Published on June 8th, 2012 | by Matthew Gildea2
Men In Black 3: Review
It’s almost fifteen years since Men in Black first graced the big screen, and after a ten year gap the latest installment of the franchise has hit our planet. Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) are back defending the Earth from the various alien beings that aren’t playing by the rules enforced by the Men in Black. Except this time, there’s a new bad guy in town.
After breaking out of a secure prison on the moon built specifically for him, Boris the Animal is out for revenge against K, who imprisoned him many decades earlier. And it’s his cunning plan to travel back to the late 60s to kill K and change the course of history forever, whilst J attempts to rectify these mistakes without himself enforcing the butterfly effect.
What ensues next is a rather clever and intriguing plot that focuses not only the task at hand, but the reason behind K’s rather lonely self – something that has caused a slight detachment of his relationship with J and originated during the original clash with Boris. Why the quiet car rides together? Was K always a skeptical being? And through his cause to save the young, and consequently old K, Agent J discovers more than he bargains for about K’s personal life.
It’s classic Men in Black, if not slightly underwhelming. The awe of the first film is instead replaced with the same old ingredients, only this time the recipe isn’t quite cooked right. Of course, there’s a lot of progression on a character development level, especially for K, but the film plays out more like a superhero film, heroes against villains, as opposed to the Men in Black’s alien residents. Sure, they are aliens, but the charm of the first film is lost.
The small aliens who reside in the MIB headquarters make mere cameo appearances, despite arguably being some of the most fondly remembered characters; their small role being one of the few humorous moments. Frank the Pug, whilst realistically not able to make a physical appearance (dog years and all), could easily have been included with the use of technology. Instead, Will Smith was exhausted as the only real output of hilarity – and even those instances were few and far between compared to the other films. Josh Brolin (as young K) certainly managed to make an impression, but won’t be fondly remembered by audiences as the non-human counterparts of yesteryear were.
But, despite being slightly lacklustre, this is still Men in Black. Back come the gadgets, back comes the guns, and back come the aliens trying to integrate with society; pushing their luck though, and being gifted a visited by the MIB. And whilst some scenes from trailers weren’t included, they’ve seemingly been replaced by better alternatives that serve the plot better. It’s a complete story with a clear resolution – something that fewer films can boast nowadays, and serves just as enjoyable a platter to new audiences as old-fans.
It’s not perfect, certainly far from it, but even a mediocre Men in Black movie is a Men in Black film, and you can’t fault the crew too much for shifting some of the emphasis from humour to story. It’s a move that’ll disappoint younger viewers, but certainly entice more people into the narrative which is a step up from the second film, if still not satisfying the craving we’ve wanted since the release of the first. Regardless, you won’t be reaching for the Neuralyzer after seeing this film, rather reminiscing of the fond days when you first saw Men in Black.
Summary: Whilst not hitting the heights of the previous instalments, Men in Black 3 is a welcome return to the big screen with Will Smith and Josh Brolin shining in a less-than-dazzling story.