October 19, 2012

Review: Men in Black 3

Let's be honest: there is absolutely no point to Men in Black 3. If, for some unknown reason, you thought that the point of the movie industry was to create works of fiction with meaning, then this movie disproves that. This is not a movie that needed to be made for any other reason than money. There were no pressing issues to be answered from Men in Black 2, and indeed beyond the original movie the Men in Black series feels less like stories worthy of an actual movie and more like really expensive and long television episodes. That is especially a problem given both that the source material has so much to work off of and that there already exists an animated television series, and a pretty good one to boot, which only further reinforces that within the even the limited, much lowered expectations of a movie that is both unneeded and outdone by a cartoon, this movie should at all levels disappoint me.

And yet I enjoyed watching it. The strongest reason is probably because it brings back memories of watching the previous two movies as a kid. But even with that bias, the movie does a decent job of merely being an enjoyable mindless summer blockbuster. So long as you come into viewing this movie with the expectations you'd give any kind of movie released between May and August (or more generally, most new Will Smith movies), you're going to have a good time. You won't have to think too much, and won't (or rather, shouldn't) have sudden revelations about your life, but you will walk out of the theater feeling like you didn't waste your money.

The acting is pretty par for the course. The writing is not particularly great. In fact, the only scene that will elevate you from content smirk to actual laughter might be the brief warning given to Agent J (Smith) right before he time jumps back to 1969 about watching out for the racism. Still, the plot is more than serviceable, and although the outcome isn't really in doubt, the plot moves with enough suspense to keep it interesting.

The movie obviously has its flaws. Sometimes the dialogue feels corny, and some plot elements are pretty ridiculous even for a movie about a secret government agency monitoring aliens. Still, with decent acting and writing, Men in Black 3 somehow overcomes its complete lack of need for existence and becomes a movie worth watching, at the very least once.

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