I’m going to be celebrating this weekend — Big Willie style. I could do it in Miami, but I’ll probably be in a theater here, um, just the two of us.
That’s right: Will Smith is back. The third iteration of his “Men In Black” franchise hits cinemas tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s his first film since “Seven Pounds” in 2008, but moreso it’s the first movie since 2004’s “I, Robot” that he’s had the potential to make a rap song about (“Robots are killin’ people/What is there to do?/Detective Del Spooner/is looking out for you”).
It’s not that I expect “MIB3” to be particularly good; I’m dubious of any film that wraps CGI, aliens, CGI aliens, time travel and a former Pussycat Doll into a cinematic burrito. I’ll nonetheless enjoy it; I tend to overlook intergalactic plot holes when explosions are involved.
What really excites me about “MIB3,” though, is the return of Smith as one of Hollywood’s last few superstars. From my sports fandom, I’ve grown to believe things are more exciting the more the titans of the industry are involved: The NBA is more fun when the Knicks are good; boxing is better when there are two superstar heavyweights; football is at its best when the Cowboys are there to hate. And for some reason — let’s blame the Internet, it seems to like being the greatest scapegoat of all time — there aren’t too many titans in Hollywood anymore.
Big Will is one of a small remaining pool of active actors (I include Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney and Brad Pitt on the short list) who is of the stature once achieved by the likes of Tom Cruise (these days portrayed as crazy), Mel Gibson (these days portraying himself as crazy) and Eddie Murphy (who “Norbit”-ed and “Pluto Nash”-ed away what he once was). And Smith is the only one of that stable of actors who has ever cordially welcomed an extraterrestrial to Earth by punching it in the face.
The movie world needs more people of whose span of characters you can spend hours discussing which one would win in a fight (For the record, while I like “I, Robot” Will Smith and his robot arm, you can’t ever doubt Muhammad Ali Will Smith). It’s too bad that for the past four years or so, one of those people has been relegated to the sidelines, taking potshots for the kineticism of his daughter’s hair and reimagining Daniel LaRusso in his son’s image when instead he could have been blowing up aliens and giving out dating advice to ugly guys.
But the good guys dress in black once again, and Smith looks to have a few more projects in the works, keeping him in the spotlight. My fingers are crossed it’s long enough that he starts rapping again.
Full disclosure: Andy has been nearly kicked off a bus for singing “Wild Wild West” too loudly.