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Men in Black 3

If you were to be flashed with a neuralizer and made to forget the first two MIB movies, you’d love MIB 3. But compared to the other two, this action comedy lacks just a bit of the magic.

Have we missed you, Will Smith? Yes. After being MIA for over three years, he is back on the big screen, bringing all the charisma that has made him a star. He’s funny and has attitude.

The movie’s plot involves time travel back to 1969 and gives us Josh Brolin as the younger, less jaded, version of Tommy Lee Jones’ character, K. (Did Jones loop some of Brolin’s dialogue? Because the vocal timbre and inflections are dead on.)

The 60’s flashback is fun and, interestingly, addresses racial behaviors that were quite different from those of today. Will Smith’s character J is pulled over by NYC cops who wonder why a black man would be wearing such a nice suit and driving a luxury convertible.

Also, interestingly, MIB 3 reprises the shot in the first MIB that had St. Louis native Bernard Gilkey, then a Met, getting hit in the head with a fly ball. In MIB 3, the shot of an outfielder getting plunked signals the mid-season ’69 Mets ineptitude that somehow transitioned to a World Series title in October.

J and K face off against evil alien Boris the Animal (who always reminds them that his name is now “just Boris”) at Cape Kennedy where Apollo astronauts are about to be launched for the moon. The battle atop the missile support beams is an impressive sequence—within a notch of two of Cruise’s Dubai scenes in MI 4.

As in the two previous MIB’s, the aliens are the result of some clever imaginations, creative costumers and hard-working special effects crews.

Is MIB 3 satisfying? Yes. Will it blow you away? No. Following the first two MIB’s and, especially in the wake of the effects-laden “The Avengers,” MIB 3 may need good WOM to become a major hit. (That’s word of mouth.) The popularity of Will Smith and the two earlier MIB’s will fill theaters this first weekend. Stay tuned to see what happens beyond May.

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