Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Barry Sonnenfeld: Men in Black 3

Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Men in Black 3, Columbia Pictures, 2012.

Dragging out the black suits for one more cash-in, the studio actually delivers a mostly fun, at times thin, popcorn picture that is better than Men in Black 2 but definitely not better than the pop culture mythos generated by the quirky Men in Black.

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones return, both looking a little tired out since we last saw them in black shades. Yet they have not lost any of the charisma which makes them movie stars and gifted actors. Their banter is unblemished from the first two, and interesting helmer Barry Sonnenfeld opens the action up with an ease that feels right.

A time travel plot device works well; some of the scenes, jokes, and alien characters fall flat. Josh Brolin apes TLJ to perfection, playing his younger self. Smith warped in the 60s has a whole bunch of possibilities unmined here, of course. Emma Thompson as their new boss is a bit off-putting somehow. Bill Pope's richly stylized camera and Danny Elfman's inspired music score carry on seamlessly from the first two pictures. All of this combined makes for a watchable third entry in one of our country's popcorn pop-culture phenomenons.

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