While tomorrow is the official release date, a few theater chains across the US had early screenings of G.I. Joe Retaliation last night and more showings this evening. With showings come comments and reviews– many from site owners and long-time Joe fans. In order to give fans a fair picture of the overall community vibe for the movie, I’ve collected Joe site and Joe fan reviews below. These aren’t from paid media outlets but rather from folks just like you and I. Just remember, everyone is entitled to their opinion– even if it isn’t necessarily in step with your own.
Note: some of these will contain spoilers to varying degrees. Read at your own risk.
To borrow a phrase from one of the recent Star Trek series “It’s been a long road, getting from there to here.” Two years since Rise of Cobra and then an unexpected nine month delay before G.I. Joe fans were treated to a second attempt at a big screen franchise of their favorite Real American Heroes. Nearly three years since G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra tore apart the G.I. Joe fandom and tarnished the image of the once-dominant brand as a kitschy modern day remake of Mega-Force. This time, however, things appeared to be different. Director Jon M. Chu, better known for his Justin Bieber documentary, set to direct a script from the talented duo that brought us Zombieland. Admittedly, all were fans of the incredible comic run by the “godfather of G.I. Joe” Larry Hama and promised a film that was more true to its comic roots than RoC. However, I’d heard that song and dance before but tonight felt different. The lights dimmed and I sat with friends in a surprise early birthday celebration organized by my wonderful girlfriend Amanda. Was this a film to redeem the brand, the fandom, and reignite the enthusiasm of many disheartened fans?
In film, lighting is one of the myriad tools available to a director to paint a scene. In the black and white era, it provided a necessary contrast and was used to place subtle emphasis on a particular element. In G.I. Joe Retaliation, lighting plays a crucial element in framing the scenes. With action set during the day and the night, how light plays across the various elements will set mood and tone. Audiences will see how effectively it used in just a few days.
You can view the entire series released thus far below:
The reviews for G.I. Joe Retaliation are starting to trickle in online with two new ones dropping this morning. While I’m desperately trying to remain spoiler-free until I can see it Wednesday night, I’ve been skimming the reviews to see what the reaction has been. So far, things are VERY favorable with one exception. (In that instance, the reviewer’s tone seemed to be prejudiced against the film from the get-go.)
Here are the reviews I’ve read thus far. Varying degrees of spoilers contained within so read at your own risk!
I’ll be posting JBL’s own review (as will every other G.I. Joe site) this week after I’ve had a chance to see it! In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled to G.I. Joe Retaliation @ RottenTomatoes.com for a full aggregate score!
Lady Jaye became an essentially part of my personal G.I. Joe universe with her first appearance in G.I. Joe: The Revenge of Cobra! Debuting at the same time as her paramour Flint (as well as Shipwreck, Mutt, etc), the Covert Operations specialist proved herself to be smart, capable, and more than a little sassy! She was the kind of strong confident female that brands like She-Ra aspired to have. Whereas the female characters in Rise of Cobra were portrayed in relation to other mail character, G.I. Joe Retaliation shows Lady Jaye as an extremely strong and capable addition to the team. She’s a qualified marksman as well as a master of covert operations and infiltration and, if the trailers are any indication, Adrianne Palicki brings her to life with the respect the character deserves!
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.
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!
A properly choreographed fight sequence is very much akin to an intricate dance. The individuals involved flow and shift with each other’s moves to form a seamless piece that is more effective than the sum of its parts. As a long time fan of martial movies, I’ve seen this time and time again– both in the films and in the interviews that accompany them on DVD. However, the same can also be said for action sequences in general in film– they’re all about motion. It’s what separates a film from other visual media like comic books. The effective use of movement enhance a scene where as too much motion can utterly destroy it. (Anyone remember the motion-sickness inducing car chase as the end of the Bourne Supremacy?) Director Jon M. Chu seems to employ motion effectively in the clips we’ve seen thus far– keeping his camera perspectives steady for the most part while letting the visual focus be on the actors and the subjects of the scenes. The audiences eyes are draw to the motion of the film, not the motion of the camera trying to capture the action and the result looks like it will be a visual feast for the eyes.
It’s good to see the G.I. Joe brand being treated in such a respectful fashion rather than as a “live action kids cartoon” this time around.
Check out the rest of Twitziller’s images below as the countdown to G.I. Joe Retaliation continues!
Let’s face it- Cobra Commander looked ridiculous in Rise of Cobra. His mask, seen on screen for all of 5 minutes, resembled a silver bed pan more than anything he’d ever worn before. Thankfully the production designers this time paid attention to the source material and the incredible Retaliation Cobra Commander was born. Now if they can just erase that whole “Rex Lewis” garbage from existence.
As a kid, I had a core group of favorite Joes– and the center of the group where Gung-Ho and Roadblock! In some ways they were the Riggs & Murtaugh, Butch & Sundance, . On of my favorite stories featuring them was in Marvel Comics G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero vol 1 #39 – #41 which involved a mission to Sierra Gordo. Two of my favorites were front and center– what’s not to love?!
When it came time to play one of the largest Joes in the sequel film, Paramount went to one of the biggest names in entertainment – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It’s a brilliant move as who else would be able to wield the giant M2 (as seen above) and yet still exude the charisma to play the team’s resident heavy machine gunner and chef? The Rock brings with him not only a fan base but a strong confident portrayal of a fan-favorite character with the action-hero chops to back it up. Seriously– the casting director should get one heck of a Christmas bonus for this!
I won’t mince words– G.I. Joe Retaliation looks to be an improvement on its cinematic predecessor in just about every way imaginable. One of the most immediate examples of this would be found in the design of Cobra Commander. No longer does the leader of the armies of the serpent look like a bad example of cosplay at a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles convention. The Commander has been given a bold new look that long-time Joe fans will find surprisingly familiar. However, is this new figure worth picking up when there are 50 other version of him already on the market?