I saw Men in Black 3 recently ( I’ve also seen Prometheus and Brave, reviews forthcoming) and for the most part I enjoyed it. MiB3 is fluff, its cotton candy, but tasty cotton candy. At times it borders on being something great, but consistently backs away from anything that even hints at having some weight. The first MiB movie was a ton of fun, but its sequel was hard to watch. It seriously took me a few tries to get all the way through it. Luckily, MiB 3 is much closer to the first one than the second.
The movie starts with a space prison breakout (the second one on the screen this year how many years can claim that?) and the escape of Boris, the most dangerous alien criminal that K ever put away. On Earth, J is chafing against taciturn K, wanting a more personal relationship with his partner. Boris goes back in time and manages to eliminate past K. So J time travels himself to stop him, teaming up with a younger version of K and discovering why he is so closed.
MiB 3 is polished and funny, but there is little here that is new or all that inspired. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are still a great pair to watch, and Josh Brolin does a tremendous job as young K. The villain Boris does little to justify his reputation as one of the most dangerous foes the MiB have ever faced, but he is less of an obstacle and more of an excuse for time travel shenanigans. Which are satisfying, if only half explored.
I liked the movie. It is terrific summer fare, but there is plenty that keeps it from being a really good movie. Like the reason K is so shut off. Is it because he let Boris kill [redacted] or is it because he didn’t kill Boris? There is the relationship between K and O, which is hinted at and starts being elaborated upon then just disappears from movie. That is perfectly fine for a small subplot, but just about every subplot in the movie feels only half-examined. The pieces are all there for something nearly great, but it doesn’t quite come together.
On the whole, though, Men in Black 3 succeeds in being a fun action comedy. It doesn’t aim too high, but it manages to hit its mark. The crazy aliens are as visually interesting as they were in the first movie, though they don’t possess the same wow factor. Or maybe I’m not 15 anymore. It also avoids spending too much time reveling in cameos from the earlier movies. Some characters return, but most for only brief glimpses. The biggest draw is the byplay between the glib Smith and the gruff Jones and Brolin, more Brolin than Jones. Worth seeing, even if it is easy to forget.
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