Monday, December 3, 2012

Men in Black 3

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Men in Black 3 – 4 out of 5

I felt too things watching MIB3: Enjoyment and a sense of age because I remembered that the first film came out in 1997—two years before I graduated high school. I can’t believe that the first one came out 15 years ago. Land o’ Goshen!

15 years and he still looks the I got fatter and uglier.

Something tells me that Will Arnett walked on set and said,
"Give me a cameo," in his grisly voice and they gave it
to him.
So, since the films have been out for a decade and a half, you are probably familiar with the concept. Based on the comic book, the Men in Black are a secret organization that polices extra-terrestrial life on planet Earth. In the first film, aging Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) enlists wish-addict cop (Will Smith) to become Agent J and ensuring that Will Smith will continue to play the same archetype in every action film he ever plays in with an nearly 100% guarantee that he would utter the phrase, "Oh no, you just did not shoot that (color of shit) shit at me." In the end, Agent K retires and gets neurolized (basically has his memory wiped) and Agent J is left to go on his own. When the sequel rolled around, it was discovered that K would be needed again and J had to bring him out of retirement—also, the movie sees a magically disappearing character played by Johnny Knoxville who plays an important role in the story until the third act where he mysteriously goes missing with no explanation to why.

In this case, the shit would be green.

The third film sees once again K play the integral role as the last remaining Boglodite Boris the Animal escapes from the moon prison that was built just for him and is out to get his revenge on the man who put him there and shot off his arm. Who is that man he's out to put vengeance on? Why are you asking that question because I thought I made it obvious in the first sentence of this paragraph? Okay, I’ll just tell was Agent K who imprisoned Boris and blasted his arm.

I would totally commit awful crimes just to be imprisoned on the moon.

Okay, so Boris wants his revenge and wants to ensure that his race (which is now extinct) finishes their invasion that was thwarted by K back in 1969. Meanwhile, J is experiencing relationship  partnership problems with K because he feels he’s not opening up to him—this coming right off the heels of the death of the former head of the MIB; Zed. While J is giving K the silent treatment, Boris successfully travels back and eliminates K. J wakes up and finds he’s the only one who remembers his partner and the new head of MIB; O (Emma Thompson), quickly figures out what has happened and now K must Time Jump back to the late 60s to stop Boris from killing K and invading the world.

Also Bill Hader has a spectacular cameo as Andy Warhol.

This guy was great in the movie...and I don't think that because
he kinda looks like me either.
The first film (seriously, it came out 15 years ago?!?) was a great, witty film about the conspiracy theory about the men in black suits who try to silence those who’ve seen aliens and UFOs. The 2nd film was not as good as the first one and, arguably, almost unwatchable but this one redeems itself and provides to be a sequel that is just as good as the original. Not only did director Barry Sonnenfeld bring a sequel that kept the fun spirit of the original, he also created a sequel that didn’t feel like a quick-return with recycled jokes like the second film was. Instead, we get a movie that not only lives up to the first film but is unique enough where it feels fresh—and usually by the time you hit the third movie, you’re endanger of hitting the expiration date and it starts to rot (that reminds me, I need to clean out my fridge because I think the leftovers from Thanksgiving are starting to become sentient.)

So jumping from buildings can help a person time travel, eh?
This kid has something he must try at home!

Clement's beard deserved it's own credit.
One of the things I enjoyed the most of the original film was the movie’s villain; the bug alien that wore a Vincent D’Onofrio suit—and, as luck would have it, it was played by none other than Vincent D'Onofio, that’s just good casting! The sequel didn’t offer much except seeing Lara Flynn Boyle in a thong, however, this one delivered a villain that could easily be more bad-ass than D’Onofrio was (but D’Onofrio was still freaking awesome!). One half of the Flight of the Conchords; Jermaine Clement, stars as Boris the Animal. Clement is able to bring in his eclectic wit to the character but proves to be more than just someone to bring some laughs to the running time as he comes off as a legitimate tough guy and threat to the world that the agents must stop. Clement actually makes the character more about being a great villain rather than a funny bad guy. But he did have one of the best moments in the movie where his future and past selves have an exchange and the topic of the missing arm keeps coming up.

Sing that song about robots!!!

That's either murder or love in his eyes.
There is only one element that bothered me about the film and that is the level of obsession Agent J has with K. Yes, they’re partners and J looks up to K like a father-figure and mentor because of the years they put in together and the fact K brought him into the organization but throughout the first half of the film, Will Smith plays this level of respect and friendship like…well…like Agent J is in love with K. It’s possible that I’m reading too much into the movie but the fact that J obsesses over how K won’t open up to him and reveal his sensitive side—sound familiar? It should because it’s one of the biggest clich├ęs in romantic comedies and then, to top it off, when J gets back to ’69, he stares at K with a smitten smile and big dough eyes. Why Sonnenfeld and Smith decided that this was the way to play the scene is beyond me but it made the relationship between the two agents seem less like a pair of aging cop partners and more like an old married couple. 

How can you NOT be in love with this ma--JESUS LINE DANCING CHRIST is his face melting?

However, this complaint is so minor it doesn’t take away from the film—especially when Smith gets back to 1969 and gets to work with a young Agent K, played by Josh Brolin. Having Brolin play a young Tommy Lee Jones is one of those examples of absolutely perfect casting that is so divinely done that it makes me wonder if some higher being—possibly a wizard or, at the very least, a magical leprechaun who hocks breakfast cereals—used his magic on the film. Not only is Brolin capable of capturing Jones’ mannerisms with an eerie perfection but he shows that he understood the character enough to reverse-engineer him and show his slightly less jaded and cynical period of his life.

I bet Brolin could somehow perfectly play me...

Then you have the character of Griffin…

Michael Stuhlbarg (from the Cohen Brother’s A Serious Man) stars as Griffin, the last-of-his-kind alien that helps J and K stop the Boglodite invasion with the help of the device called the ArkNet. Griffin exists in the fifth dimension and literally sees all the potential futures that the world holds. How do you play an alien that is basically Dr. Manhattan without the omnipotent elemental powers and the glowing blue penis? How do you play a bug trapped in a meatsuit of rotting human flesh? Just good casting and, as I mentioned with D’Onofrio in the first film, the Men in Black series knows the right man for the job.

"I want a big blue penis!"

Mirroring Brolin’s amazing performance is Stuhlbarg giving life to the alien Griffin. Stuhlbarg makes the role of playing an alien who can see multiple timelines all at the same time look easy and effortless. Stuhlbarg also makes the character incredibly loveable. How loveable? Well, I had to point out how loveable he was in this review, so it must be pretty loveable. Also, I never thought I would use the word loveable so many times in one review.

If Segways looked half as cool as the movie's gyro bikes, I would buy one.

When the film fades to black, we are thankfully given a rest from the usual “things are not what they seem” gag that ended the last two movies and what I got was just an all-around great movie to a fun franchise. I actually saw MIB3 in the theaters even though I walked in cautiously optimistic. I had my doubts when the film was announced it was being made because I didn’t think (especially after the mediocre second film) that they needed another movie but the trailer sold me enough to spend the small fortune it now costs to see a movie in the theaters (Why do I have to give collateral for just popcorn?) and I was very pleasantly surprised. The story is arguably the best in the trilogy and the special effects are the best yet. The acting, action and humor is top notch and all work to provide an extremely solid and awesome piece of entertainment…it also once again filled me with the desire to own a neuralyzer so I can erase the embarrassing moments of my horrible pick-up lines I give the ladies at the bar.


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