If you were a fan of the old G.I. Joe cartoon from the 80’s, the silent ninja called Snake Eyes was probably your favorite character. Let’s face it, it’s hardly a contest, considering how much he stands out next to his fellow Joes. For one, he’s not the typical tough guy soldier, but a shadow ninja known for literally never talking. His weaponry includes a plethora of bladed weapons, most notably his twin katanas, and the standard military firearms and explosives. Snake Eyes is just cool because of how much he stands out from the other meathead soldiers and the fact that he’s a commando/ninja.
That being said, the G.I. Joe franchise attempted to bring him and his fellow Joes to the big-screen with two film adaptations. The results were decent, to say the least, but the one thing they got right was Snake Eyes. The character was so popular, the decision for a third G.I. Joe movie was scrapped for the idea of a solo Snake Eyes movie. It will star Crazy Rich Asians star, Henry Golding, as the silent ninja, and will be directed by Divergent series director, Robert Schwentke. Personally, I’d rather have a Snake Eyes solo movie, because without him, the G.I. Joe series wouldn’t be the same. This movie is still a risk, due to the limited routes it can take, but it has the potential to be one of the best action movies of 2020. The exact ingredients it needs to turn out great, however, is up for debate.
Buckle up, ninja-lovers, because it’s time to go over the five things the Snake Eyes needs to be good.
5. A Better Look Into His Backstory
The G.I. Joe movies gave us a lot of Snake Eyes action, but didn’t really go into his origin. The first movie showed him as an orphan who stumbled upon the Arashikage ninja clan and a quick montage of him training to become a ninja. After his master was killed, he took a vow of silence and fully devoted himself to avenging him. It gave us a glimpse of what he went through to become Snake Eyes, but it felt rushed. The origin of the character is indeed shady, considering his real name was never revealed, but I feel like there’s more that can be done with his origin story.
The solo film can dig deeper into his relationship with Storm Shadow and how their rivalry began. Did it form out of jealousy? Did Storm Shadow feel betrayed by something Snake Eyes did? Maybe Storm Shadow hated him from the very beginning? These are the kind of things that the solo movie can play with and it will be its most critical element. The relationship between the two ninjas has always been one of the most intriguing things in the G.I. Joe franchise and its something the solo movie has to get right.
4. Be Faithful To The Source Material
This might sound counterintuitive, but it’s something the last two films lacked. The Rise of Cobra film dressed up the Joes in some funny-looking costumes that felt like they belonged in a different franchise. Oh, and let’s not forget how they made Cobra Commander look. Yikes, that was just cringeworthy to the very core. The sequel, Retaliation, did a much better job at staying faithful to the source material, especially with costumes. Costumes aren’t everything, but to characters like Snake Eyes, it’s something that is a part of him. He never shows his face or speaks, even to his fellow Joes, and his outfit reenforces that trait.
Will the film break a golden rule and reveal what he looks like under the black balaclava? It would be a bold move, but it can be pulled off. A good route to take would be to not show his full face. They can show half of it from the nose up, or just a small fraction of it, like his eyes. The main reason for doing this would be to show that there a human being underneath the mask and not just some silent killing machine. Having a tough guy protagonist is fun, but he needs to show some signs of his humanity if he wants to be a compelling character.
3. Great Action
Yes, a solo Snake Eyes movie needs to have great action in it. Counterintuitive, you say? Well, just look back at Rise of Cobra and Retaliation. The action was decent, but ultimately forgettable, and they relied a bit too much on slow motion. Any action film should rely on good choreography over excessive slo-mo. I’m not saying the film doesn’t need any slo-mo, but ninjas are anything but slow. Snake Eyes is as fast as greased lighting and can cut down many bad guys without being seen. When he fights people hand-to-hand, he does it with quick, but with style. His fighting style is all about precision and speed, the exact kind of action the film needs to show.
2. Show A Good Connection With Storm Shadow
I just can’t stress this enough. No relationship in the entire G.I. Joe franchise is more important than that of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. They are often portrayed as bitter rivals, but underneath that conceals some deep respect that they share for one another. Their origin stories usually show them to be close as brothers, then tragedy turns them against each other.
That’s where the origin of Snake Eyes comes in, as it should give the reason behind their relationship. The rest of the movie should explore what that relationship should be. On one hand, Storm Shadow can completely despise Snake Eyes and want to kill him. On another hand, Storm Shadow can be more of a tragic anti-hero like his comic counter part and pursue Snake Eyes out of anger. There are a few routes the film can take for this relationship, but the way they pursue it will determine how good the film is. Their feelings towards each other, whether it’s bitter hatred or mutual respect, will show in their fights against each other.
1. Exclude As Many Other G.I. Joe Characters As Possible
This is a movie about Snake Eyes. That means other G.I. Joe characters such as Duke and Roadblock should be kept out of the movie. Their presence would be unnecessary and take away the focus from who we really want to see. This movie will apparently be unconnected to the previous films, which is good, because it will feel fresh. Forcing other characters from the franchise will feel like glorified cameos and forcing the idea of a bigger universe. This movie should feel small and contained, meaning the less G.I. Joe characters, the better. The film will include some supporting characters, such as Baroness, Scarlett, and Hard Master. Not a big list of supporting characters, but a small amount is all we need.
Even the famous Cobra Commander doesn’t need to make an appearance, but he can be referenced. Perhaps Baroness and Scarlett were sent to recruit both men to their organizations? If both men are already a part of their groups, they won’t have to interact with them, considering they both tend to do their own thing. The best thing the film can do is focus on Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow and have supporting characters get involved if they are relevant. If Cobra Commander fits in the very end and has a purpose, then put him in. No cameos for the sake of cameos, please.
I’m rooting for this film and really want it to be better than the last two G.I. Joe films. Given its talented cast and crew and separation from the previous films, this movie can be something to look forward to. Snake Eyes will be released on October 23, 2020. Yo Joe!