Men in Black III (2012)

Men in Black III
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writer: Etan Cohen
Based on: Lowell Cunningham‘s comic
Sequel to: Men in Black, Men in Black II
Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bill Hader, Emma Thompson, Will Arnett, Michael Chernus, Alice Eve, David Rasche

Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement), one of the most dangerous criminals in the universe, manages to escape from Lunar prison, where he was sent by Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) many years ago. With his mind set on revenge, he finds a way to travel back in time to 1969, where he kills Agent K before he can arrest Boris. That is not only tragic on a personal level, but puts the entire earth in jeopardy. Fortunately, Agent J (Will Smith) somehow still remembers K and travels back in time, too, to save his then young partner (Josh Brolin).

I did not have very high hopes for this film, but it turns out that it is actually quite nice. While it is not quite as good as the first film, it has its heart in the right place, it’s entertaining and it manages to steer clear of the sexism that ruined the second one. I’d say that’s a win.

I’m a sucker for time travel stories and they worked this one pretty well. Is it surprising? Not really. And the ending is cheesy as hell. But they managed to avoid the biggest plot holes and logical conundrums and had some very nice nods in all directions (for example, when J enters the 60s HQ for the first time and all the aliens there actually look like aliens from the 60s movies). While that may not be enough to wow me, it is enough to make me like it.

And I loved Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg). He really was a great character who added a whole lot to the entire time travel thing. And he looked really cool. As did Boris, btw – the design people were obviously getting creative again!

The cast was wonderful. Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, who have already proved themselves in their roles [sidenote: how is it possible that Tommy Lee Jones aged approximately 20 years since MiB II, and Will Smith apparently none? Did TLJ take over the aging for him?] are wonderful again and Josh Brolin is a very worthy young K. Also, Emma Thompson is perfect as O. I wish we had gotten more of her.

There were a couple of things I could have done without – particularly the alien Chinese restaurant owners and their “exotic fish” – that was just a bit too far into stereotype country for my taste. But they counterweighed that with Andy Warhol (Bill Hader) and a couple of other things, so it was okay. Actually, put altogether the film was more than just okay – it was really nice.

Summarising: Entertaining.

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