Title: Men In Black 3
Director: Barry Sonnefeld
Cast: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Emma Thompson, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mike Colter, Nicole Scherzinger, Alice Eve and Bill Hader
There are many reasons why “Men In Black 3” shouldn’t work. It’s the sequel to a film that was released ten years ago in abysmal “Men In Black 2,” Will Smith is too old to be playing the young and brash Agent J, and at a glance it seemed to be a movie vehicle for Will Smith to get back in the lime light since the disappointment of his 2008 box office bomb, “Seven Pounds.” But in spite of these reasons, “Men In Black 3” does work and we should all be happy this kind of summer blockbuster exists.
“Men In Black 3” follows the story of dynamic duo, Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) as they pursue an escaped alien convict Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement). Boris the Animal escaped from a maximum-security prison on the moon and plans to travel back in time to prevent his arrest and insure his home planet can invade and conquer Earth. During his plan, he kills a young Agent K (Josh Brolin) and alters the future. Agent J must now go back to the point of Boris the Animals time travel medaling and save Agent K and restore the proper timeline.
The film serves as a good capper to the series and is much improved from the second film, “Men In Black 2.” Where that film just recycles what made “Men In Black” successful, “Men In Black 3” gives proper stakes to the end of the world and an emotional tie to an aging Agent J and Agent K in terms of their surrogate father and son relationship. Filmmaker Barry Sonnefeld tries as much as he can in a studio summer blockbuster to at least explore these notions of aging. And within those limitations, he succeeds. We get a sense that Agent J’s pursuit isn’t solely out of duty but rather from loyalty and love for his father. Even traveling to the past informs the audience of Agent J trying to get to know his father figure, a younger Agent K.
On a technical side, it’s rare where 3D plays a big role in the presentation of any film and for the most part seems tacked on or serves as an after-thought to the production, but it seems in “Men In Black 3” it’s integral to visuals and storytelling. Barry Sonnefeld shoots for 3D, adding dimension to the framing of each shot. It seems like he was conscience of 3D and the overall audience experience. The 3D is immaculate and thoughtful. What can be done on the moon, on earth and in the past is dazzling and thrilling as the process of actual time travel is original and breathtaking. Surprisingly, it’s one of the best 3D presentations you’ll see.
At the end of the day, “Men In Black 3” properly expands the world established in the first “Men In Black” movie back in 1997. It informs us on the idea that the Earth and people who inhabit it are small and inconsequential in the scope of the Universe. This idea is brought up again and again through the “Men In Black” series as Sonnefeld gives a “ho-hum” and almost cynical worldview. It reminds us that we are as small as insects and ants. That the only thing that really matters in our world are the interactions and relationships with other living organisms and the world around us, not celebrity, fame or wealth, while giving us a few laughs and thrills along the way.