Friday, July 20, 2012

"Men in Black 3" (2012)

I give the Men in Black series of films a pretty big benefit of the doubt. The first one was so original and entertaining that I even enjoyed and recommend the second film despite its deficiencies. So, I was excited to see the third entry even though it has that story element that is increasingly difficult to swallow in scifi: time travel. I was not disappointed. There were an infinite number of questions and inconsistencies but I was able to ignore them for the most part and the story even addressed some. Also, they used the time travel to explore several important issues, not just as the trope it has become. More importantly, the film is visually interesting and funny.

Of course the film is not perfect. For instance, if O was such a big deal in K’s life, where was she for the first two films? But every entry in the series has introduced new, inconsistent elements into K’s story to add emotional resonance. Also, one is really left wondering why J is able to notice that the time stream has changed, up until the film addresses and answers that point head on. It might not make total sense, but it is a clever and funny explanation.

Perhaps the most compelling thing about “Men in Black 3” is the new character of Griffin. In a nod to all the “alternate universes” explanations of time travel, Griffin is an alien who can visualize all of the potential timelines possible, he just doesn’t know which one is real until it occurs. This is a nice twist on the AU theory, where the potentials remain potentials and there are not infinite alternates being produced every moment in time, or are there? Time travel stories have become too annoying as they increasingly try to achieve plausibility and forget to simply tell their story. Fortunately this one sticks to its plot more or less.

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