johnlink ranks MEN IN BLACK 3 (2012)

Well, I went into 2012 wanting to get through a whole bunch of movie series. I was fairly effective in doing so. I also started a bunch of series I did not finish. MEN IN BLACK 3 is an attempt to do a bit of mop up work. This series was spread out through the year. I watched the first one on 1.10.12, the second one on 5.5.12, and then the newest one on 12.29.12.


I watched MEN IN BLACK 3 (2012) on 12.29.12. It was my first viewing of the film.

Usually, a film of this sort is only as good as its villain. You know the heroes will bring it, and that the funny will be there. The major difference between the first MIB and the second MIB could be boiled down to just how difference there was in the two villains. Vincent D’Onofrio was scary, dangerous, and hilarious in the first film. Lara Flynn Boile was just sort of… there.

Going into the third film, I was sure they had found a great villain. Jemaine Clement, from Flight of the Conchords, is a hilarious comedian with spectacular timing. In MEN IN BLACK 3, his villain is surprisingly dark without any of the humor. I don’t want to go as far as to say he was wasted, because his Boris the Animal is fearsome, but it certainly wasn’t what I expected. The character design seemed to start with Randy Savage’s Bonesaw from the original Raimi SPIDER-MAN which then became infused with some nasty alien traits. This character is dangerous, even if the film doesn’t fully tap into that danger.

Amazingly, it doesn’t need to. In realizing, perhaps, that a film is weakened by a weak villain, the filmmakers instead turned to the J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) relationship. After 14 years, trust is still not complete. K holds things back, despite J’s assumption that he knows all there is to know. A nasty encounter with Boris leads to a scenario in which J has to go back to 1969 to save K. The film, at that point, becomes about the relationship between J and a Young K (Josh Brolin).

Brolin is unbelievably good in this. I try to temper that feeling a little by realizing that he is just doing an impression of an iconic actor for an hour or so. But you can’t help but come away impressed by how well he nails Jones’ K. He gets the ticks, the voice pattern, the dry wit. There is never a moment when you pull back and begin to think this is a different character. Look, I’m not saying you get nominated for an Oscar for your work on MEN IN BLACK 3. But the movie is very successful, and Brolin is probably the biggest reason.

Will Smith is back in form for this movie. He is funny and charismatic, as can be expected. Many lines in this are instantly some of the funniest lines in the series. An encounter with two police officers from 1969 is a top three scene in the series, and meeting with an alien, Griffin, who sees the future is hilarious.

Griffin was a real highlight for me. Played by Michael Stuhlbarg (fans of BOARDWALK EMPIRE will know him as the conniving Arnold Rothstein), he adds a nice rapid-pace comedic element to the film. MIB 3 smartly got away from the talking dogs, the sometimes funny skinny aliens, and a lot of the truly silly stuff. While the movie is still whimsical and light-hearted, it felt more like it was aimed at adult-me rather than 8-year-old-me.

Am I overly inflating this movie a little bit? Perhaps. I have to stop and think if I liked the first one or this one better. That in itself is a positive, especially after the disappointing second entry.



The negative bonus point is for the myriad 3d effects which just feel like unnecessary flourishes (especially when watching in 2D). The film’s action sequences, somehow, are the least interesting parts of the film. Usually they provide some of the best entertainment. In MEN IN BLACK 3, they feel like people acting in front of a green screen as post-production effects occur around them.



~ by johnlink00 on December 30, 2012.

3 Responses to “johnlink ranks MEN IN BLACK 3 (2012)”

  1. Other than Josh Brolin’s performance I was not a huge fan of this film.

  2. […] MIB III article here […]

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