Agents K & J have been working together for 14 years, but K has been getting more agitated. When they discover a prisoner K put away on the moon has escaped, the agents go after him and fail to catch him. After an awkward conversation on the phone, J shows up the work and discovers that no one remembers that K ever existed except for the new new head of the MIB, O. When it is discovered that a temporal disturbance could be at the center of the controversy, J finds a way to time travel back to the days before K met his apparent demise. Upon returning to 1969, J goes on the hunt for Boris the Animal, the alien that had escaped from the moon prison and killed K in their past. Eventually meeting up with the K from 1969, the two partners are reunited and go on a mission to both stop Boris and understand what the origin of what made K become so cold in the future.
Starring: Will Smith (Agent J), Tommy Lee Jones (Agent K), Josh Brolin (younger Agent K), Emma Thompson (Agent O), Alice Eve (younger Agent O), Jermaine Clement (Boris), Michael Stuhlbarg (Griffin), Mike Colter (Colonel), Keone Young (Mr. Wu) and Bill Hader (Andy Warhol).
In this third go-around in the MIB series, most of the main characters are back, with a couple significant subtractions (including Frank the Pug, Zed and Jack Jeebs). The main agents, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, are still around. Smith has all of the attitude and quick wit that he highlighted with his character in the previous two movies. While he shared the spotlight more with Jones in the previous films, he does serve as the true lead in the third installment. Jones has more of a limited role with his character in the beginning and end of the film, but he has all the same surly, tough-guy characteristics from his previous presentations of the role. With the time travel element, Josh Brolin was cast to serve as the younger version of K. He matches the surliness elements extremely well but has a slightly looser side to present the fact that K had not experienced his traumatic situation prior to 1969 and was a little more amiable. Emma Thompson joins the MIB as the new head of the operation and has many of the same stalwart characteristics of Jones’s representation. Alice Eve also represents the younger Agent O during the time travel back to 1969. Jemaine Clement serves as the villain and has a snarl that works better than Lara Flynn Boyle’s performance in the second film.
Having directed the previous MIB films, Barry Sonnenfeld decided to focus on the backstories for both Agents K & J. Agent K has always had an emotional detachment from virtually all other beings, but J believed that there had to be something in his past that caused him to be so closed off. Boris’s escape caused K to realize that he had run out of time, but he did not realize that Boris would figure out how to get ahold of a time travel device. After taking a jump to the past himself, J quickly connected with the younger Agent K and learned that he had a more approachable demeanor in the past. While there was still an apprehension to allow J access to weapons. Their quest did not have a specific goal to figure out what event changed K’s personality, but the events that unfold in their pursuit of Boris shed more light into K’s struggles with the human connection and a strange bond between the agents long before they became partners.
When a series struggles with its second installment, it is unlikely that the third will live up to expectations. Oddly enough, Men in Black 3 has all the substance that the second film lacked, even with some of the key supporting characters gone. Agent J was always the main character of the films (with Agent K being a significant co-star/supporting star), but his physical and verbal comedy actually improved with the more solid storyline. Though the beginning was a little disjointed and vague, it all comes together and makes sense as the MIB begins to get more involved. The additional of Agent O and the time traveling back to the 60s turned out to be fairly well done and not too hokey. It was interesting to catch some of the references to celebrity aliens, including Lady Gaga.
While some may have been cautious to give MIB3 a chance due to the quality of the second film, there are a lot of great elements that make this a solid ending to a series, as long as there is an effort to leave on a high note.
Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5