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Men in Black agents J (Will Smith: Seven Pounds) and K (Tommy Lee Jones: Captain America) have worked together for over a decade managing Earth’s alien population. This hasn’t made them close, as K won’t share his life story with his more effusive partner.
Still, when J wakes up after an argument to find out that K has seemingly been dead for 40 years, he’s pretty upset about the whole thing. Turns out an evil assassin named Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement: Flight of the Conchords) escaped from lunar prison and jumped back in time to 1969, the year K arrested him and foiled an invasion that would have ended the world. This time around, Boris kills K and changes the timeline.
In this reality, humans are again about to be wiped off the face of the Earth. So J time-jumps back to 1969 on a mission to save his partner.
Yes, it’s Back to the Future with aliens, though J faces a few more obstacles than Marty McFly: First, black men in 1969 aren’t figures of authority. Second, 1969 K (Josh Brolin: True Grit) doesn’t immediately trust a man who claims to be from the future.
Still, J and K eventually come together to stop Boris from ending life as we know it. More surprisingly, J discovers that his partner wasn’t always such a stick in the mud. Does something happen during the quest to stop Boris that will irrevocably change K’s personality?
Men in Black III puts the franchise back on track with solid storytelling and performances. Original director Barry Sonnenfeld returns to restore the light comedic touch that balances the outlandish plots with moments of genuine emotion. The design of villain Boris is genuinely creepy, making him the first scary baddie the series has had since The Bug of the first film.
The best surprise in the movie may be Brolin, who has a career ahead of him as a Tommy Lee Jones impersonator. As K, he captures Jones’ drawl and stoicism while still making the character distinct and likeable. Brolin also has an easy chemistry with Smith, who has made a career out of being the most charming smartass in the room.
This sci-fi flick is the perfect meld of Mel Brooks and the Twilight Zone, so don’t buy a ticket expecting realism. But if you like weird beings, snappy dialog and silly humor, Men in Black III is well worth the price of those 3D glasses.