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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

In fiction, one effective way to immobilize or incapacitate large monsters, Humongous Mecha, 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. When a giantnote  is completely tied down, instead of just their legs, that's a Gulliver Tie-Down.

Contrast Disney Villain Death, where tripping up an opponent sends them falling to their death rather than simply incapacitating them for the duration of the conflict.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The giant Titans of Attack on Titan are towering and formidable and prone to eating people alive. One of the many tactics that expert Survey Corps badass Levi employs against them involves targeting their ankles and knee joints with his blades in order to bring them down and make targeting the nape easier. The Armored Titan's only other weak point aside from the nape is the backs of his knees, which aren't armored like the rest of him is.

    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman's weapon of choice is a lasso, and one of her recurring foes is Giganta, so hobbling Giganta at the ankles and then flying up to sock her in the jaw is standard operating procedure. The very first time Giganta shows up with Giant Woman abilities in the comics in "The Witch and the Warrior", Empress and Monstergirl yank some long pieces from the nearby Sylph's shroud and wrap them around her ankles while Wonder Girl flies up to banter with Giganta before laying her out with a punch in the jaw.

    Films — Animation 
  • Astro Kid: In the climax, Willy and Flash get rid of the three Rock Beasts that are chasing them by hobbling the one in front with help of Willy's grappling hook, and after he falls down the other two crash into him.
  • In "Brave Little Tailor", Mickey uses his thread to tie up the giant like a roast, eventually forcing his legs together. Timmmmm-ber!
  • Doraemon Film Series:
    • Doraemon: Nobita and the Robot Kingdom has Dester piloting his giant mobile base (revealed to be supported on a set of spider-like legs) trying to trample everyone, until Nobita arrives with an impromptu robot statue brought to life by the All Purpose Handler. After a few moments of incompetence in piloting his mech, Nobita accidentally saves the day by crashing his robot into the legs of Dester's base and making it tilt.
    • Doraemon: Nobita's Secret Gadget Museum ends with the gang fighting a giant Killer Robot in the museum. Having the Kurocukoo prototype gadget at hand, Nobita decides to have the two Kurocukoo — each grabbing one end of a long rope — to target the robot's legs. It works: the robot trips over and fell into a heap, long enough for them to target a weak spot before it gets up.
  • 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.
  • Hercules: Hercules is able to defeat the cyclops by first blinding the giant with a torch, then tying his legs together so the Cyclops falls off a cliff.
  • At one point in the climax of The Incredibles, Elastigirl uses herself - stretched across both sides of a street - to trip over the rampaging Omnidroid.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom both Aquaman and Orm are assaulted by a squid-like mecha piloted by Black Manta's henchwoman. Orm managed to take down the mech by swinging a heavy chain and ensnaring its legs, making it fall.
  • Army of Darkness has the scene where Ash tries fighting miniature-sized versions of himself, where two mini-Ashes takes him down by tripping him over.
  • 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, allowing the other Rebels to finish it off. This became 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 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.
  • Kong: Skull Island has the main characters getting attacked by a Giant Spider-monster whose legs are as tall as bamboo trees (with sharpened tips it uses in an attempt to skewer the humans). They manage to take it down by hacking its legs, causing the spider to lose its balance and reducing it to an easy target.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the Rohirrim cavalry are seen slashing at the mumakil' legs as they gallop to bring them down.
  • The One Warrior has the titular character fighting a giant (as one of several fantasy-themed opponents encountered). The warrior wins by slashing the giant's tendons, making him keel over.
  • In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, with assistance from the Autobots, the American military has developed such tactics for dealing with enemy Transformers: shoot out their eyes, plant explosives on their feet while they're blinded, and unload on them when they fall down. It works pretty well.

  • Trial of Champions: Early in the tournament on Blood Island, you'll need to fight a huge, muscular monster with spindly legs called a Bonecrusher. You're given the option of using a broadsword and shield, or a trident and net — the latter of which is a far better choice, as you'll only need to use the net to entangle the Bonecrusher's legs, at which point it falls over, quickly defeated.

  • In The BFG, Sophie incapacitates the Fleshlumpeater giant in this way, by sticking the pin of a brooch into his ankle. The giant drops the soldier he is about to eat, and grabs his ankle.
  • 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.
  • Discussed in the second Codex Alera book, Cursor's Fury, when Doroga explains that he has to take particularly good care of his gargant Walker's feet for this reason; for context, gargants are implied to be giant ground sloths. This becomes important again in the final book when the Vord bring their own giants to the battlefield and the defenders realise that it's easier to attack their feet to immobilise them than it is to outright kill them.
  • 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.
  • A variation is used in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when the tiny house elves begin attacking the legs of Death Eaters.
  • Ward: This is a major benefit of having Tress AKA Sveta on your team, given she's Combat Tentacles incarnate being a bigger opponent just makes them a bigger target. Justified as most giant parahumans don't have much experience with opponents that can match them when they're giant-sized; they're used to just being battering rams.

    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.

    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 
  • One of the best ways to take down a titan in Attack on Titan (2016) is to slash through the titan's knees from behind, bringing it down and rendering it vulnerable to a finishing slash to the nape of the neck.
  • The Crown of Wu has a Giant Enemy Crab robot who's vulnerable only in the legs, where you'll need to inflict enough damage on its joints (each leg having its own health bar) to cripple the robot, at which point it exposes a weak spot.
  • 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.
  • The best way to deal with rampaging Raveni in Extinction is by slashing their legs, severing them by the knees, and causing them to fall. You'll need to finish them off quick, however — by removing their heads to permanently kill them, since they'll respawn legs in around twelve seconds thanks to their high Healing Factor.
  • This is a common strategy in the Fallout series, especially against Super Mutants and killer mechs, as you can aim for specific body parts.
  • 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.
  • Behemoth, one of the bosses of Krazy Ivan, whose appearance is blatantly based on the AT-AT from Empire Strikes Back. Its main weak spot is in the knee joints, and shooting it makes Behemoth topple, front-first, before collapsing entirely just like its inspiration.
  • 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.
    • The move Low Kick, which works by kicking the opponent's legs out from under it and causing it to fall down, uses an identical damage calculation to Grass Knot.
  • Shatterline has a tall, lanky Recurring Boss called Stilts (and their Robot Me counterpart, Mecha-Stilts), monsters on legs some hundred meters in height. They can be slowed down by aiming for the ankles.
  • 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.
  • Wild Blood has the Cyclops boss, whose attacks can be stopped by slashing his legs and kneecaps. He'll keel over momentarily allowing you to damage his chest, head and far more vulnerable parts, until he gets back up and you'll need to target his legs again.

    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 Lilo & Stitch: The Series episode "Short Stuff", after returning to his original normal size after not being able to defeat Experiment 297 as a giant, Stitch takes a cable from a carnival ride, wraps it around three of 297's legs, and brings them together to trip him over. Stitch then ties 297 down with the cable to finally defeat him.
  • In another Sonic adaptation, Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM), this happens when Sonic fights against a lumberjack construction vehicle-based robot which is attempting to wipe out the Mobius forests. The robot has lengthy mechanical tentacles, and Sonic, using his speed, tricks the robot into entangling itself by running around its spider-like legs. It works.
  • 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 recognize 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.


Video Example(s):


AT-AT trips up

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.

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