When I first heard about Barry Sonnenfeld returning to the Men in Black franchise for a third installment, in 3D none the less, I began to worry. Men in Black is a perfect comedy for its time because of how it manages to blend some really geeky sci-fi with some really funny comedy. Will Smith wasn’t a massive star just yet, while Tommy Lee Jones was. It was the perfect pairing of new-school and old-school and it worked wonders. The sequel, not so much. Men in Black 3 thankfully treads similar waters as the first, with lots of comedy and even more science fiction. It’s hilarious, quick and most importantly a fun movie that never takes itself too serious.
Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones/Josh Brolin) are part of a secret intergalactic organization called the Men in Black. They monitor our planet and make sure that the alien creatures follow the rules set for them, while never revealing themselves to humans. They also make sure no aliens ever attack the planet, by keeping the most dangerous offenders locked up in a prison located on the Moon.
Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) is one of those highly dangerous criminals and he breaks out of prison and jumps back in time to kill Agent K. This event alters the future, where Agent J must also travel back in time to prevent K from dying and to prevent the future Earth from an alien invasion.
It all sounds kind of silly and cheesy, but I promise you it works to its advantage. It’s not the most logical plot, but the script was rumored to have not even been completed by the time they started filming. There are plot holes in the film, massive ones to be exact, but looking for them and getting upset at the film because of them is an early indicator that Men in Black 3 is not for you. It’s a very light film in terms of tone and structure, with everything moving freely at a quick pace that will guarantee entertainment every single second.
Not a minute is wasted on overly serious dialogue or things that don’t directly affect the rest of the film. Each and every character serves a purpose, especially Josh Brolin as a young Tommy Lee Jones.
Men in Black 3 is Brolin’s movie. He not only looks like a younger Tommy Lee, but he sounds, acts, breathes and moves like him. His quick and emotionless replies to J are exact and the way he carries on throughout the film is exactly how Tommy Lee would. Brolin makes the jokes funnier and he works just as well with Will Smith as Tommy Lee does.
Smith continues with his typical comedy, throwing in an over-exaggerated phrase or two to add emphasis on his anger. Smith’s been away from this kind of role for too long and it’s gotten to the point where the second he came on screen a big smile came over my face. Men in Black 3 instantly brings me back to the fun times I had watching the first film.
Barry Sonnenfeld directs the film with an equal amount of action and comedy. The action pieces are big and contain tons of well-done special effects, while the comedy lands on every mark. The CGI and general setting of the film caters heavily to the 3D format and I’m glad, because I thought this was going to be another quick attempt at the 3D craze. It’s actually a well thought out 3D film, with lots of thought going into camera placement and depth.
Bill Hader and Michael Stuhlbarg are great in their supporting roles. Hader is much briefer, but his minutes in the film are strong. Stuhlbarg on the other hand sticks around for much longer and for that I thank him, because he brings a unique trait of emotions to his character Griffin. In the hands of anyone else Griffin would have probably been a throwaway character, only there to push the plot forward, but Stuhlbarg adds a genuine likability to the character that makes you want to watch him.
The weakest link in the film is surprisingly Tommy Lee Jones. His moments in the film are the slowest, with everything coming off as lifeless and detached from the world inside of Men in Black 3. Most of that is because of his character’s purpose in the beginning of the film, but I just couldn’t stomach some of the stuff between him and Smith, because it was so damn depressing and flat. Even towards the end when Tommy Lee Jones comes back in full swing he still feels distant and not in the game.
Men in Black 3 is a product of the late 90’s/early 00’s. It’s such a weird film, with not a care in the world. Everything is overplayed and far from serious, but that’s what makes it so enjoyable. The action is great and the 3D is actually worth it. I laughed a great deal, but I also saw a ton of people in the audience shaking their head in disappointment. If you liked the first film because of its goofy comedy then you should give this one a shot, because it’s much better than Men in Black II in terms of having a comprehensible plot and enough action and comedy to keep even the most impatient person occupied.
It’s short, sweet and never too serious. The end of the film wraps up the trilogy nicely, even though it does feel a little forced and out of left field. I didn’t mind it, but that’s because I loved everything that came before it. I’m an easy target for Men in Black, yet I went in expecting the worst. I walked out relieved and I’m so thrilled to be able to tell the world that Sonnefeld, Smith, Jones and Brolin have successfully made another worthy Men in Black film.
Men in Black 3 – 7.5/10