BEFORE the resurgence of comic book movie adaptations, mostly of the superhero kind, there was Men In Black, which featured Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as Agents J and K respectively. The duo defended Earth from an alien invasion while dressed coolly in black suits.
That was 15 years ago. Then the not-so-great sequel came about a decade ago. After a long wait the Men In Black are back and third time’s a charm as well.
Jones may be looking much older now but the chemistry he shares with the affable Smith is still potent, like slipping into an old pair of worn but comfy shoes.
The story this time takes on a new turn as Agent J has to follow a begrudging alien back in time to 1969 in order to stop it from erasing Agent K’s existence by killing its younger self.
Along the way, Agent J discovers that there are secrets to the universe that Agent K never told him. So he teams up with the young Agent K to save his partner, the agency, and the future of humankind.
Since the film deals with time travel (apparently director Barry Sonnenfeld credits Back To The Future for laying down the ground rules), don’t expect it to make much sense. Just park your brain outside, relax, sit back and enjoy the fun ride.
The 3-D version of the film features more depth in front of the screen rather than the more conventional depth behind the screen as with other films.
This gives the audience the experience of being in the thick of the action (the guy next to me jumped a few times during the more up close action scenes).
As with the previous films, check out the alien surveillance board at the MIB HQ to pinpoint various celebrity cameos. There’s also one by Sonnenfeld in a hilarious scene.
Smith gives a dependable performance that anchors the film but it’s Josh Brolin as the younger Agent K who is the surprise highlight.
He blends naturally into the part well and showcases a sunnier side to Agent K that audience members haven’t seen before.
Celebrated makeup effects artist Rick Baker does a great job of showcasing an array of interesting creatures that populate the movie.
Since most of the film occurs in 1969, references and spoofs abound. Some of the funnier moments have to do with the technology of the time. On the plus side, the film exudes a retro chic feel and while some of the jokes don’t always work, they’re laugh out loud funny when they do (look out for the Andy Warhol scene).
Then there’s the bromance between Agent J and K, which works well for most of the film, although by the third act, certain integral scenes come off as clumsy and forced.
But the balance between having less irritating comedy, as compared to MIB2, and more epic action (check out the grandiose set pieces in the beginning and climactic segments of the film), coupled with a story that uncovers the relationship between the two heroes makes MIB3 an entertaining winner.
MEN IN BLACK 3
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg, Emma Thompson, Alice Eve and Nicole Scherzinger
Duration: 106 mins