MRR Review: "Men in Black 3"

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The MIB duo of Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) are back in action ten years after MIB 2. When the world is threatened by an evil alien, Jay travels back in time to 1969, where he teams up with the younger Agent Kay to stop an evil villain named Boris (Jemaine Clement) from destroying the world in the future. Also starring Josh Brolin & Emma Thompson.

3.5

Movie Review: "Men in Black 3"

Rating: PG-13

Length: 106 minutes

Release date: May 25, 2012

Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld

Genre: Action/ Comedy/ Sci-Fi

Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin

Movie franchises are proven moneymakers in Hollywood, and the strongest ones turn out hit after hit for decades. While the "Men in Black" franchise lay dormant for ten years between the second and third installments, "Men in Black 3" proves that the franchise's core fan base is well able to support further movies in the series.

"Men in Black 3" is your typical blockbuster movie fare with a cast that includes Hollywood stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in the roles they made famous: the mysterious Agent J and Agent K of the Men in Black agency. The strong supporting cast includes Emma Thompson as MIB head Agent O, and Alice Eve as a younger version of Agent O. Josh Brolin also has a starring role in the movie as a Young Agent K. The movie's direction, like its acting, is top-notch, with Barry Sonnenfeld taking the reins of this franchise reboot.

While many actors have been called upon to play dual roles, Jones and Brolin have the nearly unique opportunity of bringing a single role to life between the two of them. The plotline of the film calls for the erstwhile Agent J to travel back in time to 1969 to save a young Agent K from being killed. The time travel comes about because of villain Boris the Animal, an alien who is played with psychotic eagerness by Jermaine Clement. In the movie's present, Boris, the last of the Boglodites, is intent on traveling back in time to save his younger self from being crippled and captured in a fight with Agent K. K's death in this new version of the past brings on an Boglodite alien attack against Earth, so J must work not only to save his friend's life, but to save the planet as well.

The year 1969 is beautifully represented and plays a colorful role in bringing the movie alive. The supporting characters, from the quirky aliens to Young Agent O herself, are wonderfully well written. However, Will Smith and Josh Brolin are the ones who really bring the movie alive.

Since he created the role of Agent K fifteen years ago, Will Smith seems to be able to slip back into the agent's black patent leather shoes with ease. It may be ten years since we last saw him in the role, but Smith's portrayal shows no sign of the passage of time. The sarcastic lines and comic timing are spot-on, and Smith still manages to bring a sense of youthfulness to the character that contrasts well with the serious demeanors of the other MIB agents. However, Smith does manage to inject a bit of maturity into his character where required, showing that age does make Agent J more sensible than viewers of the first two films may expect.

Timmy Lee Jones only makes a short appearance as Agent K, but it's a memorable one. Josh Brolin plays the agent's younger self, creating a character who has more than a vestige of Jones' mannerisms while still being different enough to convince audiences that he is younger and less experienced. It's not so much an impression of Jones as an homage that has more than a small piece of Brolin thrown into the mixture.

Viewers should be delighted by the many stars who make cameo appearances throughout the movie. Lady Gaga, Nicole Scherzinger, and Bill Hader all add to the strong support cast with their brief on-camera stints. Bill Hader is especially fun as Andy Warhol, an undercover MIB agent whose real personality is far different from that of the famous artist.

With box office returns well over the $215 million budget, "Men in Black 3" proves that the MIB franchise is still a strong property. The storyline uses time travel-a subject that can easily become clichéd-in a way that makes sense, allowing epic changes to occur while still leaving some small tragedies. Smith and Brolin are the perfect buddy cops, playing off one another with the skill of movie veterans, and the supporting cast does a great job of rounding out the movie. The special effects are truly blockbuster quality, seamlessly blending with the film's action to give the science fiction elements a much-needed realism. With its fast pace and good plot, along with a return of the dark humor that's found throughout the MIB series, MIB 3 successfully reboots the franchise and paves the way for the sequels that are sure to come.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5