Men in Black 3 Review
by Delon Villanueva
Men in Black 3 sounded like as a disaster just waiting to happen. The movie was to come out ten years after the second movie, which was negatively received, especially in comparison to the first Men in Black. Because of that poor reception, no one was really looking forward to a third one. To make matters worse, production seemed to be going terribly, from Will Smith’s controversially large trailer to reports that they were writing the script WHILE they were shooting. With all these problems, you have to wonder who thought it was a good idea to return to this franchise. It has been four years since Will Smith has been front-and-center on the big screen, (although since then, he produced the successful Karate Kid remake, starring his son), but during the beginning of that time period, the people at Sony felt ready to start a trilogy. Only problem is Tommy Lee Jones would be excluded for most of the film, as Josh Brolin would be playing him from the past for most of it instead. So with all these problems and changes, would this almost forgotten movie series be revived properly? Well, Men in Black 3 has plenty of flaws, but even with all the production troubles, we still got a decent summer blockbuster.
So, as said before, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones reprise their roles as Agent J and K, who are faced with an old foe of K, named Boris the Animal, played by an unrecognizable Jermaine Clement, that escapes from jail and goes back in time to kill K before he arrested him back in 1969. When K disappears from existence in the present, J also goes back in time to kill young Boris before present Boris gets young K, played by Josh Brolin. Although he is told to avoid contact with the young K, he runs into him by accident, and is jarred by his scary resemblance. Though by meeting this younger K, J tries to learn more about how he became who he is in the present. So, this is definitely a fun concept to play with, as they throw in some fish-out-of-water jokes and poke humor at Brolin’s similarities with Tommy Lee Jones, but you can’t help but wonder throughout the film how much better the script could have been. They have a proper skeleton of what they should have in the movie, but they do not develop it any further than that. If the screenplay had a bit more preparation put into it, this movie could have had potential to being just as good at the first. Unfortunately, that opportunity is squandered.
Although the script is easily the worst part, there are still many things that I enjoyed in the movie. The performances are as good as they have always been in the past two. It is awesome to see Will Smith as the hilarious Agent J again, a role that really defined his career in combining action and comedy. Tommy Lee Jones does look a little bit bored here, but he still sticks to his character, and is not in the movie that much anyways. The highlight of the all the actors is, of course, Josh Brolin as young Agent K. The performance is more than just an impersonation of Tommy Lee Jones, as he really recreates the character of Agent K in a much younger body and older environment. Jermaine Clement is also pretty awesome as the film’s villain, even though his comedic chops were not completely used up to his capabilities, and his movie career is shaping up quite nicely. There is also a new character that I really liked, although I do not want to spoil his power, named Griffin, played by Michael Stuhlbarg, who is an alien helps Agent J and young K on finding Boris. He brings a unique twist to the time travel story, and provides some heartfelt moments near the end, even though the emotion is not clearly earned because of the script’s mediocrity.
Barry Sonnenfeld directed the first two Men in Black movies, and keeps with the same tone in the third one. He easily makes improvements over the messy second film, but feels extremely lacking compared to the first one. The weak screenplay really prevented it from greatness, as every other element of this film seemed right on. This is the longest of all the movies, but a story like this either needs to be very tight or very detailed. The movie tries to find a middle ground to that, and does not do so well. It is not the best result we could have gotten after ten years, but if you can set aside its many plot holes, you still have an enjoyable summer movie, and if you love the Men in Black series or anyone involved in it, go see it. If you are still feeling skeptical, a matinee with a couple of friends should be fine.