Men in Black 3
In a daring double feature, we walked briskly into the theatre and took our seats. My friend was telling me how he had rewatched the first two films. I think this act was to help refresh his memory, and to introduce the series to his wife. And it hits me that you need to be refreshed on the series since the sequel came out ten years ago, and the first MIB was five years before that. You would think that with the coin these movies bring in, we would have five or six MIB movies by now. But, Will Smith seems to have veered off course from his July blockbuster routine and has in fact taken a few years off from film - something I didn't notice until everyone kept mentioning how MIB3 was his return. Regardless, I didn't want to refresh myself, and the reasoning is still not clear. Perhaps I wanted to leave those memories alone, perhaps the movies had not stood the test of time.
It turns out that I just didn't want to sit through MIB2 again: the movie is completely lost in the open sewer system of my brain. That's not to say it's bad, but it's just the way things have to be. The first movie remains classic, and if memory serves properly it was a very enjoyable theatre experience (I believe I went on a date to see the movie, where I ran into a couple of friends who were also going - we all sat together and the awkwardness was not lost on me). In any event, the first MIB was fun and light, with the emphasis on fun - again. The score was memorable (Danny Elfman had a distinctive, fresh sound back then), the effects were top notch and most importantly, the characters were interesting and had a great dynamic.
Tommy Lee Jones is old. Although he's been in movies recently (including Captain America and The Company Men), it looks like he's struggling to be on screen. I feel as though he's been trying to get out of the MIB series since the sequel, and he definitely takes a back seat in this film, only appearing at the beginning and end. Perhaps he's doing this as a favour, or a quick fat paycheck. But the story is developed and works perfectly: Jay has to go back in time to save his partner, Kay (Jones), where he works with a younger Kay (played by Brolin). In fact, the movie is practically an homage to Jones, as Brolin looks the part and plays the part fantastic: the mannerisms and speech are spot-on. And in the end, Jones is the hero, and you realize you just watched a tribute to the guy.
All that being said, MIB3 was lacking in the fun category that we enjoyed in the first one. That's not to say it's bad: quite the opposite in fact. But this movie was more serious, and my friend summed it up perfectly in one word: somber. I mean, the movie circles around death as a central theme, so it's inevitable. But I feel like since the fifteen years that passed since, movies have changed. We get dark everything, and MIB3 is an attempt at breaking out from that, back into the light. And does so as best it can, and had me leaving the theatre happy with what I just watched. There wasn't much time to screw around - you almost get the impression there's a slightly longer cut in here somewhere - and is quite driven from scene to scene. The effects were there but took a far backseat to everything else: I didn't see it in 3D for better or worse, and I think it's a statement that the effects were just like everything else. They were more impressive back in1997 but just standard now for movies these days. Again, not really a complaint but an observation. If anything, the effects don't detract and let you (and the artists creating the movie) to focus on the film itself.
Definitely worth checking out, and no previous MIB experience required.