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Critical Response To Clerks III Will Surprise Everyone, Including Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith's debut film, "Clerks," first released in 1994, may be seen as an indie classic now — with a 90% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes to match — but Smith has always been a bit of a hit-or-miss filmmaker with the critical establishment. Smith's relationship with the critics has, arguably, even gotten contentious over the years (IndieWire). Even though Smith has since come to better terms with movie critics (per Slashfilm), he generally hasn't gotten a lot of rave reviews for any of his recent projects, seemingly choosing instead to focus on his devoted cult fanbase rather than trying to please critics or even mainstream audiences.

All that is to say, Smith is likely to be prepared for his upcoming sequel to the defining film of his career, "Clerks III," to receive a critical drubbing from the usual suspects, especially by comparison to the original "Clerks." But that doesn't appear to be happening, at least not as of this writing. Instead, it looks like "Clerks III" is beating expectation in all the best ways.

Clerks III seems to be sitting well with critics

It's still early in the film's release, with only thirteen reviews for "Clerks III" tabulated by Rotten Tomatoes so far, but it's still managing a respectable 69% Tomatometer score, significantly better than the 63% currently enjoyed by "Clerks II."

Critic David Nusair of Reel Film Reviews hails "Clerks III" as a perfect and heartfelt conclusion to the trilogy, calling the film, in his words, "a consistently compelling sequel that only grows more and more enthralling (and spellbinding) as it progresses" — which is, possibly, the first time in history a critic has used the word "spellbinding" to describe a Kevin Smith film. Meanwhile, Cory Woodroof of 615film is even more effusive in his praise: "Clerks III might be Smith's magnum opus. It's the film his career has been building to, but also the one that dares to have us reframe much of what has come before this."

That's pretty high praise, and if "Clerks III" continues to impress at this level it may end up being one of the most critically praised projects of Smith's long career. And you can safely assume that no one will be more surprised by that than the filmmaker himself.