Big Screen :: Men In Black 3

May 30th 2012


When it comes to Men In Black 3 its worth giving a little background. The last sequel was released 11 years ago and was both critically condemned and commercially disappointing. Barry Sonnenfield has only made one movie since, the Robin Williams comedy Runaway Vacation which was hated by the approximately 17 people who saw it. Will Smith was last seen on screen committing suicide by getting into an ice bath full of poisonous jellyfish (spoiler!) in the ridiculous and terrible 7 Pounds nearly two years ago. Despite having over a decade to work on the script, the entire production was shut down for months at huge expense after filming the first act, as the movies four credited (and many uncredited) writers desperately tried to figure out a second and third. Sufficed to say, my expectations were not high for Men in Black 3 so no one is more shocked than me to find out that it’s actually pretty good.

This time the gimmick is time travel, with Will Smith’s Agent J waking up on day to find out Tommy Lee Jones’s Agent K was assassinated 40 years ago, and no longer exists. So he must travel back in time to stop Boris The Animal, played awesomely by Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords, from killing him and unleashing cinemas third large scale alien invasion in just over a month.

On the April/May large scale cinematic alien invasion index Men In Black 3 sits somewhere between The Avengers‘ giddy highs, and Battleships‘ dark and deep lows. It’s a perfectly solid example of this sort of stuff, with Will Smith giving a charismatic movie star performance. Josh Brolin gives a fascinating uncanny impersonation of 1969 Tommy Lee Jones, almost as good as his George W Bush from a few years back. The time travel plotline does a decent job of ironing out or at least distracting you from some of the obvious paradox’s while layering in enough mysteries to keep me guessing as to how it will play out. It’s a rare giant budget blockbuster that can do that. It also cleverly incorporates some key moments from 1969, and includes a fun trip to The Factory, with Bill Hader doing a nice Andy Warhol. Also, the creature design and practical make from the legendary Rick Barker up are really amazing. The 3D is pretty worthless, It’s not as funny as it thinks it is, and a climactic twist over-reaches, bust really, Men In Black 3 is pretty good. Don’t feel obliged to rush out and see it, but given whats playing in cinemas at the moment, you could do much much worse.

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