June 12, 2012
Family Film Blogging: Men in Black 3
Posted by Christine Hurt

The summer blockbuster season is upon us, and our family had been eagerly awaiting Men in Black 3.  In preparation, we Netflixed the other two films in the MIB trilogy to adequately prepare the big 'uns for the third.  (I don't think I had seen the second, and I had very little memory of the first.)  We were not disappointed.  If you read the reviews, they all say the same thing:  much better than the second, but not quite as good as the first.  For a "3" movie, that's pretty good.

The movie's set-up is fairly interesting -- a super-bad alien criminal, Boris, breaks out of his supermax prison (in space) and concocts a way to go back in time and reverse the outcome of a moment in time 40 years ago.  This moment is when Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) captured Boris, maiming him and ending his freedom.  When he does this, Agent K disappears, and only his partner Agent J (Will Smith) seems to recall a world in which Agent K didn't die 40 years ago at Boris' hand.  More importantly to the world, in the future in which Agent K died in 1969, Agent K was not able to implement a defense shield against Boris' home planet, now opening Earth up to invasion.  Therefore, Agent J has to travel back to 1969 and save Agent K, and with him the rest of the Earth.

OK, so how do you have a movie based on the chemistry between Smith and Jones, if Jones isn't in most of the movie?  Well, you find someone who is exactly like Jones, only younger.  In what has to be the single best casting moment in Hollywood history since Gone With the Wind, someone realized that Josh Brolin sort of looks like Tommy Lee Jones.  And, he totally plays the young Agent K as straight TLJ.  It is eerie, and you forget that you aren't watching TLJ.  (I know that Rob Lowe apparently brought his career back from the brink by doing his Robert Wagner impression in a movie.  This is ten times better than that.)  And Will Smith is ageless and timeless and just fun to watch.

The movie's strengths are the relationship between K and J, which is very sweet and funny, and it gets sweeter.  I think more could have been made about the disconnect between an African-American traveling back to 1969.  He does have a run-in with police who suspect he has stolen an expensive car because of his race, but that scene is muddied because he has in fact stolen it (well, commandeered it, really).  But, when he walks into "the Agency," no one there seems to bat an eye at his presence there.  And, Agent K, who has a very distinct Texas accent, never mentions his race at all.  There could have been an interesting "They Call Me Agent J" moment, but it's a much lighter movie than that, I guess.  I have to say, that even though I rarely see things coming, I did see the end coming, but no one else in my family did.  It's a rather nice, gift-bow ending I didn't mind guessing.

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