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Headscratchers: G.I. Joe: Retaliation
  • I may have missed something, but the opening with the Joes heading into the DMZ in North Korea...was there a point to that or was that just a Big Lipped Alligator Moment?
    • 85% of the movie is a series of barely connected big lipped alligator moments disguised as proper scenes. I think that particular one was meant to be a Batman Cold Open.
    • Pretty much Batman Cold Open. A bit of Establishing Character Moment for the new Joes as well while coinciding with the narration.
      • This, it was pretty obvious they were 1) showing off the new characters so you could get to know them and 2) establishing that GI Joe hasn't just been sitting on its butt doing nothing waiting for Cobra to be a menace again so they'd have something to do.
    • It wasn't directly related to any other events in the film but the Joes were extracting a POW or the like.
  • How does Zartan posing as the president manage to justify exterminating the Joes? You'd expect to see faked evidence about something like selling the nukes they just secured on the black market. Nope, first they do exactly what the president told them to, then they are gunned down, and then the president makes a public statement that the Joes had turned rogue. How did Zartan convince the public as well as the military and political leaders that the Joes had to be put down?
    • Storm Shadow posing as Snake Eyes killed the Pakistani president. The Joes retrieved all the unsecured nukes but who knows what happened to them after the Joes handed them off? The whole thing (assassination, nuke retrieval, Joe massacre) takes place within what seems like a day or two, so it doesn't sound like President Zartan had to justify it to anyone beforehand (utilizing some form of emergency powers) beyond the basic intelligence and after the fact it doesn't matter: even if a Congressional inquiry would have exposed the truth, Cobra's plan would have either succeeded or failed by then, making the point moot. As far as the public is concerned, confusion and feelings of betrayal are likely to be the immediate reactions of a majority of the populace, and the eventual growing contingent of skeptics run into the same problem that a Congressional inquiry would.
      • Ah, that makes sense. Thank you.
  • How do you get seven or eight Kill Sat into space without anyone being the wiser? Being the President of a country without a working space shuttle does not help very much in this respect.
    • I think that was less of a US project and more of a Cobra project. Who knows what all they have laying around? Also, there are about 3000 satellites orbiting Earth at any given time, so I don't know how much more or less visible that would make a handful of kinetic Kill Sats.
      • I think he's referring less to the weapons being in space and more to how they got in space in the first place. You can't send a rocket into space without half the world knowing about it nowadays.
      • They are "weather satellites" or whatever cover story countries use when they send up spy satellites. People would know that a satellite had been launched, but why assume it's some new form of Kill-Sat from a Terrorist organisation?
  • Why did aborting the drop sequence in the satellites cause them to self destruct?
    • Because the abort code overrode the satellite's commands while it was firing - the port closed as the missiole started to launch, so the satellite shot itself.
    • Those were just giant rail guns; all the propulsion was stated to be gravity pulling gigantic rods at their targets. Realistically, the satellites should have just shut down and reset to standby, but showing them blow up quickly resolves the plot line of having to neutralize the satellites in some way.
    • Theoretically there was an Abort button and a Destruct button, with Cobra Commander having been savvy enough to realize that someone could eventually get into his superweapon's network and maybe shoot a giant tungsten rod at him, so he'd want a way to remove that threat in such an event. Roadblock opened the case, saw 'Abort' and 'Destruct', and figured "Well hell, let's go for broke!" and hit 'Destruct'.
  • Did anyone notice that several members of the "President's" new Secret Service were wearing COBRA lapel pins? Even if the President just suddenly decided one day to change out a large part of his personal cadre of bodyguards, wouldn't a few red flags be raised at the fact that several of these bodyguards show support for what is probably the largest terrorist/world-domination organization?
    • COBRA didn't really exist in The Rise of Cobra. It was still MARS, as far as anybody knew.
    • Also, as far as the movie is concerned, Cobra is a new elite special forces unit. An IRL analogy would be if the President's security detail had been augmented by Navy SEA Ls - not how not all bodyguards are wearing Cobra pins.
  • It is fully explained in the comic universe, but in the movie!verse, was there a reason why Zartan framed Storm Shadow for murder? This was twenty years in the past, way before Cobra was established since the Commander was probably a teen at the time. On another note, how old does that make Zartan in the movies?
    • As the Sensei said, Z wanted to recruit Storm Shadow into Cobra. Also with the whacky tech they have, we can't be sure how Z and Cobra Commander really are.
      • It still seems pretty iffy. Because of his back story (again, in the movie!verse), Cobra Commander's age isn't so questionable and it is very likely that he was probably too young to be thinking about getting himself a ninja operative.
      • Perhaps Z was recruiting Storm Shadow for Destro.
      • Or for his own purposes. Zartan doesn't seem to be one for doing front-line fighting, he probably wanted to snag himself a loyal wetwork agent who could do that part of the job for him.
  • So...did all the extravagant technology just literally disappear overnight? I mean aside from Zartan being the President and Snake eyes and Storm Shadow, is the first movie even canon anymore?
    • The narration given by Duke in the prologue references events from the first movie, implying that it is (mostly) canon. The almighty nanomites from the first movie are also present in the second as can be seen by Zartan's demonstration to the real President. As for the other technology, there is still some slightly extravagant tools such as Roadblocks fence cutting gloves and Firefly's mini-bombs, but it was likely a stylistic choice to exclude anything more comic/cartoon-like to highlight the difference in tone between the two movies.
    • Duke mentions something about "the nanobyte wars" or whatever they call them. It's possible that there were further struggles against said technology during the time between the two films, and the "wars" ended when the Joes deployed some sort of countermeasure that ended the nanomachines' effectiveness as a weapon.
  • Why nuke London with your new kill sat? I mean it leaves an impression, but so would nuking the Sahara. Same show of force without looking like a complete monster. I mean it's just a For the Evulz moment.
    • The same reason why Tarkin destroyed Alderan as a demonstration of the Death Star's power. You have to strike somewhere noticable by the whole world to make a statement, which the Sahara wouldn't because it's a desert, there's not that much worth carrying about. Also by using it on London you're demonstrating that you will use it on populated areas. Blow up a (comparatively) lifeless wasteland and people will question wether or not you have the conviction to use this weapon for real. Destroy a highly populated area and everyone knows you will use it on them at the first sign of defiance.
    • If you watch the first two movies, I think Cobra Commander is running an elaborate Batman or Xantos Gambit. Really if you look at the first movie, he seized control of MARS Industries and got Zartan in the White House undetected. In the second film he destroys the world's nuclear arsenal and exits, stage left (in a conveniently handy exit for a guy who'd just put his "final plan" into motion). He sends the Zeus controls with Firefly when he easily could have taken them with him during his escape and had all those cities destroyed. If there's a third movie, I think it's going to be revealed that all he really wanted was nuclear disarmament and the destruction of the GI Joes.
      • No, he sends Firefly to secure the Zeus controls, while he escaped from the firefight. Big difference. Cobra Commander was running away from the big scary fight, and basically ordered someone else to dive through the bullets for him, and do all the hard work. Which is... Actually very in-character for the guy.
      • Except there wasn't a GI Joe anywhere near him when he made the handoff. he could have taken them on the helicopter and gone on his merry way. Which leads me to believe, in theory (see the WMG since that's the place for it), that he never wanted the cities destroyed. He probably never wanted them destroyed in the first movie, he just wanted Zartan in the White House. I'll bet that when the third movie comes out, the nuclear disarmament was his objective for his next plan.
  • What was the point of killing off Duke, Destro, etc? It makes no sense from a story point of view or a meta view.
    • To show that Anyone Can Die and that Cobra is a threat to be reckoned with since they're now the Hero Killer. Also unless I'm mistaken Destro doesn't die.
      • Even accepting that as the case, is that really worth it considering they've lost a lot sequel potential in one fell swoop?
      • Well, technically, the audience doesn't actually SEE Duke or Destro die. The G.I. Joe that Roadblock first takes dog tags from is not Duke as can be seen by the hair and lack of facial hair. So the writers have some wiggle room to write that character back into a sequel. Whether or not they do it in a believable is up in the air.
    • They killed off (probably) Destro most likely because either Christopher Eccleston didn't want to come back for the movie or no one doing the movie wanted to work with him (he can apparently be a bit of a jerk on set). Having Cobra Commander decide not to break Destro out was the more straightforward and sensible option instead of recasting him, especially since with the way the first movie went he'd just be looking for the first excuse to royally screw Cobra Commander over, and they were trying to play up Cobra Commander being a cunning and foresighted strategist in this so he'd be a more credible villain. As for killing Duke, the meta reason is most likely that Dwayne Johnson has a ton of recognizable star power and they wanted to put him in the driver's seat for the Joes, and that didn't work with having Duke be the talented young rookie again, and as noted the in-story reason was to drive the plot by making Roadblock really really pissed off that they'd killed his best friend. Also it was a reference to the original GI Joe animated movie, where Duke would have died if Optimus Prime hadn't sacrificed himself to save his life.
  • How did Storm Shadow survive? Not even a single handwave?
    • While not explicitly stated, it's likely that Storm Shadow's ability to slow down his heart rate has something to do with it. This is somewhat taken from the original Marvel G.I. Joe comics where Storm Shadow received seemingly fatal wounds (2+ gunshots to the chest or something like that) but was able to stay alive by lowering his heart rate and entering a suspended animation state. His revival did require some extreme steps in the comic, but according to the movie he does have access to pretty extreme healing techniques. Putting those together kind of answers the question, but in a lazy sort of way on the writers' part.
    • He just got burned badly on his back, it's not like he was an Anakin-esque crispy critter.
      • ...I believe the issue was with the end of the previous movie, where Storm Shadow got stabbed, sliced, and dumped into freezing water, something like a mile under the ocean, while in an aquatic base that exploded shortly thereafter.
      • Oh that. (I was very drunk the last time I watched the first movie, it made it almost tolerable.) That's a case of not seeing the body. If you didn't actually see him die, and didn't see his dead body, he just pulled off some ninja bullshit and survived, simple as that.
  • So...what happened to the Baroness? Wasn't she and the rest of the joes supposed to move to an Aircraft Carrier? And now they're a small platoon that's no more than fifty soldiers? How does that work out?
    • The giant network of international Joes that still somehow had to rely on a handful of scrappy individuals of mostly American extraction was kind of a dumb premise even for a toy commercial movie, so basically they subtly retconned GI Joe into being an American special forces division. If you want an in-story reason, remember that the Joes took a huge hit to their credibility in the process of the first movie... maybe the other countries decided to withdraw from the GI Joe Initiative (or whatever they called it) and reabsorbed the members back into their own militaries, and America simply opted to make them their own division and keep calling them GI Joe.
  • It's hard to hear, but a Cobra grunt says to Cobra Commander that "It's good to have you back, boss." Um..correct me if I'm wrong, but the guy was captured before he even got a chance to lead and he was a scientist that, as far as we knew, kept to himself. How in the hell could him coming back invoke that kind of reaction?
    • From the first movie, you can kind of see that he does interact with the grunts (i.e. experiments on them) he might have had some rapport with them. Also, in the first movie, the birth of the "Cobra Commander" seems premeditated as we see him working on his mask as opposed to just grabbing it at random. So for all we know, he could have been building his forces up behind Destro's back, ready to start a coup at anytime.
  • Cobra Commander's helicopter...rotors and twin jet engines at the back....plausible or obvious Hollywood Rule of Cool?
    • Spruced up for fiction but not entirely out there - it looks like a really fancy hybrid version of a VTOL craft.
    • It's not Hollywood Rule of Cool, it's GI Joe Rule of Cool. Like various of the other vehicles in this it was a reference to the 80's-era GI Joe vehicles (and toys). Cobra did have helicopters like that in the original cartoon.
  • Why was the German government given jurisdiction over cobra commander and destro? The US were the ones who captured them AND imprisoned them on THEIR territory? Why would they give them to the Germans or hell why would they even WANT them on their territory? That's just asking for something to go wrong...which it did.
    • Were they? I thought the dialogue implied the facility was in Germany due to the mine shaft's depth, but being so far below the actual country put them outside of German jurisdiction. He was using flowery language about it, but still.
    • I figured it's a situation somewhat similar to having a permanent U.S. military base on the soil of an allied nation.
  • How did Zartan not know the location of the prison Cobra Commander and Destro were taken to but the real President did? Zartan had already taken over as President at the time of Cobra Commander and Destro's capture and they were not initially held in that facility, so Zartan was definitely the President when they were moved there.
    • I was under the impression the President would have known the location of the facility and it had been pre-built. For who is something that needs answering, but given the science in the film it's not too out there that there'd be a super powered threat to warrant it.
      • There is still the fact that Zartan was the President at the time that Cobra Commander and Destro were transferred there. There is just no way that a prisoner transfer of that high a value could be done without informing the US President, especially considering they were US prisoners and the real President was one of presumably few people who were aware of the secret prison. Add to that the fact that Cobra are essentially running the Secret Service and there is just no way that something of this level could be done during Zartan's reign without his being aware. The only reasonable explanation is a continuity slip between the 2 movies.
      • Perhaps it was a pre-existing policy that any prisoner that met X,Y and Z criteria was automatically taken to that facility, and that information was kept at the highest need-to-know levels, which made it took awkward for Zartan to up and ask people something he should already know. Or it was kept a "secret" from the President in the name of plausable deniablity, since they're not going to run over the location of every secret prison, base and facility if there's not a pressing reason for him to know that information.
      • If you listen to the warden he mentions that the prison is in international territory, which allows certain ethical freedoms. I imagine it was something the president wasn't told about for reasons of plausible deniability, since such a prison would lead to an outrage if discovered. It's a black bag type of thing that would be dumped on a scapegoat if it was ever leaked to the press or some operation such as Amnesty International.
  • So...did Storm Shadow already know that Zartan killed the Hard Master? Or did he only just realize it when he was finally brought to trial before the Blind Master? Because if he already knew then why didn't he kill Zartan sooner? And if it was so he can get solid evidence that it was Zartan, why did it take twenty years to prove it?
    • Seems like he just realized it during the trial, after the Blind Master prompts him to think about who would have gained more from the frame-up.
  • Zartan's plan to force every nuclear power in the world to give up their stockpiles worked to a charm... but he seems to have missed that only eight of the nuclear states were present. (He forgot about Pakistan.)
    • Actually, you seem to missed the part earlier in the movie where Pakistan's government had collapsed and the country descended into chaos in which all the nukes were stolen. That's what the Joes were sent to Pakistan for.
  • So the film was delayed for nine months to add more scenes with Duke and Roadblock. Great, cool, so... it took nine months to film a scene with them playing Call of Duty and then shooting at a candle?
    • Don't underestimate how convoluted filming can be when using actors that have suddenly become high profile. It's as much a scheduling as scripting issue.
    • It's also possible they added in the cupcake scene, which would have meant arranging a shooting location, acquiring the guns, setting up special effects, etc. Which again, doesn't take nine months on its own, but when you figure in the scheduling issues, yeah. Besides, they may have taken the opportunity to do other reshoots and fix other issues at the same time, under the principle of "Well, if we've gotta delay it, we better make it as good as possible on delivery, right?"
    • In addition to all the work that would go in to shooting, editing, and integrating new scenes - they also have to have a good release date for it. It's not like they could release it in the middle of Oscar bait season and expect it to do OK.
  • The prison Cobra Commander and Destro are in. Do how do they eat? How to they poop? How did they keep their muscle tone? Why try to revive them if one of their hearts stop? Why put the facility in a mine shaft? Why do that to them when you could simply execute them and have it done with? Why didn't President!Zartan just use his powers to get them out?
    • Nanomites.
    • They're fed through intravenous drips. They don't have to poop because intravenous drips don't exactly produce a lot of waste. They probably don't keep much muscle tone but the harnesses may deliver occasional stimulation to the muscles to keep them from completely atrophying. They try to revive them if their heart stops because the whole point is to keep them alive. They explain why it's in a mine shaft in the movie. Because they want them alive. Because the moment he said "Oh, by the way, just let Destro and Cobra Commander go", someone would have had him locked up for either losing his mind or turning traitor.
  • Why Cobra!President suggest that the Indians were the ones about to destroy Asia after the U.S. aborted their own launches? Wouldn't all the other nuclear powers be launching only on the United States?
    • I think the point was to show that it would take relatively little for everyone to say "Well if I'm screwed I'm taking down everyone that's ever looked at me funny!" Plus it's generally a movie trope about nuclear missiles that if someone launches a single one, everyone launches everything at everybody.
  • Did Roadblock's daughters have no one to take care of them for most of the movie?
    • Presumably their mother/Roadblock's wife were taking care of them in the interim. She just didn't get any screen time.
  • Why were Israel and North Korea at the nuclear summit? Israel does not officially acknowledge they have nuclear weapons, and North Korea is building nuclear weapons over the objections of most of the world.
  • Okay, so they stated that the kill sats worked by dropping tungsten rods onto their targets. If we take that at face value then destroying the satellites would effectively unload their entire arsenal all at once. Even if you take into account that Zartan's explanation makes no sense (you can't just "drop" something from orbit. There has to be some kind of force to make it fall) You've just left all those rods in space where they will either hit something important (say the ISS) or fall back to Earth. Is this a No Endor Holocaust or am I missing something?
    • Speaking of averted holocausts, what about the radioactive fallout that came from detonating all of those nuclear warheads in the atmosphere? Not to mention the flaming debris from said exploded warheads crashing back onto the Earth? do ICBMs even have self-destruct mechanisms?
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