The Men in Black have been away for 10 years and since Agent K(Tommy Lee Jones) and Agent J(Will Smith, back after a 4 year hiatus from the screen) teamed up nearly 14 years ago, the have grown no closer in a world grown vastly more connected. This time, the story introduces us to a new mode of travel in the MiB universe; time travel, which has been banned throughout the universe because of its always dire consequences.
When Boris the Animal( or JUST BORIS as he so emphatically reminds us throughout the movie), played quite grotesquely by Jermaine Clement(Flight of the Concords) breaks free from the lunar prison Agent K sent him to 40 years ago, he makes it his mission to right the wrongs done to him and take over the world.
But first, you have to go back in time! Bet you couldn’t read that without having Pitbull sing it in your head, huh?
When time is officially messed up, Agent J, after dealing with the aftereffects of experience a break in the time and space continuum which involves an addiction to chocolate milk and a new partner played by SNL alum Will Arnett, has to go back to 1969 and change back what Boris hath wrought. After an experience with the old school neutralizer (talk about claustrophobia) Agent J teams up with the younger Agent K (played perfectly by Josh Brolin) to make sure the correct reality happens. They go across New York City tracing the path already laid from the previous realities which entails an encounter with Andy Warhol, who is really Agent W played by another SNL member Bill Hader, and a clairvoyant alien who holds the key to earth’s survival.
In order to save the earth, the two agents must attach the Arc net to Space Shuttle Apollo 11, about to embark to make Neil Armstrong the first man on the moon. This is made difficult, first by the MP’s in charge of protecting Cape Canaveral and the launch pad, and two Boris the Animals, the 1969 one and the escaped 2012 one. After a fight on the launch pad and the structure keeping the shuttle upright and powered up, Agent K manages to get it on the ship and the two Agents manage to effectively end the alien Boglodite race.
Before Agent J returns to 2012, a twist on Agent K and J’s relationship in revealed involving K’s knowledge of J’s younger life and father who disappeared when he was a boy. Back in 2012, we find the partners engaging in the stimulation act of eating pie. You always figure things out over pie apparently.
The look and feel of the Men in Black hasn’t changed in the past decade, except for the replacement of Rip Torn’s Agent Zed with Emma Thompson’s Agent O. Barry Sonnenfield returned to direct, with a return by Steven Spielberg as an executive producer. The movie is quick, with a well-defined plot of save the earth and Agent K, and a developed villain in Boris the Animal. The worms are seen briefly, but do not have the involvement within MiB as they did, and there’s no appearance by Frank the Pug, as the dog who portrayed him died. A picture of him is seen hanging on J’s apartment wall.
The movie serves as an extension of an already defined mythology. It can easily be considered a summer movie, and while special in its continued portrayal of a theory of such an agency, is simply another entry into the sci-fi genre. Josh Brolin excellently portrays a younger and still craggy Agent defined by Jones 14 years ago. Will Smith delivers, and still has the makings of a box office star, even with four years since his last film hit the big screen.
After a shutdown in production halfway through filming, where writers and executives hashed out the final part of the script to make sure it was just crazy enough to work, we finally get the product 15 years in the making. And crazy it was. So try not to think too much about this movie. Time travel is, as it always is, just as confusing, even with the Men in Black.