Well, it's been ten long years since Agents J and K showed off their intergalactic protection skills in Men In Black 2, and given that the film didn't exactly win rave reviews, you can't blame anyone for being a little skeptical about the likelihood of a third installment being memorable. Luckily, I am always willing to give Will Smith the benefit of the doubt, and I'm happy to report that he and the entire cast made it worth my time.
THE GOOD: In order to go forward in this story, we have to go backwards... meaning time travel to the past; the summer of 1969, to be exact, when astronauts were preparing to walk on the moon and the Mets were poised to win the World Series. Another newsworthy event was Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) putting a foul looking alien by the name of Boris behind bars---in a prison on the moon, no less. But 40 years later, Boris has busted out of his lunar lockup and has managed to sneak through the space time continuum in an effort to find K and kill him. It's all up to J (Will Smith) to go back in time and put Boris out of commission, before he can achieve his goal. Oh, and J also needs to keep himself from getting left in 1969 as well... yes, it's sort of a "Back to the Future" twist, and it may not be as ingenious of an idea as it seemed 25 years ago, but for all intents and purposes, it works. As you can imagine, there is a social commentary to be made with J going back in time as a black man, and Smith delivers some great attitude at perfect moments when small minded people speak without thinking.
As much as I adore Will Smith however, the scene stealer in this movie is without a doubt Josh Brolin, who not only plays the younger version of Agent K, but NAILS it. There's no debating that Tommy Lee Jones has a very unique presence and mannerism, so for someone to be able to capture that with such flawlessness, it is award worthy in my opinion. From his facial expressions to his accent and timing, everything was spot on... and hilarious. Adding to that fun, we have the alien character Griffin (played by Michael Stuhlbarg) who is a sweet and perpetually anxious little creature, and has the dubious gift of seeing the future----or rather the equal possibility of several different futures, some positive and some not so much. With his misty blue eyes, Elmer Fudd wool hat, and innocent childlike responses, he might come across as goofy to some, but I adored him.
THE BAD: I can only assume that in order to capitalize on how amazing Josh Brolin is in this role, efforts were made to keep Will Smith's character from shining too brightly. Or at least, that's what ends up happening. Usually Agent J is so full of sarcasm and attitude that the laughs are pretty constant... this time around, it took almost 45 minutes for Will to have a laugh worthy moment, at least for me personally. This isn't to say that Smith isn't his usual great talent, but be prepared that he doesn't pack nearly the punch in this installment as he did in the first two.
THE UGLY: I'm torn really, as to what the most hideous part of this movie was, but I certainly have it narrowed down to two contenders: the first being Boris (Jemaine Clement) in general---this guy just brings repulsive to a whole new level---but it's his teeth specifically that had me completely nauseated. It was like an entire mouth full of giant yellow molars and reminded me of the scary monsters I imagined as a little girl. Of course none of those creatures were ever making out with a woman in black leather pants in my imagination---which brings us to contender number 2. If there is anything more disturbing than a monster like man with bad dental work, it would be watching that same man sticking his tongue in a woman's mouth. Shudder. It's like I'm a five year old girl again, with a whole new scary image to keep me awake at night.
It's a generally accepted fact that the Men In Black Franchise started off strong, then hit a low with MIB2. There will be those who won't be willing to give MIB3 a chance because they fear things will only get worse... the surprise is that, as sequels go, this one is actually worth seeing, not only because of Brolin's performance, but the touching surprise twist at the end that explains J and K's relationship.
The Trophy Wife gives this movie 3 ½ trophies.
Men In Black 3 has a running time of 106 minutes and is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and brief suggestive content. No F words.