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Men in Black (MiB) 3 review

When Boris ‘The Animal’ (Jemaine Clement) escapes from LunaMax, he travels back in time to kill Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), and it’s up to Agent J (Will Smith) to travel back in time to stop it.

Men in Black 3 (MiB 3) is a fun romp that is actually better than the previous films.  I was not a fan of the first 2 films, and this actually feels like the first of the three that had a clear vision of where it was going and what it accomplished.  After Boris ‘The Animal’ escapes from a prison on the moon, built especially for him, he travels back in time to the ’60’s to kill young Agent K (Josh Brolin) who he blames for his defeat and incarceration.  Once it happens, Agent J is the only one who remembers old Agent K and travels back in time to save him.

The most amazing revelation in this film is Josh Brolin.  His portrayal of a young Tommy Lee Jones is not a gimmick to get butts in seats.  He is simply magnificent.  After the initial shock, Brolin becomes young Agent K; he becomes Tommy Lee Jones.  I may be the only one out there who thinks this, but Brolin deserves a Best Actor nod for this performance.  His performance and control of his craft was simply amazing to behold.  Tommy Lee Jones, who only appears in this film briefly, has got the gruff old man routine down pat.  His monopoly on this type of performance (think The Fugitive, No Country for Old Men) is always entertaining.  The man may have a gruff exterior, but he has such control that you can see the buried emotion in his eyes.

Will Smith is more restrained in this film than he was in the first two, which is great for his character.  He is obviously older, though maybe not wiser, but you can see the toll that his line of work is taking.  He is no longer the fresh faced newbie but a veteran.  He has grown up.  Does that mean he doesn’t get all ‘Will Smithed’?  No.  He has his hyperactive lines and delivery.  Is it overbearing and irritating?  No.  He is older and takes most everything in stride, as opposed to freaking out about everything like in the first two films.

Not having seen the first two films in years, I found that I had no problem slipping back into the universe of Men in Black.  It is still a silly take on extraterrestrials, and there is a lot of humor to be found.  I found myself laughing quite a bit and enjoying myself while watching this.  That is something I can’t say about the first two.  Make no mistake, I like Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.  I like Barry Sonnenfeld (The Addams Family, The Addams Family Values) the director.  I just couldn’t get into the first two films.  I enjoyed this one a lot.

If you enjoyed the first two films and even if you didn’t, I would recommend this film.  It was a fun sci-fi romp through time.  I think it is better made and has a clearer vision of what it wanted to be than Mib or MiB 2.  If you are looking for a funny, action packed movie, check this out.  It won’t be nominated for Best Picture (though Brolin should be nominated for something), but it is damned entertaining.  I found myself pleasantly surprised.  It really wasn’t high on my list of summer films, but I am glad that I took the time to see it.

*** out of ****

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