“Okay, future man, where to?”
The true comedy of Men In Black comes from the well balanced duo of Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. One side we have the loud, trying too hard Smith who has to always over complicate his stories and never seems to internalize any thoughts at all, and at the other end of that scale is Tommy Lee Jones who just oozes gravitas in every moment on screen and barely needs to say hello in order to be scary and formidable. That fact remains intact in so many ways it’s great to see it return.
This chapter of the MIB chronicles has Agent K being killed in the past by an assassin, Boris The Animal (Jemaine Clement), and Agent J having to go back in time to stop the killing from ever happening so as to save the world (as these films all end up doing).
With time travel, back to 1969, being the main point of the film we sadly have to do without Tommy Lee Jones for 80% of the film, which is sad, but Josh Brolin does a great job of filling in as a younger version of K. Brolin finds the queue of Tommy Lee Jones with a hint of a bit more brightness in him. We never feel that K doesn’t have a soul but at the same time we do question his humanity through the last two films of the franchise. So seeing hints at a romantic relationship, interest in life, and even compassion for people (and aliens) in a way that Jones’ mute facial expression failed (intentionally) to convey while at the same time playing it so that the future K we know to be a possible progression for this character being believable makes Brolin’s performance pretty lovely.
Men In Black 3 brings the fun in a great way. What helps that along is a lot of the casting additions being introduced in this installment. Along with Emma Thompson as Agent O, the new head of the division, we have Michael Stuhlbarg as well as Jemaine Clement. Clement especially does well as the villain, Boris the Animal, thanks to a lot of great physical and computer effects, along with a really likeable comic book bad guy role that keeps you smiling at his own ridiculousness.
I’m not going to write here and tell you that this is the next coming of the summer movie season, like the internet was clamouring about a couple weeks ago when The Avengers was just released, but it is a perfect filler film until we find the next great movie that’ll get us looking for a cooled room the hide away from the radiation of the sun. The film doesn’t rise above being a fun Saturday morning cartoon – which ironically was spawned in the late 90s after the birth of this franchise – but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing at times.