I wasn’t sure what to expect with MEN IN BLACK 3. While I really do love the first film and the trailers for this latest instalment in the series were really entertaining but I have to admit I was still a little apprehensive with it. Why you ask? Well, there are a few reasons. 1st: it’s been exactly 10 years since the last film MEN IN BLACK II, which I found to be a pretty disappointing (while it wasn’t as bad as everyone made it out to be but it was still a rather weak follow-up to the terrific first film). 2nd: it is no secret that this film had a very troubled film production. Usually when that happens, that means the film is most likely going to end up being a total disaster. Luckily, by some kind of miracle, the actual film itself turned out to be a solid film despite its on-set problems.
So what is the film about? When an alien fugitive by the name of Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) escapes from a maximum security prison on the moon, he decides to head to Earth to hatch his plan of taking revenge on the man that put him there over 40 years earlier: Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). However this isn’t any normal revenge plan, he has found away to time travel. So he goes back in time to 1969, murders Agent K, thus altering the timeline so that in the future his species would come and destroy the planet (since Agent K was the responsible for stopping them in the past). When Agent J (Will Smith) discovers what Boris’s plan, he decides to go back in time as well. When he gets there he meets a younger Agent K (Josh Brolin), together they team up to stop Boris the Animal and save the world.
I would be lying if I didn’t say this film wasn’t flawed but despite that I will say MEN IN BLACK 3 was still quite a funny and enjoyable film nonetheless. It nice to see both Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones back together again onscreen as both Agents J and K, Smith is still a likeable as ever and he brought in so much of his trademark charisma and humour into all of his scenes. Unfortunately I really couldn’t say the same for his co-star Jones. Not that he was bad or anything, he just seemed very disinterested to there (but then again Jones is like that for most of his performances so it’s a bit hard to tell sometimes lol). It’s probably because he really doesn’t have much to do anyway since his role in this sequel is basically a glorified cameo. Luckily, the same thing can’t thing can’t be said about the supporting cast: Josh Brolin does a fantastic job as Young Agent K, he perfectly captures Jones’s vocal, facial and body mannerisms down to a T, it was scarily accurate at times. Also Brolin gives us some insights into the character of Agent K that we haven’t seen before. Jemaine Clement gives a fun performance as the film’s villain Boris the Animal (he make-up effects were actually kind of creepy. Plus he was a much stronger villain than the 2nd film had) and Michael Stuhlbarg delivers my personal favourite performance as Griffin, an alien who has the ability to see many multiple outcomes of future. He gives a very likeable turn and he steals every scene he is in. Barry Sonnenfeld’s direction is solid, the script has some very funny and clever moments, alien effects from the legendary Rick Baker are spectacular and the ending is, surprisingly, even touching.
However despite its many good qualities, the film does have a lot of flaws (again, since the film had a troubled production and an unfinished script, it would have contributed to most of these flaws). I felt that the first 20 minutes of the film were weakly handled and constructed, plus it didn’t help that pretty much most of the humour fell flat (but when the time travel aspect of the film came in, that’s when the film started to get a lot more better and focused) and some of the supporting cast didn’t really have much to do with their roles (Emma Thompson was fine as Agent O but she was pretty underused, as was Alive Eve who plays the younger Agent O in the 1969 scenes. Also it doesn’t help that despite both Thompson and Eve are playing the older and younger version same character they just don’t look anything alike). Plus despite the main theme, Danny Elfman’s score was pretty forgettable and the song that they chose to end the film (“Back in Time” by Pitbull) was terrible. I know Will Smith doesn’t rap anymore but he should have at least contributed a song like he did with the last two films, it would have been a lot better than the awful song than this sequel ended up getting.
Overall while the film does suffer from many flaws but it was still a really entertaining film that I had a good time with. So if you enjoyed the previous films in series than it’s worth checking out.
– Bede Jermyn