It's been 10 years since the last Men in Black movie and I think it's safe to say that no one was really clamoring to see a third installment in the series. The original Men in Black was quick and clever entertainment made above average by the chemistry between stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. The sequel, Men in Black II, was a mostly forgettable letdown that suffered from a weaker script and tired jokes.
As I stood in line waiting to see Men in Black III, I was worried that the movie wouldn’t be worth my time. Now having seen it, I can say that this movie is a big step above the second movie, if not quite as good as the original. Naturally, this being a summer sequel, it lacks some of the freshness and creativity of the original. That being said, the movie is pleasant and funny enough to justify its existence.
The plot is simple, yet convoluted. On a basic level, Will Smith’s agent J must go back in time to 1969 to prevent the assassination of his partner agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). This movie has as many time travel plot holes as the entire Back
to the Future trilogy put together, but the story is not the main draw of
The main appeal of the Men in Black series is the charisma of Will Smith. Nearly every scene of this movie features Smith heavily and he continues to deliver what we expect of him. He provides the audience with rapid-fire one liners and sarcasm and he is as charming as ever. Unexpectedly, Smith also is given a chance to do some dramatic acting in one surprisingly touching scene.
While Smith may be the highlight of this series as a whole, Josh Brolin is the most memorable part of Men in Black III. Brolin portrays a younger version of agent K, whom Smith meets up with in 1969. Brolin does an uncanny impression of Tommy Lee Jones and captures his voice easily. Besides the near perfect voice, Brolin embodies Jones’ look and persona. Brolin’s vocal impression is so accurate I swear that Jones dubbed in his voice for Brolin’s dialogue.
Men in Black III will not be remembered for years to come as a classic genre
action flick, or even as a very good one. I can’t claim that this movie is original or groundbreaking, but for me it is the perfect example of a popcorn movie. Men in Black III is fast and funny entertainment, with enough sci-fi action and time travel to entertain newcomers and series fans. I can’t say the series has much of a promising future ahead of it, but I can say this movie exceeded my admittedly low expectations.