The Men in Black, a top-secret organization protecting Earth from aliens, returns in “Men in Black 3.” Director Barry Sonnenfeld also returns for the third installment of the sci-fi action/comedy, based on the comic book series by Lowell Cunningham. Will Smith stars as Agent J, who became the partner of Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) way back in the series' first installment, in 1997.
In the new film, the alien criminal Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) escapes confinement and travels back in time to prevent Agent K from apprehending him in 1969.
Boris is a mass-murderer with eyes on further destruction: He wants to lead his hostile race of ravaging aliens to Earth for a new conquest.
When the timeline changes, Agent J must also time-travel, back to the early days of the Men in Black program in 1969, to stop Boris from killing Agent K.
He meets the younger Agent K, played by Josh Brolin, and is coerced into revealing the truth to him. The two agents must work together to stop both Borises — the one from 1969 and now the one from 2012 — to keep Earth from being invaded.
Brolin is outstanding as the young K — his mannerisms and method of speaking are eerily similar to Tommy Lee Jones as K. Brolin's K has a little more hope, a little less world-weariness, but clearly appears as the same gruff, gravelly agent.
Smith plays Agent J with the same smooth cockiness he brought to two previous installments. Even if “MIB 3” sees Smith and Jones going through the motions to some degree, they have the motions down. With this being Smith's first film since 2008, there's some joy simply in seeing the one-time summer box office champ return to the silver screen. And by making Smith's J travel back in time to 1969, J is still the audience's entry point to a strange new world. In this case, that strange new world is the 1960s (with aliens, admittedly).
PG-131:462 ½ stars
Starring: Will Smith, Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg. (Sci-fi action violence and brief suggestive content.)