This week film critics will begin posting their reviews of G.I. Joe Retaliation as it FINALLY makes it’s debut in US theaters. For many moviegoers, review aggregator RottenTomatoes.com has become the all important measuring stick for what to expect in terms of the movie-going experience. So, this week G.I. Joe fans will watch the all-important “Tomato Meter” as it ticks up and down with each new critics input over a film that we’ve been eagerly anticipating for the past nine months. However, as of last night, the film has started to earn a score and it’s hopeful. VERY hopeful.
G.I. Joe Retaliation @ Rottentomatoes.com - Currently sitting at 88%!
Granted the Tomato Meter is a pretty black and white indicator; a critic either is ranked as liking a film or not which is translated into either “fresh” or “rotten”. However, 88% is a pretty strong start for a film that follows on the footsteps of what is now regarded as a critical clunker. (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra has a whopping 34% with all critics and only 23% with top critics.) Yet things seem different this time around. Whereas the trailers for RoC focused on the completely ridiculous Iron Man ripoff Accelerator Suit sequence, the media blitz for G.I. Joe Retaliation has focused on a combination of ninja action and strong character performance from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Non-Joe friends of mine have commented to me in recent weeks that this film actually looks interesting. (Yes, I do have “non-Joe” friends.) Many of them have expressed interest in checking it out whereas all RoC earned from them was a “that’s a rental.”
The point of all of this is that the tide of the G.I. Joe brand might be turning. Rise of Cobra dealt the brand some pretty strong blows. Retailers saw the brand as a struggling after the glut of movie-related product failed to ignite strong sales and went to clearance. Casual film goers saw G.I. Joe as a kitchy kids franchise with no really substance to hold older viewers. Even the fandom became divided over those who hated the film and those who felt compelled to defend it “because it was the only G.I. Joe film we had.” (Yes I realize that there are also fans out there who liked the film.) Regardless, G.I. Joe Retaliation offers the brand and the fandom something we’ve not had in a good long while– hope. Hope that recognition of our favorite characters will once again be seen in a positive light and that audiences and consumers will see the G.I. Joe brand as something that has some real life to it once again.
Keep watching that Tomato Meter, folks. That’s what the casual internet-savvy audiences will be using as their barometer.
March 28 is just a few days away. We’re almost there!