I loved the first Men In Black. Will Smith as the wise-cracking FNG, Tommy Lee Jones as the stone-faced veteran, lots of funny people-are-really-aliens-jokes, but why it succeeded, why it really worked, was the relationship between the two men in black.
It’s a buddy movie. Lethal Weapon had Riggs (Mel Gibson – when we still liked him) and Murtough (Danny Glover.) 48 Hours had Nolte and Murphy. Turner had Hooch. So could MIB 3 pull it off? Could it be the perfect buddy movie?
Well, the premise had promise. Agent J has to travel back in time to save the world and agent K. Agent K, back in 1969 is played by Josh Brolin. But everything hinges on how good that relationship would be.
I mean, who remembers MIB 2? Anyone? Bueller?
So do they succeed here?
Yes! Most assuredly, yes!
See it. See it with friends. See it by yourself. See it more than once. Buy popcorn.
First, Will Smith is in fine form. Hey, this guy can actually act (watch him with his dog in I Am Legend. Watch him in 7 Pounds. Watch him in Pursuit of Happiness. He’s got the goods.) But this is not that Will Smith. This is the Fresh Prince Will Smith, the Independence Day Will Smith, the Bad Boys Will Smith. Funny as hell. Charming. Pitch perfect.
Listen to the moral sermons J gives when he uses the neuralizer. Hilarious. Or watch all his expressions when J time-bounces back to the top of Chrysler Building. OMG funny.
Second, Josh Brolin. Man, he’s got big black shoes to fill but he fills them and then some. He’s got the walk, the attitude, the voice and, oh yes, he’s got that LOOK, that dead-eyed Tommy-Lee-Jones stare. But wait, there’s more. He’s Agent K back in 1969, a younger, chattier, funnier agent K.
He pulls this off like he was genetically engineered to play the part. Every scene they two of them are in together are pure goofy magic.
Third, they get all the nerdie stuff right. Those-weirdoes-are-aliens jokes are brilliant. From Mick Jagger to the Super models. So good. Then there’s the new gadgets, the guns, the phone, the neuralizer, all, well, you have to see them. They even hit a little on what it was like to be a black man in a suit back then.
Oh, and keep an eye out for quick reverences to the previous movies, they are gems.
Lastly but not leastly (is that a word) there are the new characters. Oh lovely Emma Thompson as O. I could watch her forever. FOR-EVER! Oddly, she has not responded to any of my proposals for marriage but I remain hopeful. In this movie, she isn’t on screen for long but when she’s there, she owns it.
Then there is Griffin. One of the best characters in any of the movies out this year. Griff is an alien. Griff has a gift. Being a being who exists in 5 dimensions, he can see all the futures. A cool ability, right? Well, kinda – He doesn’t know which future will come true. “I’m glad this wasn’t the one where we all blow up.” or “I can never bear to watch this part.”
And here is why this movie transcends the first. It has heart. We care about J and K. We care about Griff. We care what happens at the end.
So, please help Men In Black. Reward story-telling that is funny as hell. Reward great acting. Reward fantastic writing.
Go see it.