Aliens, aliens, everywhere. They’re attacking us in The Avengers and Battleship, and living among us once again in Men in Black 3. But if you thought aliens were the focus of this hit franchise’s third installment, you’d be wrong.
Who’s in it? Will Smith (Agent J), Josh Brolin (late ’60s Agent K), Tommy Lee Jones (Present-day Agent K), Emma Thompson (Agent O), Jemaine Clement (Boris the Animal), Michael Stuhlbarg (Griffin)
What’s it about? The violent convict Boris the Animal, who Agent K locked up (and de-armed) decades ago, has escaped his maximum-security prison on the moon. What’s more, he’s figured out how to time travel and is eager for revenge. He gets his revenge on K, and the present-day world is about to end as a result. So Agent J must go back in time and attempt to undo Boris’s damage. And in the process, he’d like to figure out exactly why it is that his partner is so darn grumpy.
What’s good? Far and away, the best thing about MIB3 is Josh Brolin’s ridiculously uncanny performance as a younger Agent K. I mean, it is FREAKY. There were a few scenes near the end where I had to do the classic double-take—complete with both hands quickly rubbing my eyes after a big ol’ loose-jawed head-shake—in order to believe that Brolin was not actually Tommy Lee Jones. It was, as the kids say, cray cray.
There was also a surprisingly emotional scene as the action wound down that caused me to become a little verklempt. I wish I’d liked the rest of the film as much as that scene—then it might have had an even greater impact.
And finally, I enjoyed a few of the sequences in the MIB headquarters where we’re treated to glimpses of certain celebrities the agency’s keeping an eye on. Though is it really a shocker that Lady Gaga is an alien? I think not.
What could’ve been better? It’s hard for me to fathom how Etan Coen, who co-wrote such hilarious (to me, at least) films like Idiocracy and Tropic Thunder, could go so far astray here. There were ample opportunities to make MIB3 a fun and funny and smart summer blockbuster, considering the cast involved, but instead Coen stuck in a beyond confusing plot device in the form of an all-possibilities-seeing creature named Griffin (Michael Stahlberg, looking like Mork from Ork’s befuddled cousin). This character took up a ton of time and wasn’t even needed. At all. And Flight of the Conchords‘ Jemaine Clement was unrecognizable as Boris and therefore not given much chance to shine. A subplot between Agents K and O went nowhere. AND Frank the Pug isn’t even in it! I have to blame the trilogy’s director, Barry Sonnenfeld, as it certainly wasn’t just the script and dialogue that were lacking.
The bottom line: After a decade-long break, it’s frustrating that the MIB team didn’t come up with something better. But is it mindless summer entertainment with big-name stars and explosions and jokes AND ALIENS? Yup.
Did the Men in Black neuralyze your memories of the original film?
Or perhaps you just need a bit of refreshing, since it HAS been 15 years, after all.
Good news! Redbox brought back 1997′s Men in Black.