Monday 4 June 2012

Film Review: Men In Black 3

Hitting screens back in 1997, the original Men in Black was big hit for Will Smith after the previous year's Independence Day. 15 years on, Men in Black 3 is a fun addition to a franchise that now has a whole new generation of children and families to entertain.

When franchises go on an extended hiatus, they can often reappear and feel tired and unnecessary. Think Die Hard or The Mummy; in both instances, the returnee film, Die Hard 4.0 and Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, really didn't manage to capture that essential spark that turned the originals into the popular films that they were.

Thankfully, Men in Black 3 manages to avoid joining amongst the ranks of unnecessary sequels. The latest adventure from Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) manages to go some way to being on par with it's predecessors'.

The story sees J forced to jump back in time to 1969, when his surly long-time partner, K, is mysteriously erased from the present having been killed 40 years previously by a nasty time-travelling alien by the name of Boris. With me so far? If it sounds Back-to-the-Future-Part-II complicated, that's because it kind of is; with a couple of versions of the same villain roaming around 60's New York at the same time, the film tries its best to keep the audience up to speed. Whilst it requires a bit of a think, it's by no means complicated in the same way Doctor Who or Lost can be. You don't really have to be a rocket scientist.

What is obvious from the outset is that this film is well and truly Will Smith's party. Smith is in his absolute element and doesn't seem to have aged a day since he first donned the black suit and tie back in 1997. His character traverses many emotional boundaries throughout the film's running time, but Smith handles the mix of hilarity and gravitas with seeming ease.

Another note worthy performance is that of Josh Brolin's Young Agent K. He manages to nail Lee Jones' demeanour absolutely spot on, and to such a degree, you'll think the producers have used some kind of Benjamin-Button style wizardry to reverse the age of the latter.

Jemaine Clement is a brutish and unnerving villain as Boris the Animal. He is possibly the trilogy's strongest villain to date and certainly the most 'hissable'. He wasn't overly gross-out disgusting (which is a good thing) and was threatening and creepy enough to be easy to dislike.

Here come the Men in Black: Jones and Smith (above)
and Brolin (below) 
Also, Emma Thompson and Alice Eve were good additions as older and younger versions of Agent O respectively. The way in which the film added new characters such as this, whilst retaining Smith and Jones, meant it felt fresh and new, whilst retaining the overall feel as the first two.

Lastly, the conclusion. Whilst the film is a little slow to get going at first, and the pacing is a little off, it kicks into gear once the two agents pick up the trail of Boris in the past. The final scenes are a real pay-off for fans of the franchise and heart-warming to say the least.

The Verdict: 7/10

Overall, Men in Black 3 is a satisfying and entertaining entry into a franchise that is as fun and fresh as ever. It slots into the feel of the previous films perfectly and leaves us feeling like the series never really left.

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