Despite being released in a year so heavily populated with other comic book franchises (yes Men in Black is based on a comic book!), Men in Black 3 manages to do enough to differentiate itself from the standard spandex clad outing and provides fast paced action and laughs along the way. Any film that starts with leather stiletto boots, pert boobs and birthday cake in a galactic prison, promises to be good in my book.
The latest installment in the Men in Black franchise finds our favourite stylishly clad agent (Will Smith) sent back in time to save his partner, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), and prevent the end of the world. Some fantastic special effects, combined with a ‘time twisting’ storyline complete with a heart wrenching conclusion (I’m pretty sure I saw people crying), makes this, the third episode in the trilogy, almost as good as the first film.
The movie gets off to a bit of a slow start with what feels like a tiring bromance between Agents J and K, and despite a hilarious, albeit too brief, introduction to new MIB boss Agent O, played by Emma Thompson, who explains the absense of former chief in command Agent Z, the first act feels as though it drags on a bit too long. It is only once J travels back in time and teams with Josh Brolin‘s younger version of Agent K that we get the classic banter between partners and the smooth talking Agent J of the first film, as well as some classic moments involving 60′s MIB technology and a fantastic scene with Andy Warhol.
Although he takes a bit of a back seat role this time around, Tommy Lee Jones does his job with lean, sharp no nonsence delivery and the Fresh Prince gets a regal upgrade to the undisputed king of comic sci-fi. However it is Josh Brolin, the latest arrival to the franchise, who really steals the show. Despite playing a younger version of Agent K, which obviously borrows a lot from Tommy Lee Jones portrayal of the character, Brolin manages to inexplicably make the role his own. Alice Eve also puts in a great, if too brief, performance as the young Agent O, and Bill Hader is on scene stealing form with his hilarious portrayal of Andy Warhol. And keep your eyes peeled for extra terrestrial cameos from a certain Director and the current ‘Queen of Pop’.
The biggest problem with the film is it’s pacing, as soon as it starts to get into it’s stride the film begins to wind down to the conclusion. The second act in particular is far too short, possibly because of director Barry Sonnenfeld’s insistence of not going over 90 minutes, whilst the first act drags on a little too long, when really the far more enjoyable second and third act could have really benefitted with a bit more screentime.
All in all Men in Black 3 is a good entry to the franchise and returns the series to its comedic best. It might not be Shakespeare, but thanks to some zesty banter, high octane action and spectacular visual effects Men in Black 3 is a highly enjoyable summer caper.