Men in Black 3 (2012)

Men in Black 3
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Science fiction violence

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Actors: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Alice Eve, Emma Thompson, Bill Hader, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg

Agent J travels in time to MIB's early years in the 1960s, to stop an alien from assassinating his friend Agent K and changing history.

DVD
Status: QuickPick
Run time: 100mins
Origin: UNITED STATES
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Out of time
by Simon Miraudo,

Men in Black 3 comes ten years after Men in Black 2, and fifteen years after the first instalment. In it, Agent J (Will Smith) travels back in time to 1969, where he struggles to grasp the old fashioned (although still futuristic to us unenlightened earthlings) methods employed by the titular extraterrestrial police agency. He meets the younger version of Tommy Lee Jones' Agent K, portrayed by 44-year-old Josh Brolin. He claims to be 29, and J remarks that K has some "city miles" on him. Funny. The same can be said about the franchise. For all the supposedly spectacular special effects, Men in Black 3 is a relic of another era. In the opening ten minutes alone, direct quotes from Jerry Maguire and Fight Club are recited; two pop culture references that are positively ancient. At one point...

Men in Black 3 comes ten years after Men in Black 2, and fifteen years after the first instalment. In it, Agent J (Will Smith) travels back in time to 1969, where he struggles to grasp the old fashioned (although still futuristic to us unenlightened earthlings) methods employed by the titular extraterrestrial police agency. He meets the younger version of Tommy Lee Jones' Agent K, portrayed by 44-year-old Josh Brolin. He claims to be 29, and J remarks that K has some "city miles" on him. Funny. The same can be said about the franchise.

For all the supposedly spectacular special effects, Men in Black 3 is a relic of another era. In the opening ten minutes alone, direct quotes from Jerry Maguire and Fight Club are recited; two pop culture references that are positively ancient. At one point, J threatens to "pimpslap the shiznit" out of Andy Warhol (Bill Hader), and the artist is befuddled by his ultra-hip parlance. If someone said that to me today, I too would assume they were a time-traveller, but from 1995 and not the future.

The original movie, based on Lowell Cunningham's comic book series of the same name, felt truly new and exciting. The buddy-cop dynamic between Smith and Jones was electric, and the creepy-crawly creature effects were tangible and grotesque. One and a half decades later, and we seem to have taken a step backwards. Everything - even the famous green goop - feels distant, incorporeal, and unreal (and not in a good way). Director Barry Sonnenfeld, despite embracing 3-D, has failed to create an immersive experience. Everything that once seemed magical and terrifying is now simply fake.

The wheels of the plot are set in motion by Boris the Animal (Flight of the Conchords' Jemaine Clement; threatening enough, but oddly afforded few jokes ), the only survivor of an alien race, holed up in lunar prison. He escapes in the opening scene, and seeks revenge against K for claiming his arm when they previously met. Boris travels back to 1969 with the intention of killing K and undoing the last forty-odd years; saving his arm, his species, and amassing an army to conquer Earth in the process. There's a chance this retconning of culture would also inadvertently erase our collective awareness of the Kardashians too, so it's not all bad.

As a result of Boris' interdimensional meddling, K is sucked out of existence, leaving J alone in a recalibrated world where his partner is said to have died four decades earlier (how he would have been recruited to the MIB without K's help we don't know, but shame on us for looking for logic). So, J skips back through the years to right Boris' wrongs, sparking up a friendship with the surprisingly affable but still somewhat surly K the Younger. Though Smith is always charming, he's not given much to work with here. Screenwriter Etan Cohen - and however many other scribes had a hand in the controversially delayed final draft - offers him a heart-wrenching finale that is only somewhat earned, but the quips don't so much land with a thud as they do a sonic boom. Smith doesn't get to share many sequences with Jones either. Thankfully, Brolin is a more than suitable substitute. He's the whole film's raison d'être; his impression is spot-on, and he's also got a spark of energy sorely missing from the rest of the picture.

Rip Torn does not return as MIB chief Z, having been killed off sometime between the last movie and this one. He's been replaced by Agent O (Emma Thompson), present for a handful of scenes; in the sixties, she's played by Alice Eve. Neither actress has nearly enough screen time, nor are they adequately established as K's love-interest throughout the ages. Michael Stuhlbarg gets a nice showcase as Griff; a sweet, oddball being who can glimpse infinite alternate realities at once. Oh, to look through his eyes and see a Men in Black sequel that lives up to the promise of the original.

2.5/5

Check out Simon's other reviews here.

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Member Reviews (80)

CC
says
This movie franchise continues to impress: the storyline, acting and special effects are all good. Josh Brolin as a young K (Tommy Lee Jones) is terrific casting, and Will Smith provides good comic relief to his straight foil. A lot of fun. 3.5/5
Posted Thursday, 9 January 2014 See my other reviews
DD
says
Enjoyable watch.. true MIB style...
Posted Thursday, 23 May 2013 See my other reviews
Watched it 3 times with the kids, absolute classic
Posted Friday, 17 May 2013 See my other reviews
PGW
says
Good fun
Posted Tuesday, 30 April 2013 See my other reviews
WBB
says
Probably should end the MIB franchise here but it was good. This series has always impressed with the quick wit of both lead characters, some pathos and wonderful aliens, who all sound like NY gangsters of the '50s.
Posted Tuesday, 23 April 2013 See my other reviews
Purplesue
says
This was neither funny or gimmicky in any way. They should have stopped after the first one & be done with it!
Posted Saturday, 20 April 2013 See my other reviews
Liz
says
I found this better than I was expecting for a third crack at MIB. I enjoyed it and watched it twice
Posted Friday, 12 April 2013 See my other reviews
Will Smith is fantastic as always
Posted Sunday, 7 April 2013 See my other reviews
The weakest of the series. No need to make anymore.
Posted Thursday, 4 April 2013 See my other reviews
jomafo
says
A huge let down. I can't believe Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith agreed to do this movie. The (very) ending however slightly redeems it.
Posted Thursday, 21 March 2013 See my other reviews
Antony D
says
Sequels are rarely as good as the first one, and this is no exception.. However, the storyline is quite original, and to a degree unpredictable . some nice twists and turns. The SFX and humour are exceptional a little short (100min) but definitely very entertaining :)
Posted Wednesday, 27 February 2013 See my other reviews
Raymond
says
loved it!
Posted Friday, 22 February 2013 See my other reviews
uncster
says
Up there with the other two, with a bit of a different storyline and some really funny moments. Enjoyed it.
Posted Wednesday, 20 February 2013 See my other reviews
De
says
Very cool if you like MIB. The first one is the best one still!
Posted Tuesday, 19 February 2013 See my other reviews
Lyn
says
Funny in parts but overall disappointing.
Posted Wednesday, 13 February 2013 See my other reviews
really like this movie and had a Kiwi as a Villain...
Posted Tuesday, 12 February 2013 See my other reviews
neeniebubs
says
We enjoyed this movie. Sure not as good as the original, but that was expected. It's light entertainment, and that's what you get.
Posted Monday, 11 February 2013 See my other reviews
not my kinda movie
Posted Tuesday, 5 February 2013 See my other reviews
JJ
says
Not anywhere as good as the first but still a good fun movie. Special effects are great, the story could be a bit stronger and the previous movies had more laughs but still worth a watch.
Posted Saturday, 2 February 2013 See my other reviews
hb_douglas
says
Great fun - just what you would expect.
Posted Friday, 1 February 2013 See my other reviews
ChrisR
says
What a laugh - thoroughly enjoyed it
Posted Tuesday, 22 January 2013 See my other reviews
Rocky
says
Great film can't wait for the next one
Posted Monday, 21 January 2013 See my other reviews
Keza
says
Awesome
Posted Sunday, 20 January 2013 See my other reviews
jenetta
says
a good film. i enjoyed it. had some depth, action. a bit of everything.
Posted Thursday, 17 January 2013 See my other reviews
SFlash
says
Brilliant. Liked it so much we bought the DVD
Posted Saturday, 12 January 2013 See my other reviews
Gerd
says
Boring, story idea o.k., but the execution...felt asleep
Posted Wednesday, 9 January 2013 See my other reviews
AJ
says
I liked the original Men In Black (the 2nd installment was more forgettable) but this was so predictable and plodding that I nodded off at about 1 hour in. I had to rewind it when I woke up and then understood why I had fallen asleep. Even with a charismatic villain it just couldn't get above 'what weird looking alien did the CGI guys come up with?' element. Will Smith's street smart schtick just didn't help.
Posted Monday, 31 December 2012 See my other reviews
Otto
says
Not quite up to the standard of the first movie, but still good fun.
Posted Thursday, 27 December 2012 See my other reviews
Taninaus
says
Fun, funny, entrtaining and thorougly engaging. As always a great entertaining film - they get better with age.
Posted Monday, 24 December 2012 See my other reviews
Denise
says
Kinda silly. Ok story line but really Ive had enough of this silly alien stuff
Posted Sunday, 23 December 2012 See my other reviews
Shane
says
it was OK but I hope this is the end please no MIB 4
Posted Saturday, 22 December 2012 See my other reviews
Andrew
says
Loved it. Tommy Lee has a new successor and Wil smith has the midas touch in movies. Top notch special effects and an imaginative story keep you "in the movie". I though the ending was a little cliche, but I could certainly live with it. Its not often you can say the third sequel is as good as the original movie.
Posted Tuesday, 11 December 2012 See my other reviews
Aaron Ramon Ki Re
says
Not bad for a third outing although the idea of quirky aliens and nifty gadgets is getting a little stale. I doubt a 4th installment is necessary to make.
Posted Monday, 10 December 2012 See my other reviews
Matthew B.
says
Really lacks what the first film had that made it so good.
Posted Saturday, 8 December 2012 See my other reviews
paul o
says
Excellent!!
Posted Wednesday, 5 December 2012 See my other reviews
KOR
says
Typical Men in Black, loads of action, quirky story with a twist. Some good one liners. Enjoyed watching it, worth a look.
Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 See my other reviews
ICP
says
Fantastic movie - on a par with the first MIB movie with a great story line that mixes well with the humour and action elements. Scenery was good and the scenes at Cape Canaveral were well done. James Brolin played the young "K" as if it really were the younger "K" which was brilliant.
Posted Wednesday, 28 November 2012 See my other reviews
Lea
says
Enjoyed it very much as excellent as the first two.
Posted Monday, 26 November 2012 See my other reviews
Loved the ending...
Posted Monday, 26 November 2012 See my other reviews
Jojo
says
Quite liked this, entertaining.
Posted Sunday, 25 November 2012 See my other reviews
Steve
says
A good movie, like the others. Interesting concept of going back in time.
Posted Sunday, 25 November 2012 See my other reviews
Noel
says
Very watchable, good light entertainment, however in my opinion, it was not as good as the other 2. Different, not as action packed but with more twists and turns.
Posted Saturday, 24 November 2012 See my other reviews
Lissa
says
Very entertaining follow up to it's two predecessors. Good story with a great little twist and gripping action. Altogether watchable - went out and bought the three movies so I can watch them all again.
Posted Saturday, 24 November 2012 See my other reviews
was great followed along from the others....probably not enough different aliens!
Posted Tuesday, 20 November 2012 See my other reviews
Lou
says
Loved it!
Posted Tuesday, 20 November 2012 See my other reviews
G Dixon
says
Men in Black should really give it up now much the same as the rest.
Posted Sunday, 18 November 2012 See my other reviews
Shelley
says
I quite enjoyed it. A bit of light entertainment. Worth a watch.
Posted Wednesday, 14 November 2012 See my other reviews
Light and like the other two movies, easy watching. I think I enjoyed it for the novelty factor. If you liked the first two then you will enjoy this just to see your old friends J and K back in action.
Posted Wednesday, 14 November 2012 See my other reviews
Luke
says
Its a pity that before they made this film they didnt get everyone involved in it to stand around this massive deneuralyzer and wipe the MIB franchise out of their minds. This 3rd film is simply tragic, in a lot of ways. Should have been left at MIB2.
Posted Sunday, 11 November 2012 See my other reviews
This was a good movie, enjoyed it.
Posted Saturday, 10 November 2012 See my other reviews
Ash
says
Awesome movie as expected :) worth a watch!
Posted Thursday, 1 November 2012 See my other reviews
Johno
says
Not nearly as good as the first two but still a fun flick, I think maybe this should be the last installment.
Posted Monday, 29 October 2012 See my other reviews
GaryH.
says
All I can think of is missed opportunities. All the elemants are there, but it could have used its ideas a lot better.
Posted Wednesday, 24 October 2012 See my other reviews
Sil
says
Good fun, loved the Warhol part.
Posted Thursday, 18 October 2012 See my other reviews
Kristina
says
Loved all the men in black series but I didnt think this one was quite as good as the others but very worth while watching.
Posted Wednesday, 17 October 2012 See my other reviews
really enjoyed, and wasnt really expecting to!
Posted Saturday, 13 October 2012 See my other reviews
Pato
says
Great movie, just as good as the previous ones. Love the twist in the end. well worth a watch.
Posted Thursday, 11 October 2012 See my other reviews
Don't bother.
Posted Thursday, 11 October 2012 See my other reviews
long winded and dull, lacking laughs like the first two
Posted Monday, 8 October 2012 See my other reviews
Sybil
says
They SOOOOO should have stopped at MIB2
Posted Monday, 8 October 2012 See my other reviews
DK
says
lIKED THE RETRO THEME OF MIB BUT CANT RATE 5 STAR COZ IT WASNT THAT EXCITING LIKE ITS PREVIOUS SERIES
Posted Sunday, 7 October 2012 See my other reviews
David Williams
says
Very entertaining,loved it!!!
Posted Saturday, 6 October 2012 See my other reviews
03/10/2012
says
fantastic
Posted Friday, 5 October 2012 See my other reviews
Loved it! Best MIB yet
Posted Thursday, 4 October 2012 See my other reviews
Lisa
says
for fans of the mib series only - it didnt appeal to me - lots of weird characters
Posted Thursday, 4 October 2012 See my other reviews
mich
says
first 2 MIB is better
Posted Tuesday, 2 October 2012 See my other reviews
Janine
says
This was soooo good - Josh Brolin was brilliant, cast, script and production excellent - we really enjoyed it. Compared to this movie MIB ll was dull, though probably necessary to build up the back stories. Well done.
Posted Saturday, 29 September 2012 See my other reviews
Alex
says
A return to form for MIB after the disappointment that was MIB 2. Josh Brolin nails a young Tommy Lee Jones; an unbelievable performance. A good story that plays out nicely. A special mention too to Jemaine Clement as the bad guy.
Posted Friday, 28 September 2012 See my other reviews
Cidny
says
funny and very well done. :D
Posted Friday, 28 September 2012 See my other reviews
Josh Brolin is brilliant as a young Agent K. This is an great movie with a fantastic ending - and how do they keep coming up with so many diversified aliens! Awesome!
Posted Thursday, 27 September 2012 See my other reviews
Lyn
says
Mindless fun, but I was hoping for something better.
Posted Thursday, 27 September 2012 See my other reviews
joffa
says
mib fans should love this installment, very well done. (the twist at the end completes the jigsaw puzzle). Very well done again. a must see for fans of this franchise
Posted Monday, 24 September 2012 See my other reviews
Paul
says
Ten years between MIB2 and MIB3 was too long. This was great fun. Josh Brolin is awesome as 60s 'K'. Going to have to watch the others again now.
Posted Monday, 24 September 2012 See my other reviews
A great movie. I would definitely recommend it to my peers. Very funny and entertaining 5/5!
Posted Monday, 24 September 2012 See my other reviews
Kim
says
Great addition to the MIB movies and loved the connection between J and K that came out.
Posted Sunday, 23 September 2012 See my other reviews
hi
Posted Friday, 21 September 2012 See my other reviews
Margit
says
Good story, keeps you going to the end.
Posted Friday, 21 September 2012 See my other reviews
Johnson
says
Clever and funny... but also a bit convoluted and slightly rehashed. Josh Brolin is simply amazing as a young Tommy Lee (has he been taking mimic lessons from Meryl Streep?). While I liked it, I'm hoping this is the end of the "trilogy".
Posted Wednesday, 19 September 2012 See my other reviews
This is by far my favourite MIB movie! Its funny, has heart and enough action to keep you guessing the whole way!
Posted Monday, 17 September 2012 See my other reviews
Julia
says
Loved it! Josh Brolin fantastic as a younger K! Must See in my books!
Posted Friday, 6 July 2012 See my other reviews