Men In Black 3 (2012)
Well, they took their time getting around to it, but its finally here. J and K are back to save the planet once more. Only this time, it's a little more complicated than merely stopping the evil plot of some runaway aliens.
In his first role on screen in the past four years, since Seven Pounds, Will Smith moves away from his current habit of producing movies for his kids and takes centre stage again himself. If you're not already familiar with the MIB franchise, then where have you been? If you haven't seen the previous two movies (well one of them, anyway) then most of this is going to go over your head. For those of us that have seen them, then this will leave you with at least one unanswered question and possibly more.
Shying away now from a sequel that really did more harm than good, just capturing aliens on earth that were up to all manner of shenanigans that shouldn't be allowed has become somewhat passé, even dull. Odd, considering the subject matter, but when you've seen the all that the universe's makers have to offer in the previous films, then merely UFO hunting seems a little stale, frankly.
As if sensing this, MIB 3 throws another spanner in the works for J and K. Namely, time-travel. When it transpires that K has been wiped from the face of history because an alien baddie he locked up for forty years escaped, went back in time and killed him, it only really left one direction for the storyline to go in. Many hardened sci-fans could be heard groaning at the merest mention of time travel. Been there, done that - several times, in fact. (there was a reason there wasn't more 'Back To The Future' movies y'know)
What the viewer really benefits most from here is the banter between J and K. Their relationship is by now older and more wizened. When J goes back in time, he meets a younger, friendlier (only slightly, mind you) version of K, with Tommy Lee Jones replaced (though you would be hard pressed to spot it) by Josh Brolin. Brolin plays the deadpan K to the hilt and his impersonation of Tommy Lee Jones is brilliantly observed.
The thrills are still there by the bucketful and the buddy humour is as enjoyable as it ever was. The chemistry between Brolin and Smith easily as recognisable as Jones and Smith have been in the past. The massive budget has been mostly spent on the cgi by the looks of it and the film does indeed look sumptuous.
Sitting through the film, the feel of it does now seem somewhat dated and despite the many layered cgi, the movie definitely has a feel of the nineties about it. Saying that, there is something to be said about the quality of the first film which if this had been as good, no one would have complained anyway.
It isn't, of course. The makers get no kudos points here for originality. This is a dredged through script that never really shines, but ambles along, quietly pleased with itself for the most part and the denouement is a little too cliched to be believed and we are left wondering why that particular spin?
Altogether, a perfectly acceptable addition to the franchise that really defies logic as to its continued existence while the likes of Spiderman, Iron Man and Batman all still batter the box office on a regular basis since the last time the MIB poked their heads up above the parapet. Entertaining if not astounding, I can best describe this as a safe alternative if you cant get to see what you really went to the movies for. You know what you're getting here and it will rarely be first choice any longer. For all of that, however, the MIB are still a safe bet.