In “Men in Black 3,” director Barry Sonnenfeld returns to direct the threequel in the franchise he began. This film see Agent J (Will Smith) having to go back in time to 1969 to defeat alien assassin Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) from killing Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones in the present, Josh Brolin in the past). If Boris kills K, not only will J lose his mentor, but K will not have successfully deployed a defense network that protects Earth from a Boglodite invasion in the present. While the previous entry in the franchise attempted to give J a love interest, the emotional heart of this film is the paternal relationship between K and J.
There are some continuity issues introduced in this film, such as K’s line, “I guess you weren’t even alive in ’68” from the first film or that the ArcNet should have protected Earth against the Arquillian Battle Cruiser in that same film. That said, these films are action comedies rather than typical sci-fi movies, so continuity between films isn’t necessarily the writers’ biggest concern. The film is the first in the franchise not to feature Frank the Pug, Chief Zed, Jack Jeebs, or David Cross’s character, Newton. It does explain Zed’s absence while introducing O (Emma Thompson), who will appear in “Men in Black: International.” Usually, a decade between films would be detrimental, but each film in this franchise feels so episodic that it the passage of time doesn’t detract from the story. Further, having most of the story occur in 1969 helps keep the plot fresh. The way writer Etan Cohen describes time travel and Sonnenfeld films it is fun and visually distinct from most previous time travel films while still working for the aesthetic of the “Men in Black” franchise.
Bonus features on the Blu-Ray include a “spot the alien” game, a making-of special, background on the creation of the 1960s MIB aesthetic, a focus on visual effects, scene breakdowns, a progression reel, a gag reel, and the music video to Pitbull’s “Back in Time,” which recalls Will Smith’s video for “Men in Black” or “Black Suits Comin’ (Nod Ya Head),” though it is somewhat sad that Smith didn’t contribute a third song to this entry. For what is likely to be the final “Men in Black” film with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones’s characters, this offers a nice amount of closure while continuing the franchise’s themes of a larger world that most people fail to perceive.