Most prequels come within a few years of their predecessors, have high anticipations, and even higher expectations. With ten years since the last Men in Black movie, MIB3 is more of a welcome and pleasant surprise. Quick quiz; what year did the first Men in Black come out?…Answer; 1997. Feel old yet? The original movie was quirky, fresh, creative, and something new. Fifteen years later the second sequel doesn’t feel as fresh and new, but it was still quirky, creative, and all around fun.
If you never saw the second Men in Black, don’t worry, you don’t need it. (It wasn’t great anyway). This third movie starts off with the infamous Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) escaping from an alien prison, and swearing revenge on Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). It turns out that in the late 60’s K put Boris, a Boglodite hit man, in prison and implemented a shield to forever keep Bogladites away from Earth, eventually leading to their extinction. Because of this, Boris travels back in time to kill K before he can put Boris away and implement the shield. Agent K then disappears in present time (because he was killed in the past) and a Bogladitian? invasion of Earth commences. That probably sounds like a lot of spoilers but I swear it is all in the exposition. Somehow Agent J (Will Smith) is the only person who remembers the original reality (where K didn’t die) and realizes he must travel even farther back in time than Boris to erase the alternate past and return it to the original one. That all happens in about twenty minutes; the rest of the movie is about J trying to fix the past, and it is quite entertaining.
Two things that have always been a staple in the MIB world are the cool looking aliens and gadgets. The threequel doesn’t disappoint in either of these offerings. The single wheel cycles are cool looking but I also couldn’t help but think about Mr. Garrisons “It” the entire time they were on screen. It was also interesting how they portrayed “modern” technology, such as jet packs, that the MIB Corporation had from the 60’s. There didn’t seem to be as many crazy looking aliens but the ones that were on screen were pretty interesting and done well.
All of the acting was solid, but Josh Brolin stole the show. His portrayal of a young K was phenomenal. I literally forgot that it wasn’t Tommy Lee Jones on screen at points. The voice, the quirks, the whole demeanor, it was flawless. Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and Emma Thompson (Agent O) all played their roles well, and kept my interest the whole time. Jemaine Clement did a good job being the goofy yet intimidating Boris, but one my favorite character was Griffin played by Michael Stuhlbarg. He was an alien who was strangely calm and cheery, but had a really interesting ability. He was able to perceive alternate realities in the 5th dimension. As a physics teacher, I was extremely intrigued by this. Quick physics lesson…As humans we are able to perceive four dimensions based on current physics theories. String theory needs eleven dimensions to work (don’t ask…I don’t get it either). The dimensions we perceive are height, width, length, and the fourth being time. The fifth dimension is alternate realities in time based on the decisions we make every day. For example if you decided to stay in bed for an extra minute this morning your day and possibly life would be completely different because of it. Griffin can see all of the possible outcomes/realities based on the decisions that people around him make each and every moment. It was really interesting and integral to the plot later on.
All in all MIB3 was solid. The movie is just a steady, good movie for an hour and a half and then finishes great. The ending was actually quite touching. If you enjoyed the original movie (or original two) you will really like the way they wrapped up the trilogy (I’m assuming there are no plans for a fourth but who knows). The story, effects, and solid performances make this a fun movie for everyone. I definitely recommend.