Summer movies are all about fun, fast and light entertainment. Movies where you can shut off your brain and just enjoy the ride. Sometimes we get more than that, as we’ve seen in the past with The Dark Knight and Inception. But even if the smart and serious action films are superior in the long run, I still enjoy watching one of the lighter ones the summer season has to offer. This Memorial Day weekend weekend, we get Men In Black 3 - the sequel ten years in the marking. The first one was a smash hit among critics and audiences, while the second one was a huge disappointment to both. Do the Men In Black have what it takes to entertain this third time around? Or does it fall flatter than the second one did?
This is an alien invader action comedy. That means it’s going to be silly whether you want it to be or not, and most of the time, the movie uses that to its advantage. No heavy material, nothing thought provoking, just a fun time at the movies. Exactly like the first two were meant to be. The script, which wasn’t finished by the time they started production, added many new elements to the story, while still sticking to the things that made the first one special. There was even a twist (sort of) that happened at the end which I did not think was going to happen and added more heart to the series than the past two did. The jokes, however, are hit or miss. Some come off really funny (mostly because of Will Smith), but others fall completely flat. A scene that was dreadful to watch took place at a funeral, which may be the worst movie funeral scene I’ve ever watched. But overall, a script that shouldn’t have worked, ended up giving me a decent amount of laughs and put a smile on my face.
The acting is more of the same when it comes to Will Smith (Agent J) and Tommy Lee Jones (Agent K). They are just as good as they’ve been in the past, adding nothing new to their roles, but still a lot of fun hearing the banter between the two. The stand out, as you’ve probably heard, is Josh Brolin as young Agent K. He does nothing more than a Tommy Lee Jones impression, but who cares! The point of the role is to BE a young version of him, and he exceeds all expectations. It was almost scary how good he was at being so still-faced and bland (but in the best way possible.) Jemaine Clement (of Flight of the Concords fame) plays the villain, Boris the Animal. Oh sorry, just Boris! He’s nothing more than just fine. He never does anything memorable or funny, just growls and shoots spikes from his hands. I don’t blame Clement for that because I think his role was just a little under written but he did the best he could to be entertaining and it worked to an average degree.
The action is, at times, exciting and really entertaining. I’ll watch Will Smith shoot a futuristic alien-killing gun any day of the week. Sometimes, though, when it looks like the scene is setting up for something big and action heavy, it falls back and does the bare minimum. The opening scene involving a jail break could have been a cool one, but it was just to stupid too enjoy. Another scene revolving around a car chase with these strange one wheeled vehicles was hyped so much by being in the trailer and even the being the image on the IMAX poster, and it ended up being short and forgettable. That being said, the other portion of the action was exciting. Whenever you get humans vs. aliens fighting with future technology while one them cracks jokes, I don’t see how that can’t be entertaining. With the 60’s set pieces and culture gags of the time (including a hilarious scene with Andy Warhol) it all ends up being worth the trip to the theater.
I don’t usually praise 3D in movies. Normally, it just comes off as cheap and a scream for more cash. But here, it is used to it’s full potential. I love it when 3D adds depth to a movies scenery because it does actually give you a feeling like you are a part of the world. I can’t stand it when 3D is so in your face with all the “pop out” gags, and there are a few here, but they are never forced. They only occur with shots of the tip of a building or when someone pulls out a gun, but it seems naturally, and in turn, satisfying.
This won’t make anyone long for a forth installment of the series, and for the sake of the franchise, I hope it never gets made. But this movie turned out much more than the general public thought it would be. It was a quickly paced, light and energetic summer entry that really kept me entertained, and that is all I was expecting. With a lackluster second movie, the fact that is movie didn’t suck after ten years of the story being dead is really quite amazing. It probably won’t be remembered by the end of the year as one of my favorites overall. But it could end up being one of the most entertaining. In the summer season of movies, many different kinds will comes at you. Most will be fun, others will be stupid and others will be thought provoking award winners that will go down in history. This one falls under the category of fun! Take it or leave it.