Review: Men in Black 3 (2012)

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Men in Black 3 (2012)

Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld | 106 minutes | action, comedy, science fiction | Actors: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Alice Eve, Josh Brolin, Emma Thompson, Bill Hader, Michael Stuhlbarg, Nicole Scherzinger, Jemaine Clement, Rip Torn, Joe Urban, Kevin Covais, Joseph R. Gannascoli, Michael Chernus, Lenny Venito, Keone Young, Alex Ziwak, Geoffrey Cantor, Michael Dean, Dan Bittner, Josh McBride, Tony Joe, Victor Joel Ortiz

After a 10-year hiatus, the Men in Black are back in cinemas. Can part three top the disappointing part two from 2002?

‘Men in Black’ (1997) was a nice surprise that combined comedy, action and science fiction well. As is always the case with successful Hollywood films, a sequel came a few years later that was no more than a rehash of the first part. Ten years later, part 3 appears in cinemas. Director Barry Sonnenfeld manages to revive the Men in Black formula and turn it into a fun movie.

Lead actors Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are still partners in this film. However, Agent J (Smith) still struggles to really get to know Agent K (Jones). Meanwhile, a very angry alien named Boris the Animal escapes from his prison on the moon to return to the year 1969. There he kills Agent K so that Boris cannot be arrested by him. J awakens to a world where K has been dead for forty years and Boris is about to destroy the Earth. J therefore also travels back in time to ensure that K is not killed and to save the world. In 1969 J not only gets a huge culture shock, but he also gets to know the younger and happier version of K.

Besides all the freaky aliens, the chemistry between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones has been one of the plus points of the Men in Black series. The dry, stiff Jones and the relaxed Smith made for many comedic scenes. In this part too, the humor is fully present between the two, but it is Josh Brolin as the younger version of K who adds an extra dimension. Brolin not only physically resembles Jones but has also cleverly copied his voice, facial expression and dry sense of humor. At the same time, he also makes K a slightly more cheerful version, which makes for more sympathy for the older K. The most striking role, however, is for Jemaine Clement as the villain Boris the Animal. Clement, who you may know from the “Flight of the Concords” series, is unrecognizable. While Lara Flynn Boyle was badly cast as a villain in part 2, Clement is a bit reminiscent of Vincent D’Onofrio who played the villain in part one. Boris the Animal is genuinely creepy.

The fact that technology has improved over the past ten years can be clearly seen in the action scenes in which the effects of the laser guns look just a bit slicker. The film was shot in 3D, which unfortunately does not always provide great effects. But in the scenes on the moon and especially the one where J literally jumps through time, 3D shows that sometimes it can really be the icing on the cake. ‘Men in Black 3’ is largely set in 1969 and that allows for many possibilities for locations and costumes. So they all come into their own. A beautiful time image is created from 1969 in which even the aliens look more sixties-esque. The scene that takes place in Andy Warhol’s famous studio The Factory is especially beautiful and Sonnenfeld takes the time to pay attention to this special location. Also watch out for one of the funniest scenes out there with Andy Warhol.

What distinguishes ‘Men in Black 3’ from the first two parts is that there is more emphasis on the relationship between J and K. And that only benefits the film because J and K both become a more complete character. However, this does not mean that the action, humor and fun gadgets fade into the background. Sonnenfeld creates a nice balance in which the relationship between J and K comes together nicely with the big storyline surrounding Boris the Animal. There is even a strikingly moving twist at the end. Try not to be touched by that.

‘Men in Black 3’ surprises by getting close to the original part again. And it even adds a little more depth to the characters. Fortunately, the freaky aliens, humor and action are back to normal and that makes ‘Men in Black 3’ an ideal summer blockbuster.

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