Men in Black 3 - a time-travel movie that's not worth your timeMay 25, 2012 @ 11:11 am (Updated: 12:01 pm - 5/25/12 )
The original "Men in Black" movie was a surprise hit, a rare special effects sci-fi movie that was more interested in laughs than action. Five years later, "Men in Black 2" flopped ... heavy with special effects but not much else. So the world was not exactly clamoring for MIB 3, ten years later. But here we are anyway.
Was it worth the wait? Let's just say, I could have waited a lot longer but, as mistakes go, it could have been a lot worse.
MIB 3 is a very slick, shiny bit of filmmaking - highly polished and professional, with easygoing actors and snazzy new aliens. It has all that, yes, but it's also pretty pointless.
Not that the first two were very "pointed," but at least on the first go-round the material was fresh and the laughs came from the unexpected.
Now the laughs are at best smiles as we recognize the comedy routine - see, Tommy Lee Jones is a grumpy old codger who doesn't say much and Will Smith is his cool cat partner who can't shut up.
To shake things up a bit, Men in Black 3 goes time-travelling. Will Smith goes back to 1969, when Tommy Lee Jones is a young agent on the rise (and Smith is not even in the picture.) But the film doesn't take much advantage of the 1969 setting - one decent crack at the expense of Andy Warhol and the Pop Art movement (his acolytes are all aliens and he's secretly a Man in Black agent) but that's about it.
The time-travelling device is really just an excuse for the filmmakers to replace an aging Jones with a younger Josh Brolin who channels Jones perfectly. One of the highlights of the film, in fact, is Brolin's pitch-perfect mimicry of Jones. That being said, that's not enough to carry a film.
Late in the movie, we're introduced to a 5th-dimensional character (Michael Stuhlbarg) who raises the spectre of multiple alternate realities all existing side-by-side temporally. That idea has some potency but the film doesn't really know what to do with that either.
The movie ends with a surprise revelation that humanizes the franchise a bit but not enough to make us care.
All in all, "Men in Black 3" is a mildly diverting time-travel movie that's not really worth your time.
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