Saturday, May 26, 2012

Men in Black 3 review

Men in Black 3 comes 10 years after Men in Black II and 15 years after Men in Black. The original was an audience favorite but the sequel was mostly hated by fans. Men in Black 3 introduces a different kind of plot than its predecessors and due to its more complicated plot, its production was a mess. The film soared over budget and cost anywhere from $250 to $300 million. The production started without a finished script and production was shut down halfway through. So its a miracle that Men in Black 3 is actually decent. It's not as good as the original and I haven't seen the sequel but if it's as bad as what everybody says, I trust that this film is better.

Men in Black 3 opens with the escape of Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) from Lunar Max, a prison on the moon. Boris intends to go back in time to kill Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), who is the man that took his arm off. Meanwhile, Agent J (Will Smith) and K are still fighting extraterrestrials on Earth. J and K don't get along well and the first half hour examines their relationship. K is aware that Boris has escaped and is prepared to die. One night K disappears and the only one aware of his existence is J. Agent O (Emma Thompson) tells J that he has to go back in time and kill Boris before he can kill K. J lands on July 15, 1969 and meets the younger K (Josh Brolin) and tries to save the world from an invasion.

Men in Black 3 is a lot of fun at some times. The first half hour feels like traditional MIB, which isn't really a bad thing, but when J goes back to the '60s, there is a nice change. The colors are vibrant and are really fun. Will Smith turns in a good performance as J and Josh Brolin does a good Tommy Lee Jones impression, but the novelty of that joke does wear off after a while.

I was really enjoying the film up until the point where Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg) shows up. Griffin is important to the plot but he's this awkward alien that's living in like seven dimensions. Griffin was not a character that I particularly liked and neither was Boris. The creators could have done a lot more with this character and he's way too straightforward for a MIB villain. The main problem is that the film is not funny. When I saw The Avengers, people were laughing out loud the entire time. I can't recall a single time where people were actually laughing out loud during MIB3. Will Smith does his usual shtick, Bill Hader shows up as Andy Warhol in a funny scene and Josh Brolin has some moments but otherwise the humor is dull. I think a lot of the jokes sounded a lot better on paper than they did on screen.

MIB3 is not a total disaster. It's actually decent. Thankfully, director Barry Sonnenfeld and writer David Koepp keep the time travel plot relatively simple until the end which kind of makes sense but doesn't really. The time travel is nowhere near as complicated as Back to the Future Part 2 but it still has its holes. For a film that went through one of the toughest productions in Hollywood history, it's a surprise that it is a pretty fun popcorn movie. But in some ways, I thought it was fifteen minutes too long. I'm a big fan of the idea behind the MIB movies but I can't say I loved any of the final products. The original was pretty good, I never saw the sequel, and this one is fun but flawed. I think that sums up the movie. Flawed fun.

THE FINAL GRADE:  C+                                           (6.4/10)

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