Review: ‘Men in Black 3’

The good news is that the sequel we’ve all been waiting for (we have, right?), Men in Black 3, doesn’t suck.

The bad news is that it takes a good half hour for it get to the ‘non-suck’ category.

The film starts off promising enough: When Boris the Animal (Jermaine Clement) escapes from his high security prison in space, he sets off on his years-in-the-making plan to travel back in time and kill the man who shot off his arm and put him in jail, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones).

End of the promising start because we are quickly re-introduced to Agents J (Will Smith) and K in what is one of the most sluggishly handful of opening scenes I’ve seen in a while. J & K find out about the escape and we discover that K has a secret about Boris that dates way back to 1969. K goes even deeper into his shell (if that’s even possible) as J tries to unravel a mystery of just what happened those many years ago.

As Boris assembles his race of aliens and commands them to destroy earth, J must travel back in time to not only save our planet but save K as well.

Now, we get to the fun part of the film, courtesy of Josh Brolin as young(ish) Agent K. Brolin makes the movie as the 29-year-old K. Yeah, I said 29 but Smith’s J makes a joke of the long-in-the-tooth Brolin’s age and it’s quickly dismissed.

We posted an article about Brolin watching the first MiB film over 50 times and Director Barry Sonnenfeld said that the actor would walk around with a tape recorder that had Jones’ voice and constantly listen to it and damn, if his work doesn’t pay off. He’s got the squint, mannerisms and cadence Jones has and it’s just fantastic.

Sonnenfeld, Smith and even Jones should be kneeling at the feet of Brolin because if not for him, this movie wouldn’t be anything near what it is. By now the secret alien world and cool gadgets we’ve come to know in the series are familiar to us and with Brolin’s K, the film is worth a look.

After the opening scene that featured Clement, I was looking forward to seeing how his Boris would play for the whole of the film, but it just became more of the same; very one note. I’m not sure if you can credit that to the screenwriting or to him but it’s unfortunate that he didn’t bring anything new to the rest of his scenes because I really like the guy.

Two stand-outs that also helped the film were Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire) who plays all-seeing alien Griffin and Saturday Night Live‘s Bill Hader. Hader is only on-screen for all of 5 minutes but he fills it with energy and brings a ton of laughs as Andy Warhol. Hey kids, that’s how you make an impression!

It’s not going to win any awards and you certainly won’t be telling your friends to rush out and see it, but I can certainly think of worse ways to spend 2 hours.

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