Men in Black 3 2012 ★★★★

One of my favourite movies ever is Ghostbusters 2, a production that – as my best friend reminds me constantly – is pretty much a complete rip off of the original. But why does that have to be held against it? There’s something to be admired in comfort that comes with familiarity – and in filmmakers’ restraint instead of being infatuated with creativity, resulting in screwing up something that worked well.

Of course, in the case of Men in black, they once did just that. But if there was… I don’t know… some sort of technology that would allow you to erase that atrocious sequel from your memory, the third movie works well by essentially being the original multiplied by More Of The Same.

No, it’s not a great movie. Some of the one-liners grate, the emotional payoff never truly arrives, and the time travel story, while containing some pretty clever moments, feels a bit unpolished. But, you are likely to find here all the things that attracted you in the first place: An old-school comedy feel. Will Smith’s hesitant humour. Crazy, impractical inventions.

And, above all, the wonderful rampant retrofuturism. The places and the times visited here delight: Coney Island closer to its prime, the top of the Chrysler building, the old MIB headquarters including a hilarious room-sized neuralyzer, and, in the epic finale, Cape Canaveral, during that decade when it was called something else. Just like the Flushing Meadows Park in the first movie, all places that were once The Future.

Because The Future is always extrapolated from where we stand today. MIB 3 follows in the footsteps of Zemeckis’s trilogy and John Carter in travelling both backwards and forwards on trips powered not as much by rogue lightnings, or Mr. Fusion – but mostly, I suppose, pure nostalgia. For me, it was a lot of fun.

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