Gemini Man is being billed as an action movie. That’s not really a surprise, it’s pretty much what I would expect to see coming from a Will Smith movie produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. However, if Gemini Man is anything, it’s actually a thriller. That’s not to say that there isn’t action in the film, you’re never more aware that this is a Bruckheimer film then during a gun fight being held in the middle of a dirtbike chase through the streets of Columbia. There are plenty of fisticuffs and guns in the movie, but there’s a lot more silencers than I’m used to in a Bruckheimer flick. It’s kind of a thriller through that prism.
Will Smith faces-off with a younger clone of himself on the eve of his retirement. It’s a simple premise, but built up with a great deal more intrigue and espionage surrounding it. Smith himself is an odd choice for this role, he’s one of those actors, much like Tom Cruise or Johnny Depp who don’t visibly age. It would have made more sense with Clint Eastwood, who the script was originally written for in the 90’s. The real trick in this film is not so much trying to make Smith look young (with de-aging CGI), but rather trying to make him look older. Either they’ve added some gray or he’s stopped dying his hair. Either way there is a concerted effort to create a salt and pepper tone to his head and beard, as well as some extra ageing added through the conturing of his make up. Nevertheless, the age difference remains a great deal more subtle then I prefer for this type of film. Even more disconcerting is the young clone. While convincing, there’s somthing not right about it – especially to of us who grew up watching the fresh Prince of Bel-Air and know what Will Smith looked like at this age… something is a bit off, though I doubt it will really throw off younger viewers.
Smith is still playing to type here, albeit an older and slightly more cynical version of himself. It’s much the same character that we saw him play in Suicide Squad. Benedict Wong is an excellent supporting cast, perfect when we need comic relief and reliable when we need back up. I’m most impressed though, with Mary Elizabeth Winstead. My main exposure to her is of course, Scott Pilgrim Versus the World, and that’s a bit of a problem. I absolutely hate the character of Ramona Flowers and that’s strange because in this film Winstead is so much more likeable. She elevates her performance and redeems herself from that role, giving us a competent female lead that is still likeable while being tough as nails. I kind of want to see more of Winstead now in other roles.
The film doesn’t really bother with a love story sub plot, it doesn’t have time. It’s self aware enough though to make it an issue – talking about how there are certain things you give up for the life of an assassin. It’s a good way of addressing the elephant in the room without catering to it.
If I have any real complaints it’s the negative way in which fathers are portrayed– Of course the evil dude in charge of the clone isn’t a real father, even if he says he is, but I always bristle when fatherhood is kind of trashed in this manner.
Gemini Man is a good, fast paced, globetrotting thriller that will keep you engaged though you won’t find too many surprises here. Even the twist towards the end can be seen coming a mile away.
Gemini Man opens in theaters nationwide October 11.
No, it’s not the conventional wisdom that DC dosen’t make good movies (but we’ll get to that later….), it really started with the casting of Will Smith as Deadshot.
See, I’m a fan. I remember being intrigued by the ads for SS in the back of my Superman and Star Trek comics in the late 80’s. I remember grabbing nearly half the run out of the fifty cent bins at Astonish! around 1990. I remember buying the Deadshot mini series off the rack at the drug store in 1988 (how did that pass the comics code anyhow? I can’t believe there’s no Mature readers warning on it…) I read both revivals, and it was one of the few titles I actually jumped on board with when the new 52 came around. So what it came down to was if they would capture the feel of the comic – the dynamic that made it work.
Thank God. They did. It’s TOTALLY Suicide squad. It’s chaotic, people die, things go horribly wrong, it’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a SS movie. Even Will Smith almost made me forget he all wrong for the role – played it surprisingly low key. HQ was dead on. There was JUST enough Boomerang….I want more next time though. In particular I want to see more squabbling between him and Deadshot – a staple from the comics. The pink Unicorn thing was strange. I wonder if that was part of the reshoots…an afterthough by the producers when following a screening od Deadpool?
El Diablo was surprisingly well developed. Waller was dead on (actually better than her portrayl in green Lantern. I was surprised). I loved EVERY moment of it. But even more astonishingly – my daughter loved every moment of it.
She thought it was one of the most exciting things she’d ever seen. She was a little peeved about Katana only speaking Japenese, but was still stoked to see her on the screen. She immediatly got the connections to BvS and was super excited to catch that. She though Harley was hilarious. As soon as Enchantress came on the screen she gasped and demanded I make her an enchantress costume.
So why do I feel this sense of Deja Vu?
I’ve spent a great deal of this weekend rolling my eyes at the constant negative reviews. I can’t believe these people saw the same movie as I did. I do think there is some element of Marvel vs DC – particularly on the Critics side. Once again, Rotten Tomatoes is showing high marks on the viewer score and low on the critic score. Interestingly, while a lot of that managed to thoroughly label BvS a flop (despite making well over 800 million – that three times it’s budget folks!) and a bad movie the same stigma isn’t managing to stick quite as well to SS.
From real people, There’s a couple of things I’m hearing consistently. One is about the Joker. I do get this. I really do. I still hate the facial tattoos and the grill on the teeth. But you know what? I actually dig the performance. I said it way back in January “it’s happened in the past that a person’s performance can get you past all of that. It’s what I’m very much hoping for here”. Turns out, that is indeed what we got. Leto’s Joker is creepy and ratchets up the crazy, finally hitting the level I’m used to seeing in the comics. I think a lot of people are holding on to Heath Ledger’s performance. I really do. It’s considered one of the definitive Jokers ever. The fact that I hate it personally, probably helps me let got a little easier. If the anarchist is what you’re looking for, then yeah, you’ll hate this. If you can’t get past the tats, you’ll hate this. I was skeptical about the cloths myself. In that same article I also wrote “The Joker is supposed to be a dandy, impeccable and unflappable in a crazy sort of way. ” It took a moment, but I realized that this Joker really WAS a dandy. Flamboyant, in a mid 2000’s way – yet just as uninterested in actual fashion as his comic counterpart. In short, he works. I really do encourage you too look past some of the superficial here. There’s actually a LOT to like about this Joker.
The other main complaint I consistently hear is that it’s too confusing. I have a problem with this because I wasn’t confused at all. I liked having a couple of quickie short films at the beginning to introduce us to the skwad as Waller flips through the files. In fact, I like it WAY better than taking up half a movie with an origin story. I couldn’t understand how this was confusing. Sam Stutler suggested to me that “maybe it’s because the story was so enmeshed in the medium. (like say, Watchmen)”. I’m not sure I agree with this. While the tone really did skew close to SS (this is NOT a superhero movie guys. It’s not Avengers on with bad guys – it’s something else entirely), it’s not the comic book. You can see the writers read the comics though….there’s a great moment with Captain Boomerang and Slipknot that is pulled STRAIGHT out of one of the earliest issues. It’s nearly word for word and uses the exact same characters. I squeeled like a little girl.
I think my friend Jen put it into better perspective for me. She claimed there seemed like too much you were expected to know going in. “There’s too many mones where it’s just like ‘you know…’. No! I don’t know!”. It could be that my familiarity with the characters blinds me to this. We’re living in an age where Harley Quinn is univerally known, and Deadshot isn’t far behind. But she may be right. I’m used to this story structure. Do the mission get time off, or get released outright. Squad is
expendable. Wander off get your hand or later on head) blown off. I got the visual ques right away, maybe some of this stuff wasn’t spelled out enough. erhaps that stuff should have been in the commercials instead of the quirky music and “worst heroes ever” tagline.
Still, despite the confusion, a lot of those folks seemed to like the movie just on the strength of it’s bright chaotic action strenghts alone – and that’s a good sign that DC is on the right track, no matter what the critics say.
As far as I’m concerned, this was the best film I’ve seen all year.
Oh by the way, John Ostrander – the creator of Amanda Waller and writer on that original run of SS in the 80’s as well as Writer of Stuff Peter David and director/comic writer Kevin Smith all thought it was pretty dope as well…..
(warning, strong language abounds)
I so, really, REALLY want to like this. Deadshot is all wrong (and was always my favorite character of the squad) but everyone else looks good and the pose is brilliant….It’s like having a loose tooth you know? You keep wiggling it because it hurts and feels good at the same time, and you really want to have it out, but know it’s going to be a mother ripping that thing out of your head.
And that’s really the thing about all of this that bothers me. They did such a good job on so many of these characters. They really did. Even Deadshot actually looks very good…as long as he keeps that mask on, but the thing is, Deadshot is way more than a mask. There’s a huge amount of character there, and it’s not the character type that Will Smith plays. I know, I sound like I’m being picky, oversensitive, overfocusing. You have to understand, I’ve wanted a Deadshot film since 1989. It’s always been that important to me and now that I’m getting one, it has the worst casting since Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze.
Then there’s also the Joker. Yeah, I’m one of those guys that can’t get past the tattoos. Actually it’s just the ones on his face.
Now, it’s happened in the past that a person’s performance can get you past all of that. It’s what I’m very much hoping for here, because it’s indicative of there personality we are supposed to be getting from him and it bothers me a bit. The Joker is supposed to be a dandy, impeccable and unflappable in a crazy sort of way. This appearance is a little too gansta thug and it bothers me. It’s like an itch at the very base of my brain that I just can’t quite scratch.
But again, what makes it so frustrating is how good the rest of this film and this cast looks, and how well they seem to have captured the rest of this gang, both in appearance and in swagger.
I dig the look they have for Harley. It’s an evolution on the kind of slutty Harley they’ve been going towards in the comics, but then again, I wouldn’t really look at this as her “costume” but rather just the clothes she basically woke up in . I can get behind that.
Capitan Boomerang. I can’t say enough about how much i love both the look and the casting. If you want to talk about a character that I’m almost as invested in as Deadshot – there it is. Digger is a bright side to look on if there ever was one.
Katana looks great here. A perfect take on the new 52 version, through I can’t for the life of me understand what she’s doing here- she hasn’t been a part of this group in any incarnation ,though I suspect she’s fulfilling Vixen’s comic book role of “trouble heroine looking for redemption”. Indeed, when I look at this picture here and think of her filling the absent Vixen’s dynamic it makes me wonder if Will Smith’s Deadshot isn’t really meant to fill the role of Bronze Tiger, also a troubled hero (once a villain, now trying to make up for his past). The way he’s right over Katana’s shoulder and the warm, almost regretful tone he speaks in the trailer really makes me wonder. Both Bronze Tiger and Vixen were core members of the original team, they were very much it’s heart and it’s conscience. Those roles are essential in a team like this, but those names are even more unknown than a lot of the rest of the team. From a marketing standpoint it would make sense to roll Tiger and Deadshot up into one character (even if it frustrates me to no end…)
Great casting on Croc, and even El Diablo has a very interesting look, again, not sure who is making the choices for the line up, but I’m all for the roster here.
I’m impressed with the marketing here. It looks like DC is taking a page from Marvel’s book and building this up much the same way Marvel did Guardian’s of the Galaxy. I hope it works for them. While both were fairly unknown properties with only minimal name recognition going for them, Guardians had fun and space opera working for them, where as this film has a nihilistic edge and gritty action feel to it – very different kinds of movies. At the time, Marvel also had already proven itself as a studio brand – you knew what kind of film you were going to with a Marvel movie. DC and Legendary pictures hasn’t quite established itself yet, and what little identity it has, is very serious and grim.
I’m on the edge of my seat. I really am. I don’t know whether to cheer or kvetch. But on thing is for sure, I’ll be there to see the movie in August.