REVIEW: 'Men in Black 3'
Friday, May 25, 2012
Thinking back to 1997, I remember the original Men in Black being a lot of fun. Smith was in his element, cracking jokes, blowing up aliens and having a ton of fun with Tommy Lee Jones, playing Agent K. I even got the Men in Black soundtrack (on cassette) for Christmas that year. Besides the actual Men in Black song itself, I have no idea what else was on that cassette. I do remember there was a lot of stopping and rewinding just to hear the song over and over again. These kids these days have no idea what we once went through.
Men in Black 3 occasionally recaptures the spirit of the original movie, hiding Easter eggs throughout the movie (watch the screens in MIB headquarters to see who a few secret agents and possible aliens are) and revealing the secret history behind the world we know. Andy Warhol? Undercover Men in Black agent, played by the cameo-loving Bill Hader.
Director Barry Sonnenfeld has openly admitted that they began shooting Men in Black 3 without having a finished script or even knowing how the story would come together, choosing to just start filming to take advantage of New York tax breaks and to fit the movie in Smith's schedule. That process shows, as the story itself is very thin and by the end of the movie isn't even following its own established rules of time travel.
After Boris the Animal, an alien mass murderer, escapes from a secret moon prison, he jumps back into time to kill Agent K, wiping out every memory of K in present day ... except for Agent J's. J learns of what happened to K, and jumps back in time himself to prevent Boris the Animal from killing J and launching an alien invasion in present day. Got all that? The most important thing in all of this is the fact that Josh Brolin gets to play a young Agent K.
If anyone is ever looking for a clinic on how to best steal Tommy Lee Jones' identity, Brolin's performance in Men in Black 3 will be your go-to movie. Brolin so completely becomes Jones, it's easy to forget that you're not watching a Benjamin Button'd Jones. Forget the convoluted plot and time jumps — if you're on the fence about seeing Men in Black 3, go just because of Brolin. What other actor out there has become both Tommy Lee Jones and George W. Bush?
A negative of Brolin's performance in Men in Black 3 is that while we get to enjoy watching him play Agent K, we see very little of Jones. The chemistry between Jones and Smith was always one of the strongest factors in the Men in Black series. Jones' reduced screen time is noticeable.
Men in Black 3 is an improvement over Men in Black II (by the way, it annoys me greatly that they used a numeral "3" for this one and a Roman numeral "II" for the last one). Besides the super-thin Laura Flynn Boyle and a CGI-enhanced Johnny Knoxville, very little of Men in Black II stuck with me. Hopefully Smith, Sonnenfeld and the rest of the Men in Black team retire the franchise with this one. Are they going out on a high note? Eh, maybe a better note is a more accurate description of Men in Black 3.
FINAL (SPOILERISH) NOTE: After Agent K is wiped from present day, audiences get about three minutes of Agent J with his new partner: Agent AA, played by Will Arnett. If there are plans for future Men in Black movies, I want to see that timeline.