Mamo #308: Mamo of Steel

The Men of Mamo bring their steel to the party and tackle the Zack Snyder / Christopher Nolan / DC Comics / Warner Brothers megalith, Man of Steel, upon which all hopes for the future of everything have, perhaps capriciously, been pinned. You will believe two men can gab.

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Matt Brown
Matt Brown co-hosts the Mamo!, Super Zero, Get Your Cast To Mars, and My So-Cast Life podcasts, and has a weekly column at Screen Anarchy called Destroy All Monsters. Imagine Thor crossed with a 12-year-old girl.


  1. Finally got a chance to listen to the episode and I’m reminded of the grim & gritty age of the 90’s. Where comic book creators really didn’t understand what made Watchmen & Dark Knight Returns special and tried to make everything darker. We ended up with the Image era of comics that sold in record numbers but had boring stories to most of them and ended up (with a number of other factors in play, it just wasn’t this) driving the comics industry into the ground.

    Man of Steel we almost have history repeating itself. The producer who’s Batman films were hugely influenced by Dark Knight Returns and the director to Watchmen making a movie that while not quite all the way there, does takes a lot of the darkness angle and misses what makes these other movies special. I hope that the success of this doesn’t cause DC to move further that angle to the point what we really do end up with a grim & gritty era of superhero comics.

  2. I’m not very familiar with the Superman stories (I’m limited to having read Red Son & The Dark Knight Returns and the previous Superman movies) but I’m not clear on the franchise end-game here. Though I didn’t care for Nolan’s Batman movies, the struggles he’d have to face seemed pretty evident and I could generally see where the final movie would take the character but here, I’m not sure where they can take Superman beyond fighting other bad guys for overly long sequences. I loved the movie with the exception of the fight sequences which were mostly boring (with a few exceptional moments).

    • I’d like to suggest All Star Superman for where they could take Superman, but I’m doubtful they’ll go there.

      The most likely choice will be Luthor, still being distrustful of the alien, and either Brainiac or Darkseid after that. Now, you can perhaps do something interesting with Luthor, if he comes at from the point of view of why are you trusting this guy who destroyed half of Metropolis, but they haven’t really staked out much interesting thematic ground beyond that.

      • Luthor the politician manipulating public opinion on Superman seems the most likely course for this story. It will be interesting what sort of route they take with Luthor and who is cast. If they really want to blow minds they should pick someone really likeable like George Clooney and let them slime it up.

        Maybe it’s just me but Darkseid seems more like a JLA type villain. I’d assume they’d do Doomsday for a third film and just play up the whole “Will Superman live?” hype.

          • I think Luther will be introduced in the next film but I have my doubts he will be the main villain. Once again if they are reacting against Superman Returns, then they need a bigger villain.

            The rumor these days is Brainiac will be the next villain, which to me makes sense. He is a well known Superman villain that has been featured in animated series and animated movies, so a younger generation is aware of him. Brainiac has never been featured in a live action movie so it would be something new. Finally, it fits the new more sci-fi tone of Man of Steel to go with another sci-fi villain.

        • I did. I think the movie runs into problems in the final 45 minutes when it essentially becomes one long action sequence, but otherwise I was pretty pleased with the direction they took with the chracter. He’s clearly young and inexperienced and making mistakes all over the place and still not very good at being “Superman”. I’m perfectly fine with that and willing to see what direction he goes in next.

          I am finding the fanboys losing there shit over the death of Zod pretty damn amusing. Characters evolve and change all the damn time in comics, and it isn’t as if Superman has never killed anyone. You know, like Zod. (Hopefully this incites a pre-Crisis flame war on just which Zod was killed cause we don’t have enough arguments over minutiae on this site.)

          • FWIW, I kind of view the ending as Zod committing “suicide by Superman”.

            I do think Snyder really wanted to evoke the climax of Alan Moore’s Miracleman run in the final 45 minutes. But, without the follow through, it’s a lot of empty spectacle with the consequences just brushed aside.

          • I agree, and that seems to be the basic fault of Snyder. He’s good at the ideas and certainly means well, its just the execution never quite seems to hit its mark.

          • I’m not sure if the idea is that good. If you’re going there, you explore the consequences, you don’t lazily return to the status quo.

            Snyder’s taste is good. But the idea is incompatible with the idea of Superman as a beacon of hope.

          • I wouldn’t have a problem with the Zodd thing if they built Superman up to that point as someone who actually gave a shit about random people in the city. Or had shown him being more careful during the last hour to save people.

          • I guess to me that seems like an unrealistic character expectation. He’s essentially in his first mission in which he can be held accountable and he’s vastly out numbered and fighting for his life.

            To me the film is pretty clearly setting him up to become that version of Superman that audiences expect him to be, but he’s going to fail quite a bit along the way. That disappointment in Superman is exactly what the film is aiming for. That to me is an interesting thematic avenue to take.

          • Yeah I can see that.

            If I had more enjoyed what they were doing to that point I probably would have liked the ending.

          • To me it seemed to be the lack of either Snyder or Goyer to build a fight where Superman is saving people beyond Lois. Or at least showing a bit of dismay at the death and destruction, instead of coming across as above it all and not really giving a damn.

            From these articles coming out, I now get with what they were going with killing Zod, it’s just the execution of it is so incredibly horribly off (for my anyways). Especially with the way that Zod was using his heat vision and I was expecting Superman to block his eyes with his hands (you know with him being invincible and all that) or jumping up and flying away (Zod has been shown that he has not mastered flying yet).

            I’ve never been a comic book fan that feels adaptations need to stick to canon. I’m okay with changing up the status quo, as long as the new story ideas are more interesting or better executed than the original. A Superman that kills is a big change to the character, that I’m not sure quite works. However, perhaps it could work in the right story conditions and my problem is that I don’t think they pulled that off in the slightest.

          • To reiterate, a Superman who kills is not a change to the character. It was canon for over two decades.

            As for Robert, who says they won’t explore the consequences in the next film? I think the idea of spending an entire film on Supes being a flawed God and one who failed those he was trying to protect is a pretty interesting story to explore. That being said, I don’t think Snyder and Goyer are the ones who should be tackling that story.

  3. One of the things I did think Snyder did well was bring an authentic, not particularly romanticized, midwest take on the small town. Partly because they choose to shoot in a real town, and partly due to having a religious presence in the town.

    I’ll note Snyder is a Green Bay native.


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