What, No DeLorean? – A Men in Black 3 Review
TITLE: Men in Black 3
STARRING: Will Smith, Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg
DIRECTOR: Barry Sonnenfeld
STUDIOS: Columbia Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, Parks + MacDonald, Imagenation Abu Dhabi, Hemisphere Media Capital
RUN TIME: 106 min
RELEASED: May 25, 2012
By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
You know what this movie made me realize? Will Smith doesn’t fight aliens anymore. He used to do that kind of stuff all the time! Aliens, robots, zombies, everything. Now he lets his damn kids do all the heavy lifting. Will, we’re gonna need you to get back in the game. Now that we’ve seen Men in Black 3, we know you’ve still got it.
Fourteen years after Men in Black hit the box office, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are back as super secret alien cops. This time, a murderous alien (Jemaine Clement) time travels back to 1969 to kill Agent K (Jones) and prevent his downfall. Agent J (Smith) must keep this from happening with the help of K younger self (Josh Brolin) and Griffin, an alien who can see multiple alternate realities. Along the way, J will learn more about the life his partner has led, and the secrets he’s kept for all these years.
I didn’t love this movie, but I enjoyed it. What made the original Men in Black enjoyable for me was the intriguing concept, the cool looking creatures and the light-hearted approach. We get a decent amount of that back in this movie, certainly more than in the underwhelming Men in Black 2. The humor isn’t laugh out loud funny, but Smith’s riffs made me chuckle here and there. As you’d expect, the film is loaded with CGI aliens. But I was happy to see the main villain, Boris the Animal, played by an actual person as opposed to a more Jar Jar Binks-ish computer creation.
Josh Brolin’s been getting a lot of positive buzz for his portrayal of a young Tommy Lee Jones, and rightfully so. He nails all the vocal inflections, and manages to duplicate a lot of Agent K’s mannerisms very well. He’s not going to win an Oscar, but it’s fun to watch. Michael Stuhlbarg is also a lot of fun as Griffin, who plays one of those spacey characters who manage to point the heroes in the right direction. And of course, Will Smith is his usual charming, wise cracking self. Oh, and Emma Thompson shows up for a few scenes to play a British lady.
Time travel stories can be a headache, as you tend to spend a decent amount of time explaining how things work, how time paradoxes are avoided, etc. Men in Black 3 doesn’t bother with a lot of that stuff. We simply have to accept that certain things are as they are. For instance, initially Boris goes back in time and kills K, effectively erasing him from the post-1969 time continuum. Yet J, who was recruited by K, is still an agent in the altered timeline. Also, somehow J is the only one who has memories of post-1969 K. They address this with a single line that doesn’t really make sense. During the film’s climax J also finds a way to manipulate the time stream in order to survive, but it hadn’t been established that such a thing was possible. Plot holes like this really hurt Men in Black 3 as much as they would other movies because the film takes place in a jokey surreality. But if you’re a quantum mechanics buff, you might walk away angry.
Men in Black 3 won’t leave you chomping at the bit for another sequel. But if you bought your ticket hoping for a fun summer blockbuster with Will Smith and aliens, you should get your money’s worth.
Images from rottentomatoes.com.