What a year 2021 has been for the G.I. Joe brand. I don’t think anybody could have predicted the absolute explosion in product that is on the way. The variety in style, brand, size class, price point, and overall selection leaves something for everybody to look forward to. We are now in a full resurgence of the G.I. Joe brand with the G.I. Joe Classified Series anchoring the action figures at mass retail and the Snake Eyes G.I. Joe Origins movie leading the mass marketing push into the mainstream. None of this would have been possible without change.
So where do we go from here? I guess we should start with the last two months of feast or famine that just took place, and in some cases is still ongoing. We went from no G.I. Joe Classified or Retro products to how many do you need – take your fill. The Target Cobra Island situation started out on a really bad note and looked like it was going to be a disaster only to find out it was a temporary tech glitch that lead to the flood gates opening. People went from no Cobra Troopers to having the ability to Army build (very important for some of us) and most people just wanted to fill the holes in the numbered line up with The Baroness, Beachhead, Roadblock and Firefly. This led to a full on scramble to obtain the early first waves for those who stayed on the sidelines waiting to see how the line developed. But wait there’s more! The addition of Alpha Snake Eyes and that incredible articulated Timber, color changing Zartan, ARAH Amazon Roadblock and Breaker with RAM Cycle to name a few and if the rumors floating around about what awaits us in 2022 are even halfway true Classified and Retro fans are going to have a banner year. So, start saving your money now.
One last thing before we get started with the Snake Eyes movie. As G.I. Joe action figure collectors, we need to understand and manage our expectations for the ability of Hasbro (and it’s not just them) to get product to market with the ongoing Covid-19 (and now Delta) situation. Things are starting to open back up and return to normal but the very real cascading problems that were set into motion are far from over. There are massive shipping delays, massive inflation in shipping pricing, shortages of shipping containers and longshoreman who are under contract to be out to sea a maximum of 11 months, are now going on an average of 16 months, with no breaks out to sea, and no end in sight. So, unless Hasbro has been able to somehow shield themselves from these continuing effects, expect and uneven flow of action figure spice moving forward. Feast or famine conditions are going to be the new normal until the world fully recovers.
I guess this is where we dive into the Snake Eyes movie. So much to unpack here. Firstly, go see the movie for yourself. Nobody online spouting off their opinion is going to be 100% correct including myself. The matrix cannot tell you who you are as a G.I. Joe fan and the Snake Eyes movie is full of conflict for the seasoned fan. I almost feel the people walking into this for the first time are going to have the most fun watching it. No predetermined expectations, engrained happy childhood experiences, and for some of us almost 40+ years of collecting and absorbing G.I. Joe lore.
The early reviews started coming in on Wednesday and I was disappointed to see the tone and overall negative framework some of the so called “lifelong Hollywood G.I. Joe fans” took when speaking of the direction of the film. The very narrow perspective from Hollywood critics that nobody who is an OG fan of G.I. Joe is going to like this is just not justified. Just because the Snake Eyes movie is not a direct telling of Comic book lore is not a true measure of how good or bad this film is. Make no mistake this movie is 100% a reboot of the Arashikage and the relationship between Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes. The people walking in to see Snake Eyes who are not the core fan base are not going to care. They just want to see a good action – martial arts movie about ninjas and on that note it delivers. It also introduces Cobra and G.I. Joe to a new generation while the focus is on character development (Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes), something that was severely lacking in the first two attempts.
Spoilers are ahead. Should you choose to read on you will see spoilers.