2. Men in Black 3 (2012)
In the final instalment of the central duo’s narrative, Agent J (Will Smith) goes back in time to save Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) from death at the hands of an alien by the name of Boris (Jermaine Clement), befriending a young Agent K (played by Avengers star Josh Brolin) in the process. The fish out of water perspective lands fairly successfully, though Smith had notably become less of a bankable star and charismatic on-screen figure between this release and Men in Black 2 ten years prior. Sonnenfeld trustily reclaimed some of the magic of his early career here too, with a creative outpouring of unique visual stamps and his trademark odd ball perspective, and though the cinematography was at times too bland to truly make Men in Black 3 a visual feast, the jokes were fairly good and Josh Brolin’s running Tommy Lee Jones impression was worth the price of admission alone. It’s not like you’re going to revisit this time and time again, but Men in Black 3 is fun and noticeably more of an emotional journey than the rest of the franchise; it may even bring a tear to your eye.
1. Men in Black (1997)
Filled with all your favourite ingredients from the buddy cop genre, the sci-fi genre, the action genre and the comedy genre, the original Men in Black was nothing short of thoroughly enjoyable. Starring Will Smith at the very height of his powers as both a box office draw and charismatic screen presence, and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld in the prime of his career as a specialist of odd-ball family fun, Men in Black was funny and visually unique – a film the likes of which we just don’t get anymore. Brought in from the streets by a secret organisation and transformed into an agent of intergalactic safety and communications, Smith came across as hugely likeable, intelligent and witty, Tommy Lee Jones’ stiff upper lip being the perfect counter balance. The pair were truly exceptional, forming a chemistry that would prove to be the making of the franchise, and under the guidance of Sonnenfeld’s unique sensibilities and the impressively flashy CG effects that were some of the very best around at time, constructed an endearing and memorable blockbuster; one of the 1990s’ most iconic releases.
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