FRIDAY NIGHT FIEND – GENERAL ZOD (I know, I know, we did it already)
Hey hey hey friends and foes, welcome back to another does of your weekly villainy. Can you hear that? Can you? Mr. Anderson! That is the sound of regularity. OK fine, so it doesn’t sound like Agent Smith from The Matrix but it does sound like the posting schedule is working. And that is a good thing.
Today is Friday and that means it’s time for your Friday Night Fiend (Fiend Fiend Fiend…) Last week, we looked at the first of our previously Crooked-ized villains who had been rebooted and dove into the JJ Abrams version of Khan from Star Trek Into Darkness. This week, we hit the other dastardly do-over with Zod from Man of Steel awesomeness.
And I am biased. I LOVED this cat!
Well…loved is pretty strong. I LIKED him. A lot.
We’ve looked at Zod before. In the Richard Donner/Christopher Reeve Superman: The Movie and Superman II masterpieces, we are introduced to a Hammer pants and deep-V Zod played by a Pimp Named Slick Back AKA Terrance Stamp (if you watch the Boondocks, you know how funny that is). He’d been caught by the Kryptonians for the crimes of sedition, trapped in a couple hula hoops and sent off to live in a Romper Room pane of glass with this threat, “You will bow down before me! Both you, and one day, your heirs!” Not bad. He gave us some fantastic lines that I still use everyday like “Why do you say these things to me, when you know I will kill you for it?” (my kids love it!) and, of course, “Kneel before Zod!”
But beyond the revenge thing, there really wasn’t more to Zod. He actually got bored in the movie. After he beat the cowboy shit out of Superman, what was the plan? Boom, one dimensional character.
Then they made Man of Steel.
This Zod was on some other shit. Entirely other shit. Not just world domination shit, but he was on a world-building, people-saving bent. The first time we saw Michael Shannon as Zod he walked in the door bucking people. Shutting down the studio. “On whose authority,” they said. “Mine.” Pew pew and people started to die. He killed a council member, launched a coup and killed Jor-El in 20 minutes—the first 20 minutes of the movie. He tried to kill a baby (Kal-El), spit on people, threatened Supes’ mama (twice) and when he said “I WILL FIND HIM!” you knew that MF was serious.
And then he found him. Best Hide And Seek Player EVER. Across the entire universe, Zod found his man, showed up and threatened a whole planet. Then, once he had Superman, he told him the truth, told him he was gonna kill 7 billion human beings, told Kal-El a) he better pick a side; and b) that he killed his daddy, and then threatened his mom for the second time. He had his folks tear up a small town then got busy terraforming planet Earth with this lovely little exchange:
Jor-El: You’re talking about genocide.
Zod: Yes. And I’m debating its merits with a ghost.
I mean, Damn. And when everything was lost, when he realized he didn’t have any people, Zod decided he was going to just kill every single person on Earth. By hand. He learned Supes’ powers, learned how to fly—he beat the shit out of Superman and made him commit the one atrocity that prevented Man of Steel from being a billion dollar movie.
As a character, Zod has always been an issue for Superman. I’ve kind of delineated his role in the comics already and I think this version strikes much closer to the original intent. Zod has always made Superman choose between being a Kryptonian or being a human—this was no different. What I loved was you actually saw Zod snap. Not that his terraforming-kill-the-humans plan wasn’t already fucked up; you actually saw him lose his rationale for everything he ever did. What started as an imperative to save the remains of his dying race—a noble sentiment for Zod—became full circle to a revenge story in the end. And you saw Zod lose his shit on screen.
It was awesome.
That’s my word! I’ll swing back on Tuesday for more crooked nonsense.