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Hobbling the Giant

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Giant-Man was dominating the fight until Spider-Man realized they could just web his legs together and topple him...

"Additionally, the Kool-Aid Man is top-heavy. All Bib has to do is follow the time-tested strategy of taking the legs out that works so well against other top-heavy opponents from cattle to André the Giant."
Grudge Match Commentary, The Kool-Aid Man vs. The Michelin Man
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In fiction, one effective way to immobilize or incapacitate large monsters, Mechas, or oversized opponents is by targeting their legs whether by somehow restricting their movement, using weapons to compromise their structural integrity, or even utilizing Agony of the Feet. This is somewhat justified (assuming the bindings are strong enough or the weapons are powerful enough), because without free use of their legs in their fully functional state, the monster, machine, or person will likely lose their balance and crash.

Compare to Knotty Tentacles where a creature with tentacles or stretchy limbs is tricked into incapacitating itself by tying itself into knots. Compare Tied Together Shoe Lace Trip where a regular sized human is incapacitated by tying their shoelaces together causing them to trip and fall when they try to walk.

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Contrast Death By Falling over where tripping up an opponent leads to their death rather than simply incapacitating them for the duration of the conflict.


Examples

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    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Captain America: Civil War, Team Iron Man is struggling to figure out how to beat Ant-Man who is now nearly thirty feet tall and is strong enough to throw planes and fuel trucks. They are overwhelmed until Spider-Man remembers seeing The Empire Strikes Back and convinces the team to try the AT-AT strategy. Spidey uses his webs to tangle up Giant-Man's legs and Iron Man and War Machine fly in to give a one-two punch that topples him over.
  • In The Empire Strikes Back, during the Battle of Hoth the Rebels fly snowspeeders to attack approaching Imperial AT-AT Walkers. The Rebels fire harpoons (attached to tow cables) that stick to the Walker's legs. The snowspeeder flies around the Walker several times, wrapping the cable around the Walker's legs, then releases its end of the cable. When the Walker tries to take another step, it trips and falls to the ground. This becomes a feature of pretty much every video game involving the Battle of Hoth ever made.
  • In G-Force, the guinea pigs escape two little kids by dropping a net on them and wrapping rope around their legs, making them fall into a shallow kiddie pool.
  • In the third The Lord of the Rings movie, the Rohirrim cavalry are seen slashing at the mumakil' legs as they gallop to bring them down.
  • In High Plains Invaders, the heroes stretch a rope across the road and then pull it tight as a Bug reaches it: tripping the Bug and dropping it into a position where Sam can shoot it.

    Literature 
  • During the final battle in Caves of Ice, Cain spots (presumably necron-caused) battle damage on the ork gargant's left leg and orders all heavy weapons to hit that area. The gargant falls over, squishing large numbers of the attacking orks, and secondary explosions finish it off.
  • In Gulliver's Travels, the six-inch tall Lilliputians attempt to restrain Gulliver by binding his arms and legs to keep him immobile. However, the restraints they use aren't nearly strong enough against Gulliver's full-size strength.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In a match between John Cena and Batista, Cena tied Batista's legs around a ring post with duct tape so he couldn't get up to answer a 10 count, losing the match.
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    Tabletop Games 
  • In one picture from a Dungeons & Dragons manual there's a gnome Giantslayer who's just defeated a Hill Giant by tying his legs together somehow.

    Video Games 
  • Invoked in Battle for Wesnoth as units "slowed" by nets and spells have their attack halved and are more vulnerable. In fact, a popular way to defeat a powerful monster/enemy is to slow him first.
  • Taking down Giants in Dragon Age: Inquisition usually involves damaging their feet until they fall to their knees, then quickly finishing them off with massive damage to their upper body.
  • In Horizon Zero Dawn, Aloy is armed with a tripcaster bow which allows her to deploy electrically charged tripwires which, as the name implies, trips, shocks, and jolts enemies who trigger the wires. This is most useful against behemoth enemies such as the Thunderjaw who are too big for Aloy to approach outright.
  • Pokémon: The move Grass Knot functions as an attack that trips opponents with a tangle of grass around their feet. The larger and heavier the opponent, the more damage the move deals.
  • In Sonic Adventure, Tails' storyline ends with a battle against the Egg Walker. To defeat it, Tails has to get underneath it to trick it into trying to stomp him. During this time, Tails has to attack its feet, causing it to lose its balance and giving Tails the opportunity to attack Dr. Eggman, who will then be low enough for him to attack.
  • This is a common strategy in the Fallout series, especially against Super Mutants and killer mechs, as you can aim for specific body parts.

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic does this to a giant robot controlled by Scratch and Grounder. When the two robots are intruding on a festival dedicated to him, he grabs a banner and wraps it around the giant robot's legs.
  • In the Classic Disney Short "Brave Little Tailor" Mickey uses his thread to tie up the giant like a roast, eventually forcing his legs together. Timmmmm-ber!
  • Fun and Fancy Free: In Mickey and the Beanstalk, Mickey tries to escape Willie the Giant by fashioning a vine into a tripwire for him to trip and fall on.
  • Tangled: The Series:
    • Rapunzel and Varian defeat an automaton (giant robot) by stringing Rapunzel's hair between two columns and letting it walk forward, trip over it, and be crushed under the two collapsing pillars. The automaton didn't have any kind of system in place to recognise the obvious trap and avoid it, and Rapunzel's hair pulls the pillars down instead of breaking because it's magic and literally indestructible.
    • In a later episode, Rapunzel and co. have to deal with another automaton, and try using the same strategy by tying a decorative banner around it. It doesn't work because the banner is just a normal banner and is immediately ripped to shreds.
  • Transformers Animated: When especially Humongous Mecha Omega Supreme joins in the season two finale's Mêlée à Trois, Slipstream (Starscream's Opposite-Sex Clone) shouts for her team to target his legs. It slows him down, but doesn't come close to stopping him.

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