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Back in Black - A review of Men in Black III

Updated on June 17, 2012

Men in Black III

Josh Brolin plays a young Kay and Will Smith is Jay in the movie Men in Black III
Josh Brolin plays a young Kay and Will Smith is Jay in the movie Men in Black III

Men in Black III is a fun revisit with characters we are both familiar with yet have so much to learn about.

The trouble with sequels that take place almost a decade after the last installment is the general lack of continuity in characterization that was developed when the characters were last seen.

A perfect case in point is the last Indiana Jones sequel that we saw a few years ago. They forgot how to make the story fun and the film tanked.

Here, though, we have a perfect blend of the old and the new. Literally and figuratively.

The film opens in the modern age and our alien crime fighting duo have to deal with an escaped fugitive who is hell bent on killing Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) in the past so that his plans for global domination of the Earth can come to pass. Not to mention, he wants to save his arm.

So, it’s up to Jay (Will Smith) to go back in time and save his older counterpart.

Some of the best premises in moviedom have taken place in the past. Some great examples of movies that we’ve enjoyed that deal with a temporal displacement include “A Christmas Carol”, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”, “Frequency” and, of course, “Back to the Future”.

I guess it’s the whole nostalgic feeling we get when we see characters that we’re introduced to or are familiar with in one context suddenly being displaced and we see them reacting to a world out of time, either as participants or observers. We get the feeling from their actions that we also have the ability to right the course of our lives, so we pay closer attention to what happens.

Here, one of the charms of the “past” is Josh Brolin playing a younger version of Kay. Brolin actually channels Tommy Lee Jones, even in his vocal inflections. You can’t help but think that maybe these guys are somehow related.

Where the film falls short is in it’s ability to stay lighthearted. There are several scenes that are particularly disgusting that really didn’t need to be included here.

On the positive side, we also delve deeper into the relationship between Jay and Kay. And Will Smith has never been more in his element than he is revisiting this franchise.

But then, overall, the plot of Men in Black has always been about dealing with the sinister forces from off-world that are seeking to destroy our precious little gem of a planet.

And I can’t think of any guys I’d want to see better defending us than these. I give Men in Black III 4-1/2 stars out of 5.

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