When asked in a recent interview promoting “Men In Black III,” Will Smith was asked why it took 10 years to get this movie made. He answered, “they didn't want to make a sequel for the sake of making a sequel.”
But I have to honestly ask, after 10 years, what was so imperative about this story that it had to be told? Who has been sitting around since 1997 waiting to find out Agent K's back story?
Back in then, “Men In Black” was a groundbreaking film directed by Barry Sonnefeld, who up to that point was mostly known for "The Addams Family" films. It was everything that sci-fi films hadn't been in awhile; original and inspired.
Starring a young charismatic television actor/rapper named Will Smith, opposite seasoned Hollywood veteran Tommy Lee Jones, the film also brought a new spin to the "buddy cop" genre.
Five years later, the sequel, “MIB II,” was critically lambasted, even though everything that made the original successful was amplified. More aliens, more stars (especially rapidly rising Will Smith) and more action. But ultimately, it felt like more of the same.
Ten long years have passed since that release and the gang is all back (more or less) in “Men In Black III.” And other than the fact that Will Smith is arguably the biggest star in Hollywood (without doubt - this movie), not much has changed. MIB officially has become formulaic. True, the franchise is still unlike any other sci-fi series that I can think of, but it still has a formula of its own, that it faithfully sticks to.
A. A. super bad alien lands on Earth intent on destroying it.
B. Only Agents K and J can foil the plan through a series of slapstick comedic interrogations of fantastical aliens.
C. Their investigation will provide situations for Willie from Philly to causally trade PG-13 one-liners with the sardonic humor of Tommy Lee Jones.
D. The movie ends with an incredibly intense against all odds battle with super bad alien involving a spaceship attempting to leave the planet.
The plot of which they wrap around that formula this time involves time travel, which is both a blessing and a curse for this film.
A blessing because it allows for Josh Brolin (No Country For Old Men) to shine in the role of a younger Agent K, and perform a pitch perfect impression of a younger, but still eternally-government agent-typecast Tommy Lee Jones.
A curse because like most stories involving time travel, although it can be fun, things tend to get confusing and chaotic. And that pretty much sums up “MIB III” fun, confusing, chaotic and don't forget, formulaic. Which in the end, still makes an entertaining movie judged on its own merit.
However, considering all the hype surrounding this particular long awaited movie, the finished product still ends up feeling like a sequel made just for the sake of making a sequel albeit in 3-D.