by Bilge Ebiri
Let's set aside the sure-to-be-common question of whether anyone actually wanted another Men in Black sequel in the first place. The answer is, "No, they didn't," but No. 3 is here, and funnily enough, it's mostly painless. Of course, the MIB franchise was never much more than that: painless, and somewhat better for it. For all the gazillions spent on their elaborate CGI effects, the films never really demanded your attention; they were just kind of there, more tolerated than beloved. But in an age when every wannabe tentpole indulges in expansive running times and self-important grabs at seizing the cultural spotlight, the idea of a movie that feels like a breezy afterthought is strangely welcome.
Maybe that's because MIB3 actually manages to capture the playful inconsequentiality of the earlier films. This time out, intergalactic invasion-prevention specialists Agents K (Tommy Lee Jones) and J (Will Smith) are faced with an unspeakably ruthless and powerful being named Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement). This supervillain breaks out of a prison on the moon and travels back in time to 1969 to kill the younger Agent K (Josh Brolin, doing an uncanny Tommy Lee Jones imitation), preparing Earth to be overrun and devoured by an alien race.