Can Men in Black 3 make it into the black?
With a reported budget of $250 million—or $375, if you throw in projected marketing costs—expectations are riding high for the eagerly anticipated threequel to rake in some serious dough.
Sure, there've been shooting delays and script tweaks, but never count out the one-two punch of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones—or the massive pull of the hit franchise: The first two films raked in over a billion dollars worldwide. (Plus, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga supposedly cameo as aliens!)
We'll be exclusively livestreaming the flick's premiere at New York's Ziegfeld Theatre on May 23 at 6 pm ET, and early reviews have started to trickle in. From the looks of it, our agents (who are joined by new costar Josh Brolin) might wanna set their phasers to "rave-worthy"...
- "Finding smart ways to bring novelty to the franchise without forsaking what made the original so much fun…Barry Sonnenfeld's third Men in Black easily erases the second installment's vague but unpleasant memory and (though we might hope producers will quit while they're ahead) paves the way for future installments," writes The Hollywood Reporter's John DeFore. "It's hard to imagine it won't be a hit, and hard to begrudge that success, no matter how saturated we are with comic-book properties and sequels."
- "Perhaps the best that can be said for the years-in-the-works Men in Black 3 is that its prolonged, difficult development rarely leaves visible scars on the finished product…The sequel survives with the original's spirit largely intact," raves Variety's Andrew Barker. And although he feels that the "pic does betray a few saggy, sloppy edges," he singles out Brolin's "quietly hilarious performance."
- "What's downright shocking is how enjoyable Men in Black 3 actually is," writes Indiewire's Drew Taylor. "It's an agreeably loopy, visually sumptuous, intermittently clever sci-fi comedy that does much to erase the bad memories of 2002's wretched Men in Black II, easing back into the deadpan weirdness that made the original film so much fun."
- "For a very belated, obscenely expensive second sequel that perhaps nobody—except accountants at drowning-in-red-ink Sony—was clamoring for, Men in Black 3 is a reasonably crowd-pleasing and painless experience," writes the New York Post's Lou Lumenick, noting that it has "enough inspired moments to wipe out memories of the abysmal 2002 first sequel as surely as one of the black-suited heroes' nebulizers."
- "There are some holes in this story and unfortunately, they're not time-travel wormholes, but I can live with that," offers David Blaustein of ABC News. "Men in Black 3 may not hold up to the most stringent scrutiny, but it is what it is—a real crowd pleaser with a big heart." Also scoring big with Blaustein? Brolin's deadpan take on Jones. "Fun as it all is, the heart of MiB3 is Josh Brolin's performance as the young K," he writes. "Brolin is so good at nailing Tommy Lee Jones' voice and manner, you actually forget he's not Tommy Lee Jones."
MORE: Here's what we learned from the last MiB teaser
Not all critics were sold, though, on the threepeat…
- "Jones, whose screen time amounts to around 15 minutes, looks tired, and while the film plays nicely on that, there's no excuse for Smith looking sleepy too, or their banter feeling so forced and drained of life," sniffs Empire's William Thomas, who also derides "a disheartening lack of wit throughout."
- "In a summer hardly starved of comic-book properties, this redundant extension of a series that ran out of gas a decade ago doesn't need a neuralyzer to be forgettable," rants Neil Smith of Total Empire, noting that the latest installment is "an average affair that, while improving on MIB2, makes you wonder why [director Sonnenfeld] bothered."