Tuesday, June 25, 2013

General Zod is a lousy tactician.

Spoilers ahead.

I recently watched Man of Steel. It's exactly the movie you'd expect: larger than life, artfully shot and kind of lacking in character development. Oh, and the soundtrack is FANTASTIC.

Like the recent movie, Star Trek Into Darkness, there were some interesting themes that could have elevated the movie from good to great. But studios seem to be afraid of exploring bigger ideas. For instance, one of the themes in Man of Steel is a legitimate fear of an all-powerful being. After the final battle, that surely yielded ten of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of casualties, that concern seems valid. The film, however, never addresses the consequences. It never shows us the people who died in the epic battle. Sure Superman saves the planet, but at what cost? Can you protect humanity without losing your own? What happens when the people you save hate you for it?

These are heady questions for another time. Perhaps in the sequel.

Instead, let’s talk about General Zod. Zod is a lousy tactician. Embarrassingly bad. I suspect the character must have originally been called General Zed and that there were 25 generals before him—General A, General B, etc. Because Zod most certainly graduated last in his class. Again SPOILERS.

1. He has superior alien technology and weapons, but doesn't use them effectively. Once on Krypton and even on his own ship, blasters are used to take down Kryptonians, but Zod never once thinks to use them on Superman. Wha??? He even has a pointy stick he uses effectively early on and yet he never brings that little number out to use on the Man of Steel. WHA???

2. He has a numbers advantage, yet doesn’t press it. There seemed to be about a dozen Kryptonians featured on the Phantom Zone ship. There’s only one Superman. That’s a dozen to one. AND ZOD BLOWS IT. Does he send a dozen to take down Kal-El? Nope. He sends two (2) Kryptonians to fight hand-to-hand. That's right: Hand-to-hand.

3. He doesn't understand basic defensive strategy. Zod is a clod. He has a dozen Kryptonians to start. Sure, Superman, Lois and a hologram (don’t ask) take out another 3-5. That still leaves Zod, a creepy scientist and about six soldiers. 
Floating perimeter, yes?

If you assume that it takes one person to run a ship and there are two of them (Creepy Scientist runs one and Zod runs the other) that still leaves three soldiers to form a nice floating defensive perimeter around each machine. 
Like a helmet!

If you have an extra, you add them to the top to cover an aerial assault. 

Super swooper up the pooper.

And, yes, you still leave yourself exposed underneath because you are, after all, a super villain. Butlet's face itthe crime you’re committing shouldn’t be lousy tactical execution.