Movie Review: Men in Black III
Length: 103 minutes
Release date: May 25, 2012
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Stars: 4 out of 5
After directing “Men in Black” and “Men in Black 2”, director Barry Sonnenfeld decided to take a bit of a break from making comedies. With the exception of the Robin Williams's vehicle “RV” and some work on television, he did not do much directing. With the release of “Men in Black 3,” however, Sonnenfeld shows that he hasn't lost his touch.
Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith reprise their roles from the earlier films, and watching them on screen is like watching a blast from the past. They still share the comedic chemistry that made the other two films a hit, but they now have more maturity as a pair and Smith has greater acting chops.
The movie starts with Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement, “Dinner for Shmucks,” “Rio”) escaping from prison. Boris tells his girlfriend Lily Poison (singer Nicole Scherzinger) that Agent K (Jones, “No Country for Old Men,” “Batman Forever”) ruined his life in 1969. When the two had a confrontation, Agent K caught him and sent him to prison. Boris lost one of his arms in the fight.
Agent K and Agent J (Will Smith, “Hancock,” “Legend”) run across Boris in New York City. After an argument, Boris seemingly dies in an explosion. When Agent K arrives home later, he discovers that he no longer exists to the world. In fact, the only trace that he ever existed comes from Agent J, who remembers all the work they did together. Agent O (Emma Thompson, “Love Actually,” “Howard's End”) later realizes that something happened in 1969 that wiped out Agent K's history.
To save his partner, Agent J goes back in time, where he comes across a younger Agent K (Josh Brolin, “True Grit,” “No Country for Old Men”) and saves his life from Boris. Agent K refuses to believe his story and even imprisons him at the Men in Black headquarters. Once Agent J proves himself to be true, he must work together with his younger partner to bring down Boris before he changes the future again.
“Men in Black 2” arrived in theaters in 2002, but after watching “Men in Black 3,” it's hard to believe that a decade has passed. Tommy Lee Jones and Smith still have the same great chemistry that they had before, but they share only a handful of scenes before Smith's character jumps back in time. Smith and Brolin also have an interesting chemistry, which might occur because Brolin does such an amazing impression of Jones. When he comes on screen, it's easy to picture him as the secret love child of Jones. Brolin obviously did his research. When he slips on the glasses, the audience really does see a younger Jones.
The previous movies were a hit with fans because they combined elements of science fiction, action, and comedy, and “Men in Black 3” hits that combination on the head again. The sci-fi elements are few and far between, but the action and comedy occur so often that fans of the series will not be disappointed.
While the movie does not pick up where the last one left off, it does bridge the gap between the two movies. Some fans might feel disappointed that the movie ignores some characters and that one beloved character from the previous film does not last long in this one. Fans will find it interesting to learn what happened to Agent J and Agent K in the last decade, as well as where they are now.
The earlier movies often introduced concepts that explained historical events and how those events connected to the Men in Black. “Men in Black 3” does the same thing by introducing Andy Warhol (Bill Hader, “Year One,” “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian”). The movie explains that Warhol moonlighted as Agent W, a member of the Men in Black team. Along with Agent J, the audience also discovers that supermodels are aliens too.
“Men in Black 3” is the kind of movie that fans will watch multiple times this summer. Parents can take their older or younger children and enjoy a little fiction for 103 minutes. With the way the movie ends and the reception from fans, it looks like Sonnenfeld might have enough stories left to keep this franchise going for years.