Friday, August 3, 2012

MEN IN BLACK 3 - REVIEW

Men in Black 3
May 25, 2012
106 min
United States (English)

Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
Written by Etan Cohen



The tired alien invasion premise gets a timely twist in "Men in Black 3." Josh Brolin shines as a younger Tommy Lee Jones, one of the best parts of a worthwhile sequel.

Virtually unanimous was the opinion that "Men in Black II" was a diminished sequel. This should not have shocked us as sequels so seldom gravitate upwards. So when word reached my ears that "MiB3"  was in the making I was alert (per my approval of the first one) while cautious (have you seen the second?). Turns out I prepared myself well as it significantly improves on where we last saw Agents J and K, Will Smith and that face we call Tommy Lee Jones, yet never reaches the heights of the original.

The film begins with the escape of one nasty dude rightly dubbed Boris the Animal (surprisingly played by Jemaine Clement from "Flight of the Concords") from an extraterrestrial holding cell on the moon. Meanwhile J and K are keeping the peace on Earth. Something is bothering Agent K and his partner is unsure how best to deal with it. When a past event in 1969 becomes the destination for both Boris and Agent J we are taken along on the trip back. Here we meet a fresher version of Agent K, played by Josh Brolin with uncanny skill. The two agents' buddy cop relationship was always one of the best parts of the series and here it remains so.

Another treat along the way is Griffin, played by the lesser known but far from lesser talented Michael Stuhlbarg. His "power" adds a fun complexity to the already dual timeline. What happened to Agent K in 1969 becomes the film's greatest mystery and it all goes down smoothly and , a first for the series' climactic beats. 

"Men in Black 3" is a fun outing even if it is not near as funny as the original. Some characters (and their scenes) like Emma Thompson's Agent O are altogether wasted and only add clutter to the matter. Furthermore, today's visual effects make give the set pieces an artificial vibe that kills the peril. These grievances aside, there is more substance to the film's narrative than I anticipated and would encourage you to see the series end on this note versus where we were left 10 years ago.



★★★½

CONTENT: sci-fi action violence and brief sensuality

Updated 12/19/12