Friday, May 25, 2012

Marvel Media Mania: Men in Black III - (Midnight Show Review - SPOILERS!)

Men in Black III was released today. Warning, I'm not holding back the spoilers on this one. I'll put in a jump break for those that don't want to have it ruined for them by accident.
MIB 3 poster

Let's just throw it out there: This is the best MIB product to date.

Why? Because, while it throws around some corny jokes, it doesn't do it at the expense of the action or the story like the other films did. The film has a very somber mood from the opening at Zed's funeral.

The plot is that an alien, Boris the Animal, goes back in time to kill Agent K and succeeds, thus wiping Agent K from history. Agent J then has to travel back into time to stop the alien and save Agent K.

First, let me accentuate the positive. The acting is top notch, particularly by Josh Brolin who plays the young Agent K. The characters are actually developed *shock*! We get to see a bit of personality out of Agent K,  a bit of both Agent K's and Agent J's personal life (including the inside of their homes), and we get background information on both characters that makes their connection more meaningful and fleshes them out as characters. MAJOR SPOILER - The scene in which Agent K witnesses Agent J's father being killed (when Agent J was a child) and talks to him about it really puts the relationship between Agent J and Agent K into a whole different light. Watch out for Griffin, a new character. He really steals scenes. Boris the Animal is an serious villain that poses a real threat to K and J.

The movie is short and it feel short. You might feel slightly cheated because it is only 103 minutes (1 hour, 43 minutes) long. But to stretch out the story any more would have made it feel belabored.

But why do the movies always get time travel wrong? This film allows that the future is fluid and can change but, at the same time, Agent J's time travel to the past was already accounted for in the future. For example, before J travels back into time his father had been killed, K had blasted off Boris's arm, and K had launched the ArcNet to protect Earth. All of those same things happen after J travels back into time but they would have never happened without him having gone back, thus, history already accounted for J's time travel.

The film is filled with time travel errors, some at pivotal moments. For example, in 1969 K was suppose to deploy the ArcNet which protects Earth from alien invasion but because he was killed he never did. But in 2012 the Earth looks perfectly normal and is just now being invaded. Why would the aliens wait 43 years? There was an imminent attack in 1969! Another example - during the climax of the film, J uses his time travel device to travel 30 seconds back in time with Boris. Previous time travel had created duplicates - the original person and the time traveled copy. But for some reason this time instead of creating a duplicate J gets to redo what he messed up the first time and defeat Boris. But wait - if J remembers the first time, why doesn't Boris? And the end is confusing... does the 1969 Boris get locked up or killed? We see him lose his arm but if he's killed then doesn't that change the whole storyline AGAIN since then J wouldn't have to travel back in time to stop him?

Time travel aside, the film also fails to answer its own questions. A repeated question is about what happens to Agent K to make him become so stoic all of the time. I didn't feel that the question was every answered. Also, at one point (to explain why Agent J remembers Agent K while everyone else forgot him), the guy with the time travel device says, "Oh! That must mean that you were there when IT happened! You've got to come back and tell me about IT!" But IT, whatever IT is, is never explained and we don't ever hear anything about it ever again.

So, is it a perfect film? No, of course not. But it is a fun ride. All previous films and the animated series received a 13 out of 20 from me. For this one I think I can bump that up a bit.

1LR Review - 14 out of 20! It's a Hit!

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