It’s a truism that sometimes you enjoy okay-ish movies more than you expected, particularly if you were expecting them to be rubbish. Here’s a case in point. Fifteen years since the jaunty original, a decade since its diabolical cash-in sequel: ‘Men in Black 3’ – is anyone really bothered?
So, it’s more of the same smartly designed, slightly whimsical secret-agent alien-blasting nonsense, this time in 3D. What does bring a smile to the face, however, is Will Smith back on screen after a four-year break, not trying so hard to be serious or different, and seemingly happy to gambol his way through some entertaining fluff. As for his black-suited cohort, Tommy Lee Jones is now of pensionable age and looks like he’s here on highly paid sufferance. So the movie comes up with a time-travel plot whereby Smith flits back to 1969 to save his cranky partner from a fate worse than death at the hands of visiting extraterrestrial psycho Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement). Oh, and save the world while he’s at it.
Josh Brolin may be nobody’s idea of a movie star, but he gives a witty, likeable and thought-through performance as the younger, pre-grumpy Tommy Lee, as we take a roundabout route to exploring the Smith & Jones chemistry that made the first movie more than just an effects extravaganza. Needless to say, there are plenty of wibbly-wobbly aliens, and they’re fine, though you can also sense Sonnenfeld really working the 3D with lots of playful perspectives evidently conceived for the format. Not much for Emma Thompson to do as the agency boss, but otherwise this freshens up the formula to amiable effect. I’m still not convinced anyone really needs it, but this is a respectable effort in the circumstances.