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'Men in Black III' Review: New Blood Recharges Franchise's Engines

'Men in Black III' Review: New Blood Recharges Franchise's Engines

“Men in Black III” reenlists the talents of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, of course–Smith with his urban sizzle, Jones with his craggy codger sorrow–and it’s good to have them back, togged out in their black suits and shades and riding herd over America’s vast alien-creature community.

But what really energizes this third installment of the franchise–lifting it into the orbit of the 1997 “Men in Black,” and vaporizing whatever memories might remain of that film’s piddling 2002 sequel–are a pair of smart new additions to the MIB canon.

One of these is time travel–always good for an entertaining brain-stretch; the other, quite wonderfully, is Josh Brolin, who plays a younger incarnation of Jones, and seems to have inhaled the older actor’s grumpy essence and to be exuding it through his pores. It’s a flawless comic performance.

The movie opens with a terrific action sequence–a jailbreak at a maximum-security prison on the moon, where a fearsome “Boglodite” named Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement, of The Flight of the Conchords) is busting out after 40 years in solitary. Boris was apprehended by the MIB–by Agent K, in fact–during the 1969 moon-rocket launch at Cape Canaveral. In the course of being collared, he lost most of one arm, and he’s been plotting payback ever since.

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