Home Articles An Analysis of Cobra Commander's Role in G.I.Joe: The Movie by Mike Cheynes
The first image we have of Cobra Commander is not the proud, haughty images we have seen of him from the show (he is not sitting on the throne, nor is he being worshipped by adoring supporters, and he is not wearing any regal decorations). Instead, he is standing in a Cobra aircraft, wearing a jetpack, and being handed a bomb by Destro. In short, he is doing grunt work -- nothing above what a Viper would do. This does not fit with the Commander's known personality of a coward, which means he is being ordered to do so.
If anyone was unfamiliar with the second season of G.I. Joe, they would still realize that the power situation had vastly changed in Cobra by the time of the movie. Watching the Commander are the familiar Cobras. They look on dispassionately, not caring about the Commander, as they have always not cared. The Commander seems a small, harried figure--his arms are small, and the Baroness even has larger muscles than he does.
Grabbing the bomb, the Commander shoots out in the jetpack, looking dramatic and powerful. For the only time in the film, the Commander is heroic--he does not turn tail and run, but instead delivers the bomb, admist hails of laser fire, to the Statue of Liberty. Later, after his bomb has failed to destroy the Statue, he can be seen on top of it, being punched by Duke.
Duke has long despised the Commander for his villainy, and the Joe demonstrates a nasty vigilante streak by knocking the Commander to certain death off the Statue (uncharacteristically, there is no cowardly scream).
Falling on a Trouble Bubble (which almost certainly would break his leg, but then again, he may have Cobra-La strength abilities), the Commander shouts a "Retreat", which is probably the right decision--the Cobras have been routed by this time. The screen changes to a four-way view, which is symbolism: There are four sides to the Commander: (1). The side that fights heroically for his cause, which was lost in the fall off the Statue; (2). The sniveling, cowardly, slimeball side that will be shown a great deal in the picture; (3). The arrogant, Cobra-La nobleman that pops up later; and (4). The calculating, intelligent side that brings about defeat to Cobra-La.
We next see the Commander as he listens to Serpentor chew the Cobra High Command out for failing in their mission. The Commander is wearing a cape, and holding a royal scepter of some sort. There are several reasons why: (1). He is clearly planning on a power play tonight (he does it, but rather poorly), and hopes the clothes will plant a mental thought among his fellow Cobras; (2). After his poor experience as a "fighting man" at the Statue, he has returned to what he knows best--ruling; (3). As the filmmakers plan on "punishing" the Commander in this movie for his sins, they want to lose all audience sympathy for him--why would they root for this swishy whiner?; and (4). The Commander is trying to tick off Serpentor by dressing as the Emperor.
The Commander objects to Serpentor's accusations, and tries to accuse Serpentor of being a bumbling fool. You can hear the Cobras reacting in horror to the Commander's insults, and this lets us know that he is making a bad move. In a telling physical scene, the Commander walks into Serpentor's face, brandishing his scepter. Serpentor then, on his chariot, advances at the Commander, causing C.C. to back down.
There, the Commander has made a crucial error--it is he who has walked back down the stairs, and once again, he looks like a coward. Serpentor delivers some insults to the Commander, but C.C. hisses an important line: "Sure, make me the scapegoat." In "Arise, Serpentor, Arise," Cobra Commander, so that Serpentor will rescue him, promises to be the Emperor's scapegoat for all failures. Here, the Commander is saying he has had enough of the agreement...and Serpentor is ready to lower the boom.
And now, another crucial error happens. Instead of giving some compelling reason why Serpentor is a failure (of which there are some), the Commander blindly turns to his "loyal subjects". In an odd scene, he says they will testify to his "superb stewardship of Cobra", which implies he does not own Cobra. We find out later he doesn't (Golobulus does), but isn't it commonly assumed that he founded Cobra? Shouldn't the Cobras be surprised at this?
Apparently, the Commander has a very short-term memory. Didn't he hear them expressing shock at his treason a minute ago? Doesn't he remember Destro, Zartan, and the Baroness always trying to take over Cobra for themselves? Or is he counting on this to make them go against Serpentor?
C.C. first turns to Destro, sucking up to the Laird, by calling him "noble". Destro says that the Commander is a "world-class buffoon". The Commander goes all huffy, and tries turning to some very interesting people: the Baroness, who has always shown loathe for the Commander (Captives of Cobra, Spell of the Siren); Dr. Mindbender, who created Serpentor, for crying out loud; and Zarana, who has barely worked with the Commander.
Why he calls on them I'll never know. Mindbender says that Destro forgot to mention C.C.'s "cowardice", and the Commander makes a hissy whine (rather than doing anything constructive, like fighting Serpentor). Then, the entire High Command take turns dishing out insults: with a blatantly unfair allegation about his retreat from the last mission (unfair because it was a good decision), and the Twins sum up judgment by calling his failures "Inexcusable." In a scene that tells all, the Commander turns to Serpentor, and screams "Lies! Lies! Liieeeeesss!" How the mighty have fallen: He was once attacking Serpentor, and now he's groveling to him...in the same scene! Besides destroying all credibility among Cobra, it also ruins the character for the audience--is this the Cobra Commander that founded the Coil? Or is it some whiny little brat?
Later, when Pythona is discovered in the Terror Drome, the Commander gets a pretty sneaky idea (it's actually not bad, but it's a dirt-poor move, as we find out later). He volunteers to lead the High Command in stopping the intruder, and protecting Serpentor. Apparently, the Emperor and High Command are trusting, forgiving sorts, and they forget about the Commander's little "overthrow Serpentor" rant a few minutes ago.
The Commander leads the way (don't think that C.C.'s gotten heroic again--the Commander has no intention of fighting). Spotting in the intruder, he leads the Cobras down a false path to have the intruder kill Serpentor. I'm not entirely sure how C.C. knows the intruder's after Serpentor...how does he know that the intruder wasn't looking for ol' Chrome Dome himself?
Some time later (wonder how Serpentor explained away Pythona), Cobra Commander is seen in a Cobra jeep (driven by Firefly, I think), and driving through the Himalayas in Serpentor's scheme to capture the B.E.T. All indications are that the Commander has been severely demoted--his jeep is unmarked, and if you didn't know better, you'd swear he was just another flunky like Major Bludd or Firefly.
Apparently Serpentor busted C.C. down to Chief Accountant, as he mentions the costs of this mission to the Emperor (why does he care? He's a Cobra-La guy--why he does need human money?), but gets dismissed as an "obedient lackey". "Lackey?! You dare call me--aaaaaaaaah!" Yep, the Commander's insult was interrupted by Roadblock firing a laser gun straight at the jeep. So much for the stoic silent Commander at the Statue--we're back to "Scream at Everything!"
The jeep goes out of control, and the Commander gets to engage in a little backseat driving, but C.C. ultimately goes flying. This is a very interesting scene, as it is done in slow-motion, with a giant close-up of the Commander screaming. What in the blue blazes is the scene trying to say? Here are some suggestions. (1). It's a strange idea of comic relief--ha ha, see the blue-dressed, metal-faced guy? He fall down and go boom! (2). Depending on your interpretation of the film, the creators are trying to make the Commander either a tragic figure or a jerk that gets his just desserts--if you think it's the former, then this is a sad scene, showing the Commander's "fall from grace"; and (3). If it's the latter, then this is a scene designed to make the audience say "Yes! Good to see that creep fall flat on his face!" Since Firefly is never seen again, we can assume that the crash of the jeep killed him, or he was shot by the Joes.
During the battle, the Commander screams for his men to stand their ground, and berates them for not obeying his orders. Duh! You've been demoted to Chief Accountant, Mr. C.C. (why then, is he still called Cobra Commander? Why not Cobra Accountant?)! Zandar outranks you now! Yet the latent aristocrat persona of C.C. is still alive and kicking. The close proximity to his native land (where he was apparently the Cobra-La equivalent of Grand Vizier) makes him even more arrogant than usual.
He also notices Serpentor losing a battle with Duke, and ending up unconscious. The Baroness, who (after breaking up with Laird Destro) has a crush on the Emperor, wants to go rescue him. Despite what Destro and Mindbender say, she is the only one of the Cobras to actually try to help Serpentor, which shows her loyalty.
The Commander stops her--"When I so order, Baroness!" he hisses, and has apparently assumed that upon the removal of the Emperor, the Chief Accountant is king! Strangely enough, the Baroness, while looking extremely ticked, doesn't do squat to stop C.C. Is this the same Baroness that went crazy on the Commander for being a coward? Perhaps the Baroness thinks Serpentor may be dead, and she has to get on C.C.'s good graces. Perhaps she switches affections to the metal-masked one. Perhaps she decides to play along with C.C., so that when Serpentor returns, he can pummel the Commander to a pulp (she has, as we all know, always despised C.C.).
Mindbender and Destro (who, in the movie away, are weak-willed losers that have no will of their own) lodge official complaints, but they decide to support Cobra Commander, probably because they don't want to have the responsibility. The Commander, in an act of symbolism, gets back on a vehicle (he's returning to power...briefly), and orders a retreat to the mountains for...sanctuary.
Why exactly C.C. is doing this is never made clear. First, Cobra probably flew in to the Himalayas--why not just fly out again? Secondly, returning to Cobra-La would almost certainly blow the secret of Cobra, and make Golobulus ticked off. There are a few reasons: (1). Golobulus is mind-controlling the Commander; (2). Giddy and on an euphorical rush from being the king again, the Commander doesn't realize what he's doing; or (3). Harboring a deep grudge against his disloyal lackeys, the Commander plans on delivering them to the Nemesis Enforcer for some punishment. This is why he prevented the Baroness from getting killed--he hates her the most!
Driving through the blinding cold, C.C. is told that he is being mad by Dr. Mindbender. The good doctor is correct--this is a foolish decision that will result in nothing good for the Commander. But C.C. presses on still--arriving in the strange, open area, with giant pod-growths all around. Buzzer asks him where they are. "We are safe! Safe! Ha ha ha haha--ahhh!"
Yes, another C.C. platitude is interrupted by laser fire. In this fight, Cobra Commander is a compromise of his stoic heroic self and his sniveling, cowardly self. He doesn't scream and whine, but he does diddly squat in the battle. Doesn't he carry a gun? (It was probably confisticated by Serpentor)
During the battle, Snow Job gets into a van, and goes to run over the Commander, taking Duke's vigilante lessons to a new extent. The Commander is frozen in terror, showing his sad fatal flaw of inability to take action--he backed down from opposing Serpentor, he retreated from the battle, and now he looks insipid in this battle. He's saved by the Nemesis Enforcer, but this doesn't look good--why does the "champion of Cobra-La" need to be saved from anything?
After the battle, with the Joes subdued by Cobra-La forces, Cobra Commander bootlicks to an extreme. He applauds, and yells "Bravo! Bravo, dear friends!" Isn't he the top snake? Shouldn't they be saluting him or something? Has the Commander gotten so used to being a bumbling lackey that he's forgotten his rank? He even suck-ups to the Nemesis Enforcer--"You are impressive as ever!" While this may be considered C.C.'s quirky way of saying "Thanks for saving my butt", it doesn't fit with the Commander's autocratic personality. Sickened by this pathetic sight, the Enforcer slaps C.C. a good one, sending him sliding through the snow, and not doing much good for his dignity level.
"You struck me?" he stammers (he just remembers that he's royalty, and that was a major no-no). "Golobulus will have your head for this!" This is an unrealistic statement, as the Nemesis Enforcer is the Cobra-La army, but hey, C.C.'s getting back to that arrogant fool we all know and love. Just then, Pythona enters, saying that the Commander is the one to be worrying. The Commander reacts with shock and terror, which just don't ring true with C.C.'s personality.
The Commander is a coward, but he's an arrogant blatherer first. He should be threatening to see Golobulus or vowing to hang Pythona or something (like he does later in the film). He shouldn't just run away...unless there's an ulterior thought here: Is Pythona's presence frightening to the Commander? Was Pythona someone vehemently opposed to Cobra Commander being chosen to lead Cobra? Did C.C. consider her...dangerous?
Whatever the reason, Cobra Commander displays that he failed Gym Class by doing the slowest run ever to a jeep for an escape. Pythona, smugly realizing that not only does C.C. have a goober's chance in Hades of getting away, but also that it will be much more fun for everyone (including the audience) to watch a high-speed pursuit, waits a little bit, then orders the Enforcer to fetch Cobra Commander. It's interesting--she's comparing C.C. to a dog toy. And what do dogs do with dog toys? They beat the doody out of them, so who knows what happens to C.C. in that long period of time he's off-camera between this scene and his next? It's a shockingly violent subtext for a cartoon.
And as we all expect, the Commander is easily captured, and his jeep, for no reason, blows up. Flying through the air in the Enforcer's arms, C.C. screams "I order you to put me down!" You almost expect an old Looney Tunes gag, with the Enforcer just dropping the Commander, and him screaming "Don't put me down!" Hey, it fits the tone of the movie--maybe we can have it in slow-motion.
Interestingly, C.C. in the Enforcer's arms is how the character is represented on the video box cover--a nice representation of what happens to C.C. in the film.
It's a long time until we see Cobra Commander again (he's probably getting the "treatment" from N.E.), but when Golobulus meets the freed Serpentor, the former patron of the Commander says it's time for "the trial of Cobra Commander!" And on cue, a giant clam-like thing rises from a pool, and opens to display a frantically-struggling C.C., stuck in giant pink goo.
No panicked scream, though (that comes later). C.C. is missing his coat, so obviously, he wasn't just placed in the clam post-haste after his last scene (probably it got removed during his "treatment").
There is also the rather distasteful fact that C.C. has been in total sensory deprivation in his little prison (a closed clam in a pool). Not only would he be lying upside-down (face in goo?), but he sees nothing. And it appears to have been a few days since he was placed in there--wouldn't that drive him bonkers? No wonder he's wriggling madly to escape--the psychological torment in there is probably one of the reasons why he acts so stoopid in the later scenes.
After a cut-away for Lieutenant Falcon's trial, Cobra Commander's trial begins. The first image we see of the trial is a bright light--light usually means goodness or angelic beings, so perhaps the filmmakers are hinting that a heavenly punishment is in store for our dear friend C.C. The "opening arguments" begin: "You have no jurisdiction over me. Release me at once, or taste my wrath! I promise I'll--whoahhhurrrrk!" Yes, continuing the trend, Golobulus tires of C.C.'s Johnnie Cochran-rant, and has the pink goo turn into into a band, which snaps C.C.'s neck and body back. Basically, the goo in the clam is constricting itself, with C.C. in the middle, which probably cause great pain. The argument is very flawed and tired: Cobra-La does have jurisdiction over the Commander--he is a Cobra-La citizen. The Commander's wrath has not been seen throughout the entire film--he backs down whenever there's a threat against him.
Golobulus snaps: "Be silent...or be silenced." Gasping for air, the Commander chokes out: "I am always prepared to listen to reason....most honored, Sire." Plan B, C.C. Bootlick! Bootlick! Yet while this might work with Serpentor, it won't work with Golobulus. However, Ripper interrupts things by expressing his disdain for the proceedings (not a fan of Court TV, huh, Ripper?).
"If they're going to whack ol' Chrome Dome, why don't they just get on with it?" The Commander is silent about the insult, when ordinarily, he would throw a tantrum. I guess being trapped in pink goo, with your life being threatened, will do that to some people.
Golobulus hems and haws, and decides it's time to show the grand history of Cobra-La. We'll skim through most of it until we get to Cobra Commander's grand origin. The scene shows "a brilliant young nobleman" tinkering with his chemistry set. This tells us that Cobra Commander was indeed rich and powerful, as well as one smart dude. The flashback doesn't show it, though. The invention is indeed brilliant: mutating spores...but why is young C.C. put his face right into it?
Does he think he's found the cure for acne? Perhaps our young friend was actually a pacifist in youth, and did not realize the horrible invention he had created. Whatever the reason, it explodes in his face (Duh), and causes him to scream (Ah! The first Cobra Commander scream!). Waving his hands around, he gets to a pool of water...and notices he has many, many eyes. This causes him to scream again, as his handsome looks have been irrevocably altered. He slams his fist into the pool, and this serves as a nice dissolve.
We then see the young C.C. put his face into his hands, spinning around, and in a beautiful shot, he turns into the modern-day C.C. (with blue uniform and mask) still with his face in his hands, completing the spin. This tells us something fascinating: Does Cobra Commander still struggle with haunting memories of his disfigurement? It would make a compelling story...but not here. Golobulus says that C.C. was chosen to overthrow the humans.
It's an odd choice--why choose a doofus that got his face blown up in a preventable accident? Why choose an obviously whiny and cowardly guy? Unless...Golobulus was merely getting an annoying threat to the throne out of his hair, while he thought up a better scheme.
Whether Golobulus was genuine or not, we see him presenting Cobra Commander to the Cobra-La Council (C.C. does his "Live long and prosper" sign). We also see a brilliant series of flashbacks showing C.C. getting his tail whipped by G.I. Joe. Golobulus sighs at this. "You...failed me miserably!" he screams. "I was betrayed! My troops lacked courage! It was not my fault!" Here, the Commander tries a different approach--instead of bootlicking, he'll put the blame on someone else.
It's a stupid move (and loses all the last support he has), but he's obviously desperate here. You can almost hear his voice raise in panicked intensity. "You failed me!" Golobulus retorts. "No! Your precious creation, Serpentor, defiled your dreams of conquest! Destroy him, I say! Destroy him!" This last rant of C.C. is interesting: Only a guy like him would use the words "defiled" and "I say" in a sentence. Also, he says "Destroy him!" in a marvelous position--the clam is closing now, and he's saying it upside down (basically talking to himself). The usage of "destroy him" means that the Commander believes he will be destroyed if found guilty, which adds a certain weight to his horrified screams.
Immediately, we cut to the Enforcer transporting the Commander to his "punishment zone" (no "Put me down!", though). The Enforcer engages in a bit of humor by dropping the blueclad one several feet into a snow drift. You almost expect the Cobra High Command to break out laughing, but they don't (once again, we're left wondering whether we should feel sorry for C.C., or feel great that he's finally getting the dirt he's dealt).
This knocks him out for a few minutes (but no snow gets on his outfit), while Golobulus outlines "Operation: Spore Earth!". Note that since they're in the Himalayas, the freezing cold should chill C.C. like an icecube, but since he's Cobra-La, he can apparently withstand it.
Waking up, the Commander (still foggy, probably, from the total sensory deprivation) insults the plan, and calls Golobulus a "fool". Very bad moves. Two guards enter, and using their pincher-weapons, they force the struggling Commander to the ground. Golobulus says it's time for punishment. "Punishment? But what about my trial?" the Commander asks, apparently forgetting the little thing a few minutes ago.
"It's over! And you have been found guilty! Guilty of the one unforgiveable crime...failure!" The Enforcer then walks into the scene, carrying a nice, brewing pot of...spores!!!
Understandably, Cobra Commander freaks out. He tries to break out of the pincher-trap, but he cannot. "No! No! Not the spores! I'm a citizen of Cobra-La! Not...the...spores!!!" It's a very disturbing scene, with rock music going wa-wa in the background. The Enforcer grabs the Commander's head, and shoves it into the spores, which explode into C.C.'s face.
The guards back off, as the Commander's hands and legs appear to be exploding. He screams in terror and pain, as his clothes start falling apart at the changes in his body. The pain is too much--he rips his shirt, and we watch as his skin turns into scales. His horrified moan turns into a reptillian grunt. He then collapses, and starts twitching in spasms--he can barely walk now, since his legs are now feeble and scaly. His mask is still on, but it appears loose. Zarana is the only Cobra to react: "Oh! How bizarre!" she muses, in a very bored voice. This is a very nasty scene--with the Commander in probably more pain than anyone can realize. It's the obligatory: "the villains demonstrate their device by using it on someone" scene, but it adds a certain weight in that they use it on a favorite character. It is a rather ironic fate for the Commander: He's turning into the symbol of his hopes and dreams--a snake. Instead of merely turning into a mindless brute like in the clip Pythona narrates, he turned into a snake. Hmm...perhaps his previous treatment with spores caused a reaction.
After a scene with Falcon meeting Sgt. Slaughter, we see the Commander being carried to his prison by two guards. He is screaming in terror or pain, and the Joes seem disgusted by his mutation. During the prisoner transfer, the Joes escape, and the Commander is forgotten. Crawling, he screams to the Joes, "Waaaait for meeee!" He has sunk to a new low: helping the enemy. Actually, this is a very clever idea, and pays off for the clever snake. Right now, his pain-wracked mind, though, has only one thought: escape. He knows if he is captured again, he will be tortured more, or probably killed.
No one pays him any heed, but he finally grabs Roadblock, as the latter tries to help his captured comrades. Roadblock wants to snap C.C.'s neck (more vigilante thoughts), but the Commander explains he knows another way out of Cobra-La (he would go himself, but his legs don't work anymore).
Roadblock doesn't trust C.C., so he shakes his head around (we hear rattling--his helmet is probably falling apart), and threatens the Commander with extreme pain if this is a trick.
Weakly, C.C. points to the escape route. As the two escape, the Enforcer jumps down, and shoots blinding gas at the duo. C.C. shuts his eyes, but Roadblock doesn't. Still taking out the Enforcer, the blind Roadblock is told by C.C. that "I'll be your eyes!" (which is risky, since C.C.'s vision seemed to depend on that visor, which is falling apart) Roadblock then runs off a bridge, and the two fall into a river below (yep, C.C. screams).
In the river, Roadblock pulls C.C. to shore, but finds that the Commander's facemask has fallen off. The Commander reveals that his face is now that of a snake's with many eyeballs all around it. "Wasss my facemasssk...when I wasssss a maaaan," he moans. He then directs Roadblock to walk on, weakly muttering various things about the spore plot and other things on his mind.
Since it is difficult to analyse a lunatic mind (and it almost certainly is lunatic by this time), there will just be some broad observations about C.C.-as-snake. First, the Commander keeps trumpeting on one issue: "I wasss a maaaaan! A maaaan!" The Commander does not just mean, when he was ambulatory. What he means is that he once had guts and was a strong leader of Cobra. He realizes now that he totally bungled the rebellion against Serpentor, and made numerous cowardly decisions in his final days that sealed his fate. He's haunted by this--he wants to return and defeat Serpentor (which he does in Operation: Dragonfire).
Secondly, Roadblock ultimately gets sick of C.C.'s rantings, and starts choking the snake. The Commander responds by lunging at him, and the two fight. I think the Commander is trying to genuinely say something to Roadblock ("I blew it. I want to be leader again."), but doesn't have the rational capacity to do so. When Roadblock strangles him, the Commander is reminded that he had no allies, and was betrayed as Cobra leader.
This pushes him over the edge, and he does to Roadblock what he cannot do to Serpentor, Golobulus, the Baroness, Destro, etc. Finally, when he's discovered by the Joes, he crawls to a corner, and hisses "I wassss once a maaaan." What this means here is that he once was feared by the Joes, and now he's being pitied by them.
The Commander then manages to guide the Joes to the Cobra-La headquarters. There, he appears to become unresponsive, and someone says he's completely turned into a snake. Wrong. He's just stopped helping--the Commander decides he wants to settle the score with his enemies, and doesn't need G.I. Joe interfering.
He slithers away, and lets G.I. Joe do the dirty stuff, taking out the monsters and guards (and probably rejoicing at seeing the Dreadnoks, Destro, the Baroness, etc. getting beat up). In the final battle, he attacks Serpentor's snake, seeing a sort of symbolic example in his twisted mind of how to overcome his enemy (somehow, Serpentor realizes that this snake is C.C.).
We don't see Cobra Commander escaping the destruction of Cobra-La in the end...but he's later found in Operation: Dragonfire. However, the movie strongly hints that the Commander is dead (or at the very least, hopelessly trapped as a snake). The unseen third season would have had a half-snake, half-man Commander running a third-party force against Cobra. But since that didn't come, and it was a little while to the DIC episodes, audiences settled for believing C.C. had screamed his last scream.
The movie paints a well-rounded portrait of Cobra Commander. While he is portrayed as an unlikeable coward for the first part of the film (during his trial, he acts disgracefully, and he bootlicks/whines throughout the rest), he receives his punishment in the form of the mutation, and is then left seeking redemption/revenge throughout the rest of the film. The audience has many reactions to the character: applause at his fall off the Statue at the beginning (he did try to destroy it); snickering at his "Lieeeees!" speech; laughing at his comic relief act in the Himalayas ("Stand your ground!"); quietly cheering the Enforcer slapping him in Cobra-La (what a bootlicker!); booing him for being a cowardly weasel during his trial; feeling sorry for him during his painful and horrifying mutation; repulsed by his mutation; and even cheering his defeat of the snake at the end. Unlike all the other villains (who are very static), the Commander changes throughout the film.
But yet...there is a disturbing subtext. The Commander was the leader of Cobra in the early days--the big, bad villain. Here, he is like a living joke: nobody takes him seriously (not even the writers, who give him embarassingly over-the-top things to say); he's inept at everything he does; and the mutation finally pushes him into pure sci-fi territory. Since the Commander was around since the beginning, it feels slimy to take a long-standing character, give him a fixed-on background, and then shove him out of the spotlight in an embarassing matter. Imagine if Kirk Douglas appeared in a film where he fell out of a jeep, screamed all his lines, was choked by pink goo, slapped in the face, dropped into a snow drift, looked swishy, and was ultimately turned into a giant snake. It'd be embarassing what they did to a legendary actor--this is embarassing towards a legendary character.
Still, it seems to be an ironic trade. Cobra Commander received one of his finest, most well-rounded performances on screen (more screen time than any other episode)...but he had to like a buffoon to do it. Apparently, the Commander was a shrewd judge of the times, as his next appearance saw him being returned to a semi-normal state, and had him kick Serpentor's butt. That probably made up for the spot of embarassment in this film.