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General Musings, Reviews

Men in Black 3 Review (IMAX 3D)

Will Smith returns to the silver screen for the first time since 2008 when ‘Seven Pounds’ and ‘Hancock’ were released, with his return he dons the black suit and shades for a third time as Agent J in the latest entry into the Men in Black franchise. This time round an alien from the past of Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones & Josh Brolin) comes back to haunt and seek revenge on the men in black for imprisoning him and causing the extinction of his race. The alien is Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement), a strong and deadly foe whose species consume all lifeforms in their way and to get revenge he goes back in time to kill Agent K and stop his future imprisonment and species extinction. Agent J soon realises what has happened and must go into the past to save the future of Earth and Agent K. Should you take a trip back to the past with Men in Black 3? Has Will Smith still got what it takes to make it happen on the big screen and at the box office? Read on for more…

It has been a long time since Will Smith graced the screen with his charm and presence in 2008, it has been a little longer since director Barry Sonnenfeld had his last theatrical film release with the abysmal ‘RV: Runaway Vacation’ in 2006 and it has been even longer since Men in Black 2 fell short of expectations in 2002. With all of this in mind there is a definite element of rust that has affected the main players of the game in Men in Black 3  as Smith and Sonnenfeld struggle to regain the form that made them successful in the past. The story of the film is good as is some of the action and 3D, but Josh Brolin shows up everybody and everything in the film with a great turn as a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones character of Agent K.

Boris..giving hairy palms a whole new meaning!
The story for ‘Men in Black 3’ is good but the script is not great, time travel films are hard to keep original these days but this film does well in adding some extra cool elements to the story that assist in keeping the film interesting. Chief amongst these extra elements is the role of Griffin played really well by Michael Stuhlbarg, an alien who has the ability to foresee all possible futures and events that have not happened which hinge on the most basic decisions. Having this character in the film helps keep the story fresh and the viewer guessing as to what will occur in addition to providing some touching moments and decent comedy, though the final outcome is guessable its a cool part to have in the film. As for the script the comedy is somewhat lacking considering its predecessors efforts, though what we are given is likeable and provides a few laughs, there are few marquee events that have us fully engrossed in what is going on. Another additional  issue is not major but a bit pointless, before Agent J goes back in time Earth is under attack from aliens which we find out is supposed to signal the end of mankind but we rarely see what goes on and it plays a back seat role to the saving Agent K story line. Obviously the latter plot line is the most important but you do not necessarily need to put a one in regarding the end of the world if you are not going to pay it much attention. 
No we do not have those in the future but we do have them in South Park…
As for the acting it is clear Will Smith needs a couple more films under his belt to return to his full funny form as his portrayal of Agent J this time round feels like he is just trying a little too hard. It may be that the boat has sailed on his comedy career and that more dramatic turns will be the best path for Smith to take but he has a natural ability to make people like his characters so I would not count him out just yet, especially with Bad Boys 3 and Hancock 2 on the horizon. Smith is not helped either in the film by Brolin as he unintentionally outperforms the blockbuster veteran by absolutely nailing a younger version of Agent K, some of the best moments in the film are provided by Brolin’s performance and he continues to show an incredible diversity in his acting skills and I sincerely hopes he earns some well deserved awards in the future. As for the continually rising talent of Jemaine Clement of ‘Flight of the Concords’ fame, he is very good as Boris the Animal but is not used anywhere near enough in the film, he has a few funny moments but the strong focus on Agent K’s back story and..well..Will Smith prevents him having more screen time. In addition to the main performances we have a few fun cameos by Nicole Scherzinger as an alien and Bill Hader as Andy Warhol which poke fun at the culture of the late 60s and add qa bit of diversity to the proceedings character wise. 
We want more Bill Hader!!
One major positive coming from the third instalment is that the 3D is pretty good in comparison with other recent 3D releases but unfortunately it is completely under utilised and wasted. This must be put down to the director and his choice of shots for the 3D, far too often we are given close up and straight on shots of characters faces and bodies…who cares what Will Smiths face looks like in 3D? Once is enough but due to what must be a lack of creativity or inexperience with 3D the format just seems utterly pointless in the film save for a few action sequences. The fact the film was shot in 3D as well is only cause for frustration because if you are going to shell out that much more cash for the format have somebody who knows how to use it and use it properly. If M.I.B 3 had a different director it may have been an overall better film and experience. 
Come the end of the film Men in Black is slightly more enjoyable than the second entry and is a worthy addition to the franchise but it had so much more potential that was wasted. The 3D was good but underused for big scenes as was Boris the Animals character. The script was lacking in comedy and major action scenes but fortunately for the Men in Black they recruited the brilliant talent of Josh Brolin in a piece of perfect casting as well as a decent role turned in by Emma Thompson as Agent O. All in all the story for Men in Black 3 is a nice and touching story but lacks the tension and fear for Earth that one would expect from a film that deals with the potential end of humanity. Its not the return for Will Smith that everyone would have liked but M.I.B 3 certainly manages to demonstrate the talent of Brolin in a lead role and an light hearted entry into the franchise and Sci-Fi genre.

About Snooty Usher Dan

Favourite Film: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) Worst Film: The Hills Have Eyes 2 (2007) Guilty Pleasure: Step Up 2: The Streets (The dancing is awesome ok.....)


One thought on “Men in Black 3 Review (IMAX 3D)

  1. Good review Dan. Didn’t love it by any means, but still a whole lot of fun considering the second one was such a buzz-kill. Glad to see Will Smith back on the screen too!


    Posted by Dan O. | June 2, 2012, 20:51

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