As a result, wisecracking J must set the clock back – all the way to 1969 – so that he can dissuade the youthful K from pursuing the course that would eventually lead him to his doom.
Needless to say, this chronology bending makes for some amusing set pieces, including one revolving around the yet-to-be-launched Apollo 11 space mission. A surprisingly poignant ending, by contrast, sheds compassionate light on the origins of the elder Agent K’s habitual grumpiness.
While the proceedings are mostly harmless, at least for mature viewers, they end up providing more chuckles than belly laughs. Like a wan smile, “MIB 3” comes across as rather insipid.
Smith is, undeniably, in his usual top-notch form. But removing the equally excellent Jones for the majority of the picture proves an ill-advised gambit; his presence is greatly missed throughout.
Additionally, screenwriter Etan Cohen’s dialogue makes wholly unnecessary forages into vulgar language and profanity. That’s all the more unfortunate since teens would likely appreciate the antics on screen more than their seasoned seniors.
The film contains frequent action violence, at least two instances of profanity and occasional crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III – adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 – parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Shaw is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.