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Chris: Definitely.
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Chris: Yeah, but so what? Everybody's weird.

Film Critic for Twin Cities Live

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Movie Review: MEN IN BLACK 3

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Emma Thompson

It has been fourteen years since the last time we saw Agent J (Smith) and Agent K (Jones) team up to battle some slimy snarly alien with an attitude problem. The notorious Boris the Animal (Clemente) has been imprisoned on the moon since 1969. With the help of a beautiful girlfriend (Nicole Scherzinger), Boris manages to escape in order to seek revenge on Agent K. Back in 1969, K cut off Boris' arm and installed the ArcNet shield around the planet to ward off an invasion of Boris' species, the Boglodites. Boris interrupts the time continuum and heads back to 1969 in order to kill K before all of this happens. After a trippy night, J wakes up to find that K is nowhere to be found. He is not living in his apartment and no one at the MIB headquarters seems to know where K is. Agent O (Thompson) informs J that K was killed back in 1969. J and O realize that Boris has interrupted the time continuum and has killed K.

J determines he must literally time jump back to 1969 in order to find K and kill Boris before Boris kills K. I do mean literally time jump. J must walk out onto the ledge of a New York building and jump off. While falling he must push the magic button at the precise time in order to successfully land back in 1969 on the day before Boris kills K. Hopefully all the time travel talk is making sense. J traces clues back to Coney Island where he is arrested by a young Agent K and taken back to MIB headquarters. After some hesitation, J reveals the truth of the future to K. They decide to team up and work with an alien named Griffin (Stuhlbarg) who possesses the ArcNet and can see into various outcomes of the future. Their back and forth struggles with Boris lead up to a climatic ending at Cape Canaveral during the Apollo 11 launch.

I will admit I was skeptical going into the third outing in this series. The second movie was nowhere near the caliber of the first, so I was hesitant on if this story was going to work again. Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are strong enough actors in these roles that they are able to successfully dust off the black suits and bring back the chemistry J and K have together. They work well together and their banter and demeanor is one of the key reasons this series works as a whole. Special attention needs to be focused on Josh Brolin. He does an uncanny impression of Tommy Lee Jones to play the younger version of K. He nails every vocal inflection and facial gesture that Jones is so known for doing. Emma Thompson appears too briefly as Agent O. I always feel she makes any movie better, so I wish she would have been given more screen time. I would not call this third outing the best in the series, but it is leagues better than Men in Black II. The heartfelt ending helps it feel like it is more than just a CGI alien comic book movie. The 3D version is not worth it, so save yourself a couple of dollars and see it in 2D. If you are a fan of the series, you will enjoy this one but I do not think it will be remembered as one of the better summer blockbusters of 2012.

RATING: *** (3 out of 5)

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