After nearly two decades in various stages of development, “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” is finally here. But will the adaptation fly like “Transformers” or fizzle like “Thunderbirds”?

Before you head to the theater to make up your own mind, don’t forget to read over our cheat sheet — tracking the past, present and future of the franchise while giving some titular shout-outs to a few of our all-time favorite Joes.

Does anybody even remember Ripcord enough to know that he wasn’t African-American? What’s with Breaker’s new Robocop monocle? For these and other laughs, check out this piece comparing the ’80s “Joe” characters to their counterparts in the new film.

Cover Girl
All the stars of “G. I. Joe” claim they were fans of the cartoon as kids — except Sienna Miller, who admits she didn’t have much knowledge of it growing up in Britain. Instead, she considered Action Man as her hero.

Way back in 2006, producer Don Murphy broke some news (and a lot of fanboy hearts) by making it sound like there would never be a live-action “Joe” movieafter Sony had passed on it for fear of post-Iraq hostilities toward the U.S. military. Two years later, a movie was on the way — and executive producer and Hasbro COO Brian Goldner was revealing some big news about the tie-in toys.

Gung Ho
A lifelong “Joe” fan, Channing Tatum originally wanted to play Snake Eyes, but settled for Duke knowing the fans would be keeping a close eye on the film’s authenticity and committed so fully to the flick that he even put his honeymoon on hold to promote it. Speaking about how hard-core all the boys were about playing their former toys, Joseph Gordon-Levittbased his Cobra Commander on the cartoon series.

Heavy Metal
Ever since the ’60s, “G. I. Joe” has been about selling all those wonderful toys. It’s no surprise, then, that the new film gives us such cool new props as Destro’s mask and Snake Eyes’ sword.

When we visited the set a little while back, we watched “G.I. Joe” filming — but saw little that was reminiscent of the “Real American Hero” incarnation from the ’80s.

Quick Kick
The whole cast underwent extensive training, and it shows in such action scenes as the big Eiffel Tower attack and the “Wanted”-esque scene in which the rookie Joes experience their accelerator suits firsthand for the first time.

“The Rise of Cobra” has encountered many obstacles during its production that have so far kept it from rising very high. Among these was a Super Bowl ad that proved underwhelming (check out our shot-by-shot analysis of the ad), fear over the casting of funnyman Marlon Wayans and a disastrous response to the leaked images of a bondage-club-looking Cobra Commander. Oh, and those rumors about director Stephen Sommers’ getting fired didn’t exactly help matters. Ultimately, however, the reviews seem to be more positive than expected, and one of our resident experts has been liking what he’s seen.

Sgt. Slaughter
One of the film’s highlights is sure to be a girl-on-girl throw-down between Miller as an accent-less Baroness and Rachel Nichols as Scarlett. Who says “G.I. Joe” is only for boys?

Rock ‘n’ Roll
It all began with the likes of Dennis Quaid and Channing Tatum, and the “Joe” role call grew from there. Although the look of Duke, Ripcord, Heavy Duty and the rest had a decidedly “Matrix”-like appearance to them, some fans (and leather enthusiasts) have seen their outfits as more appropriate than those of the cartoon show.

From the accelerator suits to the heightened-reality stunts to the suits, gadgets, and high-tech action, this “Joe” never set out to be realistic — but then again, who knows what the military is secretly up to? Let’s just hope that if there really is a Cobra Commander out there, his time is as occupied as Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s was getting into costume every day.

If “Joe” is a hit, the spirit seems sure to live on. Sienna Miller and Rachel Nichols are in for a sequel, as is Marlon Wayans — as long as it’s not a parody. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, meanwhile, promises that the first film will leave us wanting more.

The film has been thundering all over the world as it built buzz in Tokyo andLondon, but according to our weekend poll, the movie might have trouble outselling … “Paper Heart”?

Major Bludd
The most popular character in the “G.I. Joe” universe has always been Snake-Eyes, so it’s no surprise that genre favorite/ martial-arts expert Ray Park became a fan favorite for the role — and after landing it, he was determined to keep the black-clad badass tough, tender and silent.

Dr. Mindbender
Why was Joseph Gordon-Levitt so terrifyingly excited about “G.I. Joe” being “AWESOME”? Why did Gordon-Levitt and di Bonaventura compare Cobra Commander to Heath Ledger’s Joker? Did Brendan Fraser dress up in a camouflage vest and put a tattoo on his chest? The answers to all this and more can be found at your local movie theater — and knowing is half the battle.