The sequel to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the elite team finds themselves framed as terrorists and assaulted by their own people, killing most of their numbers. Cobra has slipped moles into the United States government and are now in control from behind the scenes. With manpower and supplies limited, they have to strike back and undo what has happened.The film is clearly marketed to be a change of pace from Rise of Cobra, dealing with more close quarters fights and infiltration, less (though not no) extravagant technology and submarine battles.The trailer can be viewed here. Was originally slated for release in June 2012 in North America, the film was rescheduled and released on March 29, 2013 to add 3D - not, as rumors claimed, to pad out Channing Tatum's role in response to his recentpopularity surge.
Artistic License - Geography: Fort Sumter does not sit near a bridge. It is located out in the middle of harbor surrounded on all sides by water and does not have enough ground around it to drive on.
Artistic License - Military: The 'Nuclear Football' is not a high tech computer designed to let the president of the US essentially play Defcon with the nuclear arsenal. All that's in the briefcase are papers with nuclear deployment plans, classified launch sites, bunker locations, and authorization codes. The actual capability of launching a nuclear missile falls under the purview of the person directly in charge of the missiles themselves (ie submarine captains, base commanders, bomber captains) not the president. This probably works in a similar way for other countries. Which means nuclear strikes can't be ordered at the push of the button. Additionally, many countries, such as the United Kingdom, allow their nuclear submarine commanders independent command of their nuclear missiles, which means that in the event of a launch directed at their country, a captain would order a retaliatory launch and might not be in a position to receive a 'stand down' order.
As a secondary note. Every single country maintains a lot of redundant nuclear warheads which are perfectly usable, but not in immediate readiness status to be launched. Even if every country simultaneously launched every single warhead possible (which is completely unlikely, given that a lot of them would have platforms not in position to immediately launch) and then immediately killed their own warheads, they would still have nuclear armaments left over.
Even allowing that, it also ignores the U.S. and Russian nuclear bombers that couldn't possibly have launched their weapons at that point, as well as the Russian ballistic missile submarines that would not have been in launch position at the time. The British Navy likewise only keeps one of its Vanguard-class missile subs at sea at any one time, leaving 3/4ths of the British nuclear deterrent intact at the time of abortion. China doesn't even keep its nuclear arsenal in a launch-ready state. India can't even reach the United States. North Korea, at the time of release, had only conducted three tests and almost certainly couldn't launch any further than Japan.
Artistic License - Physics: A tungsten rod traveling "eight times faster than a bullet" would not have more energy than a nuclear weapon, certainly not as a generalization anyway. The size of the rod and the yield of the weapon are never stated, so the claim might have merit if the rod were really big and the weapon was a tactical nuke.
In addition, if the Zeus satellite just uses gravity to project the tungston rod, it would be very difficult to achieve that speed, because despite being released from an environment with zero air-resistance and hence zero drag, air-resistance within the atmosphere would increase drag and hence cause deceleration (given enough time and space, the rod would eventually decelerate to terminal velocity). The rod would have to already reached maximum velocity before it hit the stratosphere (or at least, the thicker part of the stratosphere). The rod would need to be fired downwards so gravity wasn't solely responsible for its acceleration and speed.
In any case, the potential energy in this example is contained in a tungston rod which doesn't have a high cross-sectional area over which the energy is to act if it is converted to kinetic energy when it hits something. In other words, if the tungston rod was to hit the ground point-on with the 'energy of a nuclear missile', it would most like head straight into the earth for an unspecified depth and disturb the ground around it, but it wouldn't cause anywhere near the devastation or after-math of an actual nuclear weapon because all that energy is concentrated at a point with a force vector into the earth, not outwards at the stuff on top of it (like an actual nuclear bomb).
Ascended Extra: Roadblock isn't exactly one of the leading members of the G.I. Joe team, but plays a big role in the movie.
As Himself: James Carville plays himself at a White House party.
Retired Badass: Joe Colton. The last scene of the initial trailer features Colton kicking ass by shooting at Cobra mooks with an assault rifle while in the bed of a fishtailing El Camino. Considering he's played by Bruce Willis, this comes at no surprise.
Black Dude Dies First: Reversed, unlike most action movie examples. Instead of Roadblock (the sidekick) getting killed off first, Duke (the heroic leader) dies first and Roadblock is the one determined to get revenge.
Breaking Out the Boss: Storm Shadow busts Cobra Commander out of Einsargen Prison at the start of the film.
Broad Strokes: It's a sequel that ditches as much from its predecessor as possible.
Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and Jinx are easily able to mow through the other ninjas in the film en masse. The trope is played extremely straight with how every time some of the ninjas in red get killed, the rest seem to become more competent. By the end, the last one left is actually able to give Storm Shadow a pretty good fight one-on-one.
Oddly, enough this could almost make sense, in that the least competent ninjas would be killed off the earliest and the only ones who would survive longer would be those with greater skill.
Roadblock drives a small scout tank and absolutely demolishes three fresh-off-the line advanced armored tanks without much difficulty.
Continuity Snarl: The opening narration has an image of Destro wearing a business suit and the signature metallic mask. This image of Destro was actually taken from the action figure card illustration and not from any scene in first film. In the original film he didn't assume his metal head appearance until minutes before he was captured. For most of the movie, he was just plain old James Mc Cullen played by Christopher Ecclestion without a mask.
They don't even try to explain how Storm Shadow survives.
The movie did show Storm Shadow being able to somehow lower his heart-rate and breathing to nothing and then spontaneously start them up again. If he can do that it is completely possible he could put himself in a state of near-death stasis until rescue. It is completely against all laws of human biology, but that hasn't been an issue before...
G. I. Joe was an international organization headquartered in Egypt in the first film. Here, they're explicitly an American special forces unit. And a lot smaller.
At the end of the first movie, the Mad Scientist turned himself into Cobra Commander and was immediately arrested and put in prison. However, even if that becoming the Commander was his eventual endgame, before that point McCullen was in charge and it was his plan for Zartan to impersonate the president and Stormshadow answered to him (and they both only knew the Commander in his Mad Scientist persona, or at least the viewer was never shown anything different). However in this movie, both Stormshadow and Zartan are loyal only to the Commander, know exactly who he is like they have a long association, it's all his big long-term plan and McCullen is completely irrelevant.
Cool Bike: A motorcycle that splits apart and turns into explosive projectiles is used by Firefly to help break Cobra Commander out of prison.
Cool Mask: Cobra Commander's mask. Even elicits a reaction from President Zartan: "Cool mask."
Co-Dragons: Firefly and President Zartan to Cobra Commander.
Crazy-Prepared: General Colton's house, which has armaments stored all over the place, ranging from handguns to assault rifles, to a grenade launcher and a light tank.
Fate Worse than Death: The strange prison Cobra Commander and Destro are in. They don't qualify for the death penalty, but for some reason it's okay to put them in an And I Must Scream situation until presumably their natural life runs out. This includes trying to revive them if their heart stops.
Grappling-Hook Pistol: The ninjas use these to chase Snake-Eyes and Jinx across the mountain after they kidnap Storm Shadow.
Gravity Sucks: with the Zeus satellite, it just has to release the tungston rod and gravity will do the work, pulling the rod down so hard its destructive force can be used as a weapon. This is different from reality, in that the satellite is in a stable orbit at nearly zero gravity, so releasing the tungston rod would just mean that the rod would stay in the same stable orbit until something applied force to it, changing its velocity.
Gun Kata: Several characters, including Snake Eyes and Road Block, employ Gun Kata in their combat styles.
The Heavy: While Cobra Commander is the Big Bad, Zartan is the most prominent antagonist in the film and does more to set Cobra's evil plan in motion.
Heel-Face Turn: Storm Shadow performs one after he finds out that Zartan was the one who framed him for the murder of his and Snake Eyes' master.
It's a little closer to Enemy Mine really: "I'm not with you. But just this once, I'm not against you."
Irony: During the end of the first film when Cobra Commander was captured, he proclaimed to Duke that it wasn't over between them. Duke responded that he'll be waiting for him. He then gets killed during the beginning of the second film without so much as a single confrontation with him.
Storm Shadow, after aiding the Joes in foiling Cobra Commander's scheme and helping avenge his and Snake Eyes Master's murder, is allowed to walk away by Snake Eyes even though he murdered several Joes and innocent people in the first movie and the President of Pakistan (while disguised as Snake Eyes) in this one, not to mention breaking Cobra Commander out of prison.
Kill Sat: Cobra's Zeus satellites. giant tungsten rods dropped from orbit. They're a frighteningly accurate depiction of how such a weapons system would work in reality, which have been under development in real life for years before this movie, nicknamed The Rod From God.
Lock and Load Montage: The Joes (and Storm Shadow) go to General Joe Colton's house to arm themselves. We're greeted to a montage showcasing his over-the-top stockpile of weaponry concealed in his suburban kitchen.
Loophole Abuse: When Roadblock asks General Colton if he would serve in the military again, the latter states that the DOD note Department Of Defense doesn't allow retirees to "un-retire". However, he states that they say nothing about re-enlisting, so he uses that to get back in.
Also counts as Artistic License - Military, as retired officers can certainly come out of retirement, it's rare, but it can happen during wartime. Legally the pay a retired officer receives isn't a "pension" as much as it is a retainer for the fact they are in the "retired reserve" part of the military and can be recalled to active service.
Malicious Misnaming: General Colton constantly refers to Lady Jaye as 'Brenda'. When he finally calls her Jaye it is a sign that he now respects her.
A Million Is a Statistic: With London basically being blasted into the bottom of the ocean, millions of people had to have died. While people are terrified when they see the attack, it's soon forgotten once the Joes save the other cities.
Monumental Damage: One of Cobra's Zeus satellites turns the entire city of London into a crater, with Big Ben and the Eye/Millennium Wheel smack in the middle.
Mr. Exposition: The warden describing the prison to Snake Eyes, who is actually Storm Shadow in disguise. One of the things he mentions is a cooling tank which keeps the underground prison at a cool 68 degrees Fahrenheit (about 20 degrees Celsius). Without it, he says it would be about 250 degrees (121 Celsius), which is higher than the boiling point of water.
Mr. Fanservice: Storm Shadow in many Shirtless Scenes, from being soaking wet down to his 6-pack while breaking out Cobra Commander to getting his back healed.
Not to mention, he's the only one half-naked◊ on the Retaliation character movie posters.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Though their way of doing it was a bit...unorthodox, and it was intended mainly to make it impossible for anyone to retaliate against them, Cobra didmanage to achieve the decades-long dream of universal nuclear disarmament—at least until everyone can build their arsenals back up again.
Not quite. Rogue warheads are likely still out there, specifically the ones the Joes retrieved at the beginning, and which were likely stolen by Cobra. Which is one real-life reason that major countries getting rid of their nukes doesn't get rid of the nuke problem.
More straight example in the fact that Cobra Commander helpfully installed a remote, working abort and self-destruct button on his Zeus weaponry, which Roadblock takes full advantage of at the end of the film.
Ninja: Umm... do I need to explain this one? Jinx, Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, the Blind Master... Half the characters in this movie are ninjas.
And some much briefer but more explicit Ship Tease between Snake Eyes and Jinx.
No Name Given: The President. Even in the credits, he's simply listed as "President".
Not Quite Dead: Storm Shadow is seen clearly alive after a Disney Villain Death in the previous movie, although he now has a scar along his stomach. The scene where he slows his heart-rate may also count.
Ominous Multiple Screens: Featured in the Nuclear Disarmament Summit, particularly when the various nations launch their nuclear arsenal.
Outrun the Fireball: Storm Shadow, Firefly, and Cobra Commander do it when the prison explodes. Subverted, in that Storm Shadow fails to fully outrun it and is very badly burned on his back.
Pineapple Surprise: In the final battle, Firefly pulls out one of his special bombs to use on Roadblock, only to find that Roadblock is holding the detonator. Boom!
Playing Sick: Storm Shadow lowers his heart rate to get the guards to open his tank. He then proceeds to use this opportunity to escape and free his leader.
Plot Hole: when Zartan as the President launches America's missiles at the entire world in the presence of the world's nuclear powers, they all respond by bringing out their own 'footballs' to reluctantly retaliate against the U.S. For some reason, instead of just launching a missile - or even, at the most extreme, a handful of missiles - at the U.S. they all send all their missiles out at everyone, as in every significant country, hence depleting all their nuclear arsenals. Why they do this is never explained and makes no sense whatsoever (there's not even any way you could excuse their behavior within the context of the story). Secondly, even putting aside that America is the only threat, and presuming that everyone at the conference has gone insane and just attacked everyone else for absolutely no logical reason whatsoever, it would only take a small portion - or at most, for a small country, half - of any one of those countries to cripple the world, let alone America, so for every single one of those countries to use all their nuclear arsenal at once like they do also makes no sense and is never explained. Considering these two plot holes are what the entire plot hinges on, it's kind of a problem.
President Evil: As shown in The Stinger for Rise of Cobra, Zartan is pretending to be the President of the USA. He even puts Cobra banners on the White House, since Cobra is now the "official" ruler of America.
Race Lift: Flint is played by Hispanic actor D.J. Cotrona. Meanwhile, Dwayne Johnson, a man of mixed heritage, plays an African American. Also, Elodie Yung plays a Japanese woman, although she is of mixed French and Cambodian heritage. And as a carryover from the first movie, the Japanese Storm Shadow is played by South Korean actor Lee Byung-hun.
Real Life Writes the Plot: Retroactively applied; North Korea is depicted as one of the nuclear powers, complete with missile launch capability, and several jokes are made at the country's expense. The film was released as a real-life missile crisis was underway involving North Korea.
Recycled IN SPACE!: Compare and contrast G.I. Joe: Renegades, which featured Duke, Tunnel Rat, Snake Eyes, Roadblock and Scarlett trying to clear their names after being accused of a crime they didn't commit, fighting a guerrilla war against COBRA forces and the authorities.
Red Shirt: The ninja troops Snake Eyes and Jinx fight on the mountain cliffs are wearing red uniforms. True to this trope, many of them die by falling (having their grapple ropes cut, being pushed off by a small avalanche).
Refuge in Audacity: How do you push for full denuclearization? Launch all your missiles, get the other guys to launch theirs, then abort the launch to get the others to do the same. Bam! Nukes gone.
Schizo Tech: Storm Shadow is healed by an old woman using what appears to be a combination of ancient Japanese medicinal secrets and a DNA reconstituting laser array.
Sequel Non-Entity: Ripcord, Scarlett, and General Hawk, three characters who were an integral part of the G.I. Joes in the first film, are nowhere to be seen in this film and we don't get an explanation as to why. Their absence becomes particularly noticable when it's stated that every Joe (except for Roadblock, Flint, Jaye and Snake Eyes) is supposed to have been killed in the Cobra attack. However, it's possible they retired and therefore were no longer targets, as was the case with Joe Colton.
Sequel Hook: Cobra Commander is still at large and there's a possibility that Destro, who was left in the Prison by Cobra Commander, may return as a threat in a possible sequel. Zartan's nanites were shown healing wounds earlier in the film, so he could easily be brought back as well. Plus, Jinx is made a member of the Joes and there's the promise of Roadblock and Colton rebuilding the team.
Shoot the Hostage: Done by Lady Jaye to save the President, who was held at gunpoint. He's a pretty good sport about it.
Shout-Out: Ever notice how there's no dialog whatsoever during the mountain battle? That's because it's a deliberate homage to Larry Hama's "silent" issues of G.I. Joe, which always featured ninjas.
Show Some Leg: Lady Jaye dresses in a skimpy jogging outfit to distract the White House Chief of Staff.
Shown Their Work: Storm Shadow's origin story follows his arc in the Marvel Comics very closely, especially his relationship with Snake Eyes, and the events surrounding the death of the clan's Hard Master.
Spanner in the Works: Storm Shadow teaming up with the remaining Joes to stop Cobra's plans. Had he not of done Enemy Mine, the Joes probably couldn't of launched their assault, since they needed him to get in close proximity of the briefcase.
Storming the Castle: Colton and Jaye attacking the Cobra-controlled Presidential retreat to save the real President.
Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Out of the five characters who returned for the sequel, Duke dies. Part of the reason for the delay was that test audiences weren't happy that there wasn't much development of the friendship between Duke and Roadblock before Duke's death early in the film.
Tailor-Made Prison: Cobra Commander and Destro are being kept floating in suspension tanks, pumped full of a drug that allows their eyes and their breathing to function, but nothing else.
Taking You with Me: After Cobra's prison breakout, the warden attempts to do this by shooting at the cooling tank. He doesn't manage it however, and only Storm Shadow suffers any serious injuries.
Tank Goodness: Roadblock drives a tank-like dune buggy built by Colton to battle some Cobra tanks.
When the Joes are ambushed in the desert by Cobra helicopters, they blow stuff up pretty good. Then foot soldiers go around shooting any remaining survivors, and one of them even shoots into the well where some of the Joes took refuge. Thankfully he missed.
When Cobra does a test firing on London of their new Zeus weapon. It also showed the leaders of other nations what Cobra Commander was willing to do if anyone objected to his demands.
Throw-Away Country: London being obliterated and the presumed staggering death toll (and probable worldwide economic chaos) don't get so much as mention for the rest of the film. Pakistan's president was assassinated early on and forgotten as soon as the Joes get back to America.
This is helped by the fact that publiclyG.I. Joedoesn't exist, and the facts behind the terrorist attack in the previous film aren't public information. The Joes were blamed for that, and briefly arrested.
Interestingly, despite being a maniacal world-conqueror, Cobra Commander is apparently well-liked by his subordinates. When he returns to his headquarters after being broken out of super-high-security prison, several workers say things like "It's good to have you back, Boss!"
We All Live in America: Notice how all of the world leaders were wearing flag pins? That just doesn't happen outside of America.
Would Not Shoot a Good Guy: Sidestepped. The film avoids the issue that loyal secret service and US military, not realizing that the president has been replaced, would continue to protect and serve as necessary and not all be Cobra infiltrators. Therefore during the final battle when the Joes are shown ruthlessly killing these men, the film avoids addressing whether this trope is actually being averted in some cases. The inclusion of the new "Cobra" military division and the Cobra Secret Service are presumably supposed to Hand Wave this fact.
If you look closely, most of the Secret Service killed are wearing Cobra lapel pins, indicating that they were Cobra. Also all of the soldiers killed at the end had Cobra patches on their uniforms. It is unlikely that Cobra Commander would have had anyone but his people there since he was getting ready to possibly start a nuclear war. You wouldn't want confused soldiers who might question the direction of things in the midst of that plan.
Xanatos Gambit: The US President well, Zartan disguised as him anyway does this with the other nuclear powers, casually launching the US nuclear arsenal and daring them to do the same. He then destroys the nukes mid-air to see if they'll do the same, or go down in history as the idiots who launched nuclear war. It was all part of Cobra Commander's plans to have them get rid of their nukes, so he could then threaten to use his Zeus weapon system to destroy countries not willing to submit to him, without the fallout issue nukes have.
Except in theory, if the U.S President launched the entire nuclear arsenal at the countries of the nuclear powers, there's no reason why they would all empty all their nuclear arsenal at the U.S. See Plot Hole above for where all the nuclear powers empty all their nuclear arsenals at the entire world instead for some completely unexplained reason.
You Are in Command Now: Happens to Roadblock after the Joes lose their leadership chain of command to Cobra's ambush.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In a nonfatal example, Cobra Commander leaves Destro to rot in prison, telling him he's "out of the band". Then again, given the damage to the prison, it seems unlikely Destro lived much longer after that.
Except that he's a supervillain. Does anyone seriously believe Destro died while there's sequels to be made?
You Killed My Master: Storm Shadow finds out that Zartan, one of his fellow Cobra members, killed off his master, and framed him for it. He did it so that he could then mold and shape the former into a lethal killing machine for Cobra. Unfortunately, once Storm Shadow finds out the truth, he ends up killing Zartan for it.
The real president to Zartan. That's after he used a combat knife to slash his face, only for the nanomachines to heal it up. And for added bonus, Zartan has a "Yes, I am insane" face afterwards, with him being a Smug Smiler to boot.
Same stated by the world leaders during the nuclear arms summit when he launched all U.S.'s nuclear missiles at the other countries and resulting in them firing their missiles as well.