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General Zod seems like he's wearing substantial armor in the Man of Steel trailers. Is that something that rips off when he receives the first Kryptonian punch, is it tougher than human armor because it's Kryptonian or is there some other reason wearing armor would be helpful to him? enter image description here

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They have armour, because on krypton they don't have any super powers, there just like humans on their own planet. – user5899 Aug 24 '13 at 10:09

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Considering that Kryptonians do not have any actual power unless they're under a yellow sun, and also considering Zod and his gang are part of the Kryptonian army, it seems rather traditional and normal for these folks to be wearing armour.

Towards the end of the movie, Zod gets rid of his armour in order to face Kal'el in their final battle, realizing that due to his new powers, he doesn't need this armour any more.

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The other answers are great, the only thing I'd add (beyond the fact that he will indeed need armour on Krypton) is that armour is about more than defense. It's very ornamental!

He's the head of the Kryptonian military, his armour is about more than defense (clearly shown by the symbol of his house on his chest). It's for decoration and rank.

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I don't think the symbol stands for "house"... rather, more about faction I suppose... – kicker86 Jun 26 '13 at 7:28
@kicker86 wasn't there a line where Jor-El explained that the 'S' stood for hope - the symbol of the house of El? – Liath Jun 26 '13 at 8:29
JorEl says, quote "that's what this symbol means. The symbol of the house of El means hope" – monkjack Jun 26 '13 at 9:56
yes, my bad! :X – kicker86 Jun 27 '13 at 1:15

Zod is a Kryptonian general and the others shows in the picture are their fighters, so fighters generally wear armor (bulletproof jackets in this era). Armor is tough but not for Superman's punch, it doesn't get teared apart easily but doesn't even save them from punches and all. Even Zod removes his armor after realizing his powers.

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