It’s been a long time since we’ve last encountered the team from the Men in Black series. For the record, I marginally enjoyed the first entry and thought the second one was just awful. Obviously that doesn’t exactly set me up as a huge fan for the third offering in the franchise. That’s how I went into Men in Black 3.
The movie meanders about for nearly two-thirds of its run (or possibly longer) before it finally turns it up a notch (or 20) to present an incredible (if fairly unbelievable) finale.
When I say the first two-thirds of the film are slow, they’re also quite flat and dull. People started mumbling about it in the theater and no one was laughing at anything going on. I really would have questioned any of the positive reviews had the movie continued on in that mode for the duration.
It did attempt to get off the ground but those efforts were haphazard at best. We get a new twist on the story with the introduction of Agent O (played by Emma Thompson) whom we’ve never encountered before and who suddenly, were told, plays a major role in Agent K’s life (played initially by Tommy Lee Jones and later by Josh Brolin). The suggestion is that these two are destined to be together but that entirely goes against what we saw in the first movie when Agent K snoops on his left-behind wife only to end up back with her at the end. It was the one touching moment of the first film and here it’s tossed aside as unnecessary.
Would it really have taken much effort to tie those two stories together?
Of course the main star of the film is Will Smith playing Agent J and he does everything he can with the script. He looks almost the same a decade after the second film. The same can’t be said for Tommy Lee Jones unfortunately. Jones is 65 now but he looks much older here. He’s always had a silly-putty face but in this film the large screen and 3D made his face look entirely unnatural and, frankly, distracting. I love Jones but I have to call them like I see them.
The big news of this installment is Josh Brolin’s work playing the younger Agent K and everything you might have heard about his doing a great job is true. He looks like a young Jones, sounds like a young Jones and acts like a young Jones. It’s pretty damned amazing but then again Brolin is no slouch when it comes to impersonations.
As I said, when the final sequence starts the entire film feels the energy of it and suddenly you’re engaged and ready to roll with it. The only problem is that the sequence seems entirely impossible. The sequence takes place around and on the NASA rocket at Cape Canaveral as it counts down for its historic launch to the moon in 1969. Yet, we’re to believe that three or four men were able to bounce all around the most visible parts of the rocket without any of the myriad of TV viewers noticing them? Aside from this oversight the ending is fantastic including a wonderful twist that’s far more touching that Agent K’s brushes with his estranged wife in the first film.
Overall the finale keeps the film from being a bore but still doesn’t get it much past neutral overall.