Why Snake Eyes Doesn’t Wear His Mask In His New Movie
The reaction to the first trailer for Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins has mostly been pretty positive. There’s only so much you can glean from a teaser, but this one has some ninja action, chase scenes, and a couple of other G.I. Joe cameos. So far, so good.
The one thing that has raised a few eyebrows is the depiction of Snake Eyes himself by Henry Golding. Not because he’s a bad choice for the character, but because we see so much of him onscreen. Everyone knows Snake Eyes as the Joe’s silent, deadly, black-suited assassin. He never speaks and he never takes off his mask. And in this trailer... he speaks and takes off his mask.
Before you push up your nerd glasses and write a sternly-worded email to your representative in Congress, hear Golding out. In an interview with ScreenRant, he explains why you’ll see Snake Eyes’ eyes (as well as his nose, lips, cheeks, and general facial area) in Snake Eyes. The film, he notes, is“ the building of his background and the building of his true origin” and so “it was so important to set the standard and set the basis of [him].”
Golding also implied that if Snake Eyes is a hit, this might be the last time we see his face onscreen as Snake Eyes...
If we were to go the next 5 or 6 films with just his mask on, we all know who Snake Eyes is. And that was what was so important. People complaining that, "Ahh! We see his face!" Well, he didn't come out of his mother's belly with a mask on and whatnot. Who's to say we won't go the entire rest of the movies [like that]?
On a very practical level, it would be awfully difficult to make an entire movie about a protagonist who never speaks and whose face is never seen. Sure, Snake Eyes showed up in the other live-action G.I. Joe movies (where he was played by Ray Park) and he didn’t take or show his face. But he was also just one of a bunch of different G.I. Joes. (He also had molded lips on his mask, which was kinda weird.)
Darth Vader keeps his mask on until Return of the Jedi — but he’s the villain of Star Wars, not the hero. (When he became its hero, in the Star Wars prequels, he only put on his Vader costume in the last film’s final scenes.) It’s almost impossible for an audience to relate to a person they can’t see and hear. Or, as Golding himself put it, “we need to be able to see that in his eyes and, wearing a mask, sometimes we just aren't able to put that across.” So you can bet the film is about how Snake Eyes became the guy everyone remembers from G.I. Joe comics and cartoons.
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe opens in theaters on July 23.