Gemini Man might be the most impressive feat of cinematic technology in Hollywood history, but it’s still not a very good movie. The ending of Ang Lee’s new film illustrates it’s many issues particularly well, and no, I’m not talking about the final scene where the quality of CGI’d Will Smith drops like a YouTube video on shoddy wifi. I’m talking about the previous scene where our heroes finally confront Gemini Man’s villain, the evil military contractor Clay Varris (Clive Owen) — and he comes across as the sanest guy in the room.
It turns out that even Ang Lee noticed this flaw in his movie, and at a press event in September attended by Inverse, he revealed how the studio attempted to fix the issue with a last-minute change.
Warning: Huge spoilers for the end of Gemini Man below.
The central premise of Gemini Man is that Varris’ company, Gemini, has figured out a way to clone humans and then used it to create a perfect copy of the world’s best assassin, Henry Brogan (Will Smith). That’s Junior, who’s raised by Varris and sicced on Henry after he attempts to retire from government service.
Of course, the plan backfires when Junior finds out he’s a clone, and after a couple of epic fight scenes, the two Will Smiths team up to take down Varris. That’s when Varris reveals his trump card, another Will Smith dressed in a bulletproof combat suit.
When that doesn’t work either, Varris shows up in person and attempts to talk some sense into Henry and Junior. He argues that clone soldiers are a better alternative than human casualties. It actually makes a bit of sense, though you could easily argue that clones are people too and removing their emotions (which is Varris’ latest scientific breakthrough) is pretty much the definition of evil. Instead, Henry just shoots Varris in the head and calls it a day.
As Lee explains, the only reason this ending works at all is because of a last-minute change to the movie in response to some of the earliest feedback he got.
“In the previews, people were like, ‘You know what, he kind of makes sense,’ Lee said, and we were like “We’re fucked. Make sure the music tells people he’s evil.’ So we made sure the composer’s doing evil music.”
Yep. That’s right. Gemini Man’s villain makes too much sense, so the movie used music to make him sound more evil. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using a little music to emphasize a cinematic moment. Done right, it adds extra layers of depth to the story. But when it’s added at the last minute to fix a glaring mistake, it feels like an admission that maybe the flaws with this story are too big for a few ominous chords to fix.
Gemini Man is in theaters now.