Men in Black 3 Review: Tired, Lacklustre & Pointless Sequel

"Men in Black 3" is shockingly short on everything that made the first one such a good sci-fi action.

rating: 2

It€™s been 15 years since J (Will Smith) was recruited by K (Tommy Lee Jones) €“ a fact we are constantly made aware of throughout Men in Black 3 €“ to don the black and white and fight the scum of the universe. A lot has happened in that time, not least that the duo has gotten older. They look it and their performances show it. Like two tired dogs, Smith and Jones stumble their way through this bland, uninspired sequel, and not even new stellar additions to the cast nor the youth Josh Brolin tries to breathe into the character of K can stop this from feeling like Sony grasping at straws in the hope of a quick buck. So, the film starts on the highest security prison on The Moon (and more secure than anything on Earth, too) where Boris the Animal (mega villain from a dying race of fearsome aliens played by Jemaine Clement) is incarcerated. After Nicole Scherzinger (thankfully remaining quiet and quickly being killed off) helps him escape, he heads back to Earth swearing revenge on Agent K, who shot his arm off in 1969. Meanwhile, J and K are up to their old tricks, keeping the peace between man and alien and covering up any trace of extra terrestrial activity. K is just as stoic as ever which is becoming increasingly wearing on J. And at the ministry big boss man Z has died, being replaced by O (played by Emma Thompson). Arriving on Earth, Boris goes straight to the one man who possesses the power to travel back in time to carry out his plan for revenge, travel back before K shot his arm off and put him behind bars and kill K. He manages to do this and create an alternate present where K no longer exists. So J has to travel back to 1969, days before the Moon Landing and work with the younger, much more open and emotional K (Josh Brolin) to stop Boris from killing K and changing history forever. The novelty of this segment of the Men in Black series was, at least for me, to see Josh Brolin play a young Tommy Lee Jones. From the moment I heard that, it sounded like divine casting. Then seeing the trailers made me think that actually there might be something here. However, once you get past the novelty, you then need all the other factors that make a good movie. "Men in Black 3" is shockingly short on everything that made the first one such a good sci-fi action. The film has so many problems, but I think the biggest ones are a lack of innovation, a failure to present a real threat from a developed villain and just a really weak, uninspired storyline. They even fail to have any fun with the past setting of 1969. Such a rich time period, the filmmakers actually manage to waste it. Andy Warhol really being an alien gets a grin, I found the Metz coming from last place to win the Baseball title interesting €“ but this has nothing to do with the film €“and implying all Supermodels are aliens was done by 3rd Rock from the Sun fifteen years ago and was executed in a way that was a million times superior than it is here. Emma Thompson€™s first involvement is to recite some kind words that an Alien tribe said of the departed Z in the aliens tongue. It€™s sixty seconds of high-pitched yelps, that sound like a cat caught in a tumble dryer. The joke received a few titters but mainly cringes €“ this reaction was the same for most of the movie. Tommy Lee Jones nor Josh Brolin get much time to shine, as "Men in Black 3" is the Will Smith show. He dominates the film with his tired and tiresome comedy. And apart from the fact this harms the film, it also means the rest of the cast don€™t get a chance to shine, particularly Clement, who continues his list of failed attempts to break into mainstream American cinema. It€™s not his fault; he plays an underdeveloped villain, deprived of screen time, character, snappy dialogue and humour. The one scene he is given license to shine €“ an argument between his present self and past self €“ he shows his comedic flare. But this, like the rest of his scenes, are far too short. The 3D has its moments mainly through creating the sense of height. Once scene at the top of a building in Manhattan and another on a crane will be tough viewing for anyone with vertigo. Other than this there€™s your obligatory 3D moments where bullets are coming towards the screen that are executed well enough, but then again if a film is in 3D, the bare minimum is to execute this. "Men in Black 3" is akin to a child who did something which induced big laughs so decided to keep on doing it, each time getting less amusing until it€™s downright annoying. Let€™s hope this isn€™t the first in a line of vastly inferior sequels for Smith and also that this is the last outing for the Men in Black. Men in Black 3 is in cinemas from Friday May 25th.
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Frustratingly argumentative writer, eater, reader and fanatical about film ‘n’ food and all things fundamentally flawed. I have been a member of the WhatCulture family since it was known as Obsessed with Film way back in the bygone year of 2010. I review films, festivals, launch events, award ceremonies and conduct interviews with members of the ‘biz’. Follow me @FilmnFoodFan In 2011 I launched the restaurant and food criticism section. I now review restaurants alongside film and the greatest rarity – the food ‘n’ film crossover. Let your imaginations run wild as you mull on what that might look like!