It has been fifteen years since the first Men In Black film came out. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones have gone on to other projects, each carving a name out for themselves in the industry.
So it came as a bit of surprise when it was announced that a third film in the franchise would be coming out, especially as it had been languishing in “Development Hell” since the last film in 2002. And in many ways, that should have been where it stayed.
The film starts off pretty much like the other two. The big bad of the movie is revealed, this time to be called Boris the Animal, played by Flight of the Concords Jermaine Clement. This time, rather than looking for some sort of intergalactic artefact, he wants to get revenge on Agent K.
It flips to J and K on an assignment, which I can assume is in Chinatown. I’m not sure exactly why they were there, but it ends in a shoot-out with J and K going against a bunch of aliens. It has never really been about the why. These scenes were always all about showcasing the action and the special effects, this time with the added Third Dimension.
The plot chugs along and we see that K is getting rather tired of this whole deal (though I am sure that this was the whole point of the first film) Anyway Boris somehow manages to eliminate K from our timeline and it is from here on out that the plot gets bogged down.
Time travel is always a tricky thing to successfully pull off, in any type of media. MEN IN BLACK 3 succeeds in some ways, but fails in others. At times I did find myself sitting there, thoroughly confused. The logic behind it is very ropey at times and you could plough a double decker bus through some of the plot holes. The major one that I had trouble getting my head around was the fact that with K dead in the past, how did J become an Agent? Who recruited him? Why did he still remember K when everyone else didn’t? I ended up having to accept it for what it was in order to try and enjoy the film.
Needless to say, J is successful in preventing Boris the Animal from killing K and therefore resets the timeline to the one that we all know. Everything is right with the world.
By now, you can probably tell that I wasn’t overly impressed with the film. It was pretty much the same old, same old. The characters were older and at times both Smith and Lee Jones were all but phoning their preformances in. Smith had lost that spark that made J such an endearing and entertaining character. I sat wondering what had he managed to get the studio to agree to in order to appear in the film.
There was also the usual stunt cameo’s, this time with famous 60’s people such as Andy Warhol, who we find out is actually an Agent for the Men in Black. I did chuckle slightly, but it was again nothing fresh or new.
In fact, it’s the newer additions to the cast that save the film from being completely boring. Brolin is excellent at impersonating Tommy Lee Jones, but giving him that little bit of a spin. There is that little glint in his eye that shows that he isn’t playing this as a straight role.
The other is Griffin, played by Michael Stuhlbarg. His character is an alien that can see multiple outcomes. For every action he can see the consequence. I liked both the character and the actor because they were different. Stulbarg managed to play the alien with a certain vulnerability that was almost childlike.
Overall the film was mildly entertaining, but nowhere near as good as the original. I hope they don’t make another film as this shows how stale the franchise has gotten.