the human condition. (This moment also gives us a glimpse into the pain behind Luthor's madness.)
Likewise, there's a fantastic moment in the movie where a montage of Superman rescuing people throughout the world is juxtaposed over somber music, and a news report featuring Charlie Rose and others debating whether such a being should be celebrated or feared. Clark watches this report after his heroics, sullen and confused as to what he must do to make it clear that his intentions are good. This is a stark contrast to, say, Superman IV in which Clark watches the world "stumble headlong into nuclear annihilation," and decides unilaterally to stop it... and is hailed the world over as a savior, complete with John Williams' beautiful fanfare.
Again and again throughout this film we see symbolism drawing sharp parallels between our own conscience and morality as a nation and as a world, with the idealized hero Superman has traditionally been. It's almost as if Snyder is saying to us, "Look. You say you want a hopeful, lighthearted vision of Superman. But that's not the world I see us creating with our own non-super hands and hearts. If Superman really came down to Earth tomorrow... this is what might actually happen." And while I agree movies CAN be just escapism and it might be a tad pretentious for a super hero flick of all things to try to be more... it's still