Men In Black was one of the funniest and most innovative movies of the 90s, starring Tommy Lee Jones as Agent K and Will Smith as Agent J. Agent K tells his new recruit that “at any one time there are 1,500 aliens on earth” and “most of them are here in Manhattan,” and back then, the movie was refreshingly new – combining zany aliens with the buddy-cop comedy. But now this is stale and uninteresting: a disappointing sequel came in 2002, and this should have been the end of the Men In Black franchise, and yet again the new film falls well short of the original.
After a ten year gap Agent J and Agent K reprise their roles, and are set to fight aliens. But when Boris The Animal (Jemaine Clement) escapes from imprisonment on the moon (thanks to his girlfriend, played by Nicole Scherzinger) he seeks revenge on Agent K, who shot off his arm before his arrest. Boris plans on going back in time to the moment of his arrest, in order to can kill Agent K – and this sets up the movie, which tells the story of what could have been if Agent K had died on that night.
To prevent this happening, and to protect mankind, Agent J must go back in time and destroy Boris before he can kill his partner. Blasting back to 1969 we see Agent K for the majority of the film as a younger man played by Josh Brolin. Agent J and younger Agent K join forces to take down the alien and protect mankind, and reveal a few secrets along the way – ultimately finding themselves at Cape Canaveral for the Apollo 11 moon mission.
Despite the stale storyline there are a few positives: Josh Brolin portrays a younger Agent K fantastically, and almost steals the lime light from Will Smith (if that’s possible). What’s more, Bill Hader is enjoyable in his guest appearance as Andy Warhol, and there are impressive special affects – especially at the Apollo 11 launch.
The final high point (look away now if you don’t like spoilers) occurs near the end when we learn of Agent J’s past. We meet a character in 1969 who turns out to be J’s father, who he never knew, as he was sadly shot. However, there is an emotional twist, as we find out Agent K cared for the very young J after his father’s death, and this is probably the only part of the movie which provokes any stirring of emotion beyond boredom.
Really, the Men in Black movie should have been left as a standalone, as nothing comes close to the original. And with Men in Black 3 released in 3D, but with very few outstanding effects, it is unfortunately not worth a trip to the cinema. The story and graphics fail to live up to the quality of their predecessors, and as with so many sequels, the movie is just tedious and unremarkable.
Written by: Rhian Westbury