Men in Black III

2012-05-28 12:09
 
What it's about:

After Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) is murdered in his youth by a time-travelling, villainous alien, it's up to Agent J (Will Smith) to go back to 1969 to prevent this from happening. Teaming up with a young Agent K (Josh Brolin), J finds himself in a race against the clock to both save his partner and prevent a future alien invasion from taking place.

What we thought:

However much comic book movies are all the rage right now, it's hard to imagine that anyone was clamouring for a resurrection of the cinematic adventures of the Men In Black – certainly not after the frankly woeful Men In Black II did everything it could to torch all the goodwill that the original film engendered way back in the mid 1990s.

And yet, here we are, ten years later and the Men In Black are back and in far, far better form than anyone could reasonably have hoped.

If nothing else, it's a true pleasure to see Will Smith back to wisecracking, likeable form after a string of underwhelming, middle of the road fare. In fact, considering that he hasn't acted at all since 2008, it's just good to see him again. Smith is, very simply, one of the most charismatic and funny screen presences of his generation.

He's so charismatic, in fact, that he manages to make otherwise irredeemably awful tripe like Bad Boys 2 entertaining – and Men In Black III is testament to that fact. He appears in something like 90% of the film's entire running time and, for all else that the film gets undeniably right, he is clearly the glue that holds it all together.

Brilliantly though, Smith more than has his work cut out for him as the film is packed to the gills with exactly the kind of things that made the first Men In Black such a success. It's been a while, so for those who are too old to remember the first film or too young to have seen it in the first place, Men In Black was a delirious mix of fun set pieces, relentlessly funny gags, an ingenious premise, nice performances, killer chemistry between its leads and, lets not forget, a boatload of terrifically imaginative sci-fi weirdness.

Being the third instalment, Men In Black III obviously can't hope to match the freshness of the original, but it succeeds spectacularly in every other area.

Tommy Lee Jones is once again in gruff form as the perfect foil to Will Smith but it's especially impressive that their electrifying chemistry doesn't go away once Smith's J retreats to the past and teams up with a much younger, less curmudgeonly K.

Josh Brolin does the world's greatest Tommy Lee Jones impression but, best of all, he works off Smith in pretty much the exact same way that Jones does. Without this consistency, the film would never have worked; with it, it soars. The rest of the cast is top notch too, but I for one would have loved to have seen more of Emma Thompson/Alice Eve's Agent O.

Performances aside, the most important key to the film's success lies clearly in its writing. Screenwriting veteran, David Koep has had his highs (Jurassic Park, Spider-Man) and he has had his lows (Angels and Demons, Snake Eyes) but his work here is surely some of his best yet.

The story itself is refreshingly focused and, though he does falter on some of the background gags – Lady Gaga an alien? Surely not! – most of the film's many, many jokes hit their targets square on. An extended gag at Andy Warhol's Factory is especially great.

He does a wonderful job too, with the franchise's trademark imaginative wackiness, not least with the introduction of a "fifth dimensional" alien who proves to be a central part of the film's plot.

It also certainly doesn't hurt that he and director Sonnefeld (and, presumably, the million and one technical artists who worked on the film) have come up with one of the most visually spectacular time-travelling effects we have seen to in film to date – which also, incidentally, happens to be the only part of the film that justifies the otherwise typically worthless 3D.

Admittedly, MIB III is not entirely without its flaws – I know this is kind of a weird complaint in an age when most blockbusters are far too long but I almost wanted more of the characters and more of the kooky scifi – but it's an astonishing amount of fun that proves it's never too late to come back from the brink of tired obsolescence.

It may not quite be up there with The Avengers but once you've seen Whedon's superhero masterpiece (and what have you been doing with your life if you haven't) Men In Black III is more than worth a look for all fans of top-drawer Hollywood blockbusters.
  

Will Smith is back to his best and goes back in time to prevent a catastrophe in the comeback hit of the year!

michael Davies 2012/05/25 11:21 PM
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NOT A BAD MOVIE JUST A BIT LACKING OF SOMETHING TOO LITTLE ACTION AND A POOR STORY LINE
Peter pumpkin eater 2012/05/26 4:45 AM
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You must be kidding me. Saw the flick this week and it sucked big time. Tommy looked more tired and old than ever and Will's wisecracks was so lame and dead I actually became aware of the bad acting while watching the movie. There was little if any action to soothe the bad performances. The going back into the past to save the future thing has been done to death. This movie rates up there with Species 3 and Showgirls. What a global waste of time, effort and money. Boooring boooring boooring. The one wheel scooters... come on... Star Wars already did that one. The ideas seemed old and stretched thin. DOES ANYBODY WATCH MOVIES IN HOLLYWOOD? How could they have passed off this turd of a movie. America must be getting dumber and dumber if they think this is entertainment. I hope my point came across. lol.
Lior 2012/05/26 7:23 AM
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I have not seen the movie yet, but I never miss Ilan's reviews! So my question may be answered in the movie but... Back to the future anyone? Surely if K is killed in 1969 then he would not be around to recruit Will Smith in men in black part one and hence Will smith would not be able to go back and save him in the past, and now my eyes are squinty!
Japetto 2012/05/28 2:50 AM
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Um David Koepp didn't write this, Etan Cohen (Idiocracy, Tropic Thunder) did.
ChrisVZ 2012/05/28 8:36 AM
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I was about 13 yrs old when I saw MIB at the movies... and I LOVED it!!! A few months back I heard they were making a new MIB movie. I was very excited and could not wait to see the movie...booked my tickets and watched it this past weekend... and now that I did, I wish I never wasted my money on it! It left me with a lot of questions... Maybe I'm just too old or maybe it was just a very bad movie? Maybe I was expecting too much? If you have fond memories of the original MIB movie, trust me...don’t go spoil that image in your head! If you MUST see it, wait for the DVD and rent it!
Ilan 2012/05/28 7:47 PM
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@Japetto Wow, you're absolutely right! Sorry about that. I always check the IMDB before writing my reviews so I don't know where the hell I got David Koepp from. That's seriously weird.
lolcakes 2012/05/29 2:41 PM
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Not nearly what it should have been
Milena 2012/05/30 1:58 PM
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Went to watch it on Monday afternoon with my friend. He fell asleep half way through it, think that says enough. The original MIB was the best, side splitting laughs and interesting characters. This one was just a let down of note.
RIS 2012/06/04 2:41 PM
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an utter disappointment.
Kashmiri Beesham 2012/06/07 12:52 PM
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I thought that this was really good, especially for a 3rd MIB movie. It actually had a story, a touching one too, and still had some very funny moments. I really enjoyed it!
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