Let’s get this straight right from the start: Men in Black 3 is, what Star Trek VII – Generations should have been.
Sequels to a good movie always have hard times. And most of them are bad movies. MIIB was such a case. It was just a cheap rehash of the first one. And Men in Black was great, it was a perfact blockbuster (and in retrospective, I think this movie – despite being heavily praised – is still a very underrated one, by just calling it a “blockbuster“). Threequels have it even more difficult to be accepted as a good movie. And to be honest, my expectations were very low when I first heard about the third part being made. Even the trailer couldn’t convince me. But then I read a fairly positive review about it, and since the only other blockbuster in theatres was “Dark Shadows”, I decided to watch this one. I was not dissappointed.
The dangerous intergalactic criminal Boris the animal (Jermaine Clement) escapes from high security prison on the moon, and seeks revenge for the agent who put him there, K (Tommy Lee Jones). Meanwhile, K has is having an argument with his still young and fresh partner, J (Will Smith), about K’s lack of emotion, which is not only a lie (we saw him laughing in part 1), but also somehow a twist (who’d have guessed?). Anyway, the next day, K is not only dead, but also for a long time. Only J remembers it (there is a reason given why, but I won’t spoil it -yet). Definitely a change in history has taken place. So J travels back in time to the year 1969, to save his partner’s (now played by Josh Brolin) life and correct the timeline before the evil Bobble…Bogle…the evil aliens can start an invasion.
Here come the men in black – galaxy defenders
I really liked and enjoyed MIB 3. It is a fun Sci- Fi comedy, which takes itself seriously (unlike MIIB). They also manage to reinvent the chemestry between J and K, by exploring J’s past. Brolin does a great job portraying the young K, as does Smith with portraying Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones being Tommy Lee Jones. Even though I don’t know Jermaine Clement, he is a great villain, very threatening and intimidating. I wish they would have shown more of him in the movie. But the best character in my opinion is the strange alien Griffin, who is a very sympathetic and likeable supporting comic relief character, like Leo Getz from Lethal Weapon, without whose annoyance. Come to think of it, the movie very much resembles Lethal Weapon II…
In the opening, we see Boris escaping from moon prsion, which is a very amazing sequence, and has got some good 3D (and you know how much I hate 3D!).In fact, the 3D in this movie is quite good, though sadly in the last third, there is much less of it. anyway, the opening is also kind of a reckoning for MIIB, as the villain’s hot girlfriend (Nicole Scherzinger), who has got the same revealing clothes as Serena (Lara Flynn Boyle) from the last installment, gets literally blown away after a few minutes. Boris is a loner…
MIB^3 tries to go away from the previous movies, and it succeeds. This also menas that the makers had to get rid of beloved sidecharacters from these movies, like Frank the dog or Zed, and the wormlings. but what the movie does right is, that it is mentioned why these characters aren’t there any more, and it manages to make you not miss them, without letting you forget that they existed.
So J is travelling to the sixties, and everything was different then, except for the suits maybe. Come to think of it: Hey, didn’t have J a different, much cooler looking suit at the end of MIB? What has happened to it? Anyway, he runs into K(‘s taser), and gets brought to MIB headquarters. Here one of the best scenes of the movie takes palce, as K’s boss X is a xenophobic racist, while K is defending all lifeforms. Black people are ok, but aliens, no way! Sadly, this is the only time this topic is ever mentioned. It would have made one hell of a plot. I’d like to know who working for the MIB in the sixties was actually like, and how the opinions about aliens have come to a change.
No aliens allowed
Another thing that bothers me is the lack of aliens in this movie. There are very few aliens in this movie, and most of them look very human. Which takes away one of the few things that made MIB what it was – the incredible and unique design the aliens had. MIB3 feels like a typical time travel buddy-cop action comedy (the phrase “typical” should give something to think about). That was also something that has bothered me when I saw the first (teaser-) trailer: Time travel didn’t fit into this universe in my opinion. Sure they made great use of it, no doubt, but they left off somethingt hat gave the franchise its certain “something”.
As I said before, the movie is all about preventing K’s death. Super Agent K’s death to be precice. That’s something that bothered me throughout the last two installments: K has become something like a messiah-figure. He is the all-powerful agent, a legend, the superman, who can fix any problem. For me this doesn’t seem right. after all, K is still just a human. He did an ordinary job in the first MIB-film, and his character-arc – despite being handled a little bit too rushed – was perfectly closed at the end of the film. Then they had to bring him back ( a reason why I still loathe the second movie), and they not just kept him employed there, but made him this legend he now is. He is the reason why the villains in the second and third part try to destroy the planet.
Another famous movie character that got apotheosized is no other than Darth Vader himself. Vader was a powerful henchman in the very first Star Wars movie, than became a “dark lord”, and in the new trilogy they made him a messiah, who would bring balance to the force. He is the pivot, the center of all plots. He is the main plot you could say. Whereas in the original trilogy, he influenced the main plot. to make it simpler: In the original trilogy the empire could have sustained without him, in the new trilogy not.
K was brought to the extreme: An ordinary human agent becomes a superman, with no emotions and no knowledge of the world of today, for he is only living in his own world and doesn’t even know what a gameboy is.
The time travel -aspect
At first it seems that the movie does in fact have a functioning time travel theory. Most of the other movies about this topic at one point defy their own logic. Hell, even Doctor Who, one of the greatest Sci-Fi-shows of all time, is not consistent in it’s time travel theories.
In MIB we have: Existing time line, villain goes back, alters it, only one person knows about it, goes back too in order to alter timeline back. SPOILERS: the problem begins with the fact that J remembers K: As the geeky guy points out, he is able to because J was there when it happened. This can mean that he as a boy was present when K imprisoned Boris/ was killed by Boris, or that the adult J was there watching (which would bring us to this equation: One timeline with a loop from 1969 to 2012/ 2012 to 1969, in which both – I mean: all three – scenarious occur: K imprisons Boris; Boris kills K; K kills Boris (when adult J is present) ). There is no hint what the true explanation is, but the second one is much cooler in my opinion.
Then there is one scene to which I declare it’s what Star Trek Generations was supposed to be: Boris hits J twice with his spikes, both fall of a roket, and J reverses time to go back before Boris hits him. He could do this forever, but only has got a few seconds to travel back to. In Star Trek Generations, Picard had all the possibilities to go back anywhere in time to stop Soran. And he chooses the moment when he, Picard, loses. When even the combined forces of Picard and Kirk are unable to defeat Soran, Picard goes on fighting him, which results in the death of Kirk. If he just would have let Soran destroying the star system again, he would again have the possibility to stop him.
But of course, the way MIB3 does it also kinda opposes their theory about time travel, for the J that turned back in time is the same one as before. If they would have been correct, J and Boris would meet both “younger J” and “younger Boris” (a few seconds younger).
As I’ve said before, MIB^3 is a fun Sci Fi comedy. It may has its flaws, it’s many flaws, but nethertheless, it has got a good plot and fun and well developed characters. It doesn’t hurt to watch it, and is very much enjoyable. One last words: the new theme rap song sucks.
God, I brought Stwar Wars, Star Trek and Doctor Who into a MIB review. Incredible!