Back in blak

K and J are back and MIB franchise is A-OK

Men in Black 3
Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated PG-13.
Rated 4.0

When we last saw Agents K (Tommy Lee Jones) and J (Will Smith) of the MIB agency, they were, um, well, I don’t really remember. I have a vague recollection of Lara Flynn Boyle needing a sandwich, but that’s about it. Maybe I got neuralyzed. Or maybe it’s been too long—10 years.

The sharp-dressed partners are back, going about their comfortable routine of policing the city streets for illegal aliens—of the spaceship kind. But that routine suddenly gets really complicated when Boris “Just Boris” the Animal manages to bust out of an über-secret maximum-security prison on the moon and heads back to Earth for some payback on the Man in Black responsible for his down time. That man being the taciturn Agent K.

Of course, this being a summer blockbuster, just ambushing him is sort of uninspired, so Boris (Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement, looking like a mutant version of Ringo Starr) cuts a time-fart and goes back to 1968 to kill K. This results in all sorts of nasty butterfly effects being unleashed in the space/time continuum, like giant creatures descending from the sky and eating New York.

Since Earth lacks the rock ’em, sock ’em robots of Transformers 3 or the quarreling superheroes of The Avengers to counter this suddenly trendy threat, the agency sends Agent J back to turn the fan off before the shit hits—with surprisingly amusing results.

Most of the amusement comes from Josh Brolin’s spot-on take as the younger Agent K, as after the obligatory meet-cute agents J and K immediately return to their domestic squabbling 30 years before they actually hook up. (“Actually” being a relative term, since we’re talking time travel.)

It’s complicated but not too complicated, seeing as this is a summer popcorner. But it’s a very well-crafted popcorner, hitting all the right comfortable notes and maintaining that delicate balance of staying boneheaded-accessible and still being clever enough for the folks who don’t need instructions on how to get the popcorn from tub to mouth. Although, fans of the Transformers franchise might still be confused.