REVIEW: Men in Black III

28 12 2012

Arriving 10 years (half my lifetime) after the last sequel, there’s really no reason for “Men In Black III” to have been made except for Will Smith to come out of hibernation into a safe franchise sure not to ruffle anyone’s feathers.  And indeed, Barry Sonnenfeld’s threequel about as harmless as they come.  It’s a nondescript blend of humor and action, friendly to those who don’t know the series as well as the apparently numerous people for whom Sony felt they needed to make this movie.

“Men in Black III” is essentially tied back to the first two films in the series by the presence of Will Smith’s J and Tommy Lee Jones’ K.  But it’s mainly the Smith show as Jones bolts quickly (probably off to film “Hope Springs” and “Lincoln“) as he gets killed off by a former foe … in 1969.  With J as the only person left in this alternate universe that remembers K, he decides to embark on a time-travel adventure back in time to save his partner and restore the natural course of history.

The mission takes him to Cape Canaveral, lingering racial discrimination, and most importantly, Josh Brolin’s younger version of K.  Brolin is totally game to do his best Tommy Lee Jones impersonation, which doesn’t feel all that different from another character of his that could go by a single letter: W.

Brolin is the highlight of “Men in Black III” since Will Smith brings nothing new to the table.  He’s played out K too much, and not just in the “Men in Black” franchise.  Smith turned down the lead in “Django Unchained” last year, a role that would have been quite a departure for him.  Though the two films barely overlapped in shooting schedules, it would be nice to see Smith put up the black shades and tie and don the garb of a new, surprising character.  C+2stars

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