A lot has happened in 10 years – the Iraq war, hurricane katrina, the reboot of the Batman franchise (yes that’s a major world event) – but there hasn’t been a Men in Black film. Yes, that’s right, Men in Black 2 was released 10 years ago in 2002. Now isn’t that something that makes you feel old?
Whilst the world has changed a lot in 10 years, not least the cinematic boundaries of CGI and motion capture, it was nice to see that Men in Black limited those aspects of the modern day Hollywood blockbuster and instead stuck to the formula which brought it to the dance – old school sci-fi techniques and a bag full of laughs.
For those who don’t know already, Men in Black 3 follows Agent J (Smith) as he goes back in time to not only save Agent K’s (Lee Jones) life but also the planet’s existence from an evil alien named Boris The Animal – played by Flight of Concords‘ Jermaine Clement. In 1969 Agent J is brought together with a younger Agent K – played by Josh Brolin – and the pair investigate a case with the intention of once again saving the Earth from a annihilation.
Bringing back the director of the first two picture’s (as well as The Addams Family) – Barry Sonnenfeld – was definitely a huge plus for the continuation of this franchise. The director was always a huge part ofMen in Black’s huge success because of how he delivered the sci-fi satire of the script in a manner which didn’t seem cheap, whilst continuously being able to inject heart and feeling in to the product. Men in Black 3 was no different and was therefore inevitably very good.
Josh Brolin, an actor who I feel is consistently good, was also fantastic with his contribution as the younger Agent K. His accent, persona, and overall delivery of a younger Tommy Lee Jones was as good as I’d imagined and Brolin definitely deserves a lot of credit when it comes to the success of this film. Furthermore, ignoring the ridiculously high salary and privileges Will Smith received for this film, his performance was also just as good as in the previous two pictures. And whilst I could criticise him for a below average delivery of the narratives most emotional climax, I will instead suggest that were he to deliver that moment any more dramatically then I wouldn’t be reviewing a ‘fun summer sci-fi for all the family’, let’s put it that way. Simply put, each actor did what was expected of them which was obviously not that much given the concept. I do feel that Brolin was a stand-out though.
Narratively, it was just what you’d expect from a Men in Black film. It was a simple enough detective story in which the viewer is invited to discover the facts as the characters do. Given the time period though, I would have liked to have seen more disagreements on the nature of J’s visit to MIB ’69. That being said, it wouldn’t be MIB without the comedic nature of how accepting J and K are of each others theories, stories, and the unlikely situations they find themselves in. Cool aspects on the race problems of the late 60′s to do with J and the change of K’s persona between ’69 and 2012 was something which was played on well, as was the involvement of the shuttle launch, all of which gave MIB a cultural foothold in that era.
Overall Men in Black 3 was nothing special and is by no means the best film showing in cinema’s right now. However, it’s comedic nature and fun mixture of nostalgia, comedy, action, and sci-fi is something which I have grown to admire in the 10 years since Men in Black 2 and can therefore recommend it to the masses.
A bit gory for the smaller kids, but great family fun for families with kids aged 7+. It’s also definitely a film that all Men in Black fans need to see.