Amongst the summer blockbusters, sequels and prequels we’re getting this year. Men In Black 3 rises a notch above the rest. There’s a lot of mediocrity in the movie houses, and Will Smith delivers a suited up, suitable performance.
Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) and Agent J (Smith) are back to another intergalactic go round. This time with a sharp toothed baddie named Boris The Animal (Jemaine Clement.) Imprisoned on a secret moon prison for aliens by K, Boris breaks out to seek his revenge by traveling back in time to kill K in 1969. How very Terminator of him.
J must also head back to the 60’s to stop the retroactive killing. There he meets a younger Agent K (Josh Brolin) and start on a whimsical path of straight guy vs. wacky guy character development. Along the way, we are treated to the host of gooey, scary and hidden aliens that walk unnoticed amongst us.
Director Barry Sonnefeld, who also called shots on the previous MIB films doesn’t spend much time playing up the time change. While in the past Agent J notices that things are a little off and is subject to some tame racism but the points are not dwelled upon. The biggest kicker about time frames, actually comes in the present setting of the film. While Agent J knocks on the door of a stranger and takes a drink from a child’s sippy cup, the little one asks her mother why the president is drinking her chocolate milk?
While at times it seemed like Smith bounced back and forth from an energetic 20-something and the more dignified 43 year old he is today, he still was entertaining. Brolin must have been studying Tommy Lee Jones films, because he seamlessly pulls off the grumpy deadpan persona. That may be the film’s crowning achievement.
What’s nice about the MIB franchise is they do a nice balance job of sci-fi wizardry and human capacity. It’s rare, but three films into the franchise and the fun is still there.