(Planet Me)
Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A sequel to a film you can barely existing a decade ago – the thoroughly underwhelming “Men In Black II”, and Will Smith returns to the so called Big Screen for the first time in four years with a thoroughly unnecessary, and mostly sparse, “Men In Black III:Revenge Of The Suits”. With the tropes of a decade old franchise forgotten, Will Smith somewhat predictably sleepwalks through huge chunks of this largely unnecessary sequel. Tommy Lee Jones looks uttterly bored of the whole thing, albeit, that was his character at all times anyway. Though, in this film, the light – dim as it was – behind Jones eyes have finally gone out.

Looking noticeably less excited, Will Smith acts as a character with a fraction of his former approach. On the other hand, his character – J, though lets call him “Slick” - seemingly sleepwalks through the business-as-usual schtick. His wise-cracking, never take anything seriously, character demonstrates the depth of soup and the gravitas of a feather. On the other hand – we are watching “Men In Black 3!!! : Blackstar Warrior”, and not one of Will Smiths po-faced treatises about something meaningful.

It's a sequel you didn't want to a franchise you don't care about. And whilst it is bloody good fun, the film reaches for a 'meaning' that it doesn't deserve and almost devalues the franchise.The ending few minutes do deliver an unexpected, almost emotional suckerpunch. But then again, if I told you that Short Round was Indiana Jones illegitimate child from a teenage affair, wouldn't you think that, frankly, it was the most ridiculous idea you'd ever come heard?

Not that that is the ending of “Men In Black III: Deadly Reckoning”.

In other news, it's a brash, silly summer film. It has its moments. Josh Brolin makes a career highlight here. Very quickly you forget you're watching Josh Brolin. He channels Tommy Lee Jones so accurately and powerfully, that within seconds, you accept unquestioningly his character, and wonder how good the CGI is to make TLJ look so young. Frankly, I'd nominate Josh Brolin for an Oscar. The rest of the film? Not so much. The bad guy is dull, and lacking in any of the charm, wit, of sheer luxurious glee that makes a bad guy unforgettable. Sure, he's evil, but so is a poisonous spider, and being evil alone isn't enough to make a bad guy a worthy nemesis. A film has got to have a bad guy worth the effort, and this guy is much like the angry, boring man who takes his MMORGs far too seriously.

Also, “Men In Black III : The Final Conflict” has a bizarre character who can see every possible variation of a timeline. In short, he often tells the characters what to do next in order to propel the plot along. It's a good move, insomuch as it removes the need for most of the plot to make sense, and provides a multitude of almost useful jokes. But narratively, I wonder. If this character can see all the infinite realities so far ahead, he's practically a superhero : not a McGuffin to advance the plot. It's a lazy, dull bit of plotting. “Do This!” He commands. “Why?” asks the non-sweary Eddie Murphy. “BECAUSE I TELL YOU!” he says. And commands Will Smith to go to bed and tidy his room.

On the plus side, “MIB3-DD : Dalek Bread” does have the best use of an iconic Sixties artist I have seen in many years. Andy Warhol is used in an inventive, irreverent way that he himself would approve of. And the ending setpiece is both utterly improbable and visually rich. However, in the end, it is just an excuse to use 3D in a way that makes “Jaws3-D”'s climatic explosion look both understated and tasteful. Look a monster has a big nose and is coming STRAIGHT TOWARDS the CAMERA! Run! Run! But on balance, “Men In Black III : Invasion Earth 2150AD” is a film you didn't know you wanted to a franchise you'd forgotten about – much like a $200,000,000 drunken chicken burger at the end of a big night out that you barely remember the next morning. It's fun, indulgent, not that clever, and with moments of talent far beyond what the slim material deserves, but aside from Josh Brolin's excellent turn as the unflappable K, is, at best, um, unworthy of existing.

But compared to “Men In Black II : Awesomeness Vs The Godsuki”, this film is cinematically, the nearest thing to “Raging Bull” in the franchise. It could have been a contender.

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