To say that MEN IN BLACK III is the best of the franchise isn’t saying too much. What had a good first film that turned into a quickly shot under-80 minute sequel that was far less superior to it’s predecessor turned in a franchise that for whatever reason, people seemed to want to rehash after ten years? It didn’t need to do a lot to be good, and the people involved knew that. The lack of passion is pretty evident on screen with the people who’ve been with this franchise from the beginning. Those who are new to the franchise put forth a great effort and are really what made the film more than tolerable.
It’s been ten years since we last saw Agent J and Agent K. In that time, J (Will Smith) has become a senior level agent while K is, well he’s getting older. On this adventure though, we open on the moon, where the government has built a prison built for a particularly dangerous alien, Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement, Flight of the Conchords). Boris holds grudges. He’s been planning his escape from his lunar prison and plotting his revenge on the man who put him there, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). He makes a spectacular escape, and off he goes to exact his revenge. In order to do this, he has to travel back in time and kill K. He’s apparently successful and J has to go back in time to prevent that from happening so that order in the universe is restored.
Will Smith who was on a pretty consistent box office tear for a while a few years ago hasn’t been in a film since 2008, so naturally this return was highly anticipated. Maybe he would have been best served challenging himself with a new role because he just appears lifeless in MIB III. There’s no effort to develop the character of J, at this point in the franchise he’s been an agent for 14 years, but there are still things that surprise him and that he doesn’t understand. Tommy Lee Jones looks as though he was able to film his entire role in one or two days on set. The little amount he’s in the film he’s even more lifeless than Smith.
But there are standouts among the film. Jemaine Clement as Boris the Animal is actually a really fantastic villain. He’s got a great look, creepy features, and even though he’s very obviously milking the camera for all it’s worth, it totally works.
Josh Brolin does a fantastic Tommy Lee Jones impersonation, and nails some of the mannerisms. A new alien in the franchise, Griffin, who has some really inventive abilities is handled very well and the actor who plays him (Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man) does an outstanding job creating a memorable character.
Anything involving time travel is going to have plot holes galore, but here, they are minor, and luckily the supporting characters do a more than good enough job to create an enjoyable experience for you. It might be the only MIB movie that you’ll ever want to rewatch. That being said, it’s a good place to end the franchise, especially if J is never going to learn anything new.