How excited is everyone for the best alien movie of the entire summer? Me too! Unfortunately Prometheus doesn’t come out for another week. While you’re suffering through the wait, peruse my MIB III review after the jump.
It’s been almost ten years after the second MIB movie and perhaps I’ve missed the antics of Agent J and K a little bit. After MIB II managed not to blow space alien chunks, there was hope for the third installment, wasn’t there? Hope maybe, but that’s about it.The movie begins much like the other two, an evil alien is a threat to Earth, super agents J and K must stop him. I wasn’t expecting anything different from a MIB movie, but for the formula to work the third time around, they have to give me something not just a little new, but as good as the previous two.
The big bad this time around is Boris the Animal(Jermaine Clement doing his best Tim Curry impression), who for some reason takes great offense at the moniker. As far as evil aliens go, Boris wasn’t that impressive. He wasn’t as gross as the bug from the first film or as believably evil and powerful as the weird tentacle creature from the sequel. In the opening sequence he escapes from a jail on the moon and vows revenge on the man in black who imprisoned him and shot off his arm 40 years ago (it was Agent K, who would have guessed?). We then visit the dynamic duo as K prepares his eulogy for Zed (wtf no Rip Torn?- I even checked to make sure the actor is still alive and he IS) and exchanges some banter with his partner. The chemistry that was once a staple of the franchise between Smith and Lee is a parody of what it once was. The interactions between the two characters certainly don’t reflect their 14 year partnership or even where they were at in the last installment. I understand that this is an Men in Black movie I’m reviewing and character growth is not exactly what you pay to see, but as Will Smith turned on his Fresh Prince swag, I couldn’t help but feel like he was way too old to pull it off. Dude is like almost 45 years old, and even if his face has barely changed, I can’t buy what he’s selling.
The awkwardness is short lived as J follows Boris back in time to save K from being erased from history. There’s a bit more to it but I swear it’s not important. While the movie from this point on is totally the Will Smith show, we end up getting a pretty cool depiction of Manhattan in the 1960’s, at least as good as any episode of Mad Men. The Coney Island and Andy Warhol(Bill Hader) scenes in particular were a lot of fun. Young Agent K was played by Josh Brolin, whose performance was spot on and chuckle-worthy. They follow Boris on his alien-killing spree (why he had to kill those particular aliens was either not clear or not memorable enough for me to recall; probably both). Just as Boris was largely unimpressive, the most of the other new species of extra-terrestrials failed to be as memorable as those in the previous films (anyone remember the Ballchinian? yuk yuk). I will give lot of props to Griffin(Michale Stulhlbarg), an Arcadian who, as a fifth dimensional being, can see all possible futures at any given moment. I’d say as far as awesome sidekicks go, he’s second only to the Key Maker in the “useful little weird dudes I’d want in my fellowship” contest. Plus he’s adorable and sweet and totally my favorite part of the movie.
The movie progresses and concludes in the manner I’m sure you’d expect so I don’t think it’s necessary to get in to it. There’s a bit of sappy drama about J’s father and the relationship between K and the new chief Agent O (a severely underused Emma Thompson). You may have noticed by now, that I have made no mention to Frank the pug. Know why? He isn’t fucking in it! Our favorite nicotine addicted worms do make an appearance but shit, eff this movie for it’s lack of Frank and Zed alone. Besides that, it was just on a much smaller scale than the other two movies. It’s plot and scenes would have served better in an episode of the MIB cartoon that apparently existed a decade ago, than as the foundation of what should have been a major summer block buster.
If you are going to see the movie, which DID have a few chuckles despite it’s general suckage, do see it in 3D. While the movie wasn’t worth paying to watch in theaters, it was worth the couple bucks extra because that aspect at least was well done. However, if you’re pinching pennies, do opt out of seeing MIB III entirely and catch it on cable instead. Save up for an epic night a Prometheus in the next few days. Trust me.