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men in black 3
Click for full sized poster

Men in Black 3

Starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement,Michael Stuhlbarg and Emma Thompson
Screenplay by Etan Cohen
Based on the Malibu comic by Lowell Cunningham
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld

IN SHORT: A lot of fun. Capital "F" (for fun, of course.). [Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, and brief suggestive content.. 106 minutes]

An alien criminal named Boris (Jermaine Clement) has spent the last 40 years in an ultra secure MIB lockdown on the moon. Of course, that isn't going to last long as the third film in the Men in Black franchise gets off to a brisk start. It has a lot to catch up with, given the many years since the last installment.. Doing so means integrating the death of Rip Torn (formerly top dog Agent Zed) and quickly introducing and building a backstory for Agent "O" (Emma Thompson), then an agent and now Zed's successor.

J senses a "connection" (nudge nudge wink wink) between his partner and his new boss and goes looking through old files regarding their biggest case together -- something involving the protection of the earth by deploying a space shield down at Cape Canaveral in July 1967.

We called it Cape Kennedy in July of 1967 so, either a kidlet wrote this script or a Republican did. Maybe both.

But, for those of you who think I've forgotten about Boris, he's traveled back in time to kill K, the agent who shot off his arm and arrested him -- makes it easier to tell the two Boris' apart later in the film -- changing history and paving the way for . . . wait for it . . .

Back in the real world, the next day, J is now top dog agent, and K has been dead for 40 years, having been killed at Cape Canaveral trying to stop an alien (and in doing so failing to deploy that space shield that's protected earth for the last 40 of "our" years). J, being the only agent to remember a living K, must fix the past. Or else (insert your own sound effect here)

Yeah, MIB3 is a time travel flick. Those in our audience looking scene to scene for continuity errors are wasting their energy. The film is too funny to distract your attention from the total reboot, at least for now, of the J and K relationship. J's purpose in going back in time is to stop K's murder, yes. That murder paves the way for an invasion of earth by an alien race called bloggosians (sic) . . . the names of alien races are all cultural jokes, of course, and there are the usual music and media stars buried into jokes in the background, but that's not the point.

The point is, of course, that J and and a much younger K Agent K (Josh Brolin) must save the world. In doing so this new pairing will save "our" Agent K, 'our" Earth and humanity itself. There is a third member of the team, an alien called Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg), who can see all possible variable futures and he is a delight.

But since the setting is the world of 1969, for those too young to remember, men of a particular skin tone were just barely getting their civil rights looked after at that time. Black and White did not mix well. It is dangerous territory that the film plays with, briefly, and utilizes as the new J and K team get on with the running and the chasing and the saving the world . . .

. . . and a whole, bring-a-tear-to-your-eye final scene that will close open holes in the backstory of one of the principal characters. If you want to know the end before you walk in, so you can spoil it for everyone within the sound of your voice, you're on the wrong website.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Men in Black 3, he would have paid . . .


And, no, you don't need to know much about versions 1 and 2, which makes the rule keeper of this site oh so very happy. Men in Black 3 is fun moviegoing. Buy the big popcorn.

. . . and I've been corrected. the evil alien raceis Boglodite. What I wrote about culture and music based gags still holds

amazon com link Click to buy films by Barry Sonnenfeld
Click to buy films starring Will Smith
Click to buy films starring Tommy Lee Jones
Click to buy books by Lowell Cunningham

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.