I look back on the first Men In Black film with some nostalgia; it was one of the BIG movies when I was in high school. Everybody knew the song, the dance and the suits, making it prime material for costume parties and underage discos. The second forgettable film cast major doubt on the possibility of a third Men in Black film. And yet, here it is, fifteen years after the original.
But is it any good?
Men in Black 3 is a blast.
Agent J (Will Smith) travels back in time to 1969 in order to stop Boris the Animal from assassinating Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). He teams up with a young Agent K (Josh Brolin) to prevent the alien from changing the course of history and destroying Earth. The film builds the character relationship between K and J, as well as delving into the hidden past of K.
Will Smith is in high form playing off the deadpan Agent K, in the typical goofy humor of Men In Black. Brolin nails his impersonation of Jones as the straight-shootin’, country music lovin’ agent. Especially good is Jermaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) as the antagonist, Boris the Animal. His conversation with his future self is one of the comedic highlights of the film. In fact, the whole film is carried by the excellent work of the cast, with no weak performances.
The special effects are able to meet the vision of the director, Barry Sonnenfeld. There are some mind bending vertical shots, like the overhead views of Shea stadium, where J and K get an insight into the Mets winning season. The time “leap” sequence is incredibly well done, showing the history of New York in thirty seconds. While I didn’t view the film in 3D, these vertical views and popping effects would work well in 3D.
There are small lags in the scripting, particularly with the Griffin character who slows the plot down, but these are minor problems in a wholly entertaining film. There are moments of pure gold, including the encounter with Andy Warhol and Smith’s dressing down of two highway cops. Where most films fall apart in the last third, Men In Black 3 concludes with an ultimately touching ending. My cinema companions and I had a tear in the eye as we discovered why Agent K became the surly and brooding man of the future.
Men in Black 3 is one of the most enjoyable films I’ve seen all year. It’s already made twice the revenue of the previous film. I’d highly recommend it; you’ll be smiling the whole way through.