Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins Review: Shakespeare in Japan

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins

Between the 80s Hasbro action figures, comic books, and cartoons, there’s mythology laid out in that lot that’s rich with depth and characterization. However, one of the most mysterious characters on the Joe roster is also its most beloved character. Larry Hama’s run at Marvel Comics gave us a partial backstory, but Snake Eyes always remained a mysterious enigma to Joe fans. In a quasi-reboot of the series, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins tries to fill in the gaps and tries to answer the question of who is Snake Eyes really?

What Snake Eyes does so well is that it dares to not make our heroes flawless characters. Snake is a man with a wicked agenda, and he’ll try to do whatever he can to achieve his goals. As a matter of fact, everything plays itself out like a Shakespearean play. There’s a little bit of King Lear and Macbeth in this, and Snake Eyes is your typical Shakespearean tragic hero. For this reason, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow are given much more depth than what we’ve seen before in a cinematic landscape.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of things that also go down in the movie. Snake Eyes: G.I. Origins‘ is so convoluted and complex that it detracts from the rich character setups for Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. The relationship between them is stellar, and it’s one of the few things that they kept from the original Marvel Comics run. A lot of that is due to the chemistry between Henry Golding and Andrew Koji. If you’ve seen Crazy Rich Asians or Cinemax’s Warrior, then you’ll recognize the charm both actors have. So you can only imagine them playing off of each other as “brothers.”

Snake Eyes: G.I. Origins’ is so convoluted and complex that it detracts from the rich character setups for Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow.

The problem lies with the constant betrayals that occur during the film. Betrayal is a central theme of the movie, and screenwriters Evan Spiliotopoulos, Joe Shrapnel, and Anna Waterhouse turn that theme up to 11. Snake betrays his code so many times in this that you can’t help but think to yourself, “there he goes again.” We get that he’s a flawed character but how many times do they have to show it? Also, a fantastical fantasy element is added to the movie that completely rips you away from this down-to-earth environment. Not to mention that this film is so convoluted that the G.I. Joe and Cobra connection seems like an afterthought. In other words, it’s as if the screenwriters forgot the G.I. Joe part in the film’s title. So don’t expect to see Scarlett and Baroness a lot in this.

However, do expect to see many good action scenes ruined by a lot of shaky camera work. The vibrant style that director Robert Schwentke uses in the movie works on a visual level. Unfortunately, it also detracts from seeing Andrew Koji and Iwo Uwais do what they do best: kick some tail. Of course, what you can make out from the shaky camera work is incredible.

Overall, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins gives depth to one of the most popular characters in the Joes roster. He’s not perfect, and he’s not fully righteous. He’s just human. Sadly, the movie also features a highly convoluted plot that otherwise brings down this entertaining flick.

Rating: 3/5 atoms

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins hits theaters on July 23rd.

Facebook Comments