For those of you hankering for the third installment of the popular Men in Black series, you can now rest easy. “Men in Black III” (PG-13) returns with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones reprising their roles as Agent J and Agent K, respectfully, seeking to destroy a vicious rogue alien who has escaped a maximum security space prison, intent on destroying planet earth. The villainous “Boris The Animal” (Jermaine Clement) upon his escape, opts to time travel back to 1969, to kill Agent K, who had captured him and shot off half of his arm, effectively changing the course of history forever.
The first twenty minutes or so tend to drag a bit before the ability to time travel is introduced, but the throw back to New York City in the late 1960’s, especially considering Smith’s race, is both funny and poignant at once. Without giving too much away, the back story is vastly improved from the sequel and manages to be entertaining throughout the entirety of the film, with a subplot and an emotional conclusion that tie the film together nicely. It’s definitely a plus for such a lighthearted movie. Additionally, aside from Smith’s typically humorous without pushing the envelope antics and Jones’ perpetually cranky, grizzled character, the supremely underrated Josh Brolin shines here as the younger Agent K in 1969. Believable to a fault, the casting of Brolin was perfect as he compliments his scenes with Smith while reinvigorating new blood into the franchise. And he sounds like Tommy Lee Jones to boot. Cameos from the likes of Nicole Scherzinger and Bill Hader (hilariously as Andy Warhol), are also worthy of mention.
That said, the selling point of the film is MIB’s penchant for tremendous special effects, which after having seen “The Avengers,” are not even in the same ballpark here. From the cartoonish looking CGI to the lackluster 3D (not recommended) used throughout, from a purely visual standpoint, “Men in Black III” is outright disappointing. If you do plan to see the film, you aren’t missing anything by saving a few extra bucks and catching it in the traditional sense.
Regardless of your expectation for “Men in Black III,” the film at its core is an enjoyable one. With the sci-fi/superhero genre being overly saturated in recent years, MIBIII is neither the best nor the worst to be released. What it is however, is a fun little movie with familiar characters that work exceptionally well together, based around an interesting and engaging premise. And there’s aliens in it too.
“Men in Black III” is rated PG-13, starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and Josh Brolin, has a runtime of 103 minutes, and is released in theaters everywhere on Friday, May 25th.
- Jane Van Arsdale