Clerks III

 Clerks III

While the latest may not reach the heights of the first two films, it succeeded as a worthy conclusion to Dante and Randal's story. It is very meta, and I found it an enjoyable and heartfelt sendoff from Kevin Smith.

The movie wastes no time catching us up with Dante Hicks and Randal Graves, still working what has to be the worst convenience store jobs over two decades later. We find Randal suffering a massive heart attack in the store, causing him to reflect on his unfulfilled dreams and unlived life.

Determined to finally make a film depicting his and Dante's adventures over the years, Randal enlists his friend to help shoot the low-budget movie using the actual Quick Stop location and their other View Askew characters. This framing device allows Kevin Smith to wink at the audience constantly with countless callbacks and references to previous films.

Where Clerks III really succeeds is in its unexpectedly poignant dramatic arcs. Randal confronting his heart attack and regrets adds unexpected depth. Meanwhile, Dante deals with a family tragedy that provides unexpected emotional gut punches. Scenes addressing these personal crises feel raw and real, a testament to how far Kevin Smith and his actors have come as storytellers.

Ultimately, Clerks III provides a nostalgic trip back to Quick Stop that longtime fans will appreciate. Its unexpectedly moving climactic messages about living life to the fullest make it a bittersweet conclusion to Dante and Randal's journey. It completes their story on a reflective note and says goodbye to these beloved characters.