This article contains spoilers.
MEN IN BLACK III
DIRECTED BY: BARRY SONNENFELD
WRITTEN BY: LOWELL CUNNINGHAM
STARRING: WILL SMITH, TOMMY LEE JONES, JOSH BROLIN
There are two things that I remember about the Men in Black films: Will Smith being in them, and Frank The Pug. Granted, I was young when I saw them. Man, I loved Frank The Pug. But alas, while Frank The Pug isn't back for Men In Black's third installment that nobody asked for, Will Smith is, for his first movie in four years. MIB III reunites us with Agents J and K, with the former going forty years into the past to discover the mysterious time-space continuum disappearance of the latter.
While MIB III isn't a well-developed character study by any means, it does have some good actors and some fun characters. A lot of these characters are the interesting aliens, from a particularly lovable supporting character named Griffin to an alien Chinese restaurant owner. However, it's Will Smith, front and center, proving he still has the star power to be a great lead. Tommy Lee Jones takes a back seat for 70 percent of the film, but Josh Brolin playing his younger counterpart is spot-on with the impression, and often steals the show. Along with a new movie comes a new villain, though, and he's one who I have mixed feelings about. His name is Boris The Animal and he's played by one of the Flight Of The Concords' front men, Jermaine Clement. My problem with the character is that he's a little too disgusting for my tastes, but never really menacing due to his sloppily written dialogue. However, he's pretty cool from a design standpoint and his back-story actually works.
MIB III is a perfectly entertaining summer blockbuster, and it comes with allthat certain classification entails. It's mostly made up of fun moments (a bowling alley scene, the final confrontation, and a certain "cameo" from an art icon) but it's also got fundamental story flaws. The opening scene fails to engage, but after that it's all fun and games. The time travel story is one used far too often, but MIB III makes it work, and here's why: recent time travel films have been dark and brooding (a la Denzel Washington's Déjà Vu) but MIB III takes the genre to its silly and fun pop culture roots. And that's exactly what the movie is: it's fun. It's got some memorable action sequences, mostly decent special effects, some good actors in the leading roles, and it's fast-paced and entertaining.
Sure, the movie has its flaws, as it ends a bit too quickly and it's simply too short (when is the last time you heard that?) and it's also supposed to have a subplot about the end of the world that never fully comes together or adds any feeling of danger or menace. But in the end, I feel that MIB III is a summer blockbuster that has moments I'll actually look back upon and say, "Wow. That was pretty fun."
While it's better than most 3-D movies, the 3-D does darken the excellent looking vibe that director Barry Sonnenfeld brings to the 60s so via the style of Mad Men at some points. I don't like 3-D, plain and simple. MIB III is entertaining, fast-paced, and fun, while all the while working it's way to a finale that is both exciting and surprisingly poignant.
FINAL GRADE: B+
FINAL SAY: MIB III may be a sequel that nobody asked for, but it's surprisingly fun and entertaining, featuring good performances from Will Smith and Josh Brolin, making it a wonderfully fun time-traveling popcorn movie.