Most Anticipated: Men in Black 3

22. Men in Black III (PG-13) - Runtime: 106 minutes
Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

10 years after the abysmal Men in Black II, the third installment seemed like a risky venture. Not only did the first sequel leave a bitter taste in everyone's mouth about the franchise, but Will Smith has been dormant/hibernating for the past three years after the also god-awful Seven Pounds which broke his record of 8 straight $100 million movies. To say this was a bit of a risk for the studio, that's an understatement. But color me impressed when the first trailer landed - I loved the idea of time travel and of course Josh Brolin does a damn fine impression of Tommy Lee Jones. In fact, can we make a U.S. Marshals/The Fugitive prequel just focusing on Jones' character played by Brolin? I'd see that in a heartbeat. And despite a few minor annoyances, I really, really dug this movie!

The film starts out with a prison breakout - one of the most dangerous aliens in the universe escapes from his prison (on the moon, no less!) and vows to go back in time to kill off Agent K (Jones). Of course it's up to Agent J (Smith) to save the day by also doing the time travel dance a day early before K gets killed. Despite the time travel, the story isn't messy at all. In fact, as long as you can get behind the idea of time travel and not worry about the details, you'll do just fine during this movie. Any movie that deals with time travel is inevitably going to be scrutinized about every little detail, but that's not really the point of the movie.

In fact, the comedy and weird aliens take center stage (well, maybe not so much the weird aliens this time around) and it's a very fast-paced plot. I really did enjoy the two main aliens the agents encounter - Boris (the Animal) and Griffin. First, let's talk about Boris - I was completely blown away by how evil and just plain badass Jemaine Clement (of Flight of the Conchords fame) played this character. They made him absolutely gross and vile and I loved his bellowing, baritone voice. He could destroy the world and you would believe it.

And then there's Griffin (played by the wonderful Michael Stuhlbarg from A Serious Man), who is pretty much the complete opposite of Boris (the Animal). He has the ability to see almost an infinitesimal amount of outcomes in the universe and he's a very amusing and humbling presence in the movie. Every time he spoke it was words of wisdom and the way they're delivered was pitch perfect - I really thought he was the best part of the movie.

Of course Brolin is impeccable too and I enjoyed every bit of his performance. Will Smith's schtick got pretty old after a while, but thankfully the movie doesn't focus too much on his comedy to carry the movie. Although there's a tastefully done black man in a car racism joke that's quite funny and I giggled. And I thought Brolin and Smith worked well together, just as much as Jones and Smith.

There were a few dumb plot points and the end reveal/twist was a tad too fake and illogical for me to take it too seriously. But this is a Men in Black movie, not We Need to Talk About Kevin. So it's minor quibbles to what is a solid summer blockbuster movie. It's a quick and fast-paced movie with plenty of laughs and a great showcase for some solid characters and acting (surprise!). So I highly recommend this one if you enjoyed either of the MiB movies before.

Rating: See It!

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