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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Nov 30: Men in Black 3


Nov 30: Men in Black 3

"Agent J travels in time to MIB's early years in the 1960s, to stop an alien from assassinating his friend Agent K and changing history."
Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld, Rated: PG-13, 106 minutes

It's hard to believe it's been ten years since we last saw Agent J and Agent K. In 1997, we were first introduced to the rather unusual duo of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. Since then, Smith has become a megastar and Jones has begun to find the humor in his old age. Repairing them at this point in time seemed damn near impossible, with both of them going off in their own directions, but of course, in Hollywood, anything can happen (and of course it does). With Men in Black 3, we see a return to a world filled with intergalactic aliens, secret organizations, and even a little bit of time travel. However, we aren't treated to 90 minutes of Tommy Lee Jones but instead are gifted with the incredible talent of Josh Brolin emulating the man to absolute perfection.

Seriously, it's terrifying how exact he is in emulating Jones. 

Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) is an alien terrorist that's on a path of revenge. He's an alien that has smaller aliens living inside his arms and after Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) severs one of them, Boris is sent to a prison on the moon. There, he's locked away for 40 years until he manages to escape and more motivated than ever to get back at K. So he steals a time traveling device and takes a first class ticket to 1969, where he lost his arm and where he plans to kill K before it can happen. Agent J (Will Smith) figures out Boris' plan and time jumps into the past as well, and vows to save his partner from a most certain death. In 1969, J runs into a much younger K (Josh Brolin) and comes to realize that the man was always a bit uptight, but had a thing for a woman and eased back when it came to pie. Together the partners must stop Boris from changing history and of course, protect each other from you know, dying. 

While he's not as gruesome or sinister as Edgar, Boris does prove to be memorable, even if he's not the most developed of villains. 

Men in Black 3 is far above it's predecessor and gives the first film a run for its money. While the first two movies focused heavily on the effects and wide variety of aliens, MIB3 focuses on the two characters we have grown to love. Even through their adventures already, J was never able to understand or even learn a lot about K and MIB3 not only answers a lot of questions, but makes you appreciate the two's relationship even more. It's complex but very much a father-son relationship and while Tommy Lee Jones isn't on screen as much as you'd hope, Brolin still manages to deliver on those complexities. Yes, the film has a hell of a lot of humor throughout with Will Smith reminding us why he's the megastar we all love on countless occasions  but MIB3 actually has some moments of real drama that are genuinely sad. It's really interesting that a film so many of us have waited for really turns out to be vastly different than the first two installments, but still gives us what we want in its own little way. After this many years since seeing the two fight aliens, I guess it's about time we get to know them a little better.

We are also given the chance to see the continually amazing Michael Stuhlbarg as the all-knowing-every-possibility alien, Griffin. 

While the film is far from perfect, Men in Black 3 still manages to be much better than a majority of the blockbusters that roll in and out of theaters. The movies does not have as many aliens or creatures or even explosions and guns as the first two, and instead takes a more mature approach to a story that all of us can feel for. It's a character study disguised as an action comedy and it surprisingly works. It's not a game-changer by any means but it's smart in that the filmmakers knew how invested we were in these characters and that at this point in time, we really just want to see more of them, even if its not shooting giant alien bugs with even larger guns. Director Barry Sonnefeld returns us to a world we're glad to be in, and even better, reminds us it's a place we'd love to stay. For me, I'm excited to see more of J and K, even if it's just them sitting at a diner and talking for 90 minutes. At least there is pie.

The Good:
seeing what J and K are up to after ten years of doing God knows what
The Better:
and along with that reunion, being reminded that the world that MIB exists in is not only fun and entertaining, but has thousands of stories that can be told over and over
The Best:
being surprised by a more character-driven drama than anything else- something quite unexpected

Overall: 7.5/10

Discussion Question:
Should the Men in Black franchise carry onward or is this installment a nice end to a rather successful trilogy?


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At December 1, 2012 at 12:54 AM , Blogger awsumdave said...

For your question, I have to say this was a perfect wrap-up film. Plus, I think Tommy Lee Jones can't quite...get back in character. It came close, but I think he's just too old. He still has that chemistry with J, and J was...the same. Will Smith, man. I think this is it, and I think that's a good choice. I've now seen this 3 times

At December 1, 2012 at 4:54 PM , Blogger Nick said...

True. But we know more are on the way lol. It's Hollywood!


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