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Movie Review: Men in Black 3

May 25, 2012

Men in Black 3 – A Sony Pictures’ Release

Release Date: May 25th, 2012

Rated PG for violence, language may offend

Running time: 105 minutes

Barry Sonnenfeld (dir.)

Etan Cohen (screenplay)

David Koepp (screenplay)

Jeff Nathanson (screenplay)

Michael Soccio (screenplay)

Based on the comic by Lowell Cunningham

Danny Elfman (music)

Will Smith as Agent J

Tommy Lee Jones as Agent K

Josh Brolin as Young Agent K

Jemaine Clement as Boris The Animal

Emma Thompson as Agent O

Michael Stuhlbarg as Griffin

Alice Eve as Young Agent O

Bill Hader as Andy Warhol

©Sony Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg), Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) in Men in Black 3.

Our reviews below:


Men in Black 3 Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

From the sleek black suits and sunglasses to the glowing neuralizers, there has always been something cool about the Men in Black.  This threequel that many thought would be needless is the first big surprise of the summer movie season.  With a surprising amount of heart, Men in Black 3 is a fun time trip that easily entertains at a brisk pace of 105 minutes.

The movie starts with intergalactic super villain Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) escaping from a Lunar prison and coming back to Earth to get revenge on Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones).  When Boris goes back in time to kill Agent K in the past to eliminate him in the present and future, Agent J (Will Smith) has to “time jump” back to 1969 and team up with the young Agent K (Josh Brolin) to stop the evil alien from killing his friend and taking over the world.  The story is handled quite nicely at every turn, with the immensely likeable “fifth dimensional” alien Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg) brilliantly keeping all of the loose ends and alternate universes in check.

The 1997 original Men in Black was a fun genre trip because of the way that it defied expectations to deliver something unique and utterly cool.  The 2002 follow-up had its fair share of fun scenes, but was ultimately a lesser sequel because it was more about action than character.  This is the rare threequel that harkens back to the magic and originality of the first film, mainly because there is a lot of heart in the way that the characters are taken to even deeper places.  We get a twist near the end of Men in Black 3 that brings everything together in a surprisingly moving way, and it’s refreshing to see this sort of honest emotion in a big summer sequel.

The charismatic Will Smith and the often surly Tommy Lee Jones are excellent as always in the leading roles, with Josh Brolin pulling off an uncanny performance as the young Agent K and Michael Stuhlbarg stealing every scene.  Fun special effects, a briskly paced running time and a surprising amount of heart make Men in Black 3 one of the best surprises of the still early summer movie season.


Men in Black 3 Review by Erin V.  

***1/2 (out of 4)

It’s been fifteen years since Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) recruited ‘J’ (Will Smith) to the MIB or Men In Black.  Over the years, they’ve seen all kinds of aliens and saved the planet countless times, but nothing prepares J for what comes next.  When an interplanetary criminal named Boris (Jemaine Clement) escapes from MIB’s high-security lunar prison, the first thing he does is go back in time to try to kill the one who put him away in 1969.  Junior Agent K (Josh Brolin).  It becomes up to J to go back in time and stop this from happening and prevent a full scale attack on earth if the space-time continuum is changed.

All of the acting here is good, although I must note in particular that the younger version of K is played brilliantly by Josh Brolin.  It is surprising that while watching the film, you don’t think of the two different ages of K being played by two actors, but rather as just younger and older versions of the same character.  This was an excellent casting choice here.

The whole thing is very much in the tune of the first film, rather than the weaker second installment.  There is a good deal of character development here that reaches surprising depth, and what we learn about the characters doesn’t ruin, but rather heightens your appreciation for their interactions in the first film.  Also, it’s just a really fun ride, with just enough action, fun new characters (such as Griffen, played by Michael Stuhlbarg), and an entertaining storyline that takes some twists and turns.  The updated special effects and gadgets (it’s cool to see the various versions of the ‘neurilizer’ over the years), all work well both in this film and with the others in the series.  I also liked the score by Danny Elfman, which is very much in tune with the originals.

Sure you could argue it’s not earlier this month’s The Avengers (very few summer blockbusters are), but this is definitely one worth seeing if you liked the first, and/or second, film.  It’s fun and appropriate for 8-10 plus, (although a ton of fun for adults as well), which means it can be enjoyed by a wide range for a fun night out.


Men in Black 3 Review by Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

When I was younger, I was enthralled with the original Men in Black film.  I loved the premise of aliens in our midst, and actually believed that Men in Black could exist.  I am happy to say that Men in Black III captures the same magic that I fondly remember.

When a wicked and gruesome alien named Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) goes back in time to kill Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), Agent J (Will Smith) must go back to 1969 and save a younger K (convincingly played by Josh Brolin).  J and K team up with a mysterious clairvoyant extraterrestrial named Griff (Michael Sthulbarg), whose ability to see the past, present and all possible future outcomes simultaneously comes in handy.  The film’s climax comes during the Cape Canaveral moon launch, in which J finds out something about his past.

Men in Black III has some funny moments, but it is the most serious out of the trilogy.  Boris is a cruel villain, killing aliens and humans alike with a scorpion type creature that he keeps in his hand.  Yet the violence doesn’t exceed anything outside of what is in most comic book movies.  The film also has a lot of heart.  The friendship between J and K is believable.  I also really liked Griff.  His character is not only fascinating, but it is one thing that he says to J that is heartbreakingly true and ties in with his past.

Personally, I found the time travel element to work beautifully in this film.  Intricately written, the time travel has the magic of Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future, with the same level of intelligence.  With a great story, good acting and a magical score by Danny Elfman, Men in Black III has the makings of a classic.


Men in Black 3 Review by Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

It turns out that not only do aliens live among us in the Men in Black world, but certain aliens and MIB agents can time travel, adding a whole new dimension to things.  In Men in Black 3, organization director Agent Z has died and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) delivers an unusually short eulogy.  That gets Agent J (Will Smith) thinking, how much does he really know about his MIB partner?  A threat to world safety triggered by the escape of scary alien Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) from a lunar prison sets Agent J on a life and time altering trip to 1969.

It’s in 1969 that most of the action and heart of the story takes place.  Agent J’s mission is to save the life of a 1969 Agent K (Josh Brolin).  The resemblance between the two K’s is uncanny as Josh Brolin does a great job with this role.  Agent J learns a lot about his own past and gains new insight about Agent K, including the fact that there’s a history between K and new director O (Emma Thompson).  The interactions between Agent J, younger K and a quirky time travelling alien named Griff (Michael Stuhlbarg) are touching and hilarious.

The alien special effects are up to par with the first two MIB movies, with Boris and his hand-dwelling scorpion being extra creepy.  The action scenes are a lot of fun and the outdated 1969 gadgets are amusing.  A battery pack powered neuralizer is nowhere near as cool as the 2012 one.  The film has a good mix of hilarious dialogue, fast-paced action and good special effects.  But what makes this one stronger than Men in Black II is the character development that comes from Agent K’s backstory.  Even with the passage of time, these dapper guys never get old.

Aliens take note, the Men in Black are watching you.  Watch Men in Black 3 for some early summer fun.


Men in Black 3 Review by Tony

***1/2 (out of 4)

Men In Black III opens on the moon where alien criminal Boris (Jemaine Clement) breaks out of prison and returns to earth to avenge his 1969 arrest by Agent K. Before K (Tommy Lee Jones) and J (Will Smith) can stop him, Boris takes an alien time machine to return to that time to kill K and prevent him from setting up a shield to protect Earth from alien invasion. When J returns to MIB headquarters and there is no K, the new boss O (Emma Thompson) who remembers K realizes what Boris has done, as the alien invasion has begun. J must also return to 1969 to prevent disaster and make sure Boris is killed before he can kill K. With the help of Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg), an alien who can foretell alternate scenarios, J and young K (Josh Brolin) are pitted against both the Boris of 1969 and his time-traveling self.

Ten years after M II B with the same crew including director Barry Sonnenfeld, alien makeup wizard Rick Baker and composer Danny Elfman, M III B is one of those rare threequels that is as good as the original M I B. The script is as sharp as ever, navigating a potentially confusing plot of time travel and alternate realities with refreshing clarity and humour. Supporting Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, the cast is excellent, particularly Josh Brolin as young K, Jemaine Clement as the vile alien, and Michael Stuhlbarg as the sweet quirky timeline guide. Not a second of the 105 minutes is wasted, with a nice balance between character development and action, gripping suspense during the last half hour and a really sweet twist at the end.


Consensus: Fifteen years after the entertaining original, Men in Black 3 is a surprisingly good threequel that delivers strong performances, fun special effects and a lot of heart that comes from the perfectly realized time travel elements of the story.  ***1/2 (Out of 4)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Heather Von Zuben permalink
    May 28, 2012 2:41 pm

    LOved this movie!!! Loved the heart!!! Loved the character Griffin!!! We ended up watching it in IMAX 3D. BOth my sons and I commented on how you had to look straight on at the screen or it became blurry, so I think straight 3D is the way to go or just regular. WOuldn’t mind sharing in a couple of Griffen’s realities in a movie of his own. Would be kind of funny.


    • May 28, 2012 3:41 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it! I think we can all agree that it would be fascinating to see more of Griffin’s world…

      As always, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      -John C.


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