by Tim Gordon
Veteran MIB field Agent J learns that Agent K’s life and the fate of Earth are at stake in the third installment of the sci-fi, action-adventure comedy franchise, Men in Black 3.
In this film, Agent J (Will Smith) must go back in time to 1969 to stop an alien criminal named Boris (Jemaine Clement) from assassinating a young Agent K (Josh Brolin) and changing history, while also facing a 24-hour time limit before he is trapped in the past.
The film hinges on the star magnetism of Smith because of his extended screen time and while the script has its limitations, he does the best he can to carry the proceedings. Director Barry Sonnenfeld and a bevy of writers freshen up the proceedings by injecting a time travel element that adds some much-needed humor and gives Brolin a wonderful opportunity to mimic his frequent co-star, Tommy Lee Jones. In addition to the usual MIB suspects, A Serious Man’s Michael Stulhberg is solid as an alien visitor who has the gift of seeing the potential of the future . . . . and it’s many possibilities.
The success of a story such as this hinges on the strength of its villain and Clement is serviceable but not menacing enough to present a reasonable challenge. Brolin’s Agent K is a somewhat inquisitive and a sometimes chatty companion, which is 180 degrees from the always-grumpy Jones in the earlier two films. Some may have issues with a tender twist which almost invalidates the first film, somewhat, but for this critic, it worked well.
The irony is that MIB is based on a Marvel comic which perhaps may end the reign of comic stable mate, The Avengers, but the magnetism of Big Willie can carry you only so far!