It has been fifteen years since the original Men in Black and ten years since sequel hit the theatres. It is now 2012 and the men in black, Tommy Lee Jones (Agent K) and Will Smith (Agent J), are back with the third installment, Men in Black 3.
The film starts in present day, with K and J having been partners for fifteen years. Life as agents has become routine as it can be for the men in black who investigate and curtail all the alien life forms that visit Earth. Things become interesting as Boris the Animal (Jermaine Clement) breaks out of the Lunar Max prison on the moon. Boris is a pretty aggressive alien life form that was under many forms of lock and key for forty years until he breaks out. Boris is bent on revenge to the man who took his arm and put him in prison in 1969. That man is Agent K. It does not take too long for Boris to find K. Both Agent K and J escape their first encounter with Boris. Unfortunately, Boris gets his hand on a time travel device that evaporates any existence of Agent K in the present day. Agent J for some odd reason knows Agent K existed, and this sends J on a quest to save K in 1969 using another time travel device.
I did not refresh my memory on the first two films before seeing this one, and I was not at a loss as to what is going on. None of the other alien villains from the first two films came into play, and there are not too many recurring characters from them either. The plot is very straightforward, even with the time travel element. Agent J goes back to July 1969, a few days before the first Buzz Aldrin and crew lift off to be the first man on the moon. This brings a black man back into times that were not too friendly and the film capitalizes on pointing this out and making light of it.
Men in Black 3 does have quite a few funny moments, but it is missing something that brings it to a film that could not be missed in the theatres. I loved seeing all of the different aliens from the previous films, and there are not many to speak of in this one. The aliens kept it interesting and creative, but Men in Black 3 mainly focuses on the agents and Boris the Animal.
While Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are a great pair of actors and have good chemistry again, Tommy Lee Jones does not have much screen time. Instead, in 1969, Josh Brolin steps in to play the younger Agent K. Brolin is the standout actor in this film. His resemblance to Tommy Lee Jones and the similar mannerisms are astounding. I have to wonder how much time Brolin spent with Jones to perfect the similarity. If Men in Black 3 could ever be considered for an Oscar nomination, it would be because of Josh Brolin. Brolin is joined by Emma Thompson and Bill Hader in smaller parts. Hader is great as Andy Warhol. Jermaine Clement is recognizable enough as Boris the Animal, even under all of the makeup. He does have a creepy hand alien thing going on that creeped me out.
Men in Black 3 has enough laughs, creativity, and great actors to make this a good film. While probably not as good as what I remember the first one to be, it has a great performance by Josh Brolin to boost it and Will Smith is always good for some laughs. The 3D version also is pretty good. Those high building scenes are good enough to make me a bit queasy. Time can only tell if we will be seeing a Men in Black 4 in a few years.
I give Men in Black 3 3 “No man on the moon, but look at these monocycles” out of 5.
by Sarah Ksiazek