I wasn’t looking forward to seeing Men in Black 3. That feeling only deepened in the first few minutes, as I watched an opening scene which raised more questions than it answered. Worse yet, it seemed as though all of my problems from the previous movie would remain. Tommy Lee Jones was still back. Will Smith was still cracking bad jokes. And though I didn’t know when I’d see him, I just knew Frank the Pug would make another guest appearance at some point. I could feel the premonition of coming “comic relief” pain taunting me with maddening certainty. But there was nothing for it. I had bought my ticket, and I wasn’t about to walk out of the movie. So I settled back to await the inevitable inferiority of a second sequel.
Imagine my surprise when, about twenty minutes into the movie, I found myself enjoying it. From that point on, the movie only improved. They just don’t make inevitability like they used to, I guess. Serves me right for judging a book by its cover.
There will be massive spoilers ahead, so don’t read on if you’re not prepared to hear all. But for those people who want to see and judge for themselves, I’ll leave you with this thought: Men in Black 3 is the pleasant surprise of the summer movie season so far. What’s more, though I’m sure mine will be the minority opinion, it’s actually my favorite of the franchise. Where the first movie was a fun action romp that missed a few opportunities to be something deeper, this one takes advantage of its opportunities to humanize its characters, creating a few moments of genuine feeling amidst the very successful action and comedy portions. And it’s definitely an improvement over the loathsome quagmire that was the second movie. Though I doubt it will make enough money to justify a fourth entry, Men in Black 3 will at the very least send out the franchise on a high note. (more…)