Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Back in black, back in time

Alien-policing Agents K (Tommy Lee Jones) and J (Will Smith) return in a more affecting installment of the science fiction-comedy “Men in Black,” their latest adventure requiring them to fight a time-traveling villain, Boris (Jemaine Clement).

Like the previous parts, “Men in Black 3” introduces a variety of harmless and threatening extraterrestrials, kept in line by the intrepid human agents. Boris “the Animal” becomes Agent J’s priority when the hostile alien manages to eliminate K in the past. Traveling back to 1969, J teams up with a much younger Agent K (Josh Brolin), who has yet to become the more tight-lipped, humorless old man he knows today.

The retro-styled adventure brings back the familiar gadgets and arsenal, as well as the cool, collected crime-fighting procedures. We get to see sophisticated but less portable and less sleek technology during the earlier time, and a somewhat more upbeat Agent K, whose future demeanor is explained in detail here.

This third part, still directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, looks good in 3D; its fancy effects impressively pop out from time to time. Humor-wise, it’s pretty much the same; odd “humans” are usually aliens, or are heavily influenced by them. What’s different and quite funny this time is Agent J trying to adapt to 1969; there are references to the bygone era’s transforming pop culture and racial tensions. And while it’s a simple, periodically fun “MIB,” it’s surprisingly poignant and appropriately dialed down at certain moments.

“Men in Black 3” opens today. The new, 6-minute “Amazing Spider-Man” sneak peek will be shown before every 3D screening. 

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