Men in Black 3 (2012)

Man, I love surprises! I fired this flick up expecting something on par with the craptacular Men in Black 2 (2002), especially considering the MIB3 scuttlebutt that was floating around about script issues (didn’t have a completed script on filming), cost issues, a ‘stop n start’ production and poor ‘tracking’. Given all THAT drama, this flick turned out a LOT better than it really had ANY right to. If there were any script issues, they sure found slick ways to hide it. The story, this time, follows ‘J’ (Will Smith) as he has to leap back to 1969 to try to save ‘K’ (Tommy Lee Jones) from being ‘Terminator’d’ out of existence by a menacing and vengeful alien psychopath named Boris (The Animal). Boris is a rather hideous and repellent extraterrestrial, with black, steampunk goggle eyes, a symbiotic spiky parasite that serves its master while living in his hand and a wide, snarling rotten tooth-laden maw. Boris’ escape from a ‘futuristic’ prison is cool and well executed ; he makes for a dangerous and determined nemesis. So, not only does ‘J’ have to navigate through the archaic 60s version of MIB, but he also has to contend with the ‘issues’ of ‘the time’. Racism rears its ugly head, only to be amusingly knocked aside via ‘j’s cocky charm and shiny sci-fi arsenal.
If there’s one term that I’d use to describe this chapter of the MIB franchise, it would have to be: ‘FUN’. I had FUN watching this one, from beginning to end. It was THE sequel that the clever and amusing first one deserved, as opposed to the sloppy crap that was the lame episode that we wound up with. But I’d have to say that director Barry Sonnenfeld has more that made up for THAT pathetic cash grab. MIB3, in my humble opinion, managed to hit all the right notes while maintaining an effortless pace coupled with some cool, universe-appropriated sci-fi elements and snappy, amusing dialogue.
Will Smith was born for this role and he certainly still knows the character. His interaction with Tommy Lee Jones (who totally works the ‘gruff’ angle here) worked just as well as it did before. The real surprise was Josh Brolin, stepping into the role of young ‘K’, and doing such a bang up job in his impersonation of TLJ that it’s eerie. He ‘sells’ that he IS that version and helps pull the viewer into the story. His ‘back n forth’s with Smith are never boring and he added some natural progression to the character. It’s funny, Tommy Lee Jones is MAYBE in the flick for a total of 20 minutes, but Brolin steps into the shoes SO well that you won’t even note a distinction. It simply works.
And that’s probably the best way to sum up MIB3: It works. It’s a fun and deserving sequel that doesn’t feel gratuitous or cheap, and manages to deftly avoid over-staying its welcome. The cast is great and seem to be having a good time telling a comic book-like story that is just there to unapologeticly entertain you. It does so well. If that’s the last MIB movie we see, then it’s a good finish to a MOSTLY fun trilogy…just step around the 2nd one when you find a steaming pile of it on the street.

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