The Men are Back in Black and They've Still Got What it Takes

It's been a little while since I've pulled out the DVDs of the first two Men In Black films, but my general remembrance is that they seemed to have a bit more fun with the alien weirdness they portrayed than I'm seeing in Men In Black 3.

That's not a dig at MIB 3 (MIIIB?) or to imply that they don't have any alien weirdness fun, or that it's not a fun movie in general. It's very fun and very well done. I just mean there's a slightly different feel, though it definitely still feels like an MIB movie.

But first, the story:

We start with a villain. Boris The Animal (Jemain "Flight of the Conchords" Clement) is in prison with a severe axe to grind with Agent K (Tommy Lee "Does Nobody Remember I was Two Face First?" Jones). He has a tough time grinding that axe, however, since part of that axe is the fact that K took off one of his arms back in 1969. (Boris's arm, not K's arm.) Meanwhile, Agent K and Agent J (Will "Let's not talk about Wild Wild West, okay?" Smith) are preparing for a memorial for the late head of MIB, Zed, where we get a "rousing" and "touching" "eulogy" by K.

The next day, when J gets to work, he finds out that the man who recruited him into the agency has been dead for over 40 years. Boris did something to history and J is the only one who remembers how it should be. He has to time jump back to 1969 and stop Boris from killing his late former partner. (Oh how science fiction makes it hard to write a concise plot summary sometimes.)

After a ten year gap, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from this one. I hoped for it to be fun. I hoped for it to be cool to look at. I hoped for most of the movie to be Shakira bellydancing. Well, two out of three ain't bad is it? (Siiiiigh. Maybe in The Dark Knight Rises.)

The effects here are extremely well done and serve the story well. And more importantly, for the most part, they don't really distract from the story or the actors themselves. With this kind of movie, it's so easy to make it a "look what we just did!" kind of movie and those are rarely satisfying for very long. (Are you listening here Phantom Menace?)

Jemain Clement as Boris makes a very enjoyable and menacing entry to the collection of MIB villains. He is clearly having fun in the role and I look forward to watching this one again.

On the other hand, part of the draw of the first two movies was the way that Smith and Jones worked off of each other, and Tommy Lee Jones isn't even in half of this movie. The good news, however, is that Josh "No Country for Old Goonies" Brolin does an excellent Tommy Lee Jones. The voice is very similar, and he works very well with Will Smith.

Now, if you really want to see this one in 3D, go ahead. Just know that this one's a conversion. It's too bad, because this kind of movie in real 3D (as opposed to fake slightly pop-up 3D) could be quite amazing to watch.

Oh, there's also nothing at the end of the credits even though there appears to be a recent law that makes that illegal. I guess they're hoping to make enough money their first weekend to pay whatever fine the movie police decide to impose.

And this one definitely deserves a look. That is, if you enjoy the kind of comedy from the first two, you should like this one. I don't know how diferent it would be with a different director, but Barry Sonnenfeld, who directed the first two, clearly understands the franchise well enough to keep the fans happy.

(However there is no David Cross as Newton or Tony Shalhoub as Jeebs. But maybe the filmmakers just felt they didn't need them for this story and putting them in just to appear would have done them a disservice.)

When I said that the first two seemed to have more fun with the alien weirdess, I'm thinking about scenes like Will smith being flung about like a dog's chew toy by a tentacle giving birth, or a giant worm with a flower on its head eating most of a New York subway train. Or how about when they come right out and tell us that Michael Jackson is an alien?

This one has moments similar to that kind of stuff (if you look carefully, they seem to be implying that Lady Gaga—big surprise here — is an alien named "Lady Gaga" and I could have sworn I saw Howard Stern being lead through MIB headquarters by an agent) but it's much more focused on telling the story. It's still fun and weird, but that's all window dressing this time around.

Great window dressing, but the story and climax are extremely personal in this one. I was actually very moved at the end.

But what do you think?

4.3 out of 5 stars from 3 ratings of Men In Black 3

I give this one an 8 / 10.

Men in Black 3 is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, brief suggestive content and a bit of language.

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Comments 9 comments

iamaudraleigh 4 years ago

You have written a great review! I love, love Tommy Lee Jones! Josh Brolin is an excellent actor too!

You are a real pro...voted up and shared!


Sushma Webber profile image

Sushma Webber 4 years ago from New Zealand

I loved the first two movies. Looking forward to this one. However, I would like to be surprised so I did not read the story in your hub :) Thanks for writing the review and rating it 8/10. At least I know it will be worth watching.


smithed profile image

smithed 4 years ago

I'll end up seeing MB3 but it all seems to be just a re-tread of the first two with the over done time travel plot line added to it. I'm a big fan of Josh Brolin so if he wasn't in it i would probably just wait until this came out on Netflix.


Garlonuss profile image

Garlonuss 4 years ago from Saratoga Springs, Utah Author

@iamaudraleigh - Thanks. I have fun writing these things.

@Sushma Webber - I can understand wanting to be surprised. I try to keep my story synopses simple enough not to surprise anything, but sometimes accidental slips do happen.

@smithed - I actually wouldn't say this one was a re-tread of the first two. This one feels more like an evolution of what was established in the previous movies, though it's inevitable for certain themes to come back up in these kinds of movies. And the ending greatly sets it apart from the first two in my book. But it'd be interesting to hear what you think after having seen it yourself.


Sushma Webber profile image

Sushma Webber 4 years ago from New Zealand

Hi Garlonuss, went to see MIB 3 this afternoon. Loved every moment except the yucky parts :) with funny creatures...


rahul0324 profile image

rahul0324 4 years ago from Gurgaon, India

Nice review! I liked the movie! you are right in saying that it is a bit different from the first two.. not so much comedy and jeering the aliens here!

But yet the movie was good, so is your review :)


Garlonuss profile image

Garlonuss 4 years ago from Saratoga Springs, Utah Author

@Sushma Webber - Yeah, they still have the bizarre, funny creatures, and a couple kind of, as you say, "yucky" moments, but those are kind of expected of the franchise by this point.

@rahul0342 - It's not like the first two weren't trying to tell a story at all, but at times the story seemed to take a back seat to the comedy. That's not a bad thing, just the way they were. So while this one still had the whimsy and comedy, it was more like it knew exactly the story it wanted to tell and didn't allow itself to get pulled off track nearly as much. A little here and there which is fine, but MIB3 actually has an interesting story once you see it through to the ending.


rahul0324 profile image

rahul0324 4 years ago from Gurgaon, India

In complete agreement my friend! The grasp was indeed good! I did not mean I disliked the other two movies.... They wer good too!


Garlonuss profile image

Garlonuss 4 years ago from Saratoga Springs, Utah Author

No, it didn't sound like you were criticizing the first two. But this is a slightly different one, so I could see someone liking this one and not necessarily the first two.

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