Men in Black 3 Movie Review
Men in Black 3 stars Will Smith, Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, and Michael Stuhlbarg and was once again directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. It’s the third film in the Men in the Black franchise and focuses on MIB partners, J and K, played by Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, respectively. After an alien criminal travels to the past in an attempt to change the present, J follows him to 1969 where he runs into a young K, played by Josh Brolin. I’m always skeptical when a franchise comes back to release another sequel after a long gap.
It seems to be happening more and more in this era of sequels and reboots and frequently has that cash-grab vibe to it. So, when Men in Black 3 was originally released, I wasn’t all that interested in it and skipped seeing it in the theater. It had been a decade since the last installment in the franchise and Men in Black II is one of my most disappointing sequels, so I wasn’t really keen on more MIB. A few years ago, I finally picked up the blue-ray and watched it and man, was I kicking myself for not seeing this one earlier.
Unlike Men in Black II, this movie was able to recapture some of the fun that made the first film so great. It’s got some good character moments, the humor hits, and most importantly, all of the actors seemed like they were having a good time making the film. And that kind of enjoyment translates across the screen to us in the audience. So like I said, I was initially skeptical of this movie.
The time gap, the bad previous sequel, and one more thing I didn’t mention before: the plot synopsis. Now, I’ve gotta say that I’m a pretty big fan of time travel movies, so it seems like that should’ve been something that got me excited for this movie, but weirdly, it had the opposite effect. Time travel and Men in Black just didn’t seem to mesh in my mind and I was concerned that they were taking the story in a direction that was doomed to repeat the biggest mistake of Men in Black II: minimizing the partnership between J and K. But, amazingly, the story and time travel element really work. The set-up to the film’s time jump is a little weak, however.
They were definitely stretching a bit to have an excuse for that plot element, and it doesn’t entirely make a ton of sense, but if you can get past a very hammy villain and some exceptionally convenient plot points, you’re in for a fun trip to the past. One of the most interesting aspects of Men in Black II was its attempt to provide a little bit more backstory to K’s character with the whole Light of Martha thing.
Now either Man in Black 3 was tailor-made for me or other people enjoyed that aspect too cause this movie takes the idea of a K origin story and runs with it back to 1969. The majority of this film takes place in the past and that aspect is really fantastic. I might be a bit biased because the 1960s are my favorite decade, but I think they really nailed it. The music, the clothes, the technologyÖ it all felt genuine while incorporating that signature man in Black sci-fi spin, of course.
The setting was great, but this movie wouldn’t have worked without the right person playing young K. And Josh Brolin was absolutely perfect. Not only does he legitimately look like a young Tommy Lee Jones, but he has the voice, the delivery, and the mannerisms of K down to a T. So much so that within a minute or two of him being on screen, I fully accepted that it was actually young K. He disappears into the role, so my big fear of not having that classic J and K dynamic disappeared as well. Even though it’s an entirely different actor, that interplay between their characters was the same and just as enjoyable as in the first movie. Men in Black 3 takes the franchise in an unexpected direction, yet never loses that Men in Black ëfeel’. It’s got the sci-fi buddy cop comedy element that we all love, but it also brings in themes of fate and time progression too.
The character of Griffin is especially interesting in those regards and makes you think about not only the movie but your life, as this sequence of coalescing little moments that could’ve had an entirely different outcome if even one small thing had been different. Just think about all the possible versions of this movie there could’ve been.
I bet Grif’s seen them all. Alright, let’s talk about the pros and cons. Pro number one is Josh Brolin. Every time I watch this movie, I’m always was blown away by how perfectly he plays a young Agent K. It doesn’t just feel like an imitation of Tommy Lee Jones eitherÖ it feels like a young version of the same character.
We see that, in his youth, he was a little more open and fun, but at his core, he’s still the same guy. So, that allows for the partnership between him and J to shine through in a believable way, even though J’s a complete stranger to him. It allows for a lot of fun moments but also deepens our understanding of the K that we know. Pro number two is the 60s setting.
There’s no question this is a Men in the Black movie with all the sci-fi stuff you’d expect, but it’s also a period movie. Those aren’t things that seem like they should go together well, but they do. The 60s setting is fun in itself, but when you add the sci-fi layer to it, it becomes even better. You get to see what cool futuristic technology the Men in Black had fifty years ago and how it influenced the development of the technology we’re familiar with from the other movies. On the con side, my biggest issue with the film is the villain. Boris the Animal feels like a character that belonged in Men in Black II. Not cause of his designÖ he actually looks kinda cool, but a cause of his personality.
He’s are so over-the-top in a sorta unintentionally goofy way that it ends up feeling very hammy. He really doesn’t seem like he’s in the same movie like everybody else. I’m gonna give Men in Black 3 3.5 out of 5 paws. This is a surprisingly enjoyable movie. It combines a 60s aesthetic with the sci-fi elements of a typical Men in the Black movie and gives us an interesting story at the same time. And, best of all, it’s able to recapture the chemistry and fun of the first film. I would recommend Men in Black 3 to fans of the first Men in Black movie.
Don’t let yourself be dissuaded from seeing this because of the plot synopsis. If you felt very disenchanted with the franchise after Men in Black II, give this one a shot cause I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Having a pre-existing emotional investment in these characters definitely helps heighten this movie, but I think fans of time travel movies who wanna pop in and just watch this one, will still be able to enjoy it. If you liked Men in Black 3, I would recommend that you check out Edge of Tomorrow for some more aliens and time travel.
It’s definitely more of an action movie than a comedy, though. If the secret agency and fate aspects of this movie were appealing to you, you should check out The Adjustment Bureau for a very interesting high-concept thriller. Alright, a couple of questions for you guys. Number one: Have you seen Men in Black 3? If so, what’d you think of it? And number two: What’s your favorite franchise-redeeming sequel? Be sure to leave your answers in the comments below so we can get a discussion going.