Agents J, K, and K (?) are back in the third installment of the MIB franchise. I entered the movie skeptical that this series had anything left; after all, how many times can you have a movie with aliens disguised as humans who almost destroy or take over the earth? Well, MIB3 found a new way to give us this same scenario and have us enjoy it.
The movie’s premise is basic enough – an old nemisis of K’s (Jones), “Boris the Animal,” played by Jermaine Clement (Flight of the Concords), escapes prison and goes back in time to prevent his defeat, changing the course of history. J (Smith) soon follows to the past, and teams up with the younger K (Brolin) to spoil Boris’ plans. I prepared myself for a fun, shoot-em-up space-western with time travel.
Instead, what I got was a galactic bromance story, with agents J and K having these complicated, humanizing backstories that let the audience see their evolution from a one dimensional version of Beverly Hills Cop to a cross between Lethal Weapon and Cagney & Lacey.
I may be being too harsh. The extra touchy-feely-ness does add depth to the trilogy to keep it fresh. After all, J’s a rookie no more, and the “old cop/new cop” routines aren’t going to cut it alone. What you see is a movie lesson on selflessness and sacrifice, heavy topics that get sandwiched between scenes of exploding blue alien goo and giant fish. What I was reminded of was another space/time continuum series, Back to the Future, where the story is just as much about the evolution of the relatioship between Marty and his professor/mentor as it is about their time traveling shenanigans.
There were also lots of funny parts. Some require knowledge of late 60s pop culure and sports history, but they’re amusing to those who get it. What the movie lacked was the “surprise” element of the first two MIBs. There were no “Wow, that was an alien?!” moments. Like the men in black themselves, this secret world within a world stuff has become old hat to us.
Still, Men in Black 3 is a fun movie for a family night out, though I’d advise against little ones who might become scared of monsters. Pre-teens and tweens will have a great time with dad as you pretend to save the earth together.
Worth it Or wasted? Worth it! 3 out of 5 stars
The Worth It/Wasted Rating System is for dads who need to know one thing- Is this movie WORTH IT to:
* Pack up the kids, bags, etc and trek to the theater – or
* Find a babysitter so Dad can have a date night – or
* Cash in brownie points with the Mrs. so he can go with his buddies
If it doesn’t fit these simple criteria, the movie gets the WASTED rating, which means – don’t waste the precious time you have, wait for video/cable when you can squeeze it between chores, work and sleep.