Men in Black 3 finds Agent J time-traveling to 1969 to save his partner, Agent K, from being killed before he can stop an alien invasion. It’s definitely better than MIB2, but nowhere near as good as MIB.
A femme fatale visits Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement), an alien whom Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) prevented from leading an invasion that would have destroyed the planet – shooting off his left arm in the process. Her arrival leads to Boris’ escape, an impressive feat that reveals the prison is on the moon. He then visits some guy to obtain ‘the item’ – and heads back to 1969 to help his younger self kill K before he can lose his arm and wind up in jail.
Meanwhile, Agents J (Will Smith) and K tend to a couple of calls that eventually tie back to Boris’ escape. Then, later, when K calls J to talk about a certain secret, timey-whimey bubbles pop through K’s place – changing it to a family home – complete with family!
Naturally, J has to go back to 1969 to foil Boris’ evil plot – and maybe learn why K is such a surly dude in the present. It’s possible that a budding relationship with Agent O (Alice Eve in 1969; Emma Thompson in the present). Or, it could be a dramatic moment in 1969 (well, one of many…).
In the past, MIB HQ is all sixties sci-fi styling – there’s a gigantic neurolyzer that fills a room, for example. In 1969, k is still a man of few words, but he has a sense of humor and enjoys life – and Josh Brolin does more than just imitate Jones, he practically becomes him. It’s one of two staggeringly good performances in the film.
In 1969, Boris is killing seemingly random aliens, but K and O figure out a pattern which leads J and K to The Factory, where a surprise about Andy Warhol is revealed and we meet Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg), an alien who can see all possible futures and is given to commenting on them.
In order to save the Earth fro0m invasion, K has to place a small device on the nose of the first moon mission – knowing that an alien from the future is out to kill him! No pressure!
The first thing you need to know is that MIB3 began production with an unfinished script. The next thing you need to know is that Clement makes a cool villain – though we still wish he’d have had a couple of great comic moments in the film. The final thing you need to know is that the 3D isn’t particularly brilliant – there are only a very few scenes where it’s even effective.
Jones is onscreen for less than fifteen minutes, but his chemistry with Smith is still there. These two very different fellows really work well together. What’s more amazing is that Smith enjoys pretty much the same chemistry with Brolin’s young K.
One of the film’s flaws is that the script really feels like it wasn’t ready when it came time to shoot. Smith seems to be working far too hard to make things work. Another is that we never really discover what the event was that changed K from an earnest you agent who still had time for a real life – and a sense of humor – into the dour, seemingly humorless guy he is today. Finally, there’s a twist in the last act that adds a layer of depth to the J-K relationship, but feels kind of tacked on.
It’s also a shame that Thompson and Eve are completely wasted.
Overall, though, MIB3 is a decently entertaining film that I’m glad I saw – though it really shouldn’t have been converted to 3D. Even rick Baker’s wonderful array of aliens can’t make the movie better.
Final Grade: B-