It’s been ten years and the Men in Black are back. Coming along with them is a villain from the past, Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement), who was imprisoned on the moon by Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) in the 1960s. After learning how to travel through time, Boris goes back and murders K, leaving his partner Agent J (Will Smith) to jump back himself and try to stop Boris.
After the embarrassing money grab that was the second film in this franchise, it’s nice to see that they decided to pull things back this time around. The biggest problem with Men in Black II was that they tried to do way too many things in way too short of time. This movie has great pacing, mixing a relatively basic story with some great action and a lot of humor. What’s also great is that we get more amazing work from makeup artist Rick Baker and a vastly improved set of CGI (albeit it’s been ten years).
Of course the main reason to see any of the Men in Black films is for the bizarrely perfect chemistry between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. But Jones isn’t in this movie all that much, seeing as it takes place so far in the past. So what they did is they got Josh Brolin to play a young K, and he is absolutely incredibly in the role. He’s able to capture not only Tommy Lee Jones as Agent K but the chemistry that he has with Agent J, all while making the character both unique and familiar. The K of the past is happier and more approachable, and it makes perfect sense the way Brolin portrays him. I am being completely honest when I say that I hope dearly that there is a campaign in motion to get Josh Brolin nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars for this film because he totally deserves it.
As in the previous two movies, the motives of the villain aren’t exactly clear. They seem more like they were put in for necessity as opposed to being important to bigger story. Boris is probably my favorite of the series so far though. He’s extremely powerful and knows it, but he’s been holding a grudge for years and wants revenge. I like that we get to see two versions of Boris: The 1960s biker dude whose plan is not exactly thought out, and the present day Boris who has had decades in prison to plan his revenge. Over that time he’s become much stronger and more able to control himself. Plus he’s just a fun villain to watch force his way through obstacles. I swear for a good portion of the movie, I was really wondering if the actor playing Boris was Tim Curry in really great makeup. I was admittedly a little disappointed, but I thought Clement’s performance was entertaining and engaging.
Where Men in Black was the perfect safe 90s summer blockbuster, Men in Black III is the perfect safe summer blockbuster of the new decade. It has a much more personal story than the previous films but is also entertaining, action-packed and thought-provoking.