G.I. Joe: Retaliation perspective after new footage revealed

One of my most popular posts directly after the posting of the original G.I. Joe: Retaliation trailer were my 10 questions or answers revealed from the trailer. It seemed to be a very well-trafficed post and I got some great feedback on it, so I figured I would revisit the idea now that we not only have a new theatrical trailer, but we also have some awesome, spoilery details revealed from some early footage screenings.

I will endeavor to write this post keeping spoilers to a minimum, but folks trying to keep 100% pure from potential revelations may want to avoid it. Really, though, I’m just using my own perspective, not much inside knowledge. So, upon these new details and trailers, what do we know now and what is still to find out?

Click the Read the Rest of the Story link below to read my thoughts.

By all accounts, G.I. Joe: Retaliation will be your standard summer action film length, probably around 2 hours or a bit more, and to date we’ve probably been privy to about 6 minutes of combined footage. How can we be expected to formulate an opinion based on that? Why, rampant speculation and furious hyperbole of course! My specialty.

10 – So, come on now… is Duke really dead?

The short answer is, nobody knows yet and everyone seems to have their own opinions. Dave Tree, who saw some extended footage (around 10 minutes worth) and reported on it for our What’s on Joe Mind special edition #11, seems pretty firm in his believe that Duke is dead. The lack of Channing Tatum throughout most of the trailer footage we’ve seen would make me inclined to agree with that (not to mention a distinct lack of Duke love on action figure shelves this summer by all appearances).

However, a recent interview with director Jon Chu makes his fate a lot more ambiguous. He clearly says that they leave the door open to the fate of the original cast members of the Rise of Cobra, and one would assume that means Duke as well. Not to mention the fact that he’s kind of the poster boy for the entire franchise.

09 – How do Jinx and Firefly tie into this whole story?

Still tough to tell this from the trailers, but you can’t argue that she certainly has a pretty big appearance. She shows up in various spots, sporting a red ninja mask, her yellow mountain climbing suit, and the red more martial arts uniform that we’ve seen several times already. This latest trailer showed her in a red facemask for the first time, which is pretty bad ass.

She is apparently Snake Eyes’ apprentice, and I imagine will end up working with the Joes to rescue him. Judging by shots from the original trailer, Snake Eyes is captured apart from the ambush on the G.I. Joe team, and when Roadblock, Flint, and Lady Jaye go to rescue him, I’m thinking that just maybe Jinx ends up in the mix. That might be totally pulling stuff out of my ass, however.

As for Firefly, there has been some concern that he might serve as little more than a cameo throughout the film, but I think these trailers kind of shoot down that notion.  Him using those fantastic miniature robotic fireflies is an absolute inspired thought, and seeing him so prevalent throughout so much of this footage gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.  He’s obviously closely involved in the firing of the kinetic energy weapon, and he plays a big role in Cobra Commander’s rescue as well, if you read Dave Tree’s footage report.  It’s evident that Firefly is a central figure from beginning to end in this film and folks concerned about how much he would be seen may have little to worry about.

08 – What is Joe Colton’s real role?

Like Jinx, we know Bruce Willis is in the film, and we know he’s playing Joe Colton, but it’s been a bit foggy on exactly what he was doing in the movie and where he came into play. We now know that he’s a retired General, and was the inspiration for the G.I. Joe team. When the three remaining members of G.I. Joe end up on the run, they turn to him. He assists them in rescuing Snake Eyes, and supplies Roadblock with the familiar Ripsaw Tank. At first I think many folks thought Willis would have a glorified cameo in this film, but it certainly appears as if his role will be larger than anticipated, which is probably a good thing for Mr. and Mrs. Movie Goer who are attracted mostly by the names they recognize.

07 – What is Cobra’s master plan?

Apparently, it’s to kick the shit out of London.

Beyond that, references were made in the UK Trailer that they were trying to “move the balance of power” and obviously Zartan as the President is forcing a high level of intimidation on the world powers as they make a demonstration out of England’s capital city. Ultimately it would appear that the master plan is to quite simply take over the world… I mean we are talking about Cobra here. The coolest thing is, they seem to have a clear and pointed way of doing that. They have the traditional “super weapon” that you expect with that crazy kinetically powered “rod cannon” in orbit. No, it’s no weather machine or teleportation device, but it’s damn scary as it is.

Cobra having a deadly super weapon = awesome.

06 – How did Storm Shadow survive and what is up with him?

This information isn’t clearly revealed, but judging by various reports we got from folks who have seen extended footage it sounds like Storm Shadow ends up in stasis within those water filled pods, and tricks the guards into getting a bit too close, allowing him to break out and free himself. There was another scene apparently with some laser scalpels working on Storm Shadow’s injuries. We still don’t know a whole lot of detail about how he may have survived, but he is evidently a big part of the sequel film.

The recently revealed Korean trailer also offers some surprising insight as we see a little snippet of what looks like the Blind Master unfolding Storm Shadow’s hood, and it also almost appears as if Storm Shadow is in Colton’s house being spoken to by Joe Colton himself.

What does this all mean?  Obviously Storm Shadow has been well established in the comic continuity as an honorable person who only gets caught up with Cobra to uncover his uncle’s killer.  With that whole mystery still in play in this theatrical universe are we starting to see Tommy Arashikage redeem himself?  If so, who steps into his place as Snake Eyes’ physical and spiritual foil?  Many questions leading up to the film’s release and food for thought for potential sequels.

05 – So what is up with the white-suited guy in the silver facemask?

Judging by the trailer footage and mostly based on the intel from the early footage screening, the guy in the silver face plate mask and white uniform is indeed Cobra Commander. From the reports on the What’s on Joe Mind special edition as well as the reports on GeneralsJoes from Russ and Dave, the guy in the silver mask is broken out by Storm Shadow and fits the profile of Cobra Commander.

04 – Speaking of Cobra Commander, is he or is he not “Rex”?

A loaded question to be sure. Both Jon Chu and Lorenzo DiBonaventura have stated that Cobra Commander is a different guy than we saw in the Rise of Cobra. However, reports from Dave and Russ, who saw extended footage, there does appear to be a significant connection between this Cobra Commander and the previous version. When Storm Shadow rescues this mysterious character, he is extremely disfigured, just like “Rex”, and he needs the silver mask to breathe. This is extremely similar to what we saw from Rex in the Rise of Cobra, so this leaves some serious interpretation based on what we’ve heard from Jon Chu and others.  Of course there are still plenty of opportunities for gray area…  were those tubes “cloning” tubes?  Was the advanced footage screening purposefully vague, or offering in misdirection?

There is still a lot to discover here, I’m really looking forward to seeing how the whole Cobra Commander situation unfolds.

03 – What about those Destro rumors?

Again, looking back on the Moviefone interviews, both Chu and Di Bonaventura made specific hints and references to Destro, and it’s clear through many trailer sequences that there are multiple people in those tubes within the government facility.  Whether or not one of those people is Destro is still up in the air, and this information was not even revealed to folks who saw the extended footage.  It is my belief that Destro is one of those folks in the tubes that gets left behind, and that could possibly motivate him in future films.

02 – HISS Tank vs. Ripsaw?  What is what?

This was an awesome revelation in this onslaught of recent trailers and I’m thrilled that the distinction is now clear.  Due to the trademark treads of the Ripsaw tank, many fans were hypothesizing that the closest we would get to a HISS Tank was going to be some variation of that Ripsaw.  Well, several sequences throughout these trailers has proven that false.  There are clearly some very differently designed HISS Tanks rolling up on the capital that bear little to no resemblance (beyond the treads) to the familiar Ripsaw hanging out in Joe Colton’s garage.  I think we’ve got the potential for a very cool conflict between the Ripsaw and the HISS Tanks, with the HISS’es obviously having the advantage in raw firepower while the Ripsaw is a smaller, faster, and more mobile offensive vehicle.  Could lead up to a very neat on screen spectacle of Cobra vs. Joe vehicles that we didn’t really get with the Rise of Cobra.

01 – Is Roadblock a ninja?  Are all the Joes ninjas?  What is up with all the freaking ninjas?!

If you want my honest opinion, anyone who has been a G.I. Joe fan for the long haul should understand that like it or not, ninjas are a huge part of the G.I. Joe mythology.  That is just the way it is.  Not only do they make up a pretty core set of concepts for the G.I. Joe vs. Cobra conflict, but with Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow as two major characters, this is just the way it’s going to be.

Obviously, throughout the scope of the toyline, it’s become clear that Hasbro is putting a major focus on the ninja elements, plastering the Arashikage symbol on pretty much everything, including Roadblock.  The Rock has even mentioned this tight bond he has formed with Snake Eyes in the film, and the training he has done with him.  But honestly, I think people need to settle down.

Just watch the trailers.  Do you ever see Roadblock doing a martial arts move?  Do you ever see him using swords or jump kicks to defeat his enemies?  No, you don’t.  In every single combat oriented scene he’s firing weapons.  Regardless of the training background with Roadblock and the Arashikage it’s blatantly obvious within the scope of the footage we’ve seen that he will be a soldier in this film, NOT a ninja.  Obviously within the tight confines of a two hour movie, it benefits the audience to form a connection between the main characters.  They have to bond Roadblock and Snake Eyes in a quick and easy way, and I think having them train together makes sense in that way.  If you don’t like it, just ignore it.  Snake Eyes and Jinx are clearly the main ninja protagonists, and Roadblock is there to fire machine guns, drive tanks and kick asses.  I really think this element is being blown out of proportion by the fanbase, and they should probably reel it in just a bit.

My thoughts on the trailer and footage as a whole

Seriously, what do you think?  I’m in severe geek out mode and I have been since about 2:01am yesterday morning.  I’ve probably gotten about 7 hours of sleep combined in the past two nights as I rush to get my thoughts on digital paper (and via audio recording) and I keep thinking of more stuff I want to talk about or relive with these trailers.  There is so much to digest and so many great details that you miss the first time around.  The tone of these trailers is fantastic, the music is great, the reaction to them among not just the G.I. Joe fans, but across the internet proper has been impressively positive, and I simply cannot say enough good things about what Jon Chu is apparently doing with this franchise.

We could be seeing a reinvention in front of our eyes, Joe fans.  A real progression from a fringe brand to a more mainstream “tentpole” event.  Obviously some of that could be an overstatement, and there is still the potential for things to go sideways, but between the fast-paced frenetic footage, the enthusiastic reports from screenings, and an almost perfect blend of modern concepts and the familiar classic mythology…man, I’ve got some good feelings.

Of course many folks would say I had plenty of good feelings about G.I. Joe: Renegades, too, but dammit don’t kill my buzz here.

23 thoughts on “G.I. Joe: Retaliation perspective after new footage revealed

  1. I’m stoked…trailers look great. When all is said and done I think Rise of Cobra = Sunbow toon and Retaliation = Marvel comic. I almost bet Chu and Hama had some lenghty discussions about ninja.

  2. I know Retaliation is is the “next big thing” for G.I. Joe, but I’m starting to dread coming to this site. Aren’t there any more toys to review? Dioramas you’ve been working on? How about that toy room you’re building? Anything, please, except this constant frame-by-frame coverage of this silly sequel.

  3. My biggest concern is that the movie’s success may not translate into success for the toy line. Ture the Transformers franchise got a huge shot in the arm from the live action films, but I think the line was already successful to being with and the two fed into each other to create the juggernaut we have now. The “Unicron Trilogy” toys were selling steadily before the movies hit, but GI Joe barely has any shelf space at all right now.

    I also keep thinking about 2009’s “Star Trek”– the movie was a slam dunk on all fronts, but the toys tanked miserably. The fortunes of the two are not always tied together.

  4. i think what they mean by new cobra commander is the feel and tone of the character. in the first movie he was super campy and not threatening by the least bit. it seems this time around they envisioned him as the bad ass that he should be….

  5. Brazilian website “Omelete” has seen 15 minutes of the movie, and reports it as “very similar to the first movie”. There´s an spoiler too, about the fight in the mountains.

  6. Well, sorry to break it to you, but if you don’t want thorough coverage of Retaliation, you’re in the wrong place, especially a mere 48 hours after a massive media blitz of trailers, interviews, and information. It’s more than the “next big thing”, the success or failure of Retaliation could shape the brand for years to come. It’s kind of a big deal, whether you consider it “silly” or not.

    Until someone starts handing me a paycheck and telling me what they prefer I write, I’m going to continue writing about what I want to write about, and when there is so much Retaliation news hitting, sorry, that’s where the bulk of my coverage is.

    I assume you somehow missed my coverage of the Dollar Store figures, the IDW comics, Kwinn, etc… over the past 2 days?

  7. I don’t think so. Mike Ryan (the interviewer) was pretty specific about asking if Cobra Commander was a “different guy” and both Chu and Di Bonaventura seemed to claim that he was.

  8. the news and posts are coming so fast now, the articles about figures, comics and Kwinn got pushed into “more news here” before Joe could see them.

  9. I think that’s a very valid comment Dragongly, especially given the latitude that the toys we’ve seen thus far take with movie designs. The rule of “hit movie = hit toys” doesn’t always hold true – you can look at the ‘underperformance’ of the latest Transformers movie toys as evidence of that or all the way back to “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” who was a smash at the box office but a flop in toy aisles. But I would tend to think that even if the Retaliation tie-in line didn’t set registers aflame, if the movie performs well it could build a stronger base for further exploration of the Joe franchise in various media with more potential for the attendant toylines.

    That said, the fact that the Playmates Trek movie toys were crap didn’t help any…

  10. Bro, this is your site, and like you said, you can write whatever you want to write about. Allow me, a regular fan of this site, to offer the occasional dissenting opinion. (I’ve bought a lot of Joe product based on your reviews, so I feel invested in what you do, whether or not I’m giving you a paycheck.)

    You went nuts for the first Joe movie too, but I’m sorry, that was so weak I just don’t have a lot of hope that this next one will be worth all the excitement. I hope it’s a fun movie, but in my Joe universe the movies have as much to do with the G.I. Joe canon as Rocky Balboa did. I can’t imagine I’m the only Joe fan who feels this way.

    Whether it’s a great movie or not, I’m sad if it will shape the brand as we know it for years to come. I’m still finding Agent Helix figures at my local Fred Meyer.

    Peace, Justin. I’ll always check out your reviews, and continue recommending your site.

  11. Hama said in our Wojm interview that he has not been consulted at all on this movie. It’s possible that chu “gets it”.

  12. Geez, optimistic much? Justin has a slew of toy reviews coming, trust me. And silly sequel?? C’mon man…don’t be THAT guy who has to poo poo everything that isn’t 100% pure Hama or jives with your joe universe (at least you didn’t say that other word). LIVE a little and lighten up, you might find the hobby more enjoyable that way.

  13. I get what you’re saying, Gary, but no, after that last movie, I am not optimistic. I’m allowed my opinion, and if you don’t think Snake Eyes looks like a silly jackass in these movies, that’s your opinion. Bruce Willis only ups the cheese factor (and movie studio desperation). The hobby is plenty enjoyable without Hollywood’s involvement. I’m not a hater, and I don’t think Hama is God (pretty close, though). Forgive my frustration. I just feel like Hasbro could put dog excrement in a paper bag and write “G.I. Joe” on it and some fans will still find nice things to say about it. Sorry I spoke.
    (But if you want to see a REAL movie I’m optimistic about, there’s no way “Prometheus” isn’t gonna kick ass!)

  14. I agree completely with Joe, although i’m not really waiting anxiously for toy news, i’m sure they will come when Justin has them on his hands. I also gotta admit that i’m a Rise of Cobra hater, so i don’t have the slightest intention of watching this new movie; so i just take the chill pill, enjoy the site when it’s about figures, comics, customs, etc. Even though i also roll my eyes everytime i see Retaliation info flooding all over the site, i even re-read past reviews & news and wait for all this sequel madness to get past, and get back to the good stuff.

  15. Heh, let the record show I never said you weren’t allowed your opinion, so by all means opine away! Besides, we all know what opinions and belly buttons have in common so its a wash, right? Frustration forgiven. Just mark me on the side keeping the faith.

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