Movie Review: Men in Black 3`s Will Smith Is Still Fresh When Battling Aliens in the Past

Review in a Hurry: When his partner K is erased from history, Agent J must time travel to 1960s New York to save him and prevent an alien invasion. The series returns with great eye candy, good 3-D and more sci-fi comedy hijinks. Will Smith is funny, but Josh Brolin as young Agent K is so exceptional at mimicking the tight-lipped Tommy Lee Jones that he steals the show. If only the story had unforgettable moments. Or have we been neuralized?

The Bigger Picture: After nearly a decade since the mediocre sequel, Agent J (Smith) and Agent K (Jones) zapping gooey aliens at a restaurant in Chinatown rocks. They`re still a great duo. But the death of their boss Zed leaves J wondering just how well he and his partner K really know each other. After 14 years, not very well at all. Next, J wakes up to the news that K was murdered in 1969. But why can J still remember him? The answer dampens the otherwise thrilling last act.

The bulk of the film takes place in 1969 with J chasing "Boris the Animal" (Jemaine Clement), who is so powerful he`s been locked up on the moon for 40 years. Boris` prison escape is all comin` at ya 3-D. The extra dimension is doubly impressive considering the 3-D was post-converted.

The script by Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder) has fun riffing the `60s, the space race and the realization that Andy Warhol is not an alien.

The casting of Flight of the Conchords` Clement as Boris is a wasted opportunity. He`s short one arm (young K shot the other) and spews icky insect-y poison darts from the remaining one. Which is fine, but was there really no time to let Clement make the character his own? Perhaps with a show-stopping musical number?

Without a strong villain, this installment never quite solidifies.

Still, the strongest element is the casting. Besides Brolinit can`t be stressed enough that he is really terrificthere`s the reliable Emma Thompson as the new MiB boss. Also excellent is Michael Stuhlbarg (Hugo) as an alien named Griff who exists in multiple dimensions at the same time. Like a superfan of a television show, he`s always wondering if each moment with J & K is the one where everyone gets killed...or eats pie. His scenes with J and K are the film`s highlights.

Bo Welch`s fantastic production and Danny Elfman`s score have done well under director Barry Sonnenfeld. While MiB 3 does underwhelm compared to the original 1997 flick, this is a much better effort than Men In Black 2.

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