Lazy films done haphazardly, for the sake of doing… irritate me and insult my intelligence as a moviegoer. This is how I felt watching MEN IN BLACK 3, a useless attempt at the continuation of a franchise, which should’ve been left untouched.
The previous MEN IN BLACK movies were amazing, for a few reasons, most notably, Will Smith. At a time in his career, when he was still associated with being the ‘Fresh Prince’ and ‘Bad Boy’, it was refreshing to see him in a Sci-Fi epic complete with awesome aliens and the whole deal. His funnier side complimented that of an accomplished serious actor like Tommy Lee Jones as well. Even when they did the 1st sequel, the chemistry was there, with Smith being more experienced as an actor, portraying a mirroring situation with his character in the story. This time around, none of those things are in effect.
MEN IN BLACK 3 is again a story revolving around something happening to Tommy Lee Jones’ Agent K, which causes Will Smith’s Agent J to go running around for the duration of the film trying to make things better. The same old tired formula.
An escaped criminal with serious ties to K escapes and goes back in time, in an attempt to kill K in the past. J, as being the only one who somehow remembers how the present has been altered, then has to travel back in time and work with the younger K, to save his life. The only fresh thing this time around is Josh Brolin playing a younger Tommy Lee Jones.
Let’s talk about that for a second. Josh Brolin is THE best thing in this movie. Simply for the fact that he looks, talks and IS a younger Tommy Lee Jones. This man amazes me at every turn with his ability to get into the skin of any character he plays. It’s unbelievable that this is the same guy who played George W. Bush in “W”, and a scarred Cowboy in JONAH HEX (let’s not talk about that.)
Moving on. The plot is a time travel story, with none of the novelties of a time travel story. You’d think a movie that takes itself so lightly as MEN IN BLACK, would have built in some cool references, jokes, and such in the past similar to the ‘Elvis is an Alien?!’ gags from the first film. But nope. None of that was happening here. Well there was a scene with ‘Andy Warhol’, but does anyone even know who Warhol is this day? The writers wasted such opportunities at genuinely interesting sub plots. But instead put in this one Alien who can see every possibility happening… who spouts nonsensical philosophical bullshit.
MEN IN BLACK 3, sucked for a variety of reasons, key in those being, that they made the damn movie in the first place. This film tried way too hard to be like its predecessors. It felt like it was trying to be MiB, when it already was MiB. The makers seem to have just plain forgot the tongue in cheek, sometimes slapstick, quick witted humor that made the previous films enjoyable. The humor this time around, was forced. The deadpan expressions from Jones were expected and cliché now. Especially when it became a point of constant harping, in the story itself.
Get this: The movie starts with Agent J bitching the entire time as to Agent K’s surly attitude. Which, by the way, factors into the plot of the story. Really? That’s what the story of this movie boils down to? An ‘Origins Story’ for why the fuck Agent K is grumpy all the time?!
The actors had no chemistry. You’d think characters returning to the screen in a Sci-Fi buddy comedy, would at least attempt to be more in tune and in touch with each other on screen. They’ve been partners for 10+ years after all right? Nope. It’s as if they haven’t seen each other since the 2nd film. Which might be true in the case of the actors themselves.
Will Smith, now known his hard hitting Oscar nominated performances, de-evolved in this one, by going back to his crass, foul mouthed, street slang spewing boy from the hood routine. It was unpleasant. Tommy Lee Jones is barely in the movie at all, should probably be relegated to a ‘Guest Appearance’ credit.
All in all, MEN IN BLACK 3 should never have been made. It’s one of those sequels that will be stricken from the record in the history of the Franchise, and similar to the villain’s plan for Agent K in this movie… it will never have happened.