For a child of the nineties, Men In Black brings memories of a time moons ago, when it was kind of cool for a film to be a not-very-serious alien action adventure that blended the relatively new CGI with the soon to be antiquated puppetry and a bunch of charm thrown in for good measure. It wasn’t all superheroes and moral berating characters, but a little oddball and weird. Men In Black 2 threw the franchise off course, with an ill cast and charmless Johnny Knoxville, but it’s a pleasure to say the third in the series is as fun and charming as the first, if not quite a classic.
The action once again centres around Agent J (Will Smith, who seems to have escaped the ageing process) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones, who definitely has not). J has to ‘time jump’ to 1969 to save Agent K from the perilously deranged alien Boris (Flight of the Conchords Jemaine Clement as a vaguely campy Tim Curry-esque character) who is seeking revenge. It’s all a bit silly, but the cosmic weirdness of the first film is largely utilised by director Barry Sonnenfield, who also takes advantage of clearly defined characters and allows Smith to do his thing.
The standout however, is Josh Brolin as a younger Agent K, and who actually does such a good impression of Tommy Lee Jones’ brusque Texan, without making a parody of it, that you almost forget Jones is there at all. Another standout is in the form of sweet alien boffin Griffin (Michael Stuhlberg), who pushes along the ‘suspension of reality’ plot with a fair degree of flair and wide-eyed innocence. The 3D element makes a bit of a mockery of cinematography, but by and large the recreation of the 60s has a weird retro feel that sits nicely. The Men In Black are back.
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