(Sci-fi comedy, PG-13, 105 minutes)
Sometimes a movie only needs to be made once, but “Men in Black” has returned with its third installment. It’s been a long time since I have seen the first two in the series. I don’t remember much, aside from the aliens in the break room pouring coffee on the floor and an adorable pug that talked like a grouchy old man. Luckily, “MIB3” is safe enough for those who haven’t done their homework.
Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) have been working side by side for the last 15 years. J has risen to a senior agent status while K continues to be old and grouchy. They go about the usual — tracking down aliens, killing them and erasing witnesses’ memories — but a villain from K’s past has returned.
Boris The Animal — he hates “The Animal” part — has escaped from Lunar Max prison. Jemaine Clement portrays the one-armed felon who is plotting his revenge against Agent K. He looks like a cross between an evil crab and a falcon with claws and talons covering his body, but he’s deadly.
His return stirs something in Agent K, something that makes his everyday stoicism unbearable for Agent J. There are secrets that are being withheld, and the world’s safety is stake.
The old parts of the “MIB” franchise are the aliens, laser guns and memory erasers. The new part – and the best part — is Josh Brolin, who portrays a younger version of Agent K when Agent J goes back in time save him, the planet and the future.
This is the second time Brolin and Lee have been costars. They were in the Academy Award-winning film “No Country for Old Men.”
Brolin’s portrayal of Agent K is perfection. He nails Jones’ trademark drawl in all its gruffness as well as the attitude and mannerisms of the character. Because of the time travel element, Jones doesn’t have a lot of face time but watching Brolin is worth the veteran actor taking a break.
Barry Sonnenfeld and Steven Spielberg have also returned, serving as director and executive producer, respectively. They bring the same fun elements from the first two films to this one, something hardcore “MIB” fans will appreciate and look forward to.
In the midst of the strange-looking aliens and one-liners from Smith is a heavier storyline, something I didn’t expect in a sci-fi comedy. It made the movie worth watching.
Nicole Scherzinger from the Pussycat Dolls and Bill Hader from “Saturday Night Live” also make cameos. Rip Torn won’t be seen in this one as Agent Zed, but Emma Stone makes her debut Agent O. Alice Eve (the Irish nanny from “Sex and the City 2”) portrays a younger version of her.
This movie comes full circle from the first, and I liked it better than expected. It’s something the entire family can attend, which is always a good thing. “The Avengers” and “Battleship” had alien beings coming from outer space, so “MIB3” is another movie on the bandwagon. So get on board.