Men in Black 3, or to the 3rd Power or Whatever

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I didn’t have very high expectations for this movie. Honestly I only saw it because I was bored. The second MIB sucked and bringing in time travel easily jumps the shark. And there were some significant problems. However, the movie was definitely better than I thought it would be. Which just means I didn’t completely hate it.

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Men in Black 3 is of course the third installment to the Men in Black movies. Even though I’m not a huge fan of this series, I have grown up with them. I was 7 when the first came out, and 12 when the second one was released. Interestingly, even at that impressionable age I knew it was a piece of crap. But anyway…

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Men in Black 3 was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and follows J (Will Smith), an agent in a secret government organization that monitors alien activity. One day, J goes into work and discovers his partner, agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) is no longer there, and has inexplicably died in 1969. J has to go back in time and work with the younger K (Josh Brolin) in 1969 to prevent him from dying, and of course, saving the world in the process.

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So before I start tearing this movie to shreds, let me throw out some deserved props. One of the best things about this movie was how incredibly similar Josh Brolin is to Tommy Lee Jones, and not just in appearance. Brolin noticeably took on Jones’s performance of K and all of his mannerisms. So even though I knew they were two completely different people, sometimes it was easy to forget. Such a feat is acting at its best.

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I also loved the appearance of the villain Borris played by Jemaine Clement (don’t worry, you’ll hear about the actual character later). He was much more intimidating than Zurlina in the 2nd film. And the actor did a good job with him.

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But the character that stole the show was Griffin, played by Michael Stuhlbarg. Griffin was not just comic relief. As an alien that constantly weighed the probability of future events, he was interesting and creative. He was a joy to watch, and without him the movie would have imploded into a ball of flames fueled by Tommy Lee Jones’s formaldehyde.

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And now my favorite part: the problems. I’d say the first 30 minutes of the movie were sloppy and boring. Basically, until J goes back in time, I did not see any reason to pay attention and was reviewing my Korean vocabulary. Nothing was interesting.

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Also, for a movie advertised as a comedy, there were quite a few funny moments that were not funny at all. And the ones that were actually funny had been advertised so that they weren’t that funny anymore. I did not laugh very much at all during this movie. I’d say it was the least funny of the trilogy.

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And while I liked the appearance of Boris, the character was quite weak. Yeah, he wants to get back at K for turning him into a gimp. I get that. But why is he an assassin at all? For the money, or he just loves killing people? In fact, I think all the Men in Black villains are pretty simplistic, but I haven’t seen the other two in a while, so I could be wrong. Then again, I do not plan on watching them to find out for sure.

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But, on the whole, it wasn’t a complete waste of two hours. The movie eventually picked up pace and became more interesting. I give it a 4 out of 10 only because of my love of the character of Griffin.

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