“M3GAN” has certainly more than earned its sequel, as evidenced by both the glowing reviews and the box office numbers. But when a film has become known for its meme-friendly, over-the-top moments, how does one innovate or try to “top” the original film?
Johnstone openly admits that it’s probably not worth trying to force it. “I think if you do that, you are kind of setting yourself up to fail, and the audience will smell that a mile away,” Johnstone answered. “I think for me, what works about the movie and what I think people are responding to is that it’s fun and absurd and full of lots of pleasant surprises.”
The director has a point. In fact, we’re living in a time where the entertainment industry has become more “in-tune” with social media now more than ever, and we’ve seen plenty of major studios try to cash in on viral trends. Once upon a time in 2019, “Star Wars” teased a major plot point of “The Rise of Skywalker” through the battle-royale game, Fortnite. Last year, the “Morbius” meme reached a critical level of irony that Sony Pictures couldn’t understand, prompting the studio to re-release the film to even drearier box office numbers.
You can certainly try, but you can’t force a meme. Most audiences are good at detecting inauthenticity, and “M3GAN” has thrived because it has been blissfully sincere about itself from the beginning. There’s a sense of awareness to the film that isn’t cloying or cynical, and that’s credited to its sharp direction and writing.