For the first time since 2008, Will Smith is back on the silver screen. Personally speaking, the break has been….therapeutic. The actor, who is one of the biggest moneymakers in Hollywood, was starting to wear me down.
One of my favorite movies growing up was 1997’s “Men in Black.” After its disappointing sequel 10 years ago, I haven’t really thought of the series much. Unitl now, anyway.
The third installment picks up years after Lara Flynn Boyle and Johnny Knoxville had a run-in with the intergalactic agency. Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) are still keeping peace on earth and rounding up rogue aliens. After Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) escapes from his solitary cell on the moon, he travels back in time to kill K in 1969. J must follow him back in order to save his partner and the world.
“Men in Black III” is a return to the light-hearted entertainment that made the original such a hit.And better yet, it corrects the mistakes of the 2002 film.
First of all, the villain is powerful and at least somewhat scary. One of the biggest problems with the previous film was that the bad guys were laughable at best: a two-headed Knoxville and a walking Victoria’s Secret ad? Give me a break. While Boris doesn’t quite meet the creepiness of Vincent D’Onofrio’s Edgar character, he does shoot spikes out of his hand and drives a Harley from hell.
Also, J and K are back in full form. K with his grumpy demeanor and J with his (usually) funny remarks. The second film didn’t have the same chemistry because so much time was taken in trying to get K’s memory back.
The best addition to the film is Josh Brolin as a young Agent K. Full of hope and enjoying life, it provides a stark contrast to the portrayal of the character by Jones. Brolin has conquered the voice and mannerisms well, but his character is unique enough for it to be appreciated on its own.
Although most people who have seen more than one movie involving time travel will raise some complaints, the use of it does provide a fresh angle on the film. We get to see things like Bill Hader dressed as Andy Warhol and of course a racial joke about Will Smith driving a nice car during the 60’s.
The film isn’t perfect, as many of the jokes fall flat, but it is a very fun time at the movies. Let’s just hope the studios have the decency to let the series go out on a successful third installment, rather than driving it all into the ground.