Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Alice Eve, Jemaine Clement, Emma Thompson, Nicole Scherzinger
Direction: Barry Sonnenfeld
What can possibly look smarter (and more box-office savvy) on a MIB flick poster than its two superstars in natty black? Three superstars striking the same pose, that’s what. Men In Black 3 doesn’t reveal any ambition beyond as much while reviving the franchise for some big bucks 10 years after the last film.
So say hello to Josh Brolin who joins the circus with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. The cast add-on is clever. It adds to saleability, and also enables a plot twist that drives the storyline. At 65, old man Tommy as Agent K isn’t pulling in any new fan base – so what if you went wild over his deadpan alien-busting antics over two MIBs in the past. Bring on Brolin then, who plays out a younger avatar of K when Smith as Agent J has to travel back in time to – you guessed it right – save the world from space scum.
The time travel gimmick gives this film the essential excuse to keep the familiar slapstick sci-fi bandwagon rolling. But if you have seen the Back To The Future films, you’ll realise soon enough where the idea was coming from.
The adventure starts when a hideous alien named Boris the Animal escapes from a prison on the moon. It turns out K had nabbed Boris in 1969. The alien on escape has travelled back to that year to kill K before the arrest can take place. So, J must follow Boris into 1969.
That’s where we meet Brolin as a younger K, taking over from Tommy Lee Jones. He is introduced as 29-year-old in 1969, though Brolin, currently 44, looks – well – 44.
He does an impressive job, though, impersonating Lee Jones while playing the younger K. The act renders tongue-in-cheek humour meant to define this series, which so obviously went missing from the second film.
MIB 3 is watchable because it brings back the nonchalant swagger of the first film. Barry Sonnenfeld wasn’t trying to reorganise sci-fi as a genre with this one, and one of the reasons you like this film is because it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Importantly, Sonnenfeld gets the action-comedy mix right. A wittily conjured raid sequence in Andy Warhol’s Factory rocks, and gives us one of the funniest creatures you’ve seen on the Hollywood screen – an alien named Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg) who sees several versions of the future at the same time. The climax, where J and K must install a security gadget on Apollo 11 before it takes off for its moon landing, is fun too.
Finally, there’s Will Smith – rock steady superstar as ever. Will hasn’t had a dud in 11 years now. Men In Black 3 should continue the golden run.