Released 10 and 15 years respectively after the original “MIB” predecessors, “Men in Black III” delivers some fun moments, but treads water to stay relevant, especially in a post-“Avengers” arena.
While the concept of “Men in Black” still maintains its creativity, the current competition may force Agents J and K into early retirement.
Remaining in the capable hands of director Barry Sonnenfeld, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones reunite as Agents J and K and the duo hasn’t missed a beat. Smith and Jones’ camaraderie still holds as strong as their first outing in 1997. Smith’s J still enthusiastically pounces at every alien like a child discovering bubble wrap while Jones’ K has delightfully carries the heart of the film within his demure demeanor.
Unfortunately however, like so many sequels, “MIB3” lacks the charisma of the original “Men In Black.” The first third is a rehash of situations overdone in the first two films. The film really picks up, however, when J has to jump back in time to 1969 to stop Boris (Jermaine Clement), a big bad ugly bug-man from killing K.
The 1969 storyline provides some clever topical pranks and problems for Smith. For some reason the 60s had cooler gadgets than today – except for the neuralizer’s dial-up modem sounds.
But even as we’re introduced to a world of new characters, it still feels like we’ve seen this all before – and better.
“SNL’s” Bill Hader is one of the highlights of the film as the iconic Andy Warhol and Michael Stuhlbarg (“Boardwalk Empire”) is delightfully bizarre as a multi-dimensional guru. Emma Thompson is new head honcho Agent O. but has a few awkward scenes and one that is even slightly embarrassing.
But the spotlight is undoubtedly on the spectacular Jones impersonation by Josh Brolin, who plays a young Agent K. His performance alone is worth the price of admission. The transformation is uncanny and Brolin’s comedic timing is impeccable. It takes a lot to overshadow Smith’s hyperactive performance, but Brolin, with just a glance or snarky one-liner, delivers the goods.
The special effects are a notable improvement with a slew of new creepy-crawly aliens to marvel at, but stay clear of the pointless 3D version.
Even though “Men in Black III” is a modest return for J and K, better late than never.