Film Analysis – Gemini Man (failed) and Black Panther (Big Sucess)


Film Analysis – Gemini Man (failed) and Black Panther (Big Sucess)

After watching these videos, what have you learned about the development of Hollywood storytelling?

The Muybridge film offers insight into the use of still pictures to create a video. The development that Muybridge brought to film entails tricking the eye to see a series of pictures as one continuous video. The film by Edwin Porter, the life of an American fireman, illustrates the early concepts of creating a narrative or a story in film. It has several scenes around a fire rescue mission starting from a fireman’s vision of a woman and child in peril, firemen leaving their living quarters, fire gear leaving the firestation to arrival at the fire. Porter’s film uses different techniques to enhance the story in each scene. Lastly, the film by Thomas Edison, A sneeze caught on film, presents an early version of motion picture where a camera – kinetoscope – records motion as viewed by the human eye.

These technologies are present in modern-day Hollywood. The use of still images being captured by a camera is common in animated films such as Toy Story. The technique is referred to as stop-motion animation where characters are filmed using shot-by-shot and frame-by-frame action. These still images and then pieced together to form a continuous video. The use of narrative and scene-by-scene storytelling is the backbone of most modern films. Most of the modern movies and TV shows for example have various storylines following along the main storyline all in one big narrative flow. Lastly, motion picture is still used with major advancements in camera technologies allowing for super realistic video capture with technologies like high dynamic range and wide color gamut.

Chosen films: Gemini Man (A flop) and Black Panther (Big success)

The major elements of these two films.

Gemini man was made in 2019 and it is based on a story line of a hitman who is battling with a younger version clone of himself. The film is in the genre of science-fiction thriller. Gemini man was expected to attract audiences for two reasons, first, the main actor was Will Smith. In general, Will Smith has a history of successful films and the audiences love him. Second, the film was shot and showcased in 120 frames per second, 3-dimension, 4K resolution technology. This gave it a hyper-realistic visual appeal that was supposed to draw the audiences deeper into the world of sci-fi. The story line was also simple and supposed to be relatable with reference to scientific cloning of a solder. The director, Ang Lee, also drew attention to the film based on his success profile in making international hits.

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Gemini man had a $100 marketing budget. The movie was marketed in theaters and in media before its premier both in the US and other regions such as Japan and China with a focus on its use of de-aging technology and high framerates. However, XX adds that it also used unconventional techniques such as memes on social media to try and engage audiences. The film has also failed to attract any critical acclamations with most of the reviews and critics pointing at the negatives and misdoings of the film that led to its failure. This is evident in sites such as Rotten Tomatoes, Imdb, ScreenRant and Digital Spy.

Black Panther on the other hand was made in 2018 and is based on a story of a warrior – T’challa – that is protecting his country from past leadership and forging a way forward into the future for his kingdom – Wakanda. The film’s appeal was centered on the choice of characters who are black and famous including Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuuya among others.  In addition, the storyline of the film is familiar with audiences as it is that of a kingdom under threat but getting saved by an unlikely hero who defeats an entitled enemy. The use of a fantasy kingdom also resonates with audiences as this is common with such films.  The focus of the film on black actors (with white actors being supporting roles) and success of a black kingdom also improved its likeability across racial lines.

Black Panther’s main marketing success was from merging a film with a relevant social movement. The film attracted unprecedented word-of-mouth marketing based on its focus on black superheroes and hence relevance to the black community. The story of making the film and activities such as crowdfunding for Boys & Girls Club of Harlem to get tickets to the premier made it gain traction worldwide.


Gemini man was based on a common story in sci-fi involving cloning combined with action and adventure. This is the same approach to the storyline followed by Black Panther. However, Gemini man has a more generic plot of a successful soldier or hitman whose past comes back to haunt him. The film also portrays the American hero story. Further, Gemini man failed to reach its targeted audience – those interested in seeing a new kind of technology used in motion picture – because of limited capacity of theatres to showcase such technology. Critics argue that the high focus on technology may have removed the films story-telling capabilities. This was a disconnect with the audience. Black Panther’s story is different simply based on the focus of black superheroes. The storyline resonated and was accepted by large audiences. Critics argue that the film’s brilliance lies in its ability to market itself based on simply the story it was trying to tell. Its acceptance was also beyond one single market a it was a hit internationally. Notably, Gemini man did not succeed both in the US and internationally.


What seems to bring success is the films acceptance by the audience particularly from the grassroot level. The success of Black Panther was largely fueled by word of mouth marketing from audiences that had been impressed by the story it was telling. Gemini man shows that what is likely to cause failure is the lack of focus on what the audience or the market needs. The film required high technology capability for it to be showcased in theaters and this was not available to most of the theaters globally. It also becomes apparent that genre does not necessarily affect the success or failure of a film as long as the story is told in a good way.

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I think both films are great. Gemini Man may have not gotten acclamation from the larger audiences but it demonstrated the capacity to use new technology in story-telling. However, it also points out that box office’s success could be a predictor of how good a movie is. This is given that a movie that becomes a box office success usually has excellent score in all aspects just like Black Panther did. The movie needs to not lean on just one good aspect but rather merge all elements of story-telling to capture the audience. It is also evident that the general public tends to focus on box office winners and neglecting any other films that fail at box office. This could be due to the role box office plays in influencing perceptions but it could also be due to the fact that successful box office films are just good by themselves.

A review: Dark Phoenix

Dark Phoenix follows the story of a woman – Jean Grey – who in a cosmic accident ends up absorbing a lot of power that later turns out into a source of imbalance in her life as she struggles to learn where she stands with her family and her enemies. At the surface level, this movie may seem like another extension to the cosmic stories of the X-men franchise but it carries the same-old deeper meaning around co-existence between human beings and the price that sometimes people pay for that. The film follows in the footsteps of other great X-men films where the narrative is that of power going to the outcast or disparaged members of society and the reality that even with special power, they still find it hard to fit within the rails of those who claim to be doing good in society. It is a form of batter between the fits and misfits and who defines the rules. Overall, this film is excellent given this narrative is delivered in a mix of great acting, CGI effects and thrilling nuggets of action.

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