Men in Black 3

Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld

Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Emma Thompson

I have a confession to make: I love Will Smith.  Whether I’m watching him on reruns of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, watching him play a down on his luck homeless man in The Pursuit of Happyness, or seeing him backhand a rude reporter attempting to kiss him, I’m a fan.  Thus his hiatus for the last few years has been disappointing.  However, he’s back ladies and gents and in a pretty fun way.

Men in Black 3 opens with an insane prison break.  Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) is locked in a high security prison on the moon.  Boris has been locked up there since Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) shot off his arm, captured him, and thwarted his race’s plan to destroy the Earth in 1969. Boris’s girlfriend (Nicole Scherzinger) makes a special cake for him and aids in his escape from Alcatraz on the moon.   Boris’s number one mission is to destroy Agent K, and he is arguably the most sinister villain we have seen in the Men in Black series.

Meanwhile, Agents J (Smith) and K have been partners for fourteen years since we last saw them.  Despite the passage of time, Agent K is still the gruff, honorable, but unreachable older gentleman.  Even after all of these years, he’s still keeping secrets from his partner and Agent J is frustrated that K still has walls up.  In the midst of this, Boris lands on Earth, time travels back to 1969 and kills a young Agent K (Josh Brolin).  Agent K’s death transforms the entire future and Boris’s comrades are successfully invading the Earth.  In order to stop the destruction, Agent J travels back in time to the 1960s to prevent Boris from murdering Agent K.  J ends up breaking the laws of time travel, meets a young Agent K and works with him to stop Boris’s evil plot.

Men in Black 3 is old school fun, filled with familiar characters and some surprising twists.  Smith delivers his trademark wit, with plenty of one-liners.  Josh Brolin was spot on in his portrayal of a young Tommy Lee Jones.  It is actually uncanny the way Brolin adeptly captures Jones’ southern drawl, deadpan expressions and blunt approach.  Emma Thompson as Agent O was also a fun addition to the cast.

Moreover, time travel opens up some new areas to explore with the characters.  Not only do we get to see a very 2012 Will Smith have to deal with racial issues in 1969, but we actually discover that Agent K was not always the lone, seemingly unemotional man that he is today.  Brolin’s Agent K actually knows how to smile and find joy in life and in his job.  So it is interesting to see that dynamic play out.  One thing is clear—Smith has the same chemistry with Brolin that he has with Jones, and it’s still enjoyable to watch Agents J and K fight big bad aliens.

MIB 3 is not without its flaws.  There are some scenes where the special effects simply did not look real and I was a little disappointed; and there is also the issue of predictability.  Nonetheless, it was great to see the boys back in action.  I would recommend knocking back a few wine coolers and enjoying a little bit of science fiction fun.