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GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra

As someone on another site said: "we could do worse" and "it's rather fun." I agree completely.



SERIOUS SPOILERS BEHIND THE CUT!!!

(And those spoilers are for the movie and the comic, folks (with a bit of the cartoon thrown in for fun)! Or, you know, everything you ever wanted to know about GI Joe... and then some. Ahem.)


Ok, so if we follow the model of completely making everything up when making a movie about comic book characters (and for me, GI Joe is comic book characters, not toys or whatever) this film succeeds in many ways.

Big things they decided to completely rewrite and my thoughts on them:
1-Duke and the Baroness. We Joe fans know this plotline, and it's Snake-Eyes who fills the Duke role, thanks. Well, minus the old flame part. But ok, I understand a dude who doesn't talk can't really carry a feature film. Sure. Fine. Whatever. No feelings one way or the other here.

2-The Baroness in general. Whole new backstory, well, ok. But having her controlled by nanites? Having her not be an evil bitch intent only on revenge and 100% on her own side? Hm. Not so much. That said, PERFECT,
PERFECT, PERFECT casting and delivery. Go Sienna Miller! (Yes, I know there was no accent, but that is so minor in the grand scheme of things...I just don't care.)

3-Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow's backstory. I expected this, and while it hurts me that they left Stalker (and Scarlett, but that's a whole 'nother point) out of it, the back story they told was true to the essential plot of these two crucial character's lives. I'm fine with it. The kids that played the young versions of everyone's favorite ninjas pulled it off, and since they still had Storm Shadow "kill" The Hard Master, I can live with it. (I was so expecting them to pussy out of that, but they didn't. Yay! Of course, I had to put kill in quotes because they might decide to go back to canon later and make it clear SS was framed...but somehow I doubt it. At least they left those two boys plenty gritty, despite Snakes being dealt a bad hand in the prior history department here - he never thieved, thank you. Showed up destitute and grieving out of his mind? Yes. Thieved? No. But still...all is forgiven since SS killed the Hard Master.)

4-the reason Snake-Eyes doesn't talk. OK, REALLY?  REALLY? A VOW OF SILENCE? HOW 'BOUT NO! Ok, I'm better now. With the backstory told in this film the alternate reasoning for Snake's lack of vocal communication is understandable, but...but...but...really? I'm just not good with this. I really do try to turn off my brain and just enjoy films as separate entities from their books and whatnot, but Snake-Eyes' vocal cords were burned out of his throat in a helicopter crash! Can we at least have it be an accident of some sort? Something? Which brings me back to Scarlett, but again...that's a whole 'nother point. Yeah, this I'm not ok with.

5-Duke is an officer? A captain, in fact? Since when? I'm fine with the fact that apparently he's not blonde anymore, but...an officer? Um...ok. Whatever. Many people never understood that anyway. But just so you know? He's First Sergeant. And um, he's turned down OTS many, many times. He's enlisted from the top of his yellow head to the tips of his booted toes. Not an officer. Just saying.

6-Cobra Commander is the Baroness' brother? Excuse me, what? Well, ok. If you say so.

---

Ok, next thoughts (and we will come back to Scarlett). The things that made me lose my mind with squee:

1-Ripcord telling Heavy Duty that he had a "kung fu grip." BWAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!!!!

2-the "Real American Hero" reference.

3-the Baroness, the Baroness, the Baroness! Can't say enough. From "nice shoes" to "that redhead is really starting to piss me off," she was perfection. (Oh! And lookie there! Some hint of how very, very, very much the Baroness hates Scarlett! Squee! Still another point, though. Moving on.)

4-the YO JOE at the end. Lame? Yes. But fun? Absolutely.

5-Breaker and his bubble gum!

6-best of all...by so much...at least for lines...General Hawk to Ripcord: "KNOWING IS HALF THE BATTLE!"

7-the reason I had to quantify that number five was best line and not best thing ever? THE FIGHT SCENE IN THE PIT! O.M.G. Dude! It was straight out of Marvel Comics GI Joe #21! The best issue ever! Ok, maybe not straight out, but the fight was brilliant in so many ways, and the fact that Storm Shadow used a personal glider thingy to escape like Scarlett did in that issue? Wonderful! And with the Baroness on his hip like Scarlett had Snakes on hers in that issue? SQUEEEEE! Beautiful! Homage skills represent! And Scarlett and the Baroness duking it out in that fight? YES!

8-When Snakes and Scarlett leave the underwater base, Snakes is the last to leave. He leaves upon hearing Scarlett cry out SNAKE! and they leave arm in arm (well, with one arm slung around the other in the heat of battle, as it should be for two people who are bonded in such a way as to make something so trivial as "love" seem cliche). Sigh...thank you. Just...thank you.

9-and speaking of thanks, well, I got to see Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow on the big screen. Really, that's enough. Thank you, thank you, thank you! When Snakes came out of that Apache in the first fight scene...squeezure! Right there on the spot. And I know I already said it, but...when SS and Snakes met up in The Pit? *died*

---

Minor annoyances and loves:

1-Sargeant Stone. FUN!

2-Snake Eyes mask wasn't quite right. The lips bothered me.

3-you killed Storm Shadow? Really? Oh, wait. No, you didn't You so didn't. Ok, then.

4-Zartan was (mostly) a blast! Thanks!

5-the fact that the Joes had Rattlers. Cool! I always wanted them to have a vertical lift-off plane and you gave them one! Hee! And speaking of vehicles, nice touch on the Cobra earth movers. Very classic. And the Night Raven harking back to the SR-71? SWEET!

6-Destro? NICE! And he kissed the Baroness? Yes!

7-Cobra Commander's costume. Um...ok.

---

Ok, back after a big break. I suppose, then, that it's time.

Scarlett: oh, Scarlett, Scarlett, Scarlett.  Sigh...so close to right, but not quite there. The actor did a fine job with this. She looked the part and acted the part and was as perfect as she could get given her material. I understand that they were going for the hardened, tough exterior with the soft heart of gold routine, but...see...Scarlett doesn't really have a soft heart of gold. Not in the traditional sense, at any rate, and certainly it comes with caveats. The big scene in which they try to portray this comes off pretty well considering, but Shana O'Hara would never, ever be concerned about someone seeing her beat up. Granted, they make it seem like she is upset because she lost the fight, but Scarlett would take that like she has taken everything else the world has thrown at her so far. Scarlett lost a million fights to her brothers growing up. This is not her first rodeo. She lost in the first battle in the movie, for crying out loud! She lost big time in that helicopter crash that we didn't get to see...sigh...it wasn't hideous, but it wasn't quite right. What made it not quite right, really, was the company in which she chose to have this minor emotional moment. There is only one person (except for maybe Hawk and Stalker) that Scarlett would show softness to. Snake-Eyes. To have her show her more feminine side in front of RipCord? I think not. This be the caveat I referred to above. Scarlett is no ice queen, but she's very selective in who gets to know her as more than the facade, and she's not insecure AT ALL (this movie version felt a little timid to me). Example? Scarlett verbally tells Snakes she loves him in the comic, then promptly puts a bullet through the Baroness' guards outside the door to protect him while he's unconscious (issue #94-just read it!). THAT'S how Scarlett rolls, see. Her love is deep and abiding and perfect, but not exactly fluffy, thank you. And the whole thing with her and RipCord in this movie just wasn't right. They actually tried to ship RipCord/Scarlett! Um...um...um...WHAT? Now, most of you know I've got no OTP in most fandoms, but GI Joe is ABOUT Snake-Eyes, Scarlett, Storm Shadow, and Stalker, and there's only one ship there, mates. I'm as OTP as it gets with the ninja and the counter-intel agent. In the first part of the film, they throw Snakes/Scarlett as us rather blatantly (and that is also out of character, but I took it as showing them having a relationship for all those who didn't know it and just setting it up easily) and then they just switched to RipCord/Scarlett. WHAT? Now, Rip should hit on Scarlett. ALL new Joe recruits do. Until she kicks their ass and they realize that A-she totally can kick their ass and B-there is no way anyone comes between her and Snake-Eyes. (Except her and Snake-Eyes, of course, and occasionally the Baroness). At first, that is what happened. Total shut down. But then...then...um...they acted like there was something there. I'm so in denial about this. She's totally just playing with him. Yeah. That's it.(I do find it quite odd that they didn't use Duke here if they were going to do this...they did play the Duke/Scarlett angle in the cartoon and some of the non-canon-like comics, but...whatever.) Bottom line? I love Scarlett dearly, and I'm mostly ok with this version of her, but can the RipCord nonsense or I might have to do something rash.

---

Ok, moment of truth: SFX gave this movie 3/5 stars. YoJoe.Com gave it a B.

I agree. And that B is for the last third of the movie. The first two-thirds had me grinning like a maniac and might have earned a B+ or even an A- if my fangirl came out to play. The last third just got a little too funky for me plot-wise on first viewing (there will be another to solidify these thoughts, me thinks - besides, I missed Larry Hama's cameo!).

Overall, despite all the nitpicking, I did above, it's all pretty minor because this is what GI Joe does. Every 10-20 years, GI Joe is redone. I'm fine with that. These Joes are not the same Joes as the ones I grew up with. That's ok. These Joes will bring in new fans and let us have more fun with them. I'm fine with that.

After all, you've got to have pretty snug belief suspenders on to enjoy GI Joe to begin with.

Come on, do you really think they could dress that way and function as soldiers? Really?

Was this movie big, loud, full of explosions, and not exactly rocket science?

Absolutely.

But, well, that's GI Joe, folks.

You don't go see GI Joe to appreciate the art of it.

You go to see Snake-Eyes kick ass and not even bother with names (unless it's the Baroness or anyone involved with the Arashikage clan). You go to see Scarlett punch the Baroness in the face and love every minute of it. You go to hear cheesy lines from an old cartoon and look for comics references.

An alternate back story? Whatever. Larry fucking Hama, God of GI Joe, is doing the same thing right now in comics form and I'm loving it. Granted, he's a bit more true to character, but change is the only constant and all that.

Reimagining happens. I can even forgive a lot of the Scarlett thing because she's young here.

Life goes on.

Was this one Star Trek? No.

But it sure as hell beat the ever-loving shit out of Transformers.

YO, JOE!


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