I realize that being one of maybe twenty-five people on the planet who found the first film kind of entertaining gives me zero credibility, but this thing was a mess when it didn't need to be a mess--Jon Chu has an eye for great action set-pieces, but they're islands on a nearly plot-free sea of overly-complex and terribly-paced plot threads, leading to a climax where two dudes fight on a backlot over a suitcase.
Really odd to see how a lot of this film jumps from inspired to bland, one wonders how much the studio messed with it in those 9 months. The stuff that work though might not be great, but it is pretty fun (cliff, gunkata, pretty much everything with ninja fighting). On the plus side, Equilibrium can now be completely forgotten as the hand to hand gun fighting in this is way better. Still not great. Gunkata is stupid.
The character development is better than that of its predecessor, but it all goes to waste with the downright insipid screenplay. For films that are based off of Hasbro's toy franchise, there's no reason for the lack of self-awareness. It takes itself far too seriously and apart from some incredibly choreographed action sequences - the Himalayan mountain side fight is especially great - it's all pretty tiresome.
Am I going to say G.I. Joe 2 is "misunderstood"? Yes. Yes I am. First of all, you have to accept that its a movie about a child's toy. The plot is preposterous and silly, the characters are "plastic" and come in and out without explanation, yet its gleefully dumb, plus "fun" and "cool" in a way that depends on the childishness of it all. Plus, its' 50% less fat & 10% the CGI of your Michael Bay fare. Plus the action.
What were you expecting? Strong women without a sappy-daddy backstory? HAH. At least it doesn't end with a make-out scene or D.I.D rescue. I'm also happy to see a sexified Asian male even if he is a Korean actor playing Japanese. GI Bro 2: Brotaliation felt the most satisfying of recent exploding-dick flicks. And, really, Halloween RZA and his Tokyo rooftop garden were GOLDEN. JGL should have come back for this gem.