Black is back
A big step up from the weak second instalment, the goofy does the job, writes Tara Brady
HAVE YOU lately experienced a craving for chocolate milk? If you’re lucky, it’s just a symptom of lactose intolerance. If you’re less fortunate, there’s a serious glitch in the space-time continuum.
Such vital communiqués can only mean one thing: either you’re reading the Weekly World News or else the Men in Black are back in action at a multiplex near you.
When last we caught up with agents K (Tommy Jones) and J (Will Smith), they were slumming it in a lacklustre sequel opposite – eek – Lara Flynn Boyle. Zounds: the perils of the unnecessary, underdeveloped cash-in.
If the gang’s disappointing second outing was a franchise extension brought to you by the spam purveyors who promise all manner of miraculous enlargements and elongations, then MIB3 is Viagra, poppers and a shot of Vitamin B12. It’s not au naturel and it’s hardly in the first flush of youth. But, dammit, it gets in,gets out and gets the job done.
The latest instalment, a time- travel adventure penned by American Dad and Idiocracy scribe Etan Cohen, cleverly allows the franchise a reset to zero without obliterating all that’s gone before.
Trust us: you don’t need to know the details. You just need to know that Agent J must travel back to 1969 to team up with a younger Agent K (Josh Brolin) and a telekinetic unicorn (Bill Hader) so they might collectively stand against a marauding alien menace (played by Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement).
The results are sappy and sweet, but they also mark a Great Leap Forward from MIB2. It’s also director Sonnenfeld’s best picture ( Wild Wild West? RV?) since 1997.
To be fair, the popular dark- suited characters have, by now, earned the right to a poignant back-story and a bit of emotional depth. Emma Thompson, always a trooper, provides an unlikely TLJ consort and enough comic gravitas to pass as Rip Torn Jr.
Clement, star of the criminally underrated Gentlemen Broncos, is a whole mush of fun as the bad guy. Josh Brolin is perfectly deadpan as the younger Jones.
It works as a threequel and, more impressively, as a SFX 3D picture. Take your glasses off and it goes fuzzy and everything. The fake 1960s: what an age we live in.