It’s probably a coincidence that a movie as loaded with nods to fans as “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” opened on Easter weekend. Either way, the film was loaded with Easter eggs begging to be found. We’ve compiled a handy list of five such moments, complete with spoilers about some key plot points in the film. Those who missed “Retaliation” on opening weekend wishing to remain spoiler-free, you’ve been warned. Now, on to the deep G.I. Joe references!
“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” opens with a sequence to get viewers up to speed from 2009’s “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.” The sequence shows the file cards found on the back of the ’80s G.I. Joe action figures. The file cards provided kids with plenty of information to fill out their miniature adventures; everything from real names to birthplaces made their way onto these cards, including absolutely inessential information. To show you just how inessential some information was, G.I. Joe member Barbecue’s file card proudly states that he can open bottles with his teeth and pick up quarters with his ears. We’re reintroduced to Channing Tatum’s Duke this way, and Adrianne Palicki’s Lady Jaye and D.J. Cotrona’s Flint first appear in this sequence.
Cupcakes form a gumbo chef
Duke and Roadblock, played by Dwayne Johnson, cool off after a covert op by doing what everyone does: shooting candles off cupcakes. Don’t question it; just go with it. The characters riff back and forth, quickly revealing that they don’t “trust a cupcake from a gumbo chef.” This line is delivered pretty offhandedly, but it’s a sly nod to G.I. Joe mainstay Gung-Ho. The Louisiana native and resident Marine became synonymous with the special gumbo he cooked up to build muscle. Brendan Fraser was supposed to play Gung-Ho in “The Rise of Cobra,” but legal difficulties with the character’s name led to the actor portraying a new character named Sergeant Stone.
Jinx (Elodie Yung) is one of the many new Joes to enlist in the sequel. Her debut scene depicts her sparring with fellow ninja Snake-Eyes while blindfolded. This may have stood out as odd to Joe newbies, but this is actually a key component of the character established in her debut appearance, 1987’s “G.I. Joe: The Movie.” In the animated film, Jinx is portrayed as being more efficient while fighting blind, the result of her tutelage under the Blind Master. She turns around two losing battles by covering her eyes and making short work of her opponents. This isn’t the case in “Retaliation” as Yung is wide-eyed in every battle, but that one blindfolded battle provides a nice nod to the source material.
The inclusion of G.I. Joe’s ninja lore was a welcome addition, but the film took the ninja thing a few steps deeper. The Arashikage clan’s entire back story boils down to a quick, exposition-heavy scene needed to make Storm Shadow switch sides. The plot twist is pulled straight from “G.I. Joe” #45, published by Marvel Comics in 1986. In it, Storm Shadow discovers that the man who framed him for murdering the Hard Master is actually Zartan. This set about Storm Shadow’s slow turn toward the light side, a switch that was paralleled in the cartoon series without providing a similar explanation.
The Marvel Comic “G.I. Joe” #21, titled “Silent Interlude,” also inspired the movie’s most jaw-dropping action sequence. The totally silent mountainside battle between Snake-Eyes, Jinx and a squad of Cobra ninjas mirrors the similarly silent comic book issue, which depicts Snake-Eyes rescuing Scarlett from a Cobra castle in the Balkans.
Flint and Lady Jaye
The characters played by Palicki and Cotrona just so happen to be one of G.I. Joe’s power couples. Flint and Lady Jaye were paired up in both the original cartoon series and the Marvel comics. In “Retaliation” they aren’t so much paired together as stuck together, being two of three survivors of a ruthless Cobra attack. The two of them share a number of scenes together, including one where Flint is shown obviously checking out Lady Jaye’s reflection in a television set. While the two don’t get as close as they do in the cartoon and comics, the filmmakers planted the seed.
Flint also gets a nice nod to his classic uniform in the final scene. While the Joes are receiving commendations from the president for their service, the Joes are all decked out in dress uniforms, including berets. While that doesn’t mean anything for Roadblock and Lady Jaye, it means a lot for Flint. He rocked a beret continuously throughout the original cartoons and comics. It’s a shame that Lady Jaye, most known for throwing her tricked-out javelins during battle, didn’t get a similar nod to her antiquated weaponry.
Check out everything we’ve got on “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.”