By Kristen Cloyed, Entertainment Editor
The duo is back and better than ever. After a wildly successful start in 1997 and a not-so-splendid sequel in 2002, many were wondering if “Men in Black III” would make the cut.
While its opening weekend didn’t even come close to the success of “The Avengers,” “Men in Black III” raked in $69.3 million over Memorial Day weekend, knocking “The Avengers” out of the box office throne. What made it work this time? The bromance.
The relationship between Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) is what made the first “Men in Black” so great. The second movie barely showed the pair together, but “Men in Black III” returns to the original formula. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, “Men in Black III” quickly introduces the newest villain, Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement), before cutting quickly to another quirky argument between the pair of agents. True to their characters, Agent K is tight-lipped and gruff while Agent J babbles on about something ridiculous. It’s the perfect match of silly and serious that people have come to expect from the “Men in Black” franchise.
The plot picks up when Agent J travels back to 1969 to stop Boris the Animal from assassinating his partner and changing the course of history. When he meets young Agent K (Josh Brolin), Agent J is astounded. His partner is chatty, interesting and an all-around nice guy. As they attempt to complete their mission, Agent J is amazed at the difference 40 years has made on his partner. It isn’t long before he’s established a catch phrase, “What happened to you, man?” and Young Agent K simply responds, “I don’t know. It hasn’t happened yet.”
The best thing about “Men in Black III” is the character continuity. I was grateful for Brolin’s role in the franchise because, let’s be honest, Jones is getting old and there’s no way he can keep bounding around shooting alien lasers and saving the day. Brolin’s character is probably the coolest part of “Men in Black III.” He has Jones’ mannerisms down to a science. The makeup is so well done that the resemblance is uncanny. They could have credited young Agent K as “young Tommy Lee Jones” and I would have believed it. Brolin was that good.
Another positive aspect of this sequel is that it gives the franchise a great back story. Agent J has always been fairly straightforward with his history and personal life, but up until now we know little to nothing about Agent K. Agent J’s foray into the past sheds light on Agent K as a character. We meet Agent O (Emma Thompson and Alice Eve), Agent K’s love interest. We’re also introduced to his smile, something I never expected to see.
“Men in Black III” is definitely worth watching. It holds true to the franchise’s alien-slaying, memory-wiping reputation while filling in some of the plot gaps the first two left wide open.