M3GAN: The Surprise Sleeper Hit Of The Season


Cooper Milliken, Staff Writer

When the trailer for the film M3GAN first played in theaters I knew “this movie’s gonna suck” and I didn’t make any initial plans to see it. Although, weeks later, I was checking out the film and TV criticism site, Rotten Tomatoes, and saw the film sitting at a 98% critic score (now a 94%) meaning that almost every critic who reviewed the film gave it a score of 3.5 out of 5 stars or higher. So, in layman’s terms, they liked or loved the film. Which, to me, didn’t make any sense so I went and saw the film on January 8th and…I actually really liked it.
M3GAN follows Cady and her aunt Gemma. Gemma is an inventor at Funki toys and has become the caretaker for Cady as her parents died in a car accident days prior to the start of the film. Gemma isn’t properly equipped to take care of a child and decides that her new project M3GAN, an android doll that instantaneously adapts to conversation and interactions with children due to her advanced database, can help. Once M3GAN is “linked” with Cady her primary objective is to keep her from any physical or emotional harm…at any cost.
The thing about M3GAN is that it knows how silly its premise is and it plays into that. I was expecting the film to be a self serious horror thriller that delivers a half hearted message about family and the dangers of technology. While it still delivers the half hearted message it’s also incredibly silly and funny. M3GAN herself is a dancing, singing, sassy robot whose brutality is outlandish and silly. Some of the things she does in the film are really brutal if we’re being honest, but her violence is elevated by pure goof which adds to the appeal of the film. It’s genuinely one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in the theaters and I’m happy that this is the first film I visit in 2023.
This silly tone is kept throughout the film with only a couple moments of an actual attempt at emotional resonance, but the filmmakers unfortunately didn’t craft our cast of characters enough for us to care. That’s not to knock the performances though, the actresses who play Cady and Gemma try their hardest to be the emotional core of this film, but there’s just not enough for them to come together to create an endearing duo. As for other characters in the film, they’re also severely underwritten, but their moments within the story made for a very entertaining watch. Some of them were meant to be body bogs and others were just meant to further the plot, which I don’t mind as it led to more M3GAN led, goofy fun.
In addition, the cinematography and editing of this film are also surprisingly good. A movie can be silly and goofy, but if the filmmaking behind it is just piss poor there’s not much to the film. Therefore, another solid part of M3GAN’s appeal is that the cinematography by Peter Mccaffrey and Simon Raby is great. The shots are smooth, there’s a great variety of shots, and despite some static scenes their cinematography leads to wider implementation of liveliness. Then there’s the editing by Jeff McEvoy who, despite a few wonky moments towards the end, turns each scene into a punchline or tension building moment respectively.
Overall, the perfect word to describe M3GAN is fun. It’s fun and that’s more than what I expected out of the film. This could’ve easily been a horrible, lackluster, bargain bin film, but instead it’s a fun, entertaining, well made start to the 2023 year of cinema. Overall I’d give M3GAN a 3.5 out of 5 Wampus Paws.