Back in Black – A MIB3 Review

I have decided to slightly restructure the way I right movie reviews. At the end of the day, most people want to know whether to watch it or not, so my movie rating will be at the top of the review. If you want to find out the “why” behind my movie rating, read on after the rating.

Following the success of the first Men in Black, with it’s tongue in cheek take on sci-fi, the second MiB was less than stellar. It’s been ages since I watched it, but I can remember it being very flat, and lacking the spark that still makes the first MiB incredibly entertaining to watch. MiB3 is better than MiB2, although I have to say, not by much.

MiB3 opens with the escape of Boris the Animal, a deadly alien assassin who K disarmed (haha) and captured in 1969. After Boris manages to escape from his lunar prison, he gets his hands on a time travel device that was developed by a fellow alien inmate. He  goes back in time and helps his younger self kill K. J, for reasons never clearly explained, remembers K after everyone else has forgotten him, and has to go back in time to prevent K’s death and to save the planet from an alien invasion.

The first problem is one that comes bundled with most time travel movies: plot holes. With this in mind, the story behind MiB3 has a few glaring flaws that really makes you wonder at times how things worked. You’d have thought they’d have just taken a look at the MiB cartoon for some ideas to work with, but clearly that was too much to ask.

The second problem was something that was bothering me, but couldn’t quite put my finger on. I was browsing in a bookstore when I overheard a conversation about MiB3 that helped nailed it on the head. MiB3 has very little tension between J and K, particularly once J goes back in time. What really made the first movie so great is that it’s really a buddy cop film. These films are known for throwing two very different cops into a situation where they have to solve a case and catch the criminals, or in this case, criminal aliens. Movies that fall into this genre include some big hits like Bad Boys, Lethal Weapon, and Rush Hour. In the case of MiB, it’s the old, by the books cop, K, paired up with the younger, by his gut cop, J and it’s the conflict that ensues between them that makes the first movie so entertaining.

The third problem I found myself annoyed by is the “eureka”  moments where K and J figure out their next clue. There doesn’t seem to be much thought or even luck involved, one of them just seems to know what the clue means.

On the plus side, there are some good things about this movie. The first thing that really stood out was the performance by Jemaine Clement as Boris the Animal. Yes, you read that right. One half that makes up the duo that is Flight of the Conchordes actually flexes his acting muscles quite a bit in this movie. I was not a huge fan of Jermaine’s character in Eagle vs Shark, but really enjoyed his performance as Nigel, the evil parrot, in Rio. Whether Jemaine will ever be the lead character in a Hollywood film remains to be seen, but it’s good to see he’s getting bigger roles. The second good thing is that the movie is actually pretty damn funny, which comes mostly from J being horribly out of place in 60’s America. Whether he’s being pulled over for being a black male in a nice suit and car, or the weird situations that the 60’s MiB agents find themselves in, this movie did make me laugh. Lastly, I also have to give Josh Brolin a mention as a younger K. While he’s generally, a much nicer guy, he still manages to feel like K. If they had messed this up, this movie would have been absolutely horrible.

So overall, while MiB3 doesn’t quite reach the level of expectations set by the first film, at least it’s an improvement over the second one.

Movie Rating: An improvement over the second MiB, MiB3 still fails to reach the same level of entertainment as the first movie. Still worth a watch, but don’t expect too much.


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