Monday, June 25, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

There are times when I think I've seen it all. Those are the times when something comes along and actually surprises me. One of those surprises appeared this past weekend, with the release of the new movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Just the title alone is an attention grabber. You look at the poster or see the commercials on television, and you immediately think, "Somebody actually made a movie when Abe Lincoln fights vampires? You have to be kidding." And it does sound like it should be one of the fake trailers from Grindhouse and not a real movie. But it is real, and it's spectacular.

At the tender age of nine years old, Abraham Lincoln (played as an adult by Benjamin Walker) watched in horror as his mother died, poisoned at the hands of the mysterious Jack Barts (Marton Csokas). Vowing to avenge her murder, Lincoln spent years tracking Barts, but a failed attempt at killing him leaves Lincoln battered, beaten, and bloodied. He's mended to health by Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper), who reveals to Lincoln that Barts is a vampire and trains him in the ways of permanently eliminating these nocturnal bloodsuckers.

Settling in as a shopkeeper in Springfield, Illinois, Lincoln has no trouble finding vampires to hunt. One by one, each vampire he kills leads him closer to Barts. The years pass, and he becomes a lawyer and eventually enters the world of politics while still battling the forces of darkness with his trusty silver axe. As he courts and eventually marries Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Lincoln ascends to the office of President of the United States of America. But he is not in office for long before he's hit with the one-two punch of the Civil War and a vampire with a personal vendetta against Lincoln.

Said vampire is Adam (Rufus Sewell), a 5000-year-old vampire whose slave trade is threatened by Lincoln's vehement opposition to slavery. Learning that Lincoln is a vampire hunter thanks to clues left behind at Lincoln's final battle with Barts, he declares a personal war against the President. He supplies the Confederate army with a team of vampire soldiers, aiming to turn the tide of the Civil War and make America a nation of vampires. And of course, Lincoln wouldn't be much of a vampire hunter if he just let this slide.

With this title and premise, you'd think that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter would be some kind of satirical tongue-in-cheek affair similar to Snakes on a Plane or Hobo with a Shotgun. But the movie bravely takes itself seriously and resembles something akin to a superhero origin story. And while it's been getting lukewarm reviews from critics who will try telling you that the movie is dumb, dull, and nothing more than a goofy title, I thought the movie was a hell of a lot of fun.

At the helm is Timur Bekmambetov, making his first American movie since his adaptation of Mark Millar's comic book Wanted in 2008. Bekmambetov approaches this movie as no stranger to vampires, as his prior credits include the successful Russian vampire movies Night Watch and Day Watch. I haven't seen Night Watch or Day Watch, so I can't really compare them to this. But I can, however, say that I enjoyed his work here. His direction is very good, working to make the movie as cool and as stylish as possible while still retaining a 19th-century feeling. The fight scenes are fun and exciting, and the slower-paced, more dramatic scenes are handled delicately. It's like Bekmambetov was trying to make a version of Jonah Hex that didn't suck. If that were the case, then maybe Warner Bros. should have hired him to direct that piece of crap instead of Jimmy Hayward.

The movie is in 3D too, which sounds like it could have been really cool. Unfortunately, the movie suffers from the typical sub-standard post-production conversion, thus rendering the 3D less effective than it could have been. There are some moments that look really cool, and the 3D is decent enough for the most part. But the whole thing comes off as unnecessary. The movie didn't need to be in 3D. All truth told, you shouldn't feel obligated to pay the extra surcharge on your ticket when the 2D version of the movie will suffice.

But enough about the 3D, let's move on. Next up is the script penned by Seth Grahame-Smith. I thought hiring Grahame-Smith to write the movie was a creative idea, because he actually wrote the novel it's based on. Published in 2010, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was the follow-up to his popular book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. (If you've never heard of that one, yes, he did indeed add zombies [and ninjas!] to Jane Austen's classic novel.) I've never read the source material, but I thought Grahame-Smith's script for the movie was give or take. There's a lot of it I did like, though. I especially liked how the movie took the bold step of never descending into self-parody. I've read a lot of reviews lately where the critics were upset that the movie wasn't as farcical as its rather preposterous title and premise might imply, but I thought it was refreshing. After a while, one grows tired of seeing so many movies that play their wacky concepts for laughs. I had a good time seeing one that played it straight for a change.

However, even though the movie clocks in at roughly two hours or so, I thought the script glossed over or rushed through some things. We spend quite a bit of time with Lincoln as he works as a shopkeeper and studies law. And after that, there are a handful of scenes at the beginning of his political career. And then we're suddenly dropped smack dab in the middle of the Civil War. I can understand skipping over a few years here and there, but it felt like the fast-forward button got stuck during the middle of the movie.

The movie also drags somewhat during the second act. The first 45 minutes and the climax are really great, but that middle portion struggled at times. I don't know what it was, but that segment of the movie is where you could get up and go to the bathroom during the movie and return without feeling like you missed too much.

And I know I sound like I'm ragging on the movie a lot, but there are parts of it I did genuinely enjoy, especially the cast. The actors and actresses assembled in front of the camera all do the absolute best they can do. This is none more evident than in Benjamin Walker, who plays the titular President and vampire hunter. Walker is likable and engaging, and he plays Lincoln with a strength and conviction that makes him very convincing in the role.

Dominic Cooper also plays the part he's given very well, approaching the "jaded mentor" role with a necessary earnestness. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is fantastic as she always is, but the role isn't as meaty as it could have been. She gets some awesome moments to shine, but I'd hoped for a little more from the character. The same goes for Rufus Sewell as the villainous Adam, who sadly isn't given a whole lot to do. But Sewell tackles the role like a pro and still puts forth a solid performance.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter balances some good elements with some bad elements, but never lets either side of this balancing act completely dominate it. And though it isn't a perfect movie, it's fun enough for what it is. So on my usual scale, the movie gets three and a half stars and a recommendation to check it out. The worst part of it all is that, since the movie ends with Lincoln heading to Ford's Theatre on the eve of his assassination, there more than likely won't be a sequel. But maybe somebody can start doing knockoffs with other Presidents fighting supernatural creatures. The Asylum has already released a mockbuster titled Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, but I want to see something like "JFK: Werewolf Slayer" or "George Washington vs. Frankenstein." That would be awesome.

Final Rating: ***½

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Prometheus (2012)

It's been over thirty years since the movie industry saw the release of the movie Alien. A true masterpiece in both the science fiction and horror genres, Alien spawned three sequels and two spinoff movies that crossed over with the Predator franchise, along with more comic books and video games you can shake a stick at. It not only made a star out of lead actress Sigourney Weaver, but it made a star out of director Ridley Scott as well. He's made a number of movies in varying genres since Alien's release in 1979, but now, more than three decades after the ill-fated journey of Ellen Ripley and the Nostromo, Scott has returned to what brought him to the dance with Prometheus. Fancying itself as a prequel to the Alien saga, Prometheus is an unfortunately flawed movie whose good elements are balanced by a great big pile of crap.

The year is 2089, and archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) have made an incredible discovery. Comparing various relics and cave paintings from a number of unconnected prehistoric cultures, Shaw and Holloway have pieced together what they believe is a map pointing to a distant star system. They interpret it as an invitation from beings they've nicknamed "the Engineers," who Shaw and Holloway theorize are the progenitors of the human race.

This map catches the attention of Peter Weyland (Guy Ritchie), the elderly CEO of the Weyland Corporation. Weyland funds the creation of the scientific research vessel Prometheus, and assembles a crew to follow the map to a moon in this star system. Traveling in stasis and monitored by an android named David (Michael Fassbender), the Prometheus arrives during the final weeks of 2093 and is tasked with finding the Engineers.

The crew disembarks from the ship onto the moon's surface, where they investigate an artificial structure leading to a series of ruins. While mission director Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) orders them to direct contact with any living aliens they come across, but upon first glance, all they can find inside the ruins are the corpses of various humanoid beings. But there's more going on than the crew realizes, and whatever is alive inside these ruins is very angry.

I wasn't quite sure how Prometheus would turn out when I sat down in that theater a few days ago. I wasn't getting my hopes up, but I would have been satisfied with it being a fun throwback to the Alien movies. But alas, Prometheus ended up being a serious letdown. It's not an offensively awful movie, but I wouldn't go as far to say it's bad. Prometheus is basically a really awesome party where somebody's pooped in the punch bowl. Yeah, everything is great except for that one smelly floater.

That fatal flaw is the movie's script, written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. Holy crap, this script is awful. None of the big questions that it raises are ever even remotely close to answered, leaving a number of plot holes and inconsistencies in logic that make the movie frustrating to watch. It's like Spaihts and Lindelof figured they wouldn't bother filling the audience in on everything we'd want to know because they were anticipating writing a sequel. That's just plain dirty pool if that's the case. Leaving stuff out for a sequel that isn't yet guaranteed is just a bad idea.

It doesn't help that some of the characters are irritatingly stupid to boot. Two characters try to make their way out of the ruins because they're scared witless, then later treat the equivalent of an alien cobra as if it were a cute little puppy, which goes about as well as you can expect. A scientist is infected with something that is obviously ravaging his body and could endanger everyone else, yet does his best to keep it a secret. Logic and common sense are hard to come by. The characters that try to display any sort of intelligence and cognitive reasoning are treated by the others as not to be trusted, to boot. And the fact that this gaggle of scientists seem to know precious little about science just makes everything preposterous.

But at least the rest of the movie tries to make up for that awful script. Ridley Scott's direction, for example, is absolutely fantastic. The movie looks gorgeous, with amazing cinematography, set design, and special effects. Scott's efforts keep one's full attention even during the scenes that are boring or just plain stupid. The movie might not be the best in the world, but Scott's efforts here are wonderful regardless.

The only complaint I have about Scott's direction is that he doesn't give Prometheus the same level of menace and dread that Alien had. From the moment Alien begins, you know something bad is going to happen and it's going to be horrifying. In Prometheus, it takes over an hour before anything happens, and even then there's no real suspense maintained afterward. That's the only real flaw I could find with how Scott approached the movie, and though it's disappointing, he still does an amazing job at the helm.

Scott even makes excellent use of the 3D cameras used to shoot the movie. I usually get more entertainment out of the gimmicky "throw stuff at the audience" 3D stuff, but Scott uses it here to bring some atmosphere to the movie. The added depth really brings a lot to the movie, with the immersive feeling making the movie seem more epic. The first few minutes alone are well worth the premium added to the ticket price. It makes me wish I'd seen the movie in IMAX 3D, because that would have been the most awesome experience ever (even if the movie is kind of a disappointment).

And this brings us to the cast, who is a mixed bag. A lot of the cast are nameless cannon fodder that aren't really worth a mention or just plain fail to make any sort of impression altogether. But there are a few actors that I felt should be highlighted. Let's start with Michael Fassbender, who turns in a great performance. He's fascinating to watch, as you can tell he's being secretive to the point that you begin to believe something sinister is afoot almost immediately. But he plays the role in such a way that you're always wondering what's going through his head. You can't take your eyes off Fassbender, and his performance practically steals the whole movie.

I also thought Charlize Theron contributed a fine piece of work herself. Theron's character is portrayed as being an ice-cold bitch even though she's probably the most logical, rational-thinking person in the movie, and Theron plays the part perfectly. I enjoyed her a lot, but I do wish she'd had more to do than play the clich├ęd corporate bureaucrat that everyone thinks is a jerk.

But much like the movie as a whole, the good acting was tempered by bad acting. The absolute worst offender is Noomi Rapace, who is just plain terrible. She's all over the map here, never once settling into a consistent groove. Her character is incredibly stupid, often doing things that would normally break protocol or jeopardize others. This affects Rapace's performance as she comes across as an unsympathetic nitwit that you just want to slap.

It's been two days since I saw Prometheus and I'm still unsure how I feel about it. There are parts I enjoyed and parts I hated, which just leaves me on the fence. Prometheus is one of those movies that I can neither lavish with faint praise nor rail against as being total garbage, because it's two sides of the same coin. But at its core, the movie is chock full of potential that is dragged down by the bad script that wanted to be profound but was too stupid to figure out how to achieve that. So I'm going to give it two and a half stars, with the hopes that if there's ever a Prometheus 2, it'll learn from this movie's mistakes.

Final Rating: **½

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Videodrome (1983)

Many filmmakers have made names for themselves by approaching their movies with a style that sets them apart from the rest. Few of them, however, can compete with the unique vision of Canadian auteur David Cronenberg. A master of what's come to be known as "body horror," Cronenberg tells stories in ways that many only wish they could. He's brought the world a ton of movies that are bizarre, macabre, and thought-provoking. But of all the work Cronenberg has done, it is Videodrome that more than a few film scholars have called his magnum opus. Videodrome is a weird, unsettling movie that I have yet to actually fully comprehend. But I can tell you that it is an amazing piece of art.

The star of our story is Max Renn (James Woods), the general manager of a low-rent UHF television station in Toronto that specializes in the perverse, the obscene, and the sensationalistic. Max is always on the lookout for new programming, but the softcore porn his sales agent has offered up is too tame, too pedestrian. He needs something more shocking and intense.

That's when he makes a discovery that will change his life. While scanning pirated overseas broadcasts for anything they could record and air themselves, Max's techie associate Harlan (Peter Dvorsky) intercepts an anonymous signal he initially believes is from Malaysia. Bearing the simple title of "Videodrome," the show depicts realistic portrayals of torture and murder. The whole thing is just two masked men whipping and beating a naked victim before ultimately killing her. Though torture is all there is to it, Max is excited by it and wants to air it on his channel. He charges Harlan with further descrambling the signal and getting more footage. And in doing so, Harlan learns that the footage is not broadcast from Malaysia, but from Pittsburgh.

While Harlan continues to compile tapes of Videodrome, Max appears on a televised discussion panel regarding how the media influences society. On the panel with him is Nicki Brand (Deborah Harry), a talk radio host and psychologist. Taken aback by her, Max asks Nicki out to dinner. One thing leads to another, and they end up back at Max's apartment watching clips of Videodrome. It turns out Nicki is really into masochism, and Videodrome scratches her sexual itch.

When Max offhandedly mentions that the show is broadcast out of Pittsburgh, Nicki excitedly claims that she's going to Pittsburgh on business and wants to audition for the show while she's there. Max tries talking her out of it, since the people on Videodrome don't make repeat appearances on the show, but Nicki remains steadfast in her desire.

When Nicki eventually fails to return to Toronto after her trip, Max starts digging deeper into Videodrome. But this investigation has its consequences. Max has begun suffering from frighteningly bizarre hallucinations that still feel oddly realistic. And the further his search takes him, the stranger and more horrifying these hallucinations become. But he soldiers on, eventually being led Brian O'Blivion (Jack Creley), a philosopher who no longer appears anywhere in person, instead sending videotaped monologues to wherever his presence is requested or required.

O'Blivion's daughter Bianca (Sonja Smith) stops Max from meeting her father, instead assuring him that he'll promptly be contacted via videotape. O'Blivion's recorded message reveals to him some of the truth behind Videodrome, the knowledge of which pushes Max even closer to the edge of sanity. The message also leads him to Barry Carvex (Les Carlson), a shady businessman who knows more about Videodrome than any sane person should. Max increasingly loses the ability to separate fantasy from reality as his hallucinations worsen, and Carvex is somehow at the bottom of it.

Videodrome is a genuinely fascinating movie, a gripping experience from start to finish. It's been a few weeks since I've seen it, and I'm still amazed by how trippy the movie is. The amount of creativity Cronenberg pours into it makes it impossible to turn away from the movie. Any further words I write will fail to do it justice, but please believe me when I say that it's a brilliant flick.

Cronenberg's direction is masterful, really crafting the movie into a work of surrealistic art. "Body horror" might not be everyone's cup of tea, but Cronenberg uses it to maximize the horror of the situation. (Plus it makes the movie a total mind-screw to boot.) Utilizing some impressive cinematography and Rick Baker's gloriously unsettling special makeup effects, Cronenberg takes us deeper into a hallucinatory nightmare one step at a time. It's probably the only movie I can think of that could rival Requiem for a Dream in terms of sheer sanity-challenging intensity. I mean, there's a scene where the main character develops a strange vagina-like orifice on his chest, and he sticks a handgun inside it out of pure curiosity. How many movies have that?!

The script that Cronenberg has written is just as bizarre, feeling at times like it's one big mishmash of all the weird ideas he had at the time. But that actually helps ratchet up the tension, because you never know just what the hell will happen next. However, it's also a wickedly smart piece of work. A lot of critics and reviewers have noted how oddly prophetic Videodrome is, and how much more so it would have been had Cronenberg predicted the rise of the Internet and how ubiquitous online devices have become. The characters go on about how television is the new reality, a new medium through which we'll experience life itself. Isn't that pretty much what the Internet is now? Brian O'Blivion even states that his obviously fake name was created to serve as his nom de plumb in the world of TV, much like how we create fake handles for ourselves online.

I really didn't think much of the "Videodrome is a social commentary" before I actually saw the movie. I mean, critics harp on about how Night of the Living Dead is a commentary on how life in America was changed by the Vietnam War, and the movie is just a bunch of walking corpses eating people. People see what they want to see even when it isn't there. That whole aspect of Videodrome didn't hit me until I started thinking about it after the fact. As truly strange and off-putting as the movie can be, Cronenberg never beats you over the head with a message or anything like that. He just tells the story and assumes the audience is smart enough to figure things out on their own.

And even without any social commentary, Videodrome still works as an effective thriller. You can never tell what's in Max's head and what is real. Who's to say that the "Videodrome" show he's been watching even exists at all? Max could have just gone of the deep end one day and hallucinated the entire movie. The whole explanation behind his hallucinations could have been a hallucination itself! Max might simply be crazy or on the wrong kind of drugs, I don't know for sure. And that's what makes the movie so glorious. You can watch it a hundred different times from a hundred different angles, and they would all feel credible.

Last but not least is the cast, all of whom I felt did exactly what required to make their roles work. Deborah Harry, who is more famous as the lead singer of Blondie, is great in her role. She unfortunately has limited screen time, but Harry plays her part seductively, so much so that you'd understand why Max would be drawn to her. There are some good performances from Les Carlson and Jack Creley as well, but the whole show belongs to James Woods.

Woods is fantastic, giving one the feeling that he's lost inside his own mind. You can see with each passing second that his sanity is slipping away. It's all in his eyes and body language. His character's mental and physical changes over the course of the movie are made all the more believable and convincing by the way Woods approaches the role. Woods makes it his own, and Videodrome is a better movie for having him.

I probably haven't adequately described just how strange Videodrome is. The movie is the kind of strange that will make your brain pack up and leave because it cannot comprehend what your eyes have seen. I'm still not 100% sure what I watched and I saw Videodrome two weeks ago. But what I do know is that Videodrome is a damn fine movie. Long live the new flesh, indeed.

Final Rating: ****

Monday, June 4, 2012

Men in Black 3 (2012)

It seems that, in recent years, movie studios have taken to resurrecting franchises that had been long thought dead. Indiana Jones, Rambo, and Rocky Balboa all made their own comebacks in the last decade or so, along with the Die Hard, Terminator, and Star Wars franchises. And unless you haven't seen any of the ads on TV, you've probably noticed that the most recent of these to be dug up out of the mothballs is the Men in Black series.

I actually never thought there would be a third Men in Black movie, considering just how badly the second one was received. Sure, Men in Black II made a ton of money, but when everybody thinks the movie sucks, that can really damage whether or not there's another sequel. But ten years have passed since that crappy second chapter in the series, so hopefully that's been enough time for everyone involved to have learned their lesson and made a good Men in Black sequel for a change.

As the movie begins, notorious alien criminal Boris the Animal (Jermaine Clement) makes a daring escape from a prison on the moon. His intention: return to Earth to settle his long-standing grudge with Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), who shot off one of Boris's arms during a conflict in 1969. Agents K and J (Will Smith) hear about the escape and end up getting involved in a shootout with Boris at a Chinese restaurant. Boris escapes, yet leaves J curious about the bad blood between Boris and K. Finding K unwilling to talk discuss it, J starts going through MIB's records to see what happened. He's impeded, however, when he discovers much of the information is classified.

J wakes up the next morning and when he arrives for work, he notices something weird. His repeated requests to speak to K are met with confusion until Agent O (Emma Thompson) tells him that K has been dead for over forty years. He realizes that Boris has traveled back in time to 1969 and succeeded in murdering K, having completely erased him from existence. The only way he can return things to the way he knew them is to go back in time himself and save the day. He teams up with an initially skeptical younger K (Josh Brolin) upon his arrival in 1969, and the duo has to stop the combined efforts of the Boris from 1969 and the Boris from 2012 before they can kill K.

It took them ten years to do it, but they've actually made a Men in Black sequel that doesn't suck. Men in Black 3 is miles ahead of that turd from 2002. But that doesn't mean the movie is great. Actually, it's just an okay movie at best. It's an acceptable way to spend an hour and a half, and then forget about once the closing credits have rolled. There's nothing wrong with that, however. Men in Black 3 is still a fun piece of entertainment that's well worth checking out.

Returning to the franchise for the third time is director Barry Sonnenfeld, who's only done one movie and some TV shows in the ten years since the last Men in Black movie. I know I was critical of Sonnenfeld's work on the second movie, but Sonnenfeld makes up for it this time around. He never once lets the movie lag or get boring, and he gets more creative than he did in the first two movies. This creativity can be seen in the movie's cinematography. The first two movies were standard, almost generic-looking efforts at times, but Men in Black 3 goes all-out in an effort to make the movie feel grander than it might actually be. It might be Sonnenfeld playing with it to justify the movie's 3D effects, but I'm not going to complain.

It helps that Sonnenfeld is working with special effects that are better than what he'd had before. The CGI is a lot less annoyingly conspicuous, and the practical effects ― specifically Rick Baker's aliens ― are outstanding. Why couldn't the effects look like this in the other Men in Black movies? Can we go back in time and give the first two better effects? Is that possible?

It's unfortunate, however, that the movie's awesome effects are muddled by a shoddy conversion into 3D. Maybe it was just the theater I saw the movie at having a crappy setup, but the 3D is absolutely awful. It's pointless, adding nothing to the movie beyond one or two scenes that look kinda cool in 3D. Outside of that, it just gave me a headache. If you're going to see the movie, do yourself a favor and see it in 2D. The extra dimension isn't worth it.

And not only is the movie hurt by the terrible 3D conversion, but it has a script that's a little on the mediocre side of things as well. Written by Etan Cohen (and given uncredited rewrites by David Koepp and Jeff Nathanson), the script wasn't finished when production began and it's painfully obvious. The story feels disjointed at times, like it's just being made up as the movie goes along. It also suffers from the same problem that plagued the other two movies: a villain who's in the background for the majority of the movie. Granted, Boris has a bit more screen time than the Edgar bug and Serleena did previously, but he still feels like a non-factor for half of the movie. Why should I care about the Men in Black villains when the movies themselves can't be bothered to most of the time?

At least the script has some really funny moments, along with a strong cast to boost the material. Will Smith once again returns to play Agent J, and he puts forth a performance that I felt was better than what he contributed to the first two Men in Black movies. It helps that Smith has vastly improved and matured as an actor over the last several years. Smith is entertaining and fun as always, and his evolution as an actor really makes J feel more mature as well.

Josh Brolin also provides a wonderful turn as the younger Agent K. Doing his best Tommy Lee Jones impression, Brolin is very funny in the part. He's likable, charming, and very funny. He's so believable, in fact, that it feels like they actually de-aged Jones and stuck them in front of the camera. The sad part is that Jones himself is barely in the movie. He's sadly missed, but Brolin's performance helps relieve some of that. Jones does make a good impression in spite of his incredibly limited screen time, though.

And speaking of limited screen time, Jemaine Clement doesn't have a huge role as our resident villain. Clement's character is just kinda there. His role might be a bit beefier than the villains that came before him, but he's still a non-factor for half the movie. Clement is fine in the role, though, so I can't complain about his performance.

So just how would I go about summing up my thoughts about Men in Black 3? It was... not bad, I guess. It has both its goods and bads, but the movie is just okay. After ten years, I'd hoped everyone could have come up with something better than "okay." But compared to Men in Black II, I'll take "okay" over "crappy" any day of the week. Men in Black 3 is still an enjoyable and entertaining flick that I honestly enjoyed in spite of its flaws. And thus, the movie gets three stars on the usual scale. And for all its flaws, at least Men in Black 3 was a better franchise revival than Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Don't even get me started on that one.

Final Rating: ***