After a decade of silence the Men in Black are back for their third installment and this time they uncover secrets that even the universe did not know about.
MIB3 is directed by Barry Sonnenfield, who also directed the first two MIB films. MIB3 follows Agent J (Will Smith) on a mission that leads him back in time to 1969. He must travel back in time in order to stop Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) from killing Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). After a 40 year imprisonment, Boris the Animal escapes from the prison in which he is held, that is located on the moon, and comes to Earth to get revenge on Agent K, who imprisoned him on 16th June 1965. Boris travels back in time to kill Agent K before he gets arrested so that he and his fellow Bogladites can invade and destroy Earth like they have done with many other planets. Agent J must, therefore, follow Boris into the past in order to stop this event from happening and ensure that Agent K kills Boris rather than arresting him, as we learn that regret is the most powerful destroyer on Earth.
Time travel is at the core of this sequel and sets the film off on a promising start. The film offers some comical moments, especially when Agent O (Emma Thompson) recites some words said by an alien friend at the funeral of a fellow Agent, alongside seeing Lady Gaga’s picture in the MIB office, which raises the question, is she an alien? However, these moments are fairly short and infrequent as the narrative seems to be on a mission of its own to get us to Cape Canaveral where the secret to Agent K’s emotional issues lies.
We are introduced to a younger Agent K, in 1969, when Agent J gets sent back in time. Josh Brolin plays a fantastic younger Agent K as he still has the deadpan Texan attitude, but he seems to bring a bit of life back into the tired character. 1969 is a time where Agent K is not as solemn or craggy as he is in the future. This change is brought about by the secret that Agent J cannot get access to. Therefore, the film builds up to the final scene when the two Agents and Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg), an alien friend, make their way to Cape Canaveral. The twist that features at the end, do not worry I will not reveal it, however, feels rather arbitrary, like it is not quite enough. The film leads up to this one moment, and although it is fairly sad and perhaps a little emotional, it feels a little bit unsatisfying at the same time. Maybe it will be more gratifying after a second viewing.
With such a successful first film, Men in Black (1997), with the combining of two very different genres, sci-fi and the buddy-cop comedy, that had not been successfully attempted before, this third instalment had a lot to live up to, especially as Men in Black 2 (2002) seemed to flop. Therefore, the film does do well in comparison as it tries to add a new fresh element to the mix. The film is enjoyable to watch, which comes down to the malleable narrative that this film has, as you never know who is going to be an alien or human and the fact that it does not take itself seriously. Therefore, the film allows for some interesting character development which often adds to the humour.
MIB3 is worth watching if you enjoyed the first Men in Black, but try not to expect too much.
Written by Shirley Welton who blogs over at Beyond The Edges of The Frame