10 years down and Will Smith looks the EXACT same. Tommy Lee Jones should have fathered Josh Brolin (in some parallel universe). Alice Eve is .. well, Alice Eve (and that’s a compliment of the highest order). These are all pocket takeaways from what, for the most part, is a blast from the past for those of you who loved the prior MIB films (or maybe just the first one).
MIB3 hits theaters 10 years after MIB2, meaning Will Smith has been Agent J for 15 years. 15 years! And the man hasn’t aged a bit. Heck, he may even look younger now than he did then. If that’s even possible; could be one of those things Hollywood $$ buys you. I’ll never know. Either way, we jump right back in to the action this go-round and get introduced to Boris the Animal, our villain of the moment. Jermaine Clement brings this character to life, even though it is of artificial intelligence. We join Boris as he is being held captive on LunarMax, a prison on Earth’s Moon built to contain criminals of his caliber. Of course, he breaks out and is hell bent on paying back the man who sent him there with only an arm and a half … Agent K. In his time spent on LunarMax, Boris learns of a way to time travel and devised a plan to go back and alter history – ultimately erasing K and bringing his Alien race to dominance.
We pick up with K and J during their usual banter and are introduced to Agent O (Emma Thompson) at Chief Zed’s funeral. Obvious “chem”-istry (and you better had pronounced that as it’s written, emphasizing the “ch”) between K and O. I like it. K and J are picking up on some unusual activity in the city, and K knows more than he’s sharing with J. Long story short, Boris is successful in travelling back in time, erases K, J follows the same time-travelling path to save the day and prevent K’s murder, all is right in the world (galaxy).
Going back half of my life, I can remember being a BIG fan of MIB, and not so much of MIB2. This entry is what the second should have been – fast, fun, and not too much. You always want to try and add something to the franchise, or why even make a sequel, but it is far too often that filmmakers go way too far in this attempt (read: Iron Man 2′s use of 17.3 villains). Sonnenfeld restricts overdoing it this round, and it makes the film better because of it. This film wasn’t without its drama though, with production stories I’d heard of the movie starting without a script, and this and that going wrong, but I can say that it doesn’t show even if any of that gossip were true.
Smith and Jones are solid as always in their roles. Will Smith truly is a movie star! I know that’s not news to anyone, but it’s just a joy to see a movie and know there’s still a handful of true “stars” out there (T-Cruise, Denzel, B-Pitt to name a few). He’s funny, strong, and has great one liners after he erases onlookers’ memories of recent alien events. Emma Thompson is brief, but fun as O. Alice Eve (as the young O) is brief, but fun. A good match. The true star of MIB3 though is Josh Brolin. His Tommy Lee Jones impersonation is worth the ticket price alone. We don’t get a lot of TLJ on the screen, but that’s okay because Brolin kills it. His brow, his deadpan delivery, his slow drawl as he spits out K’s best cliches … all 100% Tommy Lee Jones. Seriously, you gotta see this film, even if just for Josh Brolin. I’ve always been a fan (ever since Goonies and Thrashin’), but this solidified him as one of my underdog favorites.
One of the stand out elements of the film for me was its dialing down of all the alien special effects in favor of some development of the human factor in the series. With themes of mortality, fatherhood, righting our wrongs and a love denied, MIB3 finds a balance in this crazy world of humans and aliens. I know, I know … this review is pretty glowing, but don’t get me wrong, there’s flaws and fluff. Keep in mind though, MIB2 sucked! Remember these words, and feel free to quote me: “From low expectations, high satisfaction can bloom.” While it doesn’t have the creative/fresh factor that MIB did when it exploded at the movies in ’97, this one really is a welcome vote for it being a-okay to return to a successful franchise for yet another ride with our favorite Alphabet Agents.
Steve says: “YES!”
NOTE: Now, I don’t want to force you to see this on my word, so to level the field I’m going to need you to look in to this light and wait for the flash