‘Men In Black 3′ Review
A pure ‘Men in Black’ experience that doesn’t do much beyond what it should.
After four years of screen hiatus, Will Smith returns with the third installment in a franchise that has had a ten year screen hiatus. ‘Men In Black 3’ works as an enjoyably disposable sci-fi comedy of the summer thanks to Smith’s energy and a lighearted tone, but offers nothing that we haven’t seen before and somehow pales because of it.
The plot follows Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) once again fighting aliens and keeping society safe as a part of the agency’s plans. But when one day he realises that an occurence back in 1969 has led to Agent K not being alive in the current timeline anymore, J has to travel back in time and meet up with the younger version of Agent K (Josh Brolin) and team up with him to defeat Boris the alien who is planning a full scale invasion on planet Earth and is hellbent on revenge.
The first MIB was quite enjoyable in its own right and was something different at that time in terms of tone and plot, making Will Smith even more of a star than he originally was. The sequel, however, was terrible and was another example of a bloated ‘let’s be bigger than the first’ installment that fails to deliver. Does the third installment fare any better? Well, it’s lightyears better than the second installment.
The series has always thrived itself on quirky sci-fi blended with humor and the scope of a summer blockbuster, and thankfully that tone is present here as it was in the first film. The script is easy going as we are treated to the first act where J and K are partners but have issues connecting even after all these years. We are also treated to the villain this time around, who is unfortunately the most underdeveloped villain the series has seen. He looks threatening, but he’s completely one dimensional and has no role other than being annoyingly loud with his hoarse voice and look creepy. This first act is pretty substandard and actually feels oddly paced as if they’re trying to set some things up before they reach the actual film, which is actually kind of true. Because the time travel segment of the film is much better constructed.
Owing heavily to ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘Terminator’, the film transports J back in time to meet the younger version of Agent K so that he can save his life. Here, Agent K is played by Josh Brolin who is the highlight of the film. His impression of Tommy Lee Jones is spot on and the way he reacts to things is very interesting. A sensible plot takes a backseat here to a lot of effect heavy action scenes and situational comedy, most of which is actually pretty funny. A scene with Andy Warhol (played by the hilarious Bill Hader) is very effective and memorable. The comedy works in favor of the film throughout.
But at the same time, you can’t deny the feeling that there’s something missing from the equation. Sure, you’ve got Will Smith back and a huge budget for the effects but it never feels like the big sequel that needed to be made that it should have. The pacing is haphazard thanks to a very brief runtime that never lets things seep in nor plot points to actualy make any sense. There are hints of an alien invasion, but the scenes are so brisk and half-baked that they never ring true. The finale takes place outdoors and feels very tacky instead of organic. In fact, the entire film feels that way – a cash grab sequel without much thought put into it which isn’t smart or witty but made because it’ll make money either way. Instead of a generic time travel plot, something set in the present that forwards the story would have been a better bet.
But you’ve got to give it to Will Smith, because it’s his charisma and energy that is largely responsible for the film being fun. He gives it his all and shines in scenes that require his style of humor and expressions. Another mention is necessary to the character design department of the film, which is very imaginative and keeps the film fresh. There’s all kinds of strange aliens throughout the film, and my only complaint is that there’s an over-abundance of CGI that doesn’t look believable enough and a little too cartoonish for the film.