When writing about The Men in Black 3 we have to note that The Men in Black films have always been some of the most prominent action-comedy films, and films that despite having a premise that sounds like a serious science-fiction thriller, are hilarious as hell, and really make one arrive at the idea of even the most serious-sounding scripts being portrayed comedically.
The first film still remains a classic action-comedy film, something that fairly defined how the films of this genre combination worked in the modern-day, whereas the second film couldn’t find its own identity and featured an imbalance of comedy and action. With the way franchises that do not follow a strict vision or code go, it’s highly understandable that the quality of the third Men in Black films lies right in between Men in Black and Men in Black 2.
Men in Black 3 packs an interesting idea of a story and has jokes that often land quite right, but it’s, unfortunately, nothing more than that. Despite being enjoyable for the majority of its parts, Men in Black 3 is a bit too much bound to the franchise’s own formula of storytelling to stand out.
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The Movie Review
Agent K had long ago captured a criminal alien named Boris the Animal after shooting his arm off. After 43 years of imprisonment, the last of the Boglodite kind escapes from the most secure possible prison to the moon to plot his revenge on Agent K.
After the creature confronts Agent K and J, things begin to unravel to Agent J, who gets to know that K had also deployed the “ArcNet”, a shield that saved the earth from being invaded by the now extinct Boglodites.
Things get chaotic after Boris goes back in time to 1969 and kills a younger Agent K. Surprisingly, despite the altering of time, Agent J’s memory seems unaffected. He’s the only one with the knowledge of Agent K, and if he didn’t have this knowledge, he wouldn’t have been an agent, to begin with. But everything else connected to K has been wiped out, most importantly ArcNet, which means that the modern-day Earth remains under the threat of a Boglodite invasion.
That is when Agent J decides to pull the reverse-Uno card and travels back to 1969 to kill Boris himself, but he is then arrested by none other than Agent K. From there on out, begins one of the craziest time travel comedy storylines, where J and K go through a bunch of potential variations of time, after meeting Agent Andy Warhol (yes, actual Andy Warhol cameo), who sends them to Griffin, who can foresee all the potential outcomes of future.
A Back to the Future-like mission then takes place, only with a lot more action and the same amount of comedy, but unfortunately not the same amount of authenticity.
What made the first Men in Black a very good action-comedy was that it involved a plot context that would seem entirely serious on paper, but the idea of Men in Black 3 tries to be funny on paper too, and similarly to a bunch of older time travel comedies.
The jokes often hit, but the funny context is often relied upon, which the direction of Barry Sonnenfeld mostly works well with. The cinematography by Bill Pope fits the film well but is highly bound to the ways of the first film. Danny Elfman’s score is iconic but ends up being rather repetitive. So, despite having a pretty funny science-fiction premise, Men in Black 3 still suffers from some of the problems of its predecessor, yet maintaining a bunch of aspects that made the first film so good.
Irrespective of the franchise’s quality, Men in Black 3 checks most of the good boxes, but only slightly, and is something not necessarily recommended. It’s a film that you should watch mainly if you’re looking for some science-fiction fun, and are content with some repetition of style.