Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement
Running time: 106 mins
Release: May 25th
It’s been ten years since director Barry Sonnenfeld reunited intergalactic special Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) for Men in Black 2, the lacklustre sequel to 1997’s wonderfully quirky sci-fi romp. Now, 15 years after that first outing, the Men In Black are back, hoping to reignite the franchise that most considered lost in space.
Protecting the earth from the scum of the galaxy seemingly comes with a whole host of unique occupational hazards, most of which include the adverse side effect of complete global annihilation. Agents J and K’s latest mission is no different; a time traveling alien psychopath named Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) has escaped from moon prison, warped back to 1969 and is plotting the future altering double whammy of murdering Agent K and enabling a global alien invasion. J must follow him into the past and team up with the young K (Josh Brolin) to take down Boris, before time runs out.
There’s a hell of lot going on in MIB3, even more so than its hyperactive siblings. Nearly every scene is a constant barrage of new ideas, jokes, characters, and set pieces, all laced with the series trademark kitschy sci-fi sheen. Its how about this?! approach is certainly hit or miss, but it’s hard to fault its enthusiasm, and the film clearly puts having fun at the top of its priority list. That said, the anarchic pace is just as quick to brush past good ideas as bad; we’re thankfully never given long enough to ponder the baffling inconsistency of the time travel, yet an alternate universe minus Jones’s character is only briefly played with.
If a galaxy of silly ideas are the nuts and bolts of Men In Black 3, then its the killer cast that makes the whole thing tick. Will Smith as usual fails commendably at suppressing his unsurpassable charm, despite delivering all of the corniest lines. Limited screen time aside, Tommy Lee Jones plays the world-weary and apathetic K so convincingly that he might not actually be acting. Shout outs also to newcomers Jemaine Clement and Josh Brolin. Clement is almost unrecognisable as Boris, yet his Tim Curry-esque performance falls neatly between menacing and nutty. Brolin knows exactly what’s needed of him and nails it, with a spookily accurate Tommy Lee Jones impersonation.
Dismissed by many as an unnecessary sequel, Men in Black 3 proves itself to be quite the opposite. It’s a showcase of just what this franchise can offer; a world without limits, that’s happy to go anywhere as long as it’s silly, and doesn’t ask too much of its audience, as long as they don’t ask too much in return. Men is Black 3 is hardly a universe altering experience, but it redeems the sidelined franchise and has a lot of fun while it’s at it.