REVIEW: Men In Black 3
The new installment in this alien franchise manages to make up for the failure of MIB 2.
10 years ago, Men In Black 2 was released to great box office success and lukewarm critical support. So, in an attempt to strike while the iron is freezing cold, director Barry Sonnefeld got Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones back together, threw in some new faces and a time travel plot, and decided to make a third entry to the Men In Black franchise 10 years later. And while 2012 seems to be the year of remakes, adaptations, and superheroes, Men In Black 3 — the sequel that nobody asked for — is actually a film that manages to provide something new for existing fans of the franchise all while making new ones out of those who have no idea who these men are or why they’re dressed in black.
Men In Black 3 takes Will Smith’s Agent J and Tommy Lee Jones’ Agent K back in time to defeat an alien, played by Jemaine Clement, and prevent him from taking over the world. Adding some new life to the franchise, Josh Brolin stars as a young Agent K, doing his best Tommy Lee Jones impression and killing aliens at the same time. As Agent J travels back in time, we are treated to some cool action sequences, some very creative alien creature effects, and a story that is easy enough to follow; especially considering that it involves aliens, time travel, rocket launches, and multiple universes.
Where Men In Black 3 succeeds most is in it’s ability to create a new film in a world that most audiences already know, while still being able to cater to those who aren’t familiar with the other two films. There are references and callbacks for old fans of the franchise, and enough new material and humor to charm anyone else. The film is colorful, inventive, and funny – often all at the same time.
The performances are solid and help carry the movie at times when it could have fallen flat. Jemaine Clement, one half of the Flight Of The Conchords duo, is the scene-stealer in this film and his portrayal of the villain, Borris The Animal, is creepy, funny, and disgusting. Although Clement usually plays the nice guy, it’s really cool to see him thrive while playing someone so terrible.
But ultimately, despite all the film’s successes, Men In Black 3 comes off as something a little more basic than it should be, especially given its premise. Although there is a good ending that ties together some loose ends and provides some insight into the characters, for a movie about time traveling aliens it feels a little light. Between the space guns and the time jumps, there isn’t enough compelling material to elevate this film to the next level of entertainment.
If you are a fan of the franchise and want to see redemption for Men In Black 2, you should check out this film. It’s got enough references and character moments to make any fan satisfied. Although the film is easy enough for anyone to understand, if you are a casual moviegoer who has no real interest in the franchise you can probably skip Men In Black 3 unless you are looking for a light popcorn movie to kill a few hours of your time. It’s got aliens, it’s got Will Smith, it’s got time travel, but it’s definitely not high art.