The most shocking thing about Men In Black 3 is how old it makes you feel. Will Smith’s Agent J feels the need to repeatedly tell us that he’s been doing the job for the last fourteen years and that he’s an expert at the job now. What he actually means is that even though it feels like you saw the first movie in the cinema yesterday, you’re wrong. Fourteen years have passed by while you weren’t paying attention. Though it’s actually fifteen years, as the original movie was released in 1997. But that doesn’t make me feel any better. It’s actually quite an appropriate realisation for a movie that is so concerned about the intricacies of time.
The plot of the movie concerns itself with an old enemy of Agent K who has escaped from his prison on the moon and goes back in time to take revenge on K for imprisoning him and for the loss of his arm by killing K as a younger man. This would also mean that the planetary defence system surrounding Earth never gets set up. If you’re a bit confused by that, it doesn’t really matter because it’s all just a set up to get us back to the 60’s so we can see Josh Brolin’s take on Agent K and watch as J tries to figure out what turns the affable 60’s K in to the K we all know and…know.
A huge part of the fun of the movie lies in Brolin’s portrayal of K. Will Smith could play J in his sleep and he’s entirely comfortable in the role, but the third movie in a franchise needs something to shake things up and Brolin was exactly what the doctor ordered. I actually would love to see Brolin play a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones in some sort of Fugitive prequel.
The other highlight of the movie for me was the inclusion of an alien named Griffin. Griffin’s race has the ability to perceive and visualise every possible outcome of every possible future, but they don’t have the ability to know which future is going to come to pass. The idea of a character burdened with the knowledge of infinite possibilities was a great one and I’m glad the character was saved for this outing.
The villain of the piece, Boris, was a lacklustre villain, but he got our heroes where they needed to be in order to make the fun happen. Likewise the effects in the big scenes were appropriately brilliant, but they weren’t any more brilliant than we expected them to be. Though points do go to Emma Thompson and Alice Eve for giving some much needed humanity to young and old K. Whatever it was that happened to K to make him so cold, we suspect that it was somewhere in the period of time between Alice Eve’s “Miss O” becoming Emma Thompson’s “Agent O”.
Funny, easy on the brain, inoffensive, and sweet at times, MIB3 is a movie you’d be comfortable bringing anybody too. And it might just be the brightest 3D movie I’ve ever seen.