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BlokeBusting The Essentials #41: Men in Black

I don’t think the title is obvious enough…

#41: Men In Black

Or

Don’t Be A Menace To New York While Chilling With Aliens In HQ

There’s waaaaay too many Will Smith references that we could start this one off with. Nah, forget it. Yo homes, to the review!

First Impressions

I recall going to see this film with a friend of mine, my family and his. We took the train there (since that’s a thing that you can actually do if you live in the UK), we watched the film and I’m moderately confident that I spent the majority of the train ride back talking about various things from the film. So I think it’s fair to say that I enjoyed this film the first time. Did it hold up? Let’s find out…

The Characters

  • Agent J/James Darrell Edwards III: Will Smith

    So here’s the thing. There was a show called The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air. It starred a young, fairly unknown guy (at least in TV/Film-land) called Will Smith. Then he basically managed to become known as the king of Blockbusters by starring in Bad Boys, Independence Day and MIB. Was his character in this fairly similar to what we’d seen before? Yep. Does that matter? Not at all. Will Smith can play these characters perfectly, and does so here too. He’s shown to have the right kind of thinking but also has that overconfidence that is kinda fun to see burst by the genuinely experienced K as he’s being shown the ropes. He’s also amazingly charismatic, which always helps! And besides, the two other main choices for this role were Chris O’Donnell and David Schwimmer. Yeah, THAT would have been something to see…

  • Agent K: Tommy Lee Jones

    Do I really need to explain just how good this character is? Not only does he manage to balance Will Smith’s presence on screen, he’s able to PERFECTLY counterweight everything that is Agent J. And TLJ is so much fun to watch here. His delivery is brilliant, his facial expression (for there is only one) is on point and he’s clearly been around for a loooong time. Yeah, he’s great!

  • Edgar/The Bug: Vincent D’Onofrio

    Yeah, this guy. For starters, D’Onofrio is a bloody chameleon. I’ve seen him in several roles now and I can never recognise him without looking up who plays the role. And Edgar is just great to see on screen. You’d think it would be difficult to portray something 3 times the size of you wearing your skin, but he manages to pull it off. It’s actually astounding that he’s not been given more accolades. But anyway, he’s as much fun to watch as you can have watching a giant bug wearing a human skin!

  • The Rest

    There’s too many other characters to give them their own sections, so let’s just do a quick run-down here:

    – Zed: Rip Torn. He’s delightfully dour here!
    – Dr Laurel Weaver: Linda Florentino. Not bad, but I feel like she wasn’t given that much to do. Though she does get the kill-shot!
    – Jack Jeebs: Tony Shaloub. “Do you have any idea how much that stings?” Enough said.

The Setting

If you don’t know the film by now, welcome! I’m glad you got this far! Sorry about that spoiler in the previous section…

Anyway, this film starts off perfectly. It sets the tone, it gives you just enough to know that the MIB are clearly both well equipped & well connected and it lets you know exactly who the main two characters are without a lot of exposition. Honestly a lot of modern films could learn a lot from this one. And the style works really well even now, so the film doesn’t really look or feel dated (outside of the obvious leap in technology since then). And I was unaware that this was based on a comic book until relatively recently, so bravo for managing to pull off a successful CB film in the 90’s!

The Effects

Ok, the CG is outdated. Anything that’s bigger than a dog REALLY looks bad compared to today’s graphics. But that’s to be expected. Everything else actually holds up really well. There’s plenty of practical effects that still look fantastic (looking at you, opening scene!) and the coffee aliens are always brilliant. Honestly the worst effects are when The Bug is actually out on screen. And, as I said, that’s no surprise. It’s a GIANT alien bug walking around on Earth in a film from the late 90’s. It was NEVER going to look realistic! So there.

Ok, now it’s time for Bubba to put on his suit and lay it all out for us. Take it away Agent B!

I watched this again pretty recently after the latest rebootquel Men in Black International came out on home video so I could make a list of top 10 aliens in the Men in Black series. There’s just so much that this film has going for it right out of the gate. It creates this world within our world full of aliens in plain sight. The chemistry between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones is palpable and there cannot be enough said about Vincent D’Onofrio’s performance as Edgar. He just has this amazing physicality and voice that captures something completely otherworldly and not at home in its own skin.

While some may call it a stretch to call this a superhero movie, there’s no denying its importance in film history. It was a box office juggernaut with a massive $589M worldwide, it spawned two sequels, a cartoon, and a reboot, there were talks of a combined franchise with 21 Jump Street though that never materialized. It was ingrained as a part of Will Smith’s overall rise as the king of the summer blockbuster. It was a comic book movie that didn’t sell itself as a comic book movie, and it’s actually technically a Marvel movie. It was loosely based on a Malibu comic book series shortly after the Malibu brand was bought out by Marvel comics. It’s still typically regarded as the best of the four movies and it’s just all around fun.

So true Mr Wheat, so true. And now we must move into the last section of the review. Our big three questions. And for anyone suffering from a Neuralyzer blast, those questions are:

  1. Would I recommend this film to others?
  2. Does this film deserve to be on the list?
  3. If so, where does it appear on the list?

And in true MIB fashion, I shall answer them in the order received.

1) Hell yes. And not just for nostalgic purposes, this film is genuinely well made, well acted and just plain fun!

2) Despite the fact that I do think it’s stretching the definition of “superhero” a little past where it usually falls, yes. Because what is a superhero really, if not someone/something that does all they can to fight evil, right wrongs and protect the innocent? I’ll tell you what, a no good bum, that’s what!

3) Well, let’s see where it landed in our list:

  1. Hellboy
  2. Captain America: The First Avenger
  3. The Crow
  4. Men In Black
  5. Dr Strange
  6. Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
  7. Batman: The Killing Joke
  8. Superman 3
  9. The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman
  10. The Meteor Man
  11. Supergirl
  12. Howard The Duck
  13. The Fantastic Four (1994)
  14. The Punisher
  15. Batman & Robin
  16. The Amazing Spider-Man
  17. BvS: Dawn Of Justice

    Potential Substitutions:

    Wonder Woman (replacing The Death Of The Hulk)
    X-Men: The Last Stand (replacing Catwoman)
    Turbo Kid (replacing The Incredible Hulk)

Yeah, I think it’s that high. This film managed to do several things so well in a time when doing any of them is a tall order. It helped cement Will Smith’s legacy as a screen legend, it was a HUGELY successful comic book film and it managed to use a lot of CG in a way that honestly works WAY better than you’d expect from that time. So into number 4 it goes!

Well, that’s me done for another couple of weeks! And so, I should probably get out of here before Agent J realises that I took his Noisy Cricket. I’m sure that hole in the wall will patch itself right up…..

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BlokeBusting The Essentials #42: The Incredible Hulk

Who’d have thought that only one name from that poster would return to the MCU!

#42: The Incredible Hulk

Or

Wait, was that the Ang Lee one or the other one? You know, it’s just so confusing…

And now to write the entire review attempting to draw as few comparisons to the other Hulk films as possible…

First Impressions

I’ll be honest, I did not enjoy this film the first time I watched it. I recall being bored, I recall having a lot of trouble getting any satisfaction with the final battle and I also recall not enjoying Norton’s take on Banner. So going into this re-watch I sat down fully intending to re-evaluate my stance and cast a more critical eye over the film than the personal lens that I originally used. Let’s see how that went!

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DC Universe

I wasn’t planning on subscribing to what I expected to be an extremely limited streaming service even if it was a couple dollars below the typical $9.99 price point set my Netflix even though they recently raised their prices. But they had an introductory offer with the first week free and the first month at just $0.80 so I went ahead and jumped on it with the expectation of exploring it as much as I could in that month and then cancelling it. I’ve actually continued my subscription a few months past what I expected to, though I’m not entirely sure that I’m getting my money’s worth. Also, this article is part of my Patreon, where you could have gotten early access at just the initial tier and you would help me continue to create new content for this site.

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BlokeBusting The Essentials #94: The Punisher (1989)

Despite what it says on the poster, we assure you that it is indeed called
“The Punisher”

#94: The Punisher

or

The Punisher That Time Forgot

Ok. Ok, Ok, Ok. This one was….. different. And I don’t think I can really say more without jumping right in!

First Impressions

Right. So this film exists. That was surprise #1 for me. I had never heard of there being a Punisher film (or anything else, come to that) before the 2004 entry with Thomas Jane. And after watching this entry, I’m not 100% sure I can say that there IS a Punisher film before that. It’s a little like the Dollar Store brand version of a popular drink, or a cheap knock-off watch with “Rulex” on the underside. It bears the same idea but has somewhat different execution. Does that make it less enjoyable? Let’s find out…

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Superhero Horror

With Brightburn coming out later this month, I thought it was high time that I wrote a blog post looking at a specific trend in superhero movies. And as Brightburn basically seems to be a movie that asks the question: what if Superman wasn’t raised in such a good home and turned out to be a person with good morals and great intentions. Instead, what if he was a more troubled child and used his powers to become more or less a horror movie villain. And while superhero horror isn’t a widely expansive genre within superhero movies, there are actually quite a few different superhero movies that could be considered horror, or at least have several horror elements within them. Some of the best ones are more within the action/horror genre or they play more like a monster movie, the few that fall more towards the thriller side of horror tend to be very light on the superhero element and the film itself focuses more on the circumstances rather than the super powers. Also, I will be steering clear of comic book based horror movies since they have nothing that restricts them in terms of story and can be as horror as they want to be.

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Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights is on Patreon

If you listen to podcasts, you’re likely to be aware of Patreon, it’s a platform for creators to have paid subscriptions to help support their creative endeavors. And just the other day, I decided to branch out into the world of Patreon myself. As of right now, there are just two tiers. The first tier – Vigilante – will allow you to participate in a monthly poll to help me decide one of the movies that I watch and review for that month. The second tier – Hero – will allow you to more directly encourage me to watch a specific movie and review it here on this site. The reason I’m doing this is to allow me to watch and collect more of the movies that aren’t as easily accessible to watch. I will be 100% transparent as to the costs and revenue that I make through Patreon. If you’re someone who enjoys reading what I do here on this site and would like me to continue, please consider contributing even just a single dollar a month to help cover digital rental fees and possible online purchases in the future for the more obscure movies. There is a link in the sidebar, or you can visit https://www.patreon.com/FlightsTightsAndMovieNights to become a patron. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.

Superhero Inbetweeners

Over the last couple weeks or so I’ve caught a few superhero bits here and there that don’t quite fit my criteria for a superhero movie one way or another. So instead of just letting it all go by the wayside, I thought I’d collect my thoughts on them in a single post here while also including why I don’t quite consider them to be superhero movie material. Though a couple of them are pretty obvious as to why. And I should be catching up on a couple more movies in the near future.

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Marvel vs DC

Marvel vs DC

I’ve been running this site for seven years and this is the 1,000th post and a subject that I don’t think I’ve really discussed more than a passing “I like them both”. But considering that I’ve seen every Marvel movie and every DC movie except for a couple I think I’m pretty well qualified to discuss the two biggest brands in superhero comics. Now, this isn’t just going to be a surface level discussion. I’m going to dig deep and take a good look at these two brands, where they’ve come from, where they are, and where they’re going. So sit back and buckle up.

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Introducing: BlokeBusting the Essentials with Paul

Bubbawheat here and I’m happy to introduce a new addition to Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights. A few weeks ago, I put out a call on Twitter for someone interested in joining the site to help give me some extra motivation to reinvigorate this site. And to my pleasant surprise, Paul answered the call. I knew him best from his podcast BlokeBusters, and my idea for him is to explore my list of 100 Essential Superhero Movies. It’s a list that I’m quite proud of, and I thought this would be a good excuse for me to revisit some of these movies as well and we will both reconsider whether or not these movies really do deserve to be included on this list.

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Excelsior!

It’s not an uncommon occurrence for celebrity deaths to pop up here and there and it’s extremely rare for one to affect me in any way. But as you can probably tell by the title of this post and the news in general that I felt like I had to comment on this one. Stan Lee, the voice and face of Marvel comics has passed away at the age of 95. And not only has he been a massive presence in the history of Marvel comics and even comics in general, he has also been a near constant presence in the Marvel movies themselves with his frequent-yet-brief cameoes. His presence will definitely be missed moving forward.

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