Men in Black 3 (2012) — We’ll come back for time travel antics

“You don’t know it, K, but you’re already dead.”

Justin’s rating: ARM off

Justin’s review: There’s a fair bit of danger when a studio rushes to make as many sequels as possible to a hit first film, but you can understand the logic in it. Wait too long, audiences forget, and what used to be hot stuff is now yesterday’s rental.

Yet Men in Black 3 deftly avoided this problem by generally being excellent. Despite coming out 15 years (!) after the first movie and getting rid of Tommy Lee Jones for a majority of its runtime, the third of Barry Sonnenfeld’s alien cop romps actually did amazingly well, bringing in the highest box office of the entire franchise. It was a very good way to go out, and we shall not acknowledge Men in Black International at any further point in this review.

Boris “the Animal” (Jemaine Clement), the last Boglodite in the galaxy, escapes from a prison on the moon and pursues his vendetta against the MIB who captured him: Agent K (Jones). To accomplish this, Boris uses alien tech to jump back in time to 1969 and kills him then. In the altered present, Agent J (Will Smith) is the only one who seems to remember K at all.

To restore K to the proper timeline, J pursues Boris back to the ’60s and teams up with a much younger version of his partner (wonderfully played by Josh Brolin, who wasn’t really that young himself).  I don’t know how many Tommy Lee Jones movies Brolin had watch to sound and act uncannily like him, but it must’ve been a whole bunch.

What follows is knock-off Back to the Future with a whole lot more aliens — and just as fun as that sounds. When the filmmakers aren’t having a blast re-examining J and K’s partnership with this new twist, they’re indulging in a whole bunch of ’60s nostalgia with hippies, Andy Warhol, and the Apollo 11 launch. And also aliens, never forget the aliens. Part of the charm of these movies is how they embrace the ridiculousness of the comic books.

Boris the Animal meets the requirement of being interesting enough that you look forward to his scenes rather than tolerate them (as is the usual for most comic book movie villains). I liked how he overexaggerates his mouth to compensate for a lack of eyes.

Maybe it’s not quite as funny as I was hoping (nor as tightly plotted at it should’ve been), but Men in Black 3 certainly isn’t boring. Time travel tends to make that the case.

Didja notice?

  • That is a disgustingly long tongue… and spikey hands
  • The moon has prisons on it
  • Poor Zed
  • The eyeball in the soup
  • Chocolate milk is key
  • It’s literally a time JUMP (and it’s pretty cool)
  • And he picks up the spare
  • The biggest cell phone ever
  • “All right! Now, the pickle!”
  • The alien who can see all of the futures
  • Those are absolute units of jet packs
  • “So glad this isn’t one of the times we explode.”

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