Wednesday, May 30, 2012

#417. Men in Black 3, Star Trek, Superheroes

I went to see Men in Black 3, because I'm a fan of the series and Will Smith and Josh Brolin.

That's out of the way.  It's also a good movie.  The whole series is like the American Version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, with humans thrust into the knowledge of the existence of aliens, and then dealing with it.  In the world of MiB, aliens regularly travel to Earth, but agents prevent any real mischief from happening.  Mostly, aliens blend in with the rest of human civilization, explaining in superficial terms why some things are the way they are (odd people, mostly), and also who those mysterious "men in black" are.  In these movies, they're Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, who enjoys his job a lot.

In this one, he's bothered that Jones's Agent K doesn't, and so keeps trying to find out the answer, until he does.  The recurring theme of the movie is to be careful what you wish for.  Time travel is involved, and so is Brolin's impersonation of Jones.  After the first movie, everyone realized what they had in this franchise, and so the second movie exploited that with entertaining results, but this one is about appreciating it.  Smith hasn't been in a movie in three years, but he seems to have done this one so he can continue his streak of finding depth in the projects he chooses.  It would at first seem as if the MiB franchise is the last place to find depth, but they figured it out (reports indicate that it was, in fact, difficult).  With heavy foreboding, Agent J sets out to figure out why Agent K derives no pleasure in his work.  The explanation is entirely appropriate, and could have been told entirely differently, if this had been any other franchise.

As it is, there are a lot of deviations from the formula.  There's no attractive actress to play the third lead (after Linda Fiorentino and Rosario Dawson in the first two), just the series stripped to its pure essentials, the dynamite dynamic between Jones and Smith, returning to the act ten years hence.  Was there any other reason to do it again except to make a final point about the whole thing?

Except that these movies are consistently better as blockbuster experiences than just about anything else.  They know they're lighthearted entertainment, but with this entry they're now lightyears ahead of the competition.  The Avengers will never approach this stuff.


I've got more stuff up around my family of blogs.  My "Star Trek '12" project over at Sigild V is now past the halfway point, and this time explores the origins of the Voyager hangout Chez Sandrine (while at Fan Companion I look at more episodes from the show's second season).  It takes me a moment to remember I'm writing more Star Trek fiction, because I'm not doing it the way I usually do, which is pretty much what everyone else does.  I'm looking at the franchise this time with a microscope, breaking down the elements, really digging at the heart of it.  Which is what I think any Star Trek fiction should do.

I'm also continuing the twelve-part "Back from the Dead," three away from finishing, my latest daily challenge at Sigild.  It's about superheroes and is pretty much doing the same thing that I just described about Star Trek.  May be worth a look.

I've got more comics to talk about at Comics Reader, including the return of Grant Morrison's Batman Incorporated and my continuing examination of the contents of Essential Classic X-Men Vol. 2.

My sentimental examination of my mother at Epistles from the New Fade, meanwhile, may have just concluded, but the poetry blog pushes forth until I hate a hundred poems.


Michael Abayomi said...

Excellent review. I still haven't seen the second movie in the franchise but everything you said about this one reminds me of why I loved the first.

Leslie Rose said...

I was kind of shying away from MIB, but you've convinced me to give it a try.

Tony Laplume, Scouring Monk said...

Glad I could give a few useful words about it.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Tony, this is a great movie. I was leery of a third film, but it works.
- Maurice Mitchell
The Geek Twins | Film Sketchr
@thegeektwins | @mauricem1972


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