Snake Eyes

August 16, 2021

I did it, I went to another movie in the theater! This go-around, we timed it right and had the theater to ourselves–probably because no one else wants to see this one. Which is too bad, because it was great.

Please be advised that by “great” I don’t mean “this was a good movie,” because it’s kind of not. But I did enjoy it a lot, and while it followed G.I. Joe canon about as well as the previous two live-action movies did, which is to say, not at all, it still captured a lot of the tone and spirit of G.I. Joe — depending on which iteration of G.I. Joe you’re talking about, of course. (It’s all far too complicated, really.)

In this, the iteration is that stretch in the early ’90’s where the comics became obsessed with ninja and suddenly everything was all ninja and Cobra Commander’s son was a ninja and Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow are friends but then they’re not but then they are again and —

This is the stretch where I stopped reading the comics, BTW. I actually kind of hate ninjas.

So how does the movie pull it off? By replicating the aesthetic of all those crazy ninja movies from the 80’s. I’m not sure people now realize just how many ninja movies there were in the 80’s. There were a lot. A lot. And this film lovingly recreates a bunch of those tropes with modern visual sensibilities, including way too much shaky cam, but I’ve pretty much given up the shaky cam fight. Sigh.

My big worry going into this is it would try to pretend like it wasn’t a G.I. Joe movie at all. I shouldn’t have, because about halfway through, Scarlett and the Baroness show up, and so do snake head logos stenciled on crates of illegal guns, and it’s definitely a G.I. Joe movie as well as being a recreation of an 80’s ninja movie and seriously, what’s not to love? This film is what it is, knows what it is, and gets the job done.

And I now ship Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow so hard, and I challenge anyone who sees this not to do the same. The nice thing about having the theater to ourselves is I could basically shout “Just kiss him already!” at the screen several times without bothering anyone but my long-suffering friends. (So, I just looked up Henry Golding, the actor who plays Snake Eyes, because I’d never seen him in anything and it turns out he’s primarily done romcoms? This explains much.)

I also sort of ship Scarlett and the Baroness now too? So weird.

Other things to know: This film pretends like the previous two live-action G.I. Joe movies don’t exist, which is probably for the best, and I guess we’re just going to keep rebooting these until one of them hits, but I’m suspecting the fandom just isn’t big enough to make one of these hit. I’m thinking now live-action G.I. Joe should be a TV series that can develop multiple characters at once and play with storylines that aren’t McGuffin-driven.

This film passes the Bechdel Test. I know, right?!

Ninja Grandma. Just sayin’.

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