Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Emma Thompson, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlberg
Watching Men in Black III is in some ways a soul crushing experience. It’s a near perfect example of the cynical nature that has infected most of Hollywood filmmaking for a long time.
The goal is not so much about entertaining the audience as it is about making as much money as possible as fast as possible before audiences realize they have been hoodwinked … again.
Instead of taking the original and satirically clever premise of a super secret government agency with the mission of tracking down undocumented space aliens living among humans and going off in different and expected directions, MIB III, like the previous MIB 2 sequel, is lazy and uninspired.
It’s satisfied to just repeat ideas and jokes from the previous films without doing anything clever or different with them.
The basic plot of the film, which is rather confusing, offers a lot of promise, though the film fails to exploit any of its elements. Once again Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones play Agents J and K, tracking down space aliens in disguise as humans.
But when an evil alien, Boris the Monster (Clement), who Jones captured back in 1969, escapes from his moon based prison and goes back into time to alter the course of a mission he failed at, Smith also goes back in time to make sure that the younger Jones (played by Brolin) succeeds again in his mission of capturing Boris.
However, the film does literally nothing with the premise of Smith as a fish out of water stuck back in time, with the exception of a lame, unfunny bit involving Andy Warhol.
The rest of the movie plods through the usual set pieces and stunts until the final climax at Cape Kennedy (though it’s incorrectly called Cape Canaveral in the film) in Florida just before a moon launch.
It ends on an awkward sentential final note shoehorned in to give the characters some depth and infuse the film with some substance, but it’s too little too late.
Perhaps the film wouldn’t have been so lackluster and tepid if the people involved had put some energy into it. But unfortunately, Smith, Jones, Brolin (who does a dead perfect impression of Jones’ voice), Thompson and the director Barry Sonnenfeld, who directed the previous two MIB movies, don’t show the slightest bit of enthusiasm for what they’re doing.
Everyone basically phones it in, goes though the motions, and it’s pretty evident that no one was particularly interested in repeating the same old bag of tricks over again, focusing their eyes instead, no doubt, on the gigantic paycheck they all got for making it.
MIB III is a film of missed opportunities and worn out bits cobbled together from previous films for the sole purpose of getting as many people as possible into the theaters.
The end result is a sadly condescending, tepid film with contempt for the audience, instead of an entertaining one.