Men in Black (1997)

Men in Black

Men in Black Review

Being one of the most famous vehicles for Will Smith and one of the most popular blockbusters of the decade, Men in Black is a 1997 science fiction comedy film that I finally watched for the first time and was not a big fan of. It is a solid film, but there’s nothing particularly good about it.

It follows two agents whose job is to supervise aliens who hide their presence from ordinary humans. This is an okay plot, it is even authentic to some degree. It is also very entertaining and fun to follow. But it is too silly. That is the problem. It is too silly even for a comedy and it is filled with that too lighthearted tone that hurts the movie. I like the ending and the action in the end is a typical blockbuster fare, but is nevertheless quite well executed. But the rest of the movie up until that point is too slow and filled with too much action. It also takes its time to get there which was also annoying.

But the biggest problem in Men in Black is definitely its approach to storytelling. It is, like ‘Ghostbusters‘, a mix of genres, this time sci-fi and comedy, and just like that film, it is never particularly funny. But it rarely tries to be funny which is my main problem that does not concern just this movie unfortunately. I have a big problem with genre classification. Just because this movie has a couple of funny sequences does not mean it is a comedy and I am so frustrated at people calling it a comedy when it does not even try to be one for the most part. And it is better than the aforementioned overrated movie, but it is a mix of genres just like it. And in my honest opinion, those types of movies are so dated, they are the products of their time and time was not kind to them whatsoever.

But it has its funny moments, mostly with Will Smith. He is the most comedic aspect in this film. He gave quite a respectable performance and he was funny for the faces he made and some of the lines he said. The acting overall is very good with Tommy Lee Jones also being a standout. They both exhibit a great chemistry that really helped the movie in the long run. Those two performances are great, but their characters aren’t unfortunately. They are barely developed and although they have their moments, the writing department is in the end definitely to blame because the character development is weak here.

But the visual effects are not weak at all. Quite on the contrary. The effects here aged like fine wine which really surprised me. Yes, the aliens’ design is for the most part typical, but they are very well created and they look terrific and quite polished for a 1997 film. Visually, Men in Black is fantastic. It is also fairly well directed and mostly well paced and shot. I don’t like its overwhelming action, but I like its imagination and very energetic approach. The movie is also very effervescent. The tone is not good and the score is forgettable. But the movie has its fair share of memorable sequences, it’s not predictable, it is even authentic in some aspects and the dialogue is quite solid. I also like the attention to detail regarding the aliens and, although too silly, the plot is still fun. And the performances are absolutely superb and the chemistry is evident.

Men in Black has terrific special effects that aged like fine wine, the performances from Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are superb and the two are a great duo and the plot is entertaining, but that story is also too silly, the action is overwhelming and this is the perfect example of a bad genre classification – just because the movie has a couple of funny scenes does not mean it is a comedy and that genre mix is typical of its time and did not age well. But it is overall a fun and solid film, albeit nothing too remarkable.

My Rating – 3.5

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Posted in Comedy, MOVIE REVIEWS, SF and tagged , , , , , , .

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