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Men in Black 3 (2012)
Friday, May 25, 2012
Sci-fi action violence, and brief suggestive content.
Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Emma Thompson, Nicole Scherzinger, Alice Eve, Michael Stuhlbarg
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.
Men in Black 3 (2012) | Review
Back In Black And Time
If there's one thing that Star Trek proved for sci-fi, it's when you're stuck in a rut, do some time traveling. That helped kick-start things for the original crew with Star Trek IV, and it got the next-gen crew off to a good start in their best solo film with Star Trek: First Contact. It's a good rule of thumb, and one that works well again here. If anything, one of the areas where MIB3 falters is by not making the most of it. There were a lot of missed opportunities to have some fun with the setting of a future J being in 1969, but the mere fact that he had to travel back in time at least helps keep the movie from feeling like more of the same old, same old, which is what doomed the second film. I'm also rather surprised that there wasn't some sort of Mad Men reference or cameo made in the movie; seemed ripe for the plucking.
The other area where this sequel sets itself apart from the previous is that it's willing to get more personal. Despite the two previous movies, we really didn't know much about the main characters, and this time out we get some genuinely touching moments with them that expand their dynamic beyond being yet another odd-couple set of partners. This gives the movie some much needed heart, although the whole arc concerning K doesn't really get a satisfying conclusion. I kept waiting for the emotional pay-off that would either move his character forward or provide that one key moment of understanding to what makes him truly tick, but it never really shows. J gets much more of an emotionally satisfying story this time around.
Then there's Josh Brolin playing the young version of Tommy Lee Jones' Agent K. I'm telling you, although Jones really plays an extended cameo in this film, it feels like he's starring in it throughout, thanks to the amazingly dead-on homage/impression by Brolin. You may even think at times that Jones' voice was dubbed in for Brolin's, but in fact it wasn't. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, than Tommy ought to be very, very flattered indeed. If his brain had been surgically inserted into Brolin's body you still probably couldn't get a better performance than this. A great deal of the fun in this movie comes solely on Brolin's performance and his chemistry with Will Smith, which is both familiar and different from Smith and Jones'. On the disappointing side, Jermaine Clement, the Flight of the Concords alum, does not get enough room or enough to work with to truly shine. Considering his talent and the possibilities that were there for his role, this feels like an unfortunate waste.
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