Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Yo, Joe!

I love G.I. Joe. Not the action figures. I bought and played with them briefly in the early ’80s as a preteen. Not the cartoon. I was in my mid-teens by the time the cartoon hit the airwaves. But that original Marvel comic book series was the centerpiece of my comic world in the ’80s. I read and loved that book for half a decade. It was the last comic I collected before walking away from comic books completely in high school. To say G.I. Joe holds a special place in my personal comic pantheon would be an understatement. So when you go and make a movie of it, you better believe I’m bringing a footlocker’s worth of nostalgic baggage to the table.

I admit I was swayed by early reviews and a lack of positive buzz around this summer’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra big-budget flick, so I stayed away from the theater. My friend David and I have a theory: If a movie – especially a movie with roots or ties to the comic book culture – is not getting good reviews, then avoid the flick’s initial run and catch it later at home after the hype machine has died down. It worked for Ghost Rider. It worked for X-Men Origins: Wolverine. And, I am thrilled to report that, yes, it worked for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, too.

I couldn’t believe how readily I was able to suspended disbelief for anything the movie threw at me and just surrender to the thrill-ride fun. And I was even more surprised at how easy it was for me to set aside everything I know and love about the history and continuity of the G.I. Joe franchise and embrace [SPOILER] Baroness and Cobra Commander being siblings, Snake Eyes taking a vow of silence, The Pit located in North Africa, Duke and the Baroness linked romantically [SPOILER], and so on.

Even Tracy, who has no point of reference whatsoever for the franchise outside of the chapter I devote to the Real American Heroes in my book, enjoyed the movie. We had a fun time passing a couple of hours, and I would definitely check out a sequel… after it makes its way to DVD, of course.

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