Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins (2021) Review (SPOILERS)

So I just saw Snake Eyes on Sunday (first time for seeing two movies at the theatre two days in a row) and I had a good time with it. There will be spoilers in this review so wait until you’ve seen the film if you don’t want anything ruined for you.

This movie is a sort of prequel? As it’s about the origins of Snake Eyes and how he became who he is, and why him and Storm Shadow have a rivalry, but it’s also more of a set-up movie for a future universe of movies with this cast. I think that it could work, but so far it seems like that won’t be happening at this time. As an origin movie it falls into the tropes and traps of these types of films as you have to end with the characters being the way we know them. What this film does though, does it in a more interesting way than is typically seen, as it kind of starts off with the characters reversed in a way. For that let’s get into the characters.

Henry Goulding as Snake Eyes is pretty good. He captures this quiet rage that a character like would posses after living the way he does for a long as he has. The film does something interesting with the character in that he kind of starts off as the villain throughout most of the movie. While there is a more villainous force in the film, it’s Snake’s actions that move the plot forward and that give the villain the edge until the end. He’s a man blinded by his desire for revenge over his father’s murder when he was a kid. I think we can go a little further and say that it’s not just revenge for the murder, but to find out why he was killed which will play into the film later. It’s interesting to see the lengths he will go to get this revenge, but I do wish that we got to see him change a bit more and question a bit more about what he is doing, maybe even show more regret from him throughout the film. I mean the only time we see him really start to question his role is when he first finds out about COBRA. This does make him an active protagonist though as he’s the one driving the plot and story forward. It is interesting how he drives the two plot lines throughout the film as one is the ends to a means that also ends up being the change he needs as a character. While it may not seem like the three trials have anything to do with the revenge plot, it does as the trials bring about the change in Snake, as well as the influence of Storm Shadow and Akiko. Which leads us to the next character. 

Next is Andrew Koji as Storm Shadow. To me he is the standout from this film. His performance is great and he brings a cool factor to this film. It is through this character that opens up the universe to Snake Eyes, being the one to bring him to the Arashikage clan, and being the one to introduce the larger conflict between Gi Joe and COBRA to him. That’s one of the big reasons that I feel this movie can feel more like a Storm Shadow movie than it does Snake Eyes. But I guess that’s why this film could be said to be a double origin story as it’s also the origin of Storm Shadow. I actually do wish that we got more from him in the movie, as we could see him turn a bit more throughout the film instead of just in the final act. His biggest character flaw throughout the film is that he’s angry and wants to kill the villain of the film. I think it would have been better to see him slowly fall into a pit instead of where he’s angry but than gets super pissed at the end. He was still a great character and a badass throughout the film. 

Next is Akiko, who I don’t really have much to say about, but what we get is good. She’s there to be the character that Snake Eyes slowly grows on until her distrust is proven right, where the character falls a bit for me is that she almost immediately trusts Snake again once she sees the first sign of regret from him. She’s an effective character and her performance is good. 

Next is Kenta who is the main villain. He’s a mostly effective villain as a foil for Storm Shadow and as a manipulator of Snake Eyes. His plan is kind of interesting, and it pretty much goes perfectly throughout the film due to his use of Snake Eyes. He falls apart at the end once he gets his macguffin and his pride takes over. His performance is pretty good and I kinda wish we got more of him outside of his interactions with Snake Eyes. 

The rest of the characters worked for their roles, had good performances and some cool moments. It was cool to see Scarlet and the Baroness as the way to show the wider conflict going on in the world, as well as kind of serving the same role on both sides. It was cool to see Iko Uwais being badass in the film, and cool to Mojo Rawley (ex WWE) in the opening of the film. 

It is interesting how the film is really a revenge film with how Snake, Storm, and Kenta are all driven by some form of revenge throughout the film. I find it interesting how everyone of the get some form of revenge in the film. 

I do like how Snake sort of keeps his desire for revenge throughout the film, but it gets aimed at the perpetraitors of so much more, while also losing direct desire for revenge. He still wants revenge, but now it’s at COBRA so his desire now will help people instead of hurting them.

Before we move on from the characters I wanted to clear up an issue I had from the film. At the start of the film we kind of see that Storm and Snake are similar, both are angry and impulsive. Throughout the film we see Snake change a bit to become more heroic, even though he is still a double agent in a sense, while Storm is really a hero. Storm works to keep Japan safe and works with GI Joe, while Snake is working for Kenta who works with COBRA. My biggest issue with this is that while we kind of get to see Snake become better throughout the film, we don’t really see the reverse with Storm. Things only happen with Storm on this front during the last act of the film. I would have liked to see him become more angry and darker throughout the film to lead to the eventual double turn.  As it stands I get that he’s angry that he was betrayed by Snake which leads to the clan being attacked by Kenta, which eventually leads to him being kicked out of the clan due to use of macguffin. The thing I have an issue with is that he almost immediately joins with the people Kenta allied with. I think that there should have been more of a seduction there to give more reasons as to why he joins. 

The cinematography, editing, and pacing was all pretty good throughout the film. The biggest plus and also a bit of the biggest down fall of the film is the action. Over-all I think the action is good, but at times it falls into that hollywood shaky-cam trap. It’s at its worst at the beginning of the film before Snake and Storm go to Japan. 

Other than that the costumes are all well-done and pretty cool. 

Over-all i had a good time with the movie and am glad I saw it in the theatres. It was a fun watch and I do recommend seeing it. I give it One Thumb up. It’s a fun watch but has a bunch of issues. 

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