Friday, December 28, 2012

Men In Black 3 (2012)

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Notable Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jermaine Clement, Emma Thompson, Bill Hader, Michael Stuhlbarg

The charm of the original "Men In Black" was something to behold. It might have been a silly movie that relied on some cliche buddy cop motifs, but it worked amazingly well. The second film...not so much. That's why I skipped out on "Men In Black 3" when it came to theaters. The premise just didn't quite catch me as all that unique and it had been a lot of time since the last one. Luckily, the film is much better than the second one and when I finally got around to catching it - I was taken back by how much I enjoyed it. It had some reinvigorated writing, a fun focus on action, and it made its time travel gimmick work. Something that doesn't always work.

Kay (Jones) and Jay (Smith) are still doing what they do best: busting aliens who break the laws here on Earth with the Men In Black. Something is odd about their latest case though. Kay is on edge about something, something secret from his past and his work with the MiB way back in the day, and when a old villain Boris (Clement) shows up, Jay has to try and get Kay to spill the beans. Too bad Kay has disappeared and no one seems to acknowledge his existence past the 1960s. Now Jay must leap back into time to stop Boris from killing a younger Kay (Brolin), before he ignites an alien invasion of Earth in the future.

This was my face after watching "Men In Black 2."
So here we have the basic "Men In Black" formula, Jay and Kay finding all kinds of weird aliens, dropping all kinds of funny one off smart ass remarks, and generally kicking a lot of butt to save the planet, but this time with the gimmick of time travel. We all know that trying to repeat the formula of the first film failed in the second, but here it fares quite a bit better. That's the thing about gimmicks, either they work or they don't, and the time travel spin in "Men In Black 3" does actually reignite some of the great chemistry and writing for the franchise.

Brolin steals this movie as a young Jones. And does it with pizzazz.
The two things that have always been a cornerstone of this franchise is the chemistry between Jay and Kay and the random clever aliens that they encounter. With Tommy Lee Jones' age now becoming a factor, they decided to throw in a young Kay played by Josh Brolin to bring something new into the mix. I was worried that the chemistry wouldn't be there. Will Smith, despite his hit or miss filmography, can be very charming, a great actor, and quite funny, but without that chemistry what would the film be like? Fear not, because Brolin steals this movie in every way. His impersonation of Tommy Lee Jones is never an impersonation. He NAILS it. He looks, feels, and sounds like a young Jones and his chemistry with Will Smith is spot on. Watching them run around in the 1960s with somewhat cliche humorous sequences is quite fun and the humor works way better than it should have. Having Smith being pulled over by cops for driving an expensive car and being African American is pretty damn classic for being off shoot moment but that's how "Men In Black 3" does it. The chemistry is there and the supporting cast is spot on with Clement owning the odd villain part (although he is quite underused) and Emma Thompson as Agent O is particularly interesting.

And of course, the aliens are a highlight of some of the clever writing this franchise desperately needed. Although I felt Rick Baker's alien special effects were massively underused for the amount of CGI that "Men In Black 3" was throwing at the audience, the ideas were awesome - particularly for the villain Boris.  What do you expect in this day and age though?

Now THIS is a villain.
For a film that began filming before its second and third acts were even written, I have to admit that the plot and progressions really had me hooked. Like the previous "Men in Black" films, there is quite a bit of heart to the film and a relatively shock twist at the end had me pleasantly surprised with the depth of relatively of the small character details. It plays off as a great action film much of the time, with plenty of unique sequences like a giant alien fish survival scene and an finale that really plays on its historical place setting with impressive finesse. 

All in all, I was massively impressed with "Men In Black 3." Yes there are moments that still feel quite forced in plot progression and gimmicks (the Warhol scene didn't work for me quite as well as it did for others) and sometimes the film wants to throw in actions sequences and oddities that feel out there even for a "Men In Black" film (the unicycle chase for example), but overall the film was a blast of fun and the chemistry made many of its flaws seem minute. It's a definite return to glory for the franchise and I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with in "Men In Black 4."

Written By Matt Reifschneider

 If you want, I know that "Men In Black 3" is available like everywhere, but you can certainly follow the links below and pick up your copy. Please? I'll say thanks now!

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