Special to South Florida Times
In Men in Black 3, the evil intergalactic alien Boris the Animal (played by Jemaine Clement), time travels to 1969 to kill a younger Agent K (Josh Brolin). It’s up to Agent K’s partner, Agent J (Will Smith), to travel back to defeat Boris and prevent the demise of Agent K. Meanwhile the audience gets insight on what makes present-day Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) tick.
The summer of adaptations is off to a running start, with Avengers leading the pack. Next stop: Men In Black 3, more of a three-quel than an adaptation even though it’s based on Lowell Cunningham’s Malibu Comic.
Given the questions lingering after this MIB’s ending credits, however, there’s no logical reason why the film is appearing on theater screens across the country and around the world.
How much more story can be told about the men who wear black suits every day? Perhaps the art department had enough alien creations left over for a feature-length film. Or perhaps, they were just milking a franchise past its prime.
The latest MIB was Smith’s brainchild at the time the second MIB got the green light from Columbia Pictures, the franchise’s studio. At that time the powers that be scrapped the idea in favor of a more coherent one.
Nevertheless, 2012 audiences get to watch nearly two hours of yet another weird bug man trying to do evil in the face of the policing work of the MIBs, all of which makes Clement’s Boris more tiresome then villainous.
The audience is supposed to glean from screenwriter Etan Cohen’s script what makes Agent K tick. Unfortunately, it creates questions. Such as how are we supposed to believe 44-year-old Brolin is a 29-year-old Agent K? Also, Andy Warhol is an MIB? Really? After 14 years as partners, why hasn’t Agent K warmed up to Agent J, who he recruited? Does one death really change Agent K? As for Agent J, besides his childish tendency to play video games during his down time, why is he still single?
SHOWING ITS AGE
The only explanation for creating such questions about a franchise that should be on its last film would be to engage in Hollywood’s third favorite pastime: the origins story. (Favorites one and two are adapted stories and sequels, respectively. X-Men, anyone?)
Director Barry Sonenfeld and Cohen had a monumental task bringing Smith’s MIB2 idea to life as a rational storyline rather than a failed attempt at an origin story. While the aliens are ultra-disgusting in 3D, and Sonenfeld manages to stay true to the franchise’s latest idea, the concept is, for lack of a better word, lacking.
MIB3 also begs the question whether Jones, Brolin and Smith are too old to play action heroes. Apparently not. Jones and Brolin aren’t hopping bar counters like Smith, but they fake action really well. That is to say that there’s so much going on around them that the audience doesn’t notice they’ve just shuffled their feet from point A to point B.
While this 3D Men In Black is another testament to Smith’s box office power as an action star, audiences can do without this film. Although Smith brings his usual engaging, funny self, it’s not enough.
Which leads to another question: Couldn’t Smith have done another action film without involving bug aliens? Surely, there’s a franchise he can tackle without involving poor Jones, who’s a much better drama actor than an action star.
MIB3 tries very hard to have a deeper meaning, but the franchise is showing its age and needs to retire.
ALIEN HUNTER: Will Smith stars in Men In Black 3.