Men in Black 3
PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):
On July 16, 1969, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) apprehended the intergalactic criminal Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) at Cape Canaveral in Florida before setting up the ArcNet shield, which protected Earth from an invasion by Boris’ species and rendered them extinct forever.
In spring of 2012, 43 years later, Boris manages to escape from the Lunar Max prison facility on the Moon and arrives on Earth, intent on taking revenge on K – who took away his left arm during his arrest and locked him for decades. After investigating a spaceship crash in New York City, K deduces that Boris has sprung out of prison, and he regrets not having killed him back in 1969. He returns back to his apartment.
The next day, Agent J (Will Smith) notices that K is no longer in his apartment. He arrives at MIB headquarters to discover that K has been dead for over 40 years. Agent O (Emma Thompson) , the new Chief after Z’s passing and retirement (with his memory erased), deduces that there has been a fracture in the space-time continuum based on J’s insatiable craving for chocolate milk to ameliorate his headaches. J comes to the conclusion that Boris acquired a time-jump device and traveled back to 1969 to kill K, resulting in an inevitable invasion of Earth due to the absence of the ArcNet. J goes to Obadiah Prince (Lanny Flaherty) , a black market dealer who sold Boris the time-jump device, and acquires one of his own. As the time-jump device needs a certain amount of velocity to activate, J must jump off the Chrysler Building to make the time-travel. He travels to July 15, 1969 – one day before the incident involving Boris and Agent K.
Upon arriving at the timeline, J travels to Coney Island, knowing that Boris will be committing a murder based on the original incident report he accessed beforehand. However, a younger agent K (Josh Brolin) arrests him and has him placed in a larger, more primitive Neuralyzer. At the very last second, J convinces K to stop the process when he reveals the truth of his mission. K decides that he is telling the truth and takes him to the MIB headquaters, which is largely changed that it’s in it’s 2012 version. He also meets with a younger version of Agent O (Alice Eve). They eventually work together and follow Boris’ trail. Their clues lead them to a prescient alien named Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg) , who is in possession of the ArcNet. Being able to look into multiple probable future outcomes and scenarios, he warns the two agents of Boris’ impending arrival and hurriedly leaves the venue.
Based on the clues left for them, the Agents locate Griffin, who gives them the shield that has to be placed onto the Apollo 11 lunar rocket launch occurring in less than six hours. Upon arriving at Cape Canaveral, the two agents and Griffin are quickly arrested by military police. The Colonel (Mike Colter) in the scene, however, allows the two agents to carry on their mission after Griffin uses his precognitive power to show them “how important they are”. The Colonel shares a long look with Griffin, his demeanor immediately softens, and he seems to take a more personal interest in assisting Agents J and K in their mission. The reason for this is revealed shortly thereafter.
J and K arrive at the launch pad, but are confronted separately by both 1969 and modern-day incarnations of Boris. Modern-day Boris impales J with his spikes before they both fall off the pad; however, J uses the time-jump to travel back to the beginning of the fight and avoid the spikes before pushing the criminal off the pad into the fiery exhaust gases of the rocket. Meanwhile, as K battles the younger Boris, he ruptures a fueling hose, causing it to spray liquid nitrogen on 1969 Boris’ left arm and shatter it. K then successfully plants the ArcNet on the rocket, which deploys after reaching the Earth’s atmosphere. The Colonel congratulates K, who in turn invites him to join the agency.
As J watches from the distance, however, 1969 Boris emerges from the blast chamber and kills the Colonel before he changes into his true alien form only to be disintegrated by K within seconds. A young boy named James (Cayen Martin) exits a military van near their location looking for his father. He pulls the pocket watch out of his pocket revealed earlier in the movie to have been passed down to Agent J’s by his father. This reveals James to be Agent J as a little boy and the Colonel to be his father. Young James is slowly coaxed away from the gruesome truth by K while older Agent J looks on in sadness from a distance in realization that he just watched his own father die and that Agent K tenderly cared for and softened the blow to young James knowing who he was. Specifically, K neuralyzes young J/James, telling him that his father was a hero and a great man, then walks with him along the beach holding his hand.
J returns to the present day, where he meets up with his partner at the usual diner. There, he shows K his father’s pocket watch. The senior agent, in return, tells him it was an honor to have met him that fateful day. As they leave the diner, Griffin – who is a few seats away, tells the viewer that all is well with the world, except for an inevitable asteroid impact on Earth because K forgot to leave a tip. But when K returns to leave his tip, the asteroid collides with a satellite, thus avoiding the catastrophe.
I remember when the original Men in Black came out and I was blown away by not only how different it was, but how it paid homage to classic sci-fi, and had some reflective moments, as well, which made it a high quality film. Some people weren’t so thrilled with Men in Black 2, but I liked it. Many years later, the men in black have returned for Men in Black 3, a film that many thought would never happen. So, the question is, should it have just been something fans of the series wished for or was it worth the long wait?
I can say with strong conviction that fans of this franchise won’t be disappointed, for the most part, but at the same time, there is just something that doesn’t feel right. I am chalking it up to the time between films, but I’m sure there are those out there that are going to say this was just forced into production, which it may very well have been, I’m just not going to use that as an excuse.
So, what did I like?
Josh Brolin. This guy nails Tommy Lee Jones’ Agent K. Everyone has been blown away by his spot on interpretation of Jones. I know that I sure was.
What’s old is new. Yes, New York is a huge city, but there are only so many places you can fight aliens there. How do you solve this problem? Simple, just go back in time and Bam!….everything is new again.
Literal leaping. I found it kind of funny that in order to travel through time (they call it time jumping), J, or whoever, had to literally take a leap off a building to do it. It reminded me of the leap of faith from the Assassin’s Creed games, only without the eagle screech when he did it.
Celebrity cameos. In the previous films, and you may have missed this if you blinked, there were certain cameos of celebrities whom the tabloids claimed were aliens at one time or another, such as Sylvester Stallone and Michael Jackson, who actually has a small speaking role. This film keeps with that tradition, as we see Lady Gaga on that list twice. Come on, you know you can’t help but think she’s an alien!
Gone, but not forgotten. I am so glad they didn’t just random;y change the head of MIB. Well, they sort of did, but they wrote it in that he died, which wasn’t a bad way to go. I do have to wonder why he didn’t come back, though. May have something to do with his legal issues, more than anything else.
Not all roses. It isn’t very often that time travel flicks bring up the topic of race relations, but they make an attempt to bring it up here, if ever so briefly. Granted, 1969 was a lot better place as far as racial tensions go than 1869, but it still is a far cry from 2012. It was nice of them to touch on the topic, and since this is a comedy, they didn’t dwell on it too long, or make it a major point. It got just the right amount of attention.
What didn’t I like?
No more familiar faces. The worms were back, briefly, but what about Geebs and Frank? Was there really a need to not have them around? At least we got a glimpse of Frank, albeit a creepy one, in a giant photo that hangs over J’s bed.
Female agents. I honestly wonder if they brought in Emma Thompson/Alice Eve just to have a female agent, since the past couple of films have had the whole damsel in distress thing. The problem with bringing them in, though, is that they don’t really add anything, but rather just seem to be a pretty face that K had a crush on (yet she had no mention in either of the previous films, or the cartoon, if I”m not mistaken).
Emptiness. I wasn’t planning on seeing this in 3D, but traffic had me running late and I had no choice since I missed the start of the last 2D showing. I belive this will be the film that unseats The Avengers for the #1 spot (I’m hoping so…rather than that abomination of Snow White that is coming out next week starring Kristen no talent Stewart), but the theater was literally empty, with the exception of one family. A few people trickled in, but it was far from full.
Lost art of villainy. In the previous films, the major villain hasn’t exactly the most sympathetic of characters, especially Edgar. However, this Boris the Animal is nothing more than psychotic, overacting comic foil. Sure, he actually was fairly capable villain, but he was a bit too over-the-top for my taste.
Family ties. I don’t know, the whole thing in the last few minutes about the family thing seemed kind of forced in there. Yes, it is mentioned early on, but you would think that was nothing more than just something they randomly said. I wasn’t really a fan of them shoehorning in this back story of J, especially in the last 5 minutes of the film, and to top it all off, they made it seem as if K has been basically watching over him all this time. That could have been a good story, yes, but not for this film.
Men in Black 3 lacks the magic and whimsy of the two films the preceded it, but it still manages to keep the audience interested and entertained. I don’t know if it was worth spending the money to see in theaters, especially in 3D, but it is worth seeing. I highly recommend it. There aren’t too many films that come out today that are like this…lighthearted fun. So, sit back and enjoy the ride!
4 out of 5 stars