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Film / Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins

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Discover what hides behind the mask.
Tommy Arashikage: I can't change your past. But I can offer you a purpose.
Snake Eyes: Alright, what do I have to do?

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is a superhero movie directed by Robert Schwentke, based on the iconic character from the G.I. Joe franchise, and stars Henry Golding, Andrew Koji, and Samara Weaving.

Defined by tragedy and loneliness, the man known only as "Snake Eyes" finds himself recruited by the Arashikage clan in Japan, where Snake Eyes is trained alongside his fierce new friend Tomisaburo "Tommy" Arashikage. But as the military organization G.I. Joe and its rival Cobra's war engulfs the Arashikage, Snake Eyes must forge new alliances and face new enemies in his quest to find what he has lacked for so many years: a home.

After a series of scheduling adjustments and release dates, the film was released July 23, 2021. As of 2023 the film may or may not share a universe with the rebooted Transformers franchise that started with Bumblebee and continued with Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

Previews: Trailer 1, Trailer 2, International Trailer

Not to be confused with the film Snake Eyes.

Snake Eyes provides examples of:

  • Abled in the Adaptation: Snake Eyes can talk here.
  • Action Girl: Scarlett is one of the premiere agents of G.I. Joe, and appropriately kicks ass in both physical combat and gunplay.
  • Adaptational Heroism: While many versions of Storm Shadow eventually take the heroic path, his early years are usually defined by the envy and fury he bears towards Snake Eyes. Here his Arashikage loyalties have him protecting Japan from the influence of Kenta and the Yakuza, and teaming up with the Joes against Cobra. It's only through a combination of Snake Eyes' betrayals and his own fury at Kenta making him use the stone that forces him into his traditional villainous roots.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Snake Eyes, of all people, gets a hefty dose of immorality in this film, spending the first half working for Kenta and the Baroness in his quest to find his father's killer.
  • Animal Motifs: Snakes, naturally, for Snake Eyes. He's revealed to be a mole working for Kenta and Cobra so that he can kill his father's murderer (so he's a metaphorical snake), his heart is judged by three giant anacondas, who'll eat him if he's impure, and by the time he's officially gone through his Heel–Face Turn, he is given his iconic outfit and helmet, which has a visible scale pattern on the arms and legs.
  • Anti-Hero: Snake Eyes is not a purely heroic person. He spends most of the movie working with the villainous Kenta and Cobra—albeit begrudgingly—to satisfy his selfish desire for revenge, and his immoral actions lead to countless people dying, the Arashikage clan in shambles, and Tommy embracing his villainous side.
  • Arms Dealer: Kenta runs a weapons smuggling operation across the globe, using his connections to Cobra to branch out to more heavy armaments.
  • Automatic Crossbow: Scarlett wields her signature crossbow pistol in one scene with deadly efficiency, not needing to stop to reload the weapon as she kills several enemies with it.
  • Bad Boss: Kenta is willing to sacrifice dozens of his own men in a ploy to fool Tommy. He also tests out the Jewel of the Sun on a hapless goon of his, incinerating the man while laughing.
  • Beta Outfit: Snake Eyes and Tommy wear motorcycle jumpsuits that resemble their iconic outfits, but while Snake Eyes gets his alpha outfit in the end of the film, Tommy has yet to receive his when he defects to Cobra and rechristens himself "Storm Shadow".
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Kenta and the Baroness are the major threats of the film. Kenta claims the title solely for himself when he foolishly betrays the Baroness for his own power.
  • Blind Weaponmaster: The Blind Master may lack the ability to see, but he is still a force to be reckoned with, able to kill an opponent with a throwing knife from yards away.
  • Blood Oath: Snake Eyes and Tommy cut their hands and shake them to swear loyalty to each other. Snake Eyes swiftly double-crosses him and steals the Jewel of the Sun with a rag stained with his blood, causing him to swear revenge.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: The Jewel of the Sun is secured in a vault with a biometric vault which only four people can open. Snake Eyes spoofs it with a rag stained with Tommy's blood.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When Snake Eyes snaps that Augustine "killed my father," Augustine openly states "you'll have to be more specific" as he's killed a lot of fathers. However, once he gets a closer look, he does remember who Snake Eyes is.
  • Canon Foreigner: Kenta and Akiko are unique characters created for the film.
  • Character Development: Snake Eyes goes from an unscrupulous, selfish man willing to betray his own morals by siding with Cobra, a terrorist organization, and break the trust of the people who brought him in, all in order to kill the man who murdered his father to a man who attempts to right his wrongs, starting with sparing and freeing his father's killer, stopping Kenta's assault on the Arashikage clan, and going after Tommy to prevent the latter from going down a dark path.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • At one point Akiko tells Snake he'll tell him the story of her scars if he can land a strike on her, so he just punches her in the face as soon as she stops talking. Later in said fight, once she's kicking his ass with a sword, he lands a non-lethal strike when she's distracted by Tommy on the phone.
    • As the heroes confront Kenta for the final showdown, his minions raise their swords - and Scarlett and the Baroness just gun them down en masse. It would have killed Kenta too if not for the power of the stone.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Snake Eyes is torn between doing Kenta's dirty work to satisfy his quest for revenge, and his loyalty to the Arashikage and his friend, Tommy.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Done quite literally. Much of the action is centered around at least 1v3 combat, but also rises to 1v20 at some points. While this is largely to show the various named characters as a One-Man Army, it also results in a lot of disposable mooks.
  • Continuity Reboot: This film serves as a reboot to the G.I. Joe film series that was on hiatus since 2013.
  • Covers Always Lie: Mixed with Trailers Always Lie, the posters show off Snake Eye's iconic helmet and outfit more than its actually seen in the movie.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Tommy's usage of the Jewel of the Sun against Kenta (as well as his visible hesitation in giving the stone back) ends up disqualifying him as the next leader of the Arashikage clan, as the clan had swore to guard the stone, but never to use its power; Tommy does not take this well and leaves the clan to join Cobra.
  • Dark Action Girl: The Baroness serves as one of the film's main villains, and is a lethal Femme Fatale as usual for the franchise.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Snake Eyes, the main protagonist who dresses primarily in black, zigzags this. At the beginning, while he's not actively malicious, he's still an amoral man willing to betray his friends to sate his hunger for revenge. After he delivers the Jewel of the Sun to Kenta, he has a change of heart and becomes genuinely heroic.
  • Death by Origin Story: Snake Eyes' father was murdered when he was a boy, paving the way for Snake Eyes' future as a brutal fighter and ninja.
  • Double Weapon: Akiko's choice of weapon is staffs with retractable blades on the tips.
  • Easily Forgiven: Snake Eyes, to a point. He lied to the Arashikage, manipulated Tommy and stole their precious Jewel of the Sun to hand it over to Kenta, who uses it to massacre at least dozens of Arashikage clan members. However, when he realizes the error of his ways and fights to stop Kenta, most of the Arashikage clan don't seem to hold his previous actions against him all that much, possibly in large part due to him passing the third test and impressing the three serpents. At the least, though, Sen did warn him never to betray the clan again. Also, since Tommy felt betrayed by his actions and lost the birthright of leading the Arashikage in the ensuing battle, and centers most of his rage against Snake Eyes for this.
  • Eaten Alive: Kenta is swallowed whole by a giant anaconda.
  • Enemy Mine: After being betrayed by Kenta, the Baroness quickly allies with Scarlett and the two work genuinely well together in fighting Kenta's forces.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Tommy does not take it well when Snake Eyes goes back on their Blood Oath and steals the Jewel of the Sun from the Arashikage. By the end of the film, he swears vengeance on him.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Snake Eyes is disgusted after learning that Cobra is a terrorist organization and tries to back out from being Kenta's mole anymore, refusing to work with terrorists, but his lust for vengeance makes him stay the course.
  • Expy: Akiko is this to Jinx.
  • Face–Heel Turn: To the surprise of few, Tommy's ego and rage lead him down a dark path that results in his expulsion from any possibility of leading the Arashikage. This pushes him to abandon the clan and his family altogether, embracing the name "Storm Shadow" and swearing vengeance.
  • Fixing the Game: Snake Eyes' father was killed after being given a chance to save himself by rolling a pair of dice. If they landed on anything but snake eyes, he would have been spared. As Snake Eyes later learns, the killer used a pair of rigged dice, never intending to spare Snake's father.
  • Foil: Snake Eyes and Tommy. Both have heroic legacies (Snake Eyes' dad was a G.I. Joe, who had stopped a Cobra cell, saving several lives and Tommy has dedicated his life to the Arashikage clan of ninjas, who have protected Japan for centuries), but also have selfish motivations that they are willing to do questionable actions to have them fulfilled (Tommy aspires to lead the clan when Sen passes and does things like bringing an outsider to the clan, ignoring that it may be a dangerous decision; Snake Eyes works with Cobra, despite his hesitance to work with terrorists, and is willing to betray the Arashikage's trust to avenge his father's murder by slaying his killer). However, by the end of the film, Snake Eyes lets go of his lust for revenge and fights against Kenta and his forces, while Tommy in the climax lets his rage get the better of him and uses the Jewel of the Sun against Kenta, which ends up disqualifying him as the next clan leader, since the clan had swore never to use the stone's power. How the two handle the consequences of their actions also contrast each other: upon being rejected as the next leader, Tommy disavows his clan for denying him his birthright, never admitting that it was his own fault, and joins Cobra in revenge, while Snake Eyes leaves the clan to try to bring back Tommy to prevent him from going down a dark path like he did.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Kenta's near-apathy about Snake Eyes' early betrayal ("that's disappointing") and his non-lethal methods in the fight with Tommy - at one point giving him a gut strike that would have fatally wounded him if it hadn't been sheathed - are indicators he set the whole thing up to have Snake Eyes earn Tommy's trust. Oddly enough, he doesn't seem to care that Snake Eyes sided with the Clan for real; likely since Kenta no longer needed him.
    • Tommy's Face–Heel Turn is subtly hinted at throughout the film, with his desire to take down Kenta at all costs, no matter the situation, along with his displays of rage and fury whenever he escapes his grasp.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: The Baroness wears a pair of sleek eyeglasses, and is the primary face of Cobra for the film.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Cobra organisation itself, with the Baroness acting on their behalf. Unusually, Cobra Commander isn't mentioned or even hinted at.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Calling Snake Eyes an outright "villain" would be incorrect, but he spends the first half of the movie scheming against the Arashikage and assisting Kenta, only to realize the folly of his quest for revenge and become a full-fledged, true hero as he works to stop Kenta's annihilation of the Arashikage.
  • Hidden Weapons: Scarlett has a pair of collapsible batons hidden as a retractable suitcase handle, which she uses against a bunch of Cobra assassins.
  • Hourglass Plot: Towards the beginning, Tommy strongly trusts Snake Eyes, wanting him to be his Blood Brother, while Akiko is suspicious of him (wisely so). Throughout the film, as she gets to know him better, Akiko begins to have more faith in Snake Eyes, coming to his aid when he is failing the third test and being the first to realize he is helping the Arashikage against Kenta's forces during the climax; the film ending with her and Snakes Eyes as friends. Tommy, on the other hand, begins to grow cold towards Snake Eyes as he realizes he's deceiving him, with him vowing to take his head after Snake Eyes steals the Jewel of the Sun, and still wanting to settle the fight between them even when he learns Snake Eyes is now on their side. Then, when Snake Eye's manipulations end up causing him to lose his blood right to lead the Arashikage, he leaves the clan and declares Snake Eyes his sworn enemy, to the point that he joins up with Cobra as Storm Shadow.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Tommy states that he had no choice but to use the Jewel of the Sun to stop Kenta. But Sen tells him there's always a choice and he let his rage and ego consume him.
  • Iconic Attribute Adoption Moment: Snake Eyes gets his iconic helmet and jumpsuit from Akiko before going off to bring Tommy back to the clan.
  • Improvised Weapon: Snake Eyes utilizes a stray chain to choke and slow the movements of a street fighter he brawls with. He later uses another chain during his fight with Kenta.
  • Irony: Kenta is banished from the Arashikage and, consumed with fury and envy at not being chosen to lead the clan, builds a criminal army and allies with Cobra. By film's end Tommy, consumed with rage and wounded pride at his grandmother cutting him off from future leadership of the clan, voluntarily abandons the Arashikage, and looks set to acquire a criminal army - Cobra themselves.
  • It's All About Me: Kenta believes he deserve to lead the Arashikage Clan. And so does Tommy.
  • Just Desserts: Kenta's ultimate fate is being devoured by one of the giant anacondas.
  • Light Is Good: Tommy is, for the most part, seen wearing primarily white outfits and is one of the good guys, until his rage and egotism leads him to use the Jewel of the Sun against Kenta, which disqualifies him from becoming the next clan leader and in turn, makes Tommy defect to Cobra, who promises to give Tommy the army he coveted.
  • Lottery of Doom: Augustine apparently likes to let his targets wager for their lives with a dice throw. Of course, the dice he gives his targets is loaded to always come up "snake eyes" (a pair of ones, the lowest possible outcome on a 2d6), so he always wins and gets to kill them.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Snake Eyes himself deceives Tommy, the three heads of the Arashikage clan, and even the paranoid Akiko in surprisingly cunning ways.
  • Meaningful Name: Tommy's clan name of Arashikage means "storm shadow" in Japanese; his alias of Storm Shadow is a direct translation of Arashikage.
  • Mercy Lead: Scarlett offers the Baroness one during the final battle. Baroness instead decides to leave while everyone else is preoccupied with fighting Kenta.
  • Mexican Standoff: Scarlett and the Baroness find themselves on the business ends of one another's guns in the final fight, to the Baroness's amusement.
  • Mythology Gag: Snake Eyes is seen using a Mini Uzi against some Yakuzu during a car chase; an Uzi was one of Snake Eyes' weapons of choice in the early days of G.I. Joe.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: Cobra is, per the norm, a global terrorist organization out to bring violent revolution across the world for its own purposes.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Sen is Tommy's grandmother, as well as the badass leader of the Arashikage clan who can kill entire rooms of armed thugs with nothing but her fans.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Snake Eyes' actions end up getting an ancient artifact of immeasurable power stolen, several Arashikage ninja killed, and Tommy driven into Cobra's arms.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • Kenta's victory was almost assured until he betrayed the Baroness and reneged on their deal. This leads to the latter playing a pivotal role in helping the Joes and Arashikage overwhelm and take down her former partner.
    • Also, Snake Eyes ends up helping the good guys, because Kenta left him alone with his father's killer who revealed that he was hired by Cobra to do so. As well as giving Cobra one more enemy to deal with in the future.
  • Not Worth Killing: Snake Eyes lets his father's killer go after learning that he was hired by Cobra.
  • Not What I Signed on For: Snake Eyes is distraught when he learns that Kenta is working for a terrorist organization and is putting the Arashikage Clan in danger. He wanted out but grudgingly relented when Kenta reminds him of his desire for revenge on his father's killer.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Baroness, Scarlett and Sen take out an entire squad of Cobra and Yakuza guys by themselves before they can be "rescued".
  • Off with His Head!: Kenta decapitates one of the giant anacondas before it eats him, only to get swallowed whole by another one.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Snake Eyes is only ever referred to as just that: "Snake Eyes," taken in remembrance of his father's death and the (apparently) terrible luck regarding his demise.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Henry Golding's natural English accent comes through every now and then.
  • Origins Episode: The plot focuses on Snake Eyes' origins, who would later be the Big Bad in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
  • Playing with Fire: The Jewel of the Sun enables the wielder to burn anything in sight in an instant. Kenta uses it in his march on the Arashikage to burn guards alive, instantly vaporize his attackers, and blow up entire buildings and everyone inside. Tommy also ends up being tempted to use it against Kenta, which disqualifies him from leadership.
  • The Power of the Sun: The Jewel of the Sun, protected by the Arashikage for generations, is a stone supposedly crafted by a sun goddess, and has the power to instantly combust anything the user wishes.
  • Precision F-Strike: The Baroness drops one in the climax of the film, exasperatedly proclaiming "Oh, fuck this!" before ducking out of the final duel.
  • The Quiet One: Averted. The classic Snake Eyes is normally depicted as silent either due to a vow or due to injury. Snake Eyes in this movie, while maybe not a chatterbox, is not shy to hold conversations and there is no interest in showing him becoming silent like the classic version. Not yet, anyway.
  • Race Lift:
    • Snake Eyes himself, who was a blond-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian in the original comic and never removed his helmet or spoke in the previous movie continuity (although he was suit-acted by the Scottish Ray Park), is played here by Malaysian Henry Golding. Golding himself dryly noted that after all the people who accused him of not being Asian enough for Crazy Rich Asians, suddenly he's too Asian for this role.note 
    • The Baroness is usually portrayed as a Caucasian hailing from America or Eastern Europe. The Spain-born Úrsula Corberó portrays the character in this movie.
  • The Reveal:
    • Snake Eyes is a mole working for Kenta to infiltrate the Arashikage.
    • Cobra was behind the murder of Snake Eyes' father, who himself was a Joe.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The Baroness, screwed over by Kenta and knowing she'll be faced with the G.I. Joes once he's defeated, takes the opportunity to flee the scene while the Joes are distracted fighting Kenta.
  • Secret Test of Character:
    • The Hard Master's test of Snake Eyes involves both of them holding a bowl of water, with Snake challenged to get the bowl out of the Hard Master's hand without spilling a drop. Whereas Snake Eyes initially believes it to be a physical challenge, he realizes the actual way to pass is to simply ask the Hard Master to peacefully swap their bowls.
    • Tommy's usage of the Jewel of the Sun in his attempt to kill Kenta out of rage and his hesitation in giving back the stone has Sen declare that Tommy will never lead the clan.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: The first test Snake Eyes faces is to take a bowl of water from the Hard Master without spilling a drop. Trying to fight him proves completely ineffective, but asking him politely works like a charm.
  • Smug Snake: Kenta exudes overconfidence and megalomania, believing that everything will go his way without fail and that, by the end of the film, he's become invincible and unstoppable.
  • Succession Crisis: Everything ties back to who will inherit the leadership of the Arashikage clan from Sen, Tommy or Kenta. in the end, they are both declared unworthy.
  • The Un-Reveal: What was Snake Eyes' real name? Or his father's name? Given the latter's false identities, even Snake Eyes doesn't know his father's name.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Scarlett with the Baroness, apparently, with Scarlett's short briefing on the Baroness noting that after they lost touch the Baroness turned to terrorism.
  • What You Are in the Dark: After spending most of the movie manipulating everyone in the Arashikage clan and working with frickin' terrorists to get his revenge on his father's killer, Snake Eyes, when finally faced with Augustine, cuts his chain and spares his life after Augustine reveals that Cobra has ordered him to kill his father in the first place.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • A non-fatal example when Kenta, believing the Baroness to no longer be useful and tiring of her desire to finish their deal, refuses to hand over the Jewel of the Sun and ends their partnership by punching her to the floor.
    • Cobra was actually behind the murder of Snake Eyes' father, and are quite willing to sacrifice their agent who actually pulled the trigger to manipulate him into working with them.
  • You Were Trying Too Hard: After failing to take the bowl of water from the Hard Master by force, Snake Eyes realizes all he had to do was ask him nicely.