Monday, February 18, 2013

Back in Black

Are the men in black really going to the well again? Didn't MIB2 prove that they were out of ideas? Just take a look at MIB3 (2012).

It starts with a new Big Bad, a grungy brute with fangs and two steampunk eye tubes named Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement), although he prefers Boris. He dramatically breaks prison and heads out after Agent K, our Tommie Lee Jones.

Jones is still working with Will Smith, Agent J. They have gotten to be a bit like an old married couple, past the bickering stage. Smith works his mouth, Jones is silent. This is beautifully illustrated in the eulogy Jones gives for a fallen agent. "In all the years I knew him, he never gave away anything personal about himself." That is the highest praise for the member of a secret agency, whether Agent J likes it or not.

It turns out that Boris' plan is to go back in time to kill Agent K in the 70s. So the MIB's hot boss, Agent O (Emma Thompson) sends J back to the day before to stop him. This is where things get good.

  • It's the 70s. Campy top-40 music, outfits, hippies, etc
  • The young Agent K is played dead-on by Josh Brolin
I've heard that the substitution is due to Tommie Lee Jones not wanting to do another MIB movie, and this got him out of most of it. True or not, it's a great idea. Having two people playing the role gives it some nice depth, a life separate from the actors. The role goes from iconic to mythic, in my opinion.

Of course, Dan Akroyd did it first in Blues Brothers, but that's another issue.

There's a nice low-key romance, and the requisite daddy issue at the core. There are plenty of disgusting aliens, and as usual, we find out how many celebs are really from another world - not Andy Warhol (Bill Hader), though. It's funny, it's Men in Black, with two Agent Ks. That little bit extra makes all the difference.

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