It’s 25th May 2012 and Hollywood’s most bankable star Will Smith is back after a hiatus of two years! And this time with the third iteration of highly successful ‘Men in Black’ franchise. Before going into the movie, a brief history of the ‘Actual’ Men in Black. The lore of the MIB is an American Urban Legend, Conspiracy Theorists say that they are a Top-Secret government organization who mostly deal with coverups of UFO sightings, Alien abductions and scare the daylights out of UFOlogists and the likes of India TV reporters who run primetime features on ‘Kya Aliens Himesh Reshammiya ko Kidnap karna Chahate hain?’other stuff like that. In contrary to the film series, the MIB are the bad guys.
Brief Recap of the MIB Series:
Coming to the movie (and the animated cartoon network series on MIB) series, a short recap for those who are not acquainted with the series. Here, the MIB is a Super Secret organization who maintain harmony between mankind and alienkind, kick butt of rogue aliens, strut around in neat black suits shielding the general public from the knowledge of aliens amongst them. In the MIB universe, under the directive of MIB aliens have to remain undercover, disguised as humans if they wish to live on Earth. Needless to say, once in a while some aliens go crazy and decide to wreak havoc. This is where one of our hardened MIB guy, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) steps in. He keeps these aliens in control, saves the day, wipes out memories of civilians who see alient activities on the streets of New York with the help of a device named ‘The Neuralyzer’ and make the world a safer place for us. In the first movie he recruits NYPD cop James (Will Smith) into the MIB. As per standard procedure, the identity and all records of James is erased and he is named Agent K. Then over the series of movies and cartoons Agent J and Agent K go around unleashing their awesome badassitude over evil aliens saving Earth Multiple times.
MIB 3 starts up with a prisonbreak of an Uber-Evil alien ‘Boris The Animal’ from a highly fortified MIB Prison. Then the story cuts into Agent J and Agent K doing menial everyday stuff like blowing up aliens into slimy goop, Stopping Alien chefs from serving alien fish to human customers,etc. Eventually they are confronted with the prison escapee Boris The Animal. We come to know that Boris has a beef with Agent K who was responsible for his imprisonment and Agent K is seemingly disturbed by some of the threats made by Boris. The next day, Agent J (Will Smith) comes to know that his partner Agent K has ‘disappeared’. Worse, now no one in MIB except Will Smith remember Agent K. Even Worse, Earth is now under a massive alien attack. Events unfold and Agent J travels back in time to 1969 to correct the path of history and find out what happened to Agent K and to save humanity once again.
The USP of the film lies in over-the-top cartoonish humour. And Will Smith is the life and soul of the movie. It seems that there is no role that Will Smith can’t pull off brilliantly. Some scenes like a conversation between Will Smith and a Black Market dealer who specializes in alien technology will leave you in splits. Whether be it funny misadventures of an African-American in race-hate infested Americas in 1969 or be it the background displays in The MIB headquarters classifying Lady Gaga as an Alien, the attention to details in the movie is brilliant. Keep a watch for dozens of Easter Eggs in the movie such as notable real life celebrities being monitored by the MIB as an alien threat or about Mick Jagger performing for aliens. Josh Brolin (Agent K in 1969) does justice to the Agent K character. And we come to know about a lot of things such as Will Smith’s Past, Why was he recruited into MIB, Why Agent K turned into a hardened MIB agent from a happy go lucky fellow. The Buddy Cop Bromance between Agent J and K is portrayed subtly but nicely.
Carrying the MIB tag carries a lot of expectations with it. Sadly from an action-comedy point of view the movie is a little underwhelming. For instance, a full scale aliens invasion of Earth is so passively portrayed that you might even miss it if you look away for the screen for even 5 seconds. Barring a bike chase there are hardly any jaw dropping action sequences which will stay in your mind after leaving the movie theatre. Even the ‘End Boss Fight’ hardly exciting enough. So no ‘Hulk smashing Loki’ moments in this movie. And it’s time to make villains look scarier rather than gooey and slimy deformed blobs. Another field where the movie is lacking is the background score and sound effects.
Even with the technical shortcomings and a predictable done to death Time-Travel based storyline the movie is largely enjoyable; Thanks to the brilliant Will Smith. This movie treats both MIB Fanboys and newcomers to the series alike.
Reviewed by Vrigu Mohanty.