So yeah, if you were willing to accept that this movie was, in fact, the equivalent of taking little army dolls and moving them from room to room in a house and making them spout catchphrases at each other, it was good times.
One thing in particular that I noticed about this movie was its portrayal of women. There are two women in the movie, and they speak to each other, not about a man. Bechdel, check! And while there were hints of a romantic subplot, it was only a hint and only in one scene, and actually only used to further the characterization of the main female character Jaye.
I really liked Jaye. She made smart choices, didn't once get kidnapped or rescued, and didn't take any crap.
|Roll call! From left to right - Jaye, Joe, and that guy|
played by The Rock.
G.I.Joe: Retaliation has one of the most realistic portrayals of misogyny that I've seen in a movie, ever. It's subtle and pervasive, and that's what makes it so true to life.
Bruce Willis plays Joe, the former head of the G.I.Joes. When he first meets Jaye, he calls her Brenda, and then insists on calling her Brenda throughout the rest of the movie. Does he do anything similar to her two male companions? No, of course not. And when he needs someone to get him something, he asks her. Here's the dialogue exchange that really hit home for me:
Joe: Pass me that pen, would you Brenda?
Jaye: First a Girl Scout, and now I'm a secretary. My name's Jaye.
Joe: It's just a pen.
This is what misogyny looks like, people. It's almost never the blatant "When I want to create a female character, I think of a man and I take away the reason and the accountability," of Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets. Usually it's small, subtle jibes that pile up over time, and women are laughed at and called oversensitive when they try to point them out - just like what happens to Jaye.
What I liked about this movie was that Jaye never just accepted it. She let it go - as women are often forced to do in the face of larger issues, like nuclear missiles with less security than a 711 lockbox - but she keeps pushing back and forcing Joe to acknowledge her as an equal. From later in the movie, after a fight...
Joe: You alright?
Jaye: Yeah. Are you alright?
Joe: ...Fine. Cholesterol's a little high.
Jaye: *extravagant eye roll*
And to give this movie its due, I do think that we're meant to find Joe's persistent sexism grating. By the end of the movie he swallows his pride and calls Jaye by her name in a scene that, while a little overdone, has its heart in the right place.
|She actually has LESS cleavage in the movie|
than in a kiddie cartoon.
That's all I ask for. So thanks, G.I.Joe. You served admirably. HOOAH!