I Promised the Secrets of the Universe, Nothing More.
When I went to see Snow White and the Huntsman, I decided that I had the time and the energy to make the day into a double feature. There were about four movies available at the time that I had any kind of interest in seeing. Having one taken down at the request of my readers, I decided that I would choose the next one and that I’d just take the one that had gotten the best reviews. It was fortunate for me that it was also the one that I wanted to see the most. Being the third part in a series of movies that I have liked so far, as well as being the movie that seemed the most fun, it was an easy decision. The movie I chose was Men in Black 3, written by Lowell Cunningham, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, and starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg, Emma Thompson, Alice Eve, Mike Colter, Bill Hader, Will Arnett, David Rasche, Keone Young, and Nicole Scherzinger.
An intergalactic criminal named Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) is busted out of a prison on the moon by his girlfriend (Nicole Scherzinger). He sets his intentions on killing an agent of the Men in Black, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), for shooting his arm off in 1969. And, because he got that arm shot off in 1969 while trying to stop K from preventing his race of Boglodites from taking over the Earth, he decides he needs to go back in time and kill K. The strange part is that he succeeds. K’s partner, Agent J (Will Smith), wakes up to find that the space-time continuum has changed and K has been dead since 1969. With a little help from the new Chief of the Men in Black, Agent O (Emma Thompson), he figures out what he must do to stop it from happening, so he too goes back to 1969 to stop him. Of course, a time-travelling black man in 1969 gathers some attention, most notably from Agent K (Josh Brolin). He must try to convince K that he’s telling the truth so that they can stop Boris and save the Earth.
Much as with the other movies in this series, I’m still charmed by Men in Black 3. The story follows the same pattern that I remember from the other two movies, but adds interest and emotion to it with the time travel story. All of the movies have been, at their core, a story of two guys trying to stop the destruction of the world. The first one added the fish out of water part with J being brought into the Men in Black, the second one added the getting the gang back together thing with having to bring back K, and the third one adds time travel. That adds for some decent emotion that they barely went for in the first movie and didn’t try for much in the second. Not only is there the emotion involved in K’s temporary death, but something else that’s pretty sad happens near the end of the movie. The problem with the thing at the end of the movie is that you can kind of see it coming. It’s something that my roommate brought to my attention in the Avengers movie, but if they talk about something they’ve never really talked about before, seemingly out of nowhere, you know something’s up. K defending the person that was being talked about cemented it in my mind, so when it happened, the shock was a little bit lessened. But you don’t really come to a Men in Black movie for the emotional depth. It’s more about the cool look and the humor, and both of those are well realized. Every time J used the neuralizer on someone, the explanations he came up with afterwards were all pretty funny. There was another point where J started drinking a little kid’s chocolate milk and the little kid said, “Mommy, the president is drinking my milk.” That’s a solid joke, but it was so quiet I almost missed it. J makes a joke about agents O and K, and I think you can figure what joke would be made there, but it was still a solid joke. There were also two references for comedy that were a little obvious. If you’d seen the other movies, you know that they often have eccentric celebrities on the screen in the background, implying that they’re aliens. When I started the movie I knew that Lady GaGa would be one of them, and I was right. Also, when they had Andy Warhol in it, I figured he’d be an easy target for an alien too. I wasn’t entirely right, but I wasn’t entirely wrong either.
I liked almost all of the performances in this movie. Will Smith is usually very charming and funny, and he’s also able to bring it with the emotional performance as well. It’s no surprise that he’s able to do that in this movie, but it’s always a pleasure to watch him do it. Tommy Lee Jones is also the perfect counterpoint to Will Smith, always able to be the consummate straight man. He doesn’t bring it too hard with the emotional performances because that wouldn’t be right for the character, but he does have moments where you can see that it’s right under the surface, and it’s really well done. I think the biggest surprise for me was Josh Brolin. Not because I didn’t expect quality from him as I’ve seen him do both drama and touches of comedy before, but he does a fantastic impression of Tommy Lee Jones that deserves to be lauded. I wasn’t really a fan of Michael Stuhlbarg in this movie though. His character was kind of comic relief and never really worked for me. Perhaps it was because he reminded me way too much of Justin Bartha’s character in Gigli. Though their parts were small, I was also happy to see Will Arnett and Bill Hader in this movie, and both were pretty amusing in their small bits.
If you liked the other Men in Black movies, Men in Black 3 should be right up your alley. It might even overcome those of you that didn’t like the other two. It’s definitely a candidate for the best of the three, though perhaps the original still edges it out. MiB3 is funny, interesting, and even has a few moments of emotion to get us more invested. It still looks great and the greater majority of the performances remain fantastic. I definitely recommend getting to the theater to watch this. It’s worth your money. Men in Black 3 gets “Sort of a surly, older gentleman. Smiles like this…” out of “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!”
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