The Men in Black (3) are back for a fun joy ride into the past

I haven’t really promoted Men In Black 3 much here on the site, I know. I honestly was so disappointed with the second film in the series that I didn’t think I’d like the new one. But I begrudgingly dragged myself to the theater to see the third installment of the story and guess what? I was pleasantly surprised.

I must have seen the original Men In Black film at least a dozen times. It was one of those quirky and silly fun movies that you just couldn’t help but to love. And I am very happy to report that the third movie has brought all of that back with even more special effects, crazy aliens and time travel.

In the first five minutes of the movie, we’re introduced to Boris The Animal (Jemaine Clement), a scary and homicidal alien hell-bent on revenge and destroying the earth.  Boris breaks out of the jail where K had sent him back in 1969, and finds a way to travel back in time to change his fate by killing K and allowing his alien species to launch a full-out attack on earth in the present.

And that scene of Boris escaping from jail sets the tone of the film, along with the next scene re-introducing us to our two favorite Men In Black agents. It’s been 14 years since Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) recruited Agent J (Will Smith). Of course, our reunion is short-lived, as Boris does manage to go back in time and take out K.

So J has to also go back in time and save K from certain death. And he gets the opportunity to meet a younger and slightly more laid back K (Josh Brolin). Together, the two have to save both K and earth from Boris.

The classic Smith and Jones buddy cop shtick still works. These two have a wonderful, yet offbeat, chemistry that is enjoyable to watch. From Jones’ deadpan expressions to Smith’s over-expressions, they both prove that they still have that “it” factor that made them so watchable 14 years ago. And Brolin as the younger Jones might as well be Jones himself, and I say that as the highest compliment. Brolin manages the same sort of chemistry with Smith as his older counterpart effortlessly. I’m sure that one was a no-brainer for the movie’s casting department.

I had not realized how attached to these characters I had become until a scene at the end where we find out more about J’s past. This comes as a poignant moment for both Brolin and Jones, as well.

But it’s Clement that made the movie for me. We haven’t seen a baddie this delightfully wonderful since perhaps Tim Curry’s appearance in Legend. In fact, I initially thought that Boris WAS Tim Curry until I looked the movie up on IMDB. That’s how bloody brilliant Clement is in playing this villain. I still can’t believe that’s the guy from The Flight of the Conchords. Well played, sir. I’m also predicting that at some point in his career, he will be portraying a young Curry. Hollywood, please make this happen ASAP.

I also really enjoyed the character of Griff  (Michael Stuhlbarg), an alien (the last of his kind) who could see all potential futures all at the same time. He sort of lives outside of the space-time continuum, but is somehow still able to interact with the present. The character itself was fascinating and added a little extra “oomph” to the comedic and dramatic parts of the film and Stuhlbarg nailed it.

Men In Black 3 has good pacing, save for a scene at Coney Island, where I felt things were a little draggy. Fortunately, things pick back up quickly, and all in all, the entire experience proves to be an entertaining one. I also liked the twist with Andy Warhol. Oh, and spoiler alert (not really)! Lady Gaga really is an alien.

There is something about the movie that I hated, though. The theme song – it seriously sucks. I wonder why Will Smith didn’t record it. Pitbull’s rendition just isn’t a good fit for a film that’s this silly and fun.

Bad theme song aside, though, I recommend seeing Men In Black 3 at the theater – it’s a great big and awesomely fun summer movie.

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