Review: MEN IN BLACK III

By Laurie Coker

Rating B+

Typically, I am not allowed to offer my grandson a screening invitation on a school night. Late movies and nights make him a cranky boy at school the next day, but because school ends this week, I asked my son and daughter-in-law to make an exception. Since they wanted to go too, they allowed him to attend the screening of Men in Black III (my son watched the first two with him), but since they have a 14th month old too, only my daughter-in-law attended with us. My son won out on the Avengers screening. All three of us enjoyed the ride. My grandson, however, enjoyed it the most.

Ten years after the last installment, MIB III brings back Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) in 2012, and then takes us back in time (along with J), where we meet a younger version of K (Josh Brolin) and the team works again to save the Earth from annihilation, but more importantly, the life of K and ultimately the existence of J. Confused? Good, because I don’t really want to spoil anything. In III, evil villain “Boris the Animal” (the tag enrages Boris, who prefers, just Boris) whose arm is taken by K in 1969, escapes from the prison where he spent forty years, to return back in time, in an effort to change history and save his arm and his race. Whew!

Much to my grandson’s delight MIB III offers an amusingly rendered plethora of alien creatures and vivid transformations and a great number of exciting action sequences, fun twists and ample one liners, especially from Smith. We meet a few new characters, like Agent O, the new head of the secret alien fighting organization to which J and K belong (Emma Thompson) and an alien who can see futures (yes this is plural) called Griffin (pleasingly played by Michael Stuhlbarg). I need not to stop and applaud, Brolin, who has Tommy Lee Jones and his character K down to an art. I would call it almost uncanny and wonder what Jones thought when he first saw Brolin doing him. It’s remarkable how well he has the facial expressions, mannerisms and even vocal variations down pat. While I am on acting and characters, I enjoyed Thompson (but she was underused), but I found myself truly enjoying Griffin as played by Stuhlbarg, whose penetrating blue eyes and sweet persona stole several scenes in the film.

While the banter between and both his co-stars please, it is Smith’s knack for delivering one liners and quick retorts with flawless ease that drives the dialogue and character interactions. Writer Etan Cohen’s (and a few others) script offers fast-paced storytelling and witty dialogue and falls right in step, perhaps even surpassing, the previous two films. Director Barry Sonnenfeld, who directed the first to films too, beings out the best in his cast and blends the right balance of characters and crashes. In his villain (played with disgusting evilness by Jemaine Clement) he has an impressive mix of human and alien that at some points, totally grossed me out, and I am sure his actions and his little alien buddy are the reason for the 13 in the films rating.

I know my grandson delighted in the fact that on this, the last week of school, we made an exception for him to see Men in Black III, and I know I like when I don’t have to see a film twice and pay for it. I had a good time watching the movie, my daughter-in-law liked it and my grandson called it “awesome!” I am placing a B+ in my grade book. It makes for another good summer diversion.

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