The G.I. Joe movie franchise is at an interesting intersection right about now. With Henry Golding’s Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins currently in theaters, any potential follow-up needs to make some pretty big choices. The direction of this potential revival of the G.I. Joe name, much like the Transformers franchise before it, can be determined by backing the right calls when it comes to how to handle the subject matter. Looking back at Snake Eyes, there’s already a number of suggestions that can be used to improve upon the work that first film laid out, so let’s take a look at the ways the next G.I. Joe movie could do just that.
Establish A Clear Focus On Your Lead Character
While this latest G.I. Joe movie was called Snake Eyes, and Henry Golding was positioned as the lead, some have questioned whether the film actually lived up to both ends of that sales pitch. It’s especially true when you have reviews saying there’s a good case to divvy up that leading man status among Golding and his co-star Andrew Koji. So if there’s going to be another G.I. Joe movie, whether it’s a Snake Eyes follow-up or not, it needs to have a clearly defined lead.
It certainly didn’t help to have other characters like Samara Weaving’s Scarlett and Ursula Corbero’s Baroness further complicating things in Snake Eyes, as either of those players could have had a spinoff of their own. The next installment in the G.I. Joe universe needs to pick a side and focus on one singular character, if it’s to be another origin story. Which is probably a good way to lead into the next major issue Snake Eyes had.
Choose A Director That Best Fits The Genre Of The Next G.I. Joe Movie
On the one hand, hiring director Robert Schwentke to direct a movie like Snake Eyes doesn’t seem like a bad idea. As a previous director of franchise fare, like entries in the Divergent series, who better to start off a new string of movies than someone who’s worked in that sort of environment? But on the other hand, Snake Eyes is very much a film that harkens back to martial arts films of the past, and it’s those strong vibes that made Schwentke an ill-fit for such a post.
Snake Eyes should have been helmed by a martial arts director, especially when so many action sequences would have benefitted from the touch of someone familiar with the genre. This lesson is important for future G.I. Joe films because depending on what sort of character/style of movie the next film is going to employ, it’s going to need someone who knows how to get the most out of that type of story. And that director is going to need to have someone they trust in the editing room as well.
Frame The Action So That The Audience Can Appreciate The Work
Another huge injustice to the action sequences in Snake Eyes is how all of the fight scenes are shot and edited with quick cuts and shaky cam. While this sort of movie has seen that approach taken in the past, the work put into the fights seen in this film in particular seem to betray the coolness these scenes could have had. Even if the next G.I Joe movie is a more standard action film that focuses on a Joe or Cobra operative, it needs to have a clearer visual picture.
Fans want to actually understand what’s going on in these action sequences, especially when they happen to include characters they love from the G.I. Joe toy line. Snake Eyes had fights that looked like they would have been riveting if they were just given some more time to land. Much like choosing the right main character, picking the correct way to portray your action sequences is also key to getting that story across.
Take The Time To Build The G.I. Joe Universe Properly
The G.I. Joe films of the past have been ensemble movies, with one or two characters that operated as the leads for the rest of the team. But the one thing that Snake Eyes attempted to do right was choose Henry Golding’s titular character as a focal point, and follow his entry into a larger world. It’s just unfortunate that the film needed to throw the Joes and Cobra into the story soup, when either of those worlds would have made for a great end credits tease.
It’s no secret that the G.I. Joe universe is chock full of characters who could have their own standalone adventures. There’s also a lot of figures that might be good sidekicks for other installments that are meant to tie the worlds of G.I. Joe and Cobra together. If Snake Eyes stuck with the Snake Eyes/Storm Shadow relationship, and introduced The Baroness and/or Scarlett at the end of the film, the universe would have more room to breathe and properly unfold. As Henry Golding is supposed to reprise his role as Snake Eyes in the next movie, this is a concern that will definitely remain at the forefront of the next film.
Give The Bad Guys A Chance To Shine For Once
One final suggestion for the G.I. Joe franchise is one that the powers-that-be seem to have already taken to heart. Admittedly, Andrew Koji’s Tommy Arashikage and his shift into the Storm Shadow persona is one of the most compelling pieces to the Snake Eyes story. So if the G.I. Joe saga has such an interest in the villains, why not give them a movie of their own to shine as the central characters? There’s already a tease for Storm Shadow to join the ranks of Cobra, as The Baroness recruited the self-exiled member of the Arashikage family to join the ranks.
With this character netting Koji’s performance praise, and Henry Golding already planning to be a part of the next film, you could very easily flip the origin story tables and have Storm Shadow hold court. Not only could this be a great example of how to improve upon the formula that was previously used for Snake Eyes, it’s another unique tactic in introducing the next cinematic generation of this toy-based franchise.
As this past weekend has shown, the longevity of the G.I. Joe franchise might be a little worse for the wear at this moment in time. That should only be further fuel for those who are in the driver’s seat to refocus this would-be franchise, and go (Joe) for it, through these or any other suggestions that could be drawn from Snake Eyes' performance. Should you want to formulate some opinions of your own to throw into the hat, Snake Eyes is currently in theaters and ready to find its audience.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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